Horsepower for a Circular Sawmill

You need enough power to maintain the RPMs that the blade is tuned for. November 26, 2008

I have built an M-14 small mill and tried to power it with my Allis Chalmers CA. I was figuring it would be a little small, and now I see it is a lot small for this. What is too much HP for this setup? It has the 46" blade and 10' carriage. I don't want to overpower it either.

Forum Responses
(Forum Responses)
From contributor D:
I used to run mine (46" too) with an Oliver Super 77 which I believe is about 45 hp, and I could make it lug a little on the larger logs. My Oliver 1550 ran it fine at 50 - 55 hp. Smaller is okay if you slow down the feed, and aren't worried about volume. Anything over 60 hp may be overkill. I don't recall if the manual addresses the issue.

From contributor A:
I can not remember if it was 1hp per tooth or 1 hp per inch of blade on circle mills. But I would guess 45 to 50 hp to be about right for that setup. A little too much is better than too little. The rpm that the blade is hammered for is as important as anything, and being able to keep at that rpm is your goal.

From contributor B:
I have heard for production use 5 hp per inch of the saw in the cut. A 46 should cut around 18 inches, so that would be 90 horses. I run a 48 with 130 horses. We used to have 75 on it and it was kind of slow. I can take a cut through a 6 inch cant in just under 2 seconds with the big engine. The thing with the small engine is if you let the saw rpm drop, the saw won't stand up. Horsepower needs are also going to depend on the gauge of the saw and the pattern. F style pulls more power than B style because of more teeth in the cut.