Can You Make Money With A Portable Sawmill?

Landowners cut down trees from their property for a lot of reasons. This is done as a part of regular timber harvest like thinning or final harvest. But at times cutting old trees in a small area to improve the forest management or health is required. In such cases, it may be difficult to get the timber harvested and sell for profit. Instead, the trees are left in the forest to rot, burnt or piled. Landowners require a better option to use this precious resource. They use a portable sawmill for the money, to cut these trees and earn some additional income.

In the 1800s, these were used to bring the mill close to the site of timber harvest. These Sawmills may have been either steam or water-powered and could be dismantled by a small group and taken to the next location. Today the sawmills are really portable and moved easily on trailers that may be pulled behind pickups.  Portable sawmills are recently popular as they can process timber into lumber that can be used for speciality wood products and other uses by the owners. These mills have the ability to process timber possessed by small scale forest owners that may otherwise remain unused, providing the entrepreneur and landowners with alternative opportunities for income. 

 The forest landowners own smaller lands that are not economically for large operations of logging to harvest. If small scale landowners have the timber harvested, they are forced to get low prices for it. The portable sawmills process from smaller areas of individual trees and timber that is not practical to transport economically to a large processing facility. Along with being profitable on a small scale, these sawmills operators also use trees destroyed by insects or Storms, making them a precious tool for management in the forest and in a  neighbourhood. These allow for high returns on a valuable Timber product that may otherwise be lost. 

Why Invest In Portable Sawmills? 

A lot of people invest in the portable sawmill to get the project done as a hobby, like outbuilding or Barn building around their home or farm. After buying a sawmill, nearly half of the owners realised that they could earn some part-time or full-time income from their work. These sawmills are attractive micro-enterprise for small farms, which already have supporting equipment and easily accessible trees. Farmers produce lumber for their use and sell extra or offer custom sawing for neighbours. Low investment with the ability to increase returns on timber makes it attractive for many purposes. 

Another main reason for buying a sawmill is conservation. The owners are able to decrease waste by utilising trees cut for construction purposes or damaged by storms or insects. A lot of owners depend completely on salvaged trees for their mill. In residential neighbourhoods, the homeowners are ready to pay to get a fallen tree removed, giving income even prior to the trees being milled. Sometimes the homeowners wish to process and purchase lumber from the yard trees that have some sentimental value. This service cost a premium price because of the unique equipment and the skill it needs.

Income From Portable Sawmills 

In terms of income generation, portable sawmill operators surveyed reported less than 25% of their income from the products made from the sawmill. Another 10% earned 26 – 100% of the income from it. The other 40% showed that they earned no money from a  sawmill. Most of the owners have earned some money but consider it as a hobby and not a part of their income. It is important to keep in mind that higher value woods and unique products result in a premium. These sawmills produce high returns when the product meets the requirements of a niche market, rather than competing with the large commercial market. 

Products of Portable Sawmill 

A lot of homeowners produce lumber for their own use or for selling or trading. Trading wood for other goods or services, or other desired products, is a general use of logs. Lumber was often used in the construction of an outbuilding or Barn than in the construction of a house because of local building ordinances and laws which may need a lumber grading stamp. The renewal process of certification and fees associated with getting a grading stamp may be a major block to owners who want to produce lumber for house construction. If you want to use lumber processed from a portable sawmill for this purpose, understand the state and local regulations for the grading and quality certification. Cabinets, furniture, flooring and other crafts are also made from this lumber with extra processing. 


Portable sawmills meet a variety of community and landowner needs, from cleaning up the storm debris to harvesting the trees. These activities have the ability to process wood harvested from a small place, filling a gap left as old logging operations reduced in number and increased in size. Portable sawmills meet the increasing requirement to increase the use of timber for improving forest health and producing quality products of timber.

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