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A serious mill for the part-time sawyer

The Junior Peterson, a serious mill for the part-time sawyer

To celebrate seeing in a new year, New Zealand based sawmill exporter Peterson Portable Sawmills launch their first new product since the beginning of the recession; the Junior Peterson (JP). Designed with the part-time miller in mind, the JP is a smaller, more simplified version of Peterson's production range of swingblade mills which the company have been distributing worldwide for over 20 years.

While the 'Junior' Peterson may sound like a baby mill, its 13.5hp Briggs & Stratton engine certainly provides enough power to get through a full 6"cut. And like the company's other models, the JP gives the ability to easily 'double cut' with only a slight adjustment of the blade guard. This means that with the blade in the horizontal position, you can achieve a 12" cut giving you a maximum beam size of 12" x 4". Peterson’s CEO Kerris Browne says “We did the smaller 4 inch cut with the Skillmill some years back, based on the ATS raised-track system. But the cut was a bit too small for most customer’s needs, and the raised track system in a smaller version just wasn’t as rigid as we wanted. With this JP mill, it’s super rigid and gives you the bigger 6” cut as well.”

The JP’s design is based on Peterson's most popular production model sawmill, the Winch Production Frame (WPF), utilising two 'Lo/Lo' track sections that are positioned parallel to each other at ground level. The track levellers can be adjusted according to location, enabling the operator to set the mill up on uneven terrain. The bed rollers are then placed onto the rails and the centre unit can be pushed up and down the tracks with ease.

Ideal for those wanting to make the most of their own trees for home and farm projects, the JP frame can cut logs up to 3' (914.4mm) in diameter. It comes with 13' (4m) tracks as standard, but track extensions are an optional extra making the maximum log length infinite.

Experienced sawyer, Ian Abraham from Stratford, New Zealand reviewed the JP prototype and was suitably impressed with the mill. Ian believes that even those who haven't milled before will soon gain confidence operating the JP. "It's like your [Peterson's] other designs, there's not a heck of a lot that can go wrong."

When asked if he could comment on any weak points the JP had, the only thing mentioned was the cut size which Petersons already cater for with their larger mills. "You're limited in your cut size but you know that." Ian reported. "It's a 6 inch mill. It cuts a 3' log and if you've got bigger logs you'll need a bigger mill."

Ian was so pleased with the mill, he said that if he were in the market for an upgrade from his chainsaw head powered 8" Peterson WPF, he would definitely consider the JP. "I'm quite impressed with it really.

It's not a toy. For what I do which is only part time for hobby stuff, it will cut the stuff I need and it's more affordable."

While the manufacturers always recommend having a second person at the milling site for safety reasons, the JP can be operated by one person. Maintenance is low, with the blade able to be sharpened while still attached to the mill, and blade adjustments can be performed with ease to perfect the finished product.

Differing from Peterson's production range which are manufactured using aluminium and stainless steel, the JP utilizes steel finished in zinc and powder coating. While these components are economical in comparison, the result remains a robust piece of equipment with a lower price point.


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