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Spring Prep Sawmill

Learning Center:

Preparing Your Portable Sawmill for Spring

Here's what you need to know for getting your sawmill ready for warmer weather

It's time to get your sawmill uncovered and get ready to mill. But to ensure your mill is operating as it should, here are some recommendations for proper and routine maintenance to ensure operator safety, good milling results and prolonging the life of your investment.

Safety Considerations

Before we begin, it is important to never make blade guide adjustments, remove or install blades, conduct any other maintenance or make any other adjustments while the engine is running. Always shut the engine off, remove the ignition key, and turn the engine off before carrying out any of the aforementioned procedures.

Consult your engine manual for safe shutdown procedures to prevent accidental ignition.

Begin with a fuel and filter check

First, ensure you are not going to run with old fuel. If you find old fuel, it is possible you’ll need to run seafoam through the system as the carburetor may be plugged (if your engine won't start). It is recommended that you run the motor completely dry before it's put away for an extended period of time or use fuel stabilizer before storing.

You will also want to inspect and clean your air filter if required. For Kohler engines, ensure to position the engine's air cleaner cover properly depending on the weather. As you are preparing for spring you'll want to position it back to the normal operating position where the air cleaner cover has the sun decal out.

Diagram showing normal operation position of air cleaner cover
Diagram showing cold weather operation position of air cleaner cover

Running the engine with the cover positioned for cold weather operation in normal conditions can damage the engine. If the temperatures are still cold, keep the cover with the snowflake decal out. Doing this will reduce the likelihood of the carburetor icing, as the air cleaner cover is rotated to draw warmer air from the muffler. Once you have completed this important step, follow the below Preparing For Spring Maintenance Guide. 

Inspect key components

Bandwheel Bearings — Inspect before use to ensure they are not worn. Bearings are sealed and do not need to be greased.

Blade Guide Bearings — Inspect before use for excessive grooves or scoring in the bearing case. Replace if necessary.

Sawhead Lifting Cables — Regularly before, during, and after operations; inspect the cables for any wear or kinks. Ensure that the cables are in perfect condition. Oil coiled part of cable often to prevent premature wear. Replace with new cables as necessary.

Check engine oil

Check the engine oil level before each use and if oil must be changed, use the tables below based on your engine model and operating air temperatures.

Diagram showing engine models, horsepower, and oil requirements
temperature diagram showing which oil is best for different temperatures
Diagram showing temperature range of different motor oils

Note: Engines are equipped with an oil alert system, meaning that if the crankcase oil level is low or empty, the power is cut to the spark plug and it will not start. Oil should be changed every 100 Hours or Annually (whichever comes first).

Inspect periodically

Blade Tension — Grease threads of tensioning “T” handle when dry or as required. Use multi-purpose, extreme-pressure grease.

Log Clamps — Spray cam mechanism with dry silicone spray frequently.

Belts — Check the condition and wear of the drive and idler belt. The belt also provides a cushion for the blade to ride on. Ensure the belt is proud (sitting higher than) on the steel band wheel. If the blade is riding on the band wheel, it could cause it to slow during the cut or come off. It is always best to check the drive belt tension with the blade off the mill. This will give you the true tension on the drive belt.

Drive Belt — Periodically check the tension of the drive belt. You should inspect your drive belt periodically for any signs of wear of improper tension. A worn or loose drive belt can cause the blade to stop during the cut.

Sawhead Vertical Posts — Spray posts before use with a silicone spray lubricant such as “WD-40 Water Resistant Silicone Spray,” “3-in-One Silicone Spray Lubricant," or “Jig-ALoo.”

Bandwheel Guards — Routinely remove any build-up of sawdust that may collect inside the bandwheel guards.

Spark Plug - Replace the spark plug and set gap every 500 Hours or Annually (whichever comes first). Perform this procedure more frequently under severe, dusty, dirty conditions.

What You Need to Know About Blade Lubrication:

Do not run lubricant for the initial 30 minutes of milling. Run the blade dry to break-in the belts. After the belts have been broken-in, use water with 1 tsp (5 mL) of liquid dish soap per tank if air temperatures are 34°F (1°C) and warmer or use winter windshield washer fluid in air temperatures 32°F (0°C) and colder.

Note: never use diesel fuel or kerosene as blade lubricant. These substances lead to premature wear of your belts and poor sawing performance.

Searching for Technical Support?

You can contact us by completing the Technical Support Request form on our website. Our tech support team operates Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 4:30PM Eastern Standard Time. or call us at 1-855-476-6455 (Press 2 for Tech) for assistance.

Looking for more information on preparing for spring?

Check out our guide on preparing your Stump Grinder here.

You can also refer to our guide on preparing your Wood Chipper here.