After careful consideration, we selected a Norwood HD36 manual band sawmill. There are bigger sawmills out there, but this one is solidly built, safe, quiet, efficient, and flexible enough to handle the wide range of cutting challenges I encounter. If you're interested in sawmills, drop me a line, and I'd be pleased to give you a demonstration.
Band sawmills use a thin blade that gets about 14% more lumber out of every log, compared to traditional circle saws. They give a flat smooth surface that requires less planing, and cut anything from 16" by 16" beams to small parts for musical instruments. The mill itself can handle logs up to 36" diameter, but I've milled larger logs by quartering them with a chain saw first. It also does a great job with oddball pieces like roots, crotches, and short, large diameter logs. I pride myself in custom cutting wood that other sawmills turn down.
The mill is portable enough to set up in yards right in town, and quieter than most lawn tractors. It requires a fairly level area 20' by 30', and leaves behind very little sawdust. Most people like to keep the scraps for firewood, but I'll haul them off, if you like.
Good use of resources is very important to me, and I am pleased to run a business that makes use of logs that would otherwise go for firewood, mulch, or even hauled to a landfill. Urban logs are particularly challenging, because they can be difficult to get out of yards, and often have metal (nails, wire, even bullets) embedded in them. But they often have beautiful wood just waiting for a woodworker's touch.