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Author Topic: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase  (Read 1275 times)

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Offline the_hobbyist

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Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« on: February 10, 2018, 12:32:45 AM »
Hi all! This is my first time interacting with you, but I've been lurking for quite some time. This forum has been an amazing resource for research! Long story short, I am going to be purchasing a Woodmizer LT15 Wide. My goal is to pay off the investment within 3 years by selling furniture made from the lumber milled, and providing lumber to local woodworkers if they so desire. I'm just curious if there are any unexpected costs that I might not be thinking of. After all, I'm greener than the wood I'll be cutting. I'll be setting up an air drying station and a solar kiln. I've got the stickers, end sealer, metal detector (I will be working with some yard trees, mostly private woods though), moisture meter, and cant hooks in my budget as well.
  • How many blades should I get to start off with? In my budget I have 3 each of 4 degree, 7 degree, and 10 degree. We'll mostly be sawing hardwood (lots of locust). My thought is that should be a good number to see which blades work best, then I can order full boxes if needed.
  • Is there anything else that I might be missing? I'd hate to do all this research, pull the trigger, and find out I missed something that will be a major cost.

Any help you guys could offer would be greatly appreciated!

Offline starmac

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2018, 12:52:41 AM »
Do you have a way to move logs and larger slabs?

Something to knock the bark off where the blade enters, unless you will have a debarker.
A way to remove the sawdust off your lumber.
I like to keep a tape handy at all times, along with a lumber crayon and a small framing square.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline JRWoodchuck

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2018, 12:58:17 AM »
A trailer to move logs and a chainsaw for bucking to length. I use both of those quite regularly around the mill. Oh and a log rite!
Home built bandsaw mill still trying find the owners manual!

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2018, 05:50:16 AM »
the_hobbyist,welcome to the forum.
LT wide,those BIG logs are hard to move. And once you get them on the mill,they are that much harder to move. Will take some support equipment to get them to the mill. You will need a tractor,skid steer to move logs around. Will take a good size tractor,if you go that route.
Buying logs?
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2018, 06:04:29 AM »
Congrats and welcome.

It's been brilliantly said here that a sawmill operation is about material handling, there just happens to be a saw in the middle during a brief time.  :D

I am continually challenged on: how to get logs in, where to put them, how to situate the saw so that it's feasible to move logs in and lumber out, how and what size do I sticker the material, what do I do with mis-matched sizes (thickness or lengths), how/where do I store the air-drying material, how/when do I move them in and out of kiln, where do I place the dry material, etc. etc

I've learned MUCH from the brothers here and am constantly challenged to do better. Fortunately my wife has a degree in operations and logistics and is NOT in love with wood. Her truth is my thorn.  :-\ :D

Yes...what thecfarm said. I have an LT40 wide and am always going for BIG stuff. Don't discount the weight of these big/heavy logs. It's been a challenge for me and now I have a big tractor that can lift almost 6000 (or so they say). Sometimes it's still not enough. I have a 12' white oak awaiting quartersawing that weights 7500+  :o

You'll figure it out. Have fun...sawing is most fun!

p.s. Don't dismiss the carbide blades as part of your plan. They are AWESOME and will be a nice sword for that locust!
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
LT40HD Wide 35HP Diesel
Baker Portable Edger with Kubota Diesel
Kubota M62 Tractor/Backhoe
WoodMizer KD250 Kiln

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2018, 07:44:53 AM »
Welcome!  I'm a new guy here too after lurking for a year or so.

The people on this board are extremely helpful!  I don't believe there's a friendlier forum anywhere.

They helped me with a similar question and there may be some good information for you in this thread.  Sawdust Addiction,99789.0.html
Woodmizer LT35HD25, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher

Online 47sawdust

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2018, 07:56:22 AM »
Log loading and log turning take a big physical toll.If you set up your mill in a shed a set of chain falls hung from ceiling make log turning easy.Some type of support is essential,tractor,skid steer etc.
Spend a day going through the forum,the "search" at the top of the page will lead you to a lot of answers.Lot of smart,helpful and friendly people here.
Welcome and good luck.
1997 WM Lt30 1999 WM twin blade edger Kubota L3750 Tajfun winchGood Health Work is my hobby.

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2018, 07:56:33 AM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum, the_hobbyist!
Retired USAF (1989), Retired School Bus Driver (2012), and now a Mobile Sawyer
1995 Wood-Mizer LT40HDG2425 Kohler - Shingle & LapSider, Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener, 4-foot Logrite cant hook.
Basic mechanical skills are all that's required to maintain the Wood-Mizer.

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2018, 08:00:38 AM »
Sounds like you'll also have expenses of woodworking.  Maintaining the sawmill in its new operating condition will take some parts and supplies including blades and blade sharpening. And log cutting and moving costs. Start right by keeping a record of all income and expenses, to keep your thinking about costs honest.  Welcome to FF.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT   2001 WM LT40SHDD (42HP Kubota, Accuset2, FAO's, Lubemizer, debarker, hydraulics everywhere), Peterson WPF 10-30 with chain slabber. Logrite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.

Offline paul case

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2018, 09:23:04 AM »
It sounds like your goals are obtainable to me.
I would give 2 pointers here.
If I didn't have a loader of some sort to move logs, slabs, and packs of lumber around, I would have quit a long time ago. Make a spot close to the mill to pile slabs in a rack and boards in a pack that you can move with a loader. Make your air drying shed and your kiln so you can load and unload packs in them with a loader.
A cheap old forklift will save a lot of moving problems around a mill. We use ours for everything around our mill.

Set that new mil up on concrete piers or large cants so that the bed is about knee high. This will give you space to clean out from under it and save your back when edging.


life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.

Offline Bosco

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2018, 10:21:25 AM »
Yep, just got my first mill a Lt15 and that was the cheap part, next was a new Mahindra 1538, gotta move logs soo a bucket and forks, gotta remove stumps soo a backhoe too, still gotta get a winch, need more trailers, gonna need some woodsheds,tractor sheds, an outdoor boiler for all the slab wood, more chain saws and chains, chains for the tractor, cables, tongs, I find something else I need every day ! Its just a hobby though.

Offline the_hobbyist

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2018, 10:47:12 AM »
Wow! I woke up this morning hoping someone had seen this post. I was not expecting this many replies. Thanks so much to all of you for taking time out of your day to help a new guy out! Rather than try and reply individually:
  • Log Moving: We have a tractor with chains, a fork, a bucket, etc. We'll figure out more intricate details as needed, but we have a good foundation for moving logs.
  • Turning Logs: We will mostly be working with smaller diameter logs, I'd say around 20" and smaller. The reason I'm getting the Wide is because there are a few walnut logs that I know I have access to that are as big as 30" in diameter. My thought is, as a woodworker, just getting a few of those 30" slabs is worth the increase in price between the LT15 and Wide. Since we'll be mostly working with smaller stuff, I'm not too concerned about hydraulic turning. I'm sure we'll figure out how to use some of the farm equipment for the giants.
  • Buying Logs: We won't be buying logs, at least in the near term. We will mostly be logging on private woodland property, focusing on taking down trees in order to promote a healthier forest. This also means we won't be too concerned about stump removal (unless I should be?). There are also a lot of mature walnuts in my hometown that people have been trying to have someone take away, but other sawyers are refusing, due to the risk of nails. I think I could get some pretty nice logs there for cheap, but that is more long term.
  • Expense / Income Tracking: I make a living doing data analysis and monitoring ROI. Spreadsheets have been setup. (That expense spreadsheet is looking scary though!)
  • Stack Moving: That is my next big research project. I think we are going to keep it simple for the time being, just get our feet wet. Then once we find our pain points, we'll find solutions.

Offline Tin Horse

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2018, 11:34:00 AM »
I also started with a small manual mill thinking I'd only be doing small logs. That didn't happen. I then made a log turner to help. That was short lived. My lower back was killing me. When I sold that mill and got My Enercraft 30 HLT I couldn't believe the difference. Luckily I can load with either a Kioti 7320 or a Case 580SL with manual thumb. One job I did a guy brought 6 white oak logs and wanted them 1/4 sawn.The 2 base 8' pieces were close to 40". Max wide on my mill is 29" cant. Had to use the Case to move and rotate at first very carefully.But that was after ripping them down with the chainsaw. I would love to buy a wide mill.
Bell 1000 Wood Processor. Enercraft 30HTL, Case 580SL. Kioti 7320.

Offline Crossroads

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Re: Preparing For My Sawmill Purchase
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2018, 12:46:10 PM »
Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on your expectations. Iím horrible at tracking expenses, I save receipts and track my income in a 3Ē spiral notebook, then total it all up at tax time. Just went through everything last night. As it turns out, the saw mill did good, raising pigs, chickens and rabbits, not so much. Have fun and enjoy the new mill
2017 LT40 wide, Kubota l185dt, 2-036 stihl, 2001 Dodge 3500 5.9 Cummins

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