Tools of the Sawmilling Trade


When you go out on a cutting job with your portable sawmill, what do you take with you? If you’re working close to home and can make a quick run for gas or a 9/16” socket wrench, forgetting a vital piece of equipment is no big deal. But when you drive 40 miles to a customer’s location, that’s a whole different situation. In addition to making you look like a novice, it can really cut into your productivity and profits if you have to drive back home to get a cant hook. And, as economical as portable bandsaw mills are, you will naturally need to refuel the machine from time-to-time depending on the size of the job. As a note on the syphon hose mentioned below, I have had to syphon fuel out of the mill to put into the truck to make it home, but that’s another story for another time. Now, if you can just remember to bring along this checklist, you’ll be well on your way to a profitable and worry-free day of producing lumber…

For the Mill:

  • Spare tire (preferably inflated)
  • Ramps and a winch – for pulling logs up onto the mill
  • Peavey – longer than a standard cant hook and can be anchored in the ground for extra leverage in rolling larger logs around the mill in the yard
    log handling tools
    Cant Hook, Peavey, Log Carrier, Log Hook
  • Cant hook — at least one with a 5’ handle to turn larger logs on the mill
  • Log Carrier – a two-man tool for bigger logs when a front-end loader isn’t available
  • Log Hook – a smaller hand-held hook for maneuvering logs on the mill
  • Extra bandsaw blades depending on the amount and type of wood you will be cutting


  • Wrenches—socket, crescent, combination and Allen/hex wrenches (SAE and metric, as required)
    portable sawmill magnet trick
    Tool trick – glue magnets to a few critical tools like a wrench or tape measure and then “stick” them to your mill for safe keeping and easy access.
  • Pliers
  • Screwdrivers
  • Vice-Grips
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Blade sharpener if you’re working on a big project


  • Fill the tank
  • Carry an extra can of fuel…“just in case”
  • Syphon hose

Other Essentials:

  • Grease
  • Engine oil
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Hatchet
  • Wedges
  • Chainsaw plus gas, oil, tools for the same

For the Sawyer

  • personal protection equipmentPPE (personal protection equipment)
    • Hard hat (loggers helmet preferred)
    • Eye protection
    • Hearing protection
    • Steel-toed boots
    • Leather gloves
  • Multipurpose tool, such as a Leatherman
  • First Aid kit
  • Lunch
  • Hydration—Water or Gatorade
  • Mobile phone
  • Map & instructions to the customer’s location
  • Billfold with driver’s license & enough cash for something to eat on the way home
  • Camera – you may come across an exquisite piece of lumber worth taking a picture of for your portfolio or promotional ads

For the Customer

  • Copy of the contract and a pen to sign it
  • Extra PPE, if the customer decides to lend a helping hand or wants to give the portable bandsaw mill a try

Now you should be ready to hit the road and start turning trees into money, but let us know if we’ve missed anything on our list because there’s no doubt we have.


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