Thursday, February 20, 2014

The How-To of Winter Sawing

Tough winter weather is here, but that doesn’t mean you have to put the “freeze” on sawing. In fact, you still have time to get your sawmill out and blades ready for these cold conditions. Also keep in mind that after a long winter like this year, logs will remain frozen or partially frozen well into spring in certain areas, so these tips will still apply.

Follow these winter sawing tips to successfully saw frozen logs
1. Lower the Blade Hook Angle – Have you been using the standard 10 degree profile? If so look at the 9 degree profile for lower horsepower engines and small diameter logs (under 14”). If your mill has higher horsepower (over 25) and you’re sawing large diameter logs or wider cuts, look to the 4 degree and Turbo 7 for high performance. These profiles utilize a taller tooth with deeper gullets that are capable of pushing the sawdust out of the cut, resulting in less sawdust on your lumber.

2. Blade Thickness – Thicker blades typically bring better performance, especially in frozen wood. If you have been using .042 try bumping up to the .045 blade. And if you have been using the .045 and have a 25+ horsepower engine, the .055 will bring you more accuracy and higher feed rates.

3. Blade Width – Narrow blades can have less resistance and clean out  frozen sawdust more productively. Try a 1-1/4” blade over a 1-1/2” wide blade in the winter. This can be important especially with higher horsepower engines.

4. Lubrication – While lubrication is not always necessary in winter, if you experience build-up on the teeth or sides of the band this can affect performance, life between sharpenings, and overall flex life. Common additives can include water, our LubeMizer additive, Pine-Sol, Vegetable Oils, and be sure to add windshield washer fluid, or antifreeze to the water.

Winter sawing can bring out the most demands for your sawmill. As always, keep your mill well maintained, aligned properly and covered. Freezing rain, ice and snow build up will slow down your warm-up process and can affect the life of your mill. For the best results, keep your feed rates consistent and monitor your lumber as it comes off the mill for quality. Also remember that keeping your blade in the log and sawing is just as important as how fast you are sawing.
Wood-Mizer offers blades to meet every type of wood cutting application for every season.
For more advice or recommendations, visit or talk to a blades specialist at 800.522.5760.