Turning logs on a manual mill

Home-made remedies for tough-to-turn timber. January 16, 2001

We have an LT40 Wood Mizer manual mill which we’ve modified to be all-electric and stationary. We have a log deck. Our problem is turning the log on the mill— any ideas on a simple device to help with this?

Forum Responses
I built a bridge crane. It makes turning a big log child's play, and also picks up logs, carries them to the mill and sets them down gently.

The bridge is 24' long and 11' high. It is very light, made of plywood with two pieces of angle iron for trolley tracks.

I use a large snatch block that was originally made to handle line cable on telephone poles. It is big enough to put a chain hook through. I put the block on the hoist and run a chain through it around the log. Then the log is simply spun around whichever way you want. Turning a log end for end is easy and lots of fun.

Take a block of paraffin to the bed of the mill where the log rests. Pull on your peavee. Do you have wheels on the top of your vertical stops?

I also have an LT40 manual mill that I retrofitted with a Wood-Mizer log turner. I bought the hydraulic turner arm kit from Wood-Mizer - not the lighter manual turner. It was intended to be welded to the mill, but I welded it onto a couple of brackets so it bolts directly where the manual turner would be. No welding on the mill itself was required.

I also added an old style Wood-Mizer hydraulic toe board on the end toward the operator, as I always try to saw little end to big end. I also put the toe board on the inside of the rail rather than the outside. I added about 4" to the length of the toe board to help it reach the small logs. This required cutting about a half-inch notch out of the bracket that holds the back support.

Power came from a 2hp 220v ac motor that ran a hydraulic pump. I had a local hydraulic supply house make up the unit but a similar one could be bought. A 12v dc pump for a snowplow or dumpbed could also be used, but it would need double action. The pump unit sets on a pad under the hitch end of the mill. The switch is mounted on the motor. I turn the pump on and turn the log and when it's sawn down to a cant that's easy to manage with a cant hook, I turn the pump off.

The valves were placed on a plate I bolted to the support brace on the frame. They are to the left of where you stand to clamp the log.

I did not convert the clamping system or upright supports to hydraulic. This lets us still operate the mill without the hydraulic. We saw a lot of cedar logs and smaller logs and it's just as fast or faster to use the cant hook or hands to turn a small log or cant.

Every thing is bolted on. The system works quite well and we haven't had a log yet that caused it to strain. The toe board (that has the cylinder built in) cost a little less than $100 and the turner arm kit was a little over $200, cylinder not included. I probably had another $1100 into power unit, valves, cylinder for turner arm, hoses, filter, oil, etc.