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Author Topic: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill  (Read 2637 times)

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Offline carpart67

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Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« on: October 05, 2016, 11:28:51 AM »
Hello Everyone,

Iím an aspiring portable miller looking for some advice.  I grew up spending a ton of time at my grandfatherís lumber, laths, and picket mill.  Iím an avid outdoors person as well.  As such Iíve made the decision to purchase my first portable saw mill!  I plan to do a lot of personal milling and perhaps expand into a hobby business as I gain experience.  Iíve been doing my research and have narrowed it down to 2 mills that both seem to be quality units that fit my current budget.  While I understand that these mills may not be best suited to a full scale milling business they will allow me to start getting milling experience much sooner than if I were purchasing a larger mill.

The 2 models I have selected are the SMG Champion Little 9.5, and the Norwood Lumeberman NM26.  Both are made in North America, have parts easily accessible in Canada (where I am) and have similar warranty.  Both offer some pros as well as cons.

In comparison to the SMG the Norwood offers more HP, 1Ē larger band wheels, and powder coated frame vs painted.  The mill can be operated on the trailer system.  However, Norwood is a factory direct company which has no local representation and to the best of my knowledge there is nowhere local I can view one before purchase.

The SMG is a fully Canadian company.  The unit looks well made, even the lubrication tank looks to be metal.  The frame is 1-piece welded angle iron, where the Norwood is bolted together.  SMG has a local rep who is a little over an hour drive from my home.  He seems very helpful.  He also provided me the phone number of a gentleman in my home town who has this model of mill (haven't called him yet)  The SMG will handle a 24Ē log vs the Norwoodís 26Ē.  The trailer available for the SMG is for transport only, but the mill is light enough it can be slid off.  This would leave the mill low to the ground and facilitate easier log loading, but probably be a pain to set up.

Norwood currently has fall promotions that offer a lot of mill for the money.  That being said I like the fact that the SMG has a local rep who even delivers the mill and sets you up to saw.  I also like that my money stays close to home with the SMG.  I would likely be happy with either mill but am having trouble choosing between the two. 

Does anyone have experience with either of these mills or companies?  Anyone have suggestions given the information I provided?

All help is appreciated! 



Offline york

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2016, 01:28:39 PM »
Hi,remember Norwood is a FF sponsor,so it is not too cool to place,another mill against it-But,i am not sure i like that angle iron track-way on the SMG....You should not have a hangup about putting together the Nowood,i think that is a good thing,you will know what you have.....
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Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2016, 01:30:43 PM »
Hi and welcome to the forum!

I'll repeat some of the advice I received, as well as what I've read for others and that is this:

1) Get the most mill you can afford.  May not be so critical for just hobby milling but if you're thinking of doing any commercial work you want it to occur in a timely and trouble-free manner.

2) Try out the mills you are considering.  Norwood does have a user forum at their web site, or they may be able to hook you up directly with an owner in your area.  See if you can locate one near you that is the same or similar enough to the MN26 that you get a sense of the machine and the company that built it.

3) Get to know and be comfortable with the how your machine will be serviced or repaired.  This may tilt things towards SMG, but I imagine there are plenty of Norwood owners in Canada so find out how they deal with maintenance and repairs.

4) Think about the biggest log you plan to mill, then add a couple inches.  You will find or acquire logs that size, so you'll want to have a plan on how to deal with them.  That could mean a chainsaw mill, a larger bandsaw mill, or hiring it out.

5)  Think about and budget for a steady stream of sharp blades.  Where will you buy them and/or how will you get them sharpened?  See if the blades from each manufacturer can be sharpened locally.  Depending on your work rate, you'll be cycling through some ten or a hundred blades so give that some consideration.  It may impact your mill purchase decision.
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Offline Rickcnc

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2016, 04:44:55 PM »
Reach out to Norwood to see if anyone in your area has a mill and willing to demo it for you. You may be surprised to find someone close.  I did that and it turned out someone was within a 15 minute drive from my house.

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2016, 05:21:06 PM »
You said the Norwood is bolted together. I think that is a plus. That means you
have adjustment if needed. Also easier to replace broken or bent parts.
Also the Norwood is 2" wider. That's a lot when working with logs.
Also the more HP, 1Ē larger band wheels sounds like the way I would go.

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Offline carpart67

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2016, 05:56:25 PM »
You said the Norwood is bolted together. I think that is a plus. That means you
have adjustment if needed. Also easier to replace broken or bent parts.

Something I hadn't thought of!

Offline RD

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2016, 06:42:17 PM »
Norwood is manufactured and serviced from either their Ontario, Canada or Buffalo, New York locations.  I have been very pleased with my saw and the service I have received for the past 6 years. 

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2016, 06:59:47 PM »
You said the Norwood is bolted together. I think that is a plus. That means you
have adjustment if needed. Also easier to replace broken or bent parts.

Something I hadn't thought of!

Extending the rail bed may be wanted down the road.  Can you extend the SMG?
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Offline ozarkgem

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2016, 07:23:52 PM »
I know nothing about the SMG but I am quite impressed with the Norwood. I think you can add hydraulics to the Norwood later if you want(and you will). Just my take.Its your money.
Mighty Mite Band Mill, Case Backhoe, 763 Bobcat, Ford 3400 w/FEL , 1962 Ford 4000, Int dump truck, Clark forklift, lots of trailers. Stihl 046 Magnum, 029 Stihl. complete machine shop to keep everything going.

Online Jeff

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2016, 07:33:57 PM »
I've had a chance to observe the Norwood mills first hand and up close several times in the last couple years, mostly because they have been right next to where I was helping out with Logrite at the shows I have went to. I would buy a Norwood over the other in a heart beat. I can't say anything about the other mill, other than you have to wonder why they are not here. They have to know about the Forestry Forum.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2016, 08:13:48 PM »
I talked to Norwood a few years ago. If you bought a manual mill,than wanted to put on one of thier options,it would cost no more to add it on later than when you bought it. Lets say an all manual is $5000 and their all hyd mill is $15000 and they had 5 upgrades,each add on would cost $2000. I have no idea if they are still doing that or not.
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2016, 08:54:36 PM »
Greetings carpart67, I haven't seen any of the newer norwood mills up close but the older ones were will made, I did watch the SMG rep demo a mill last year in Concession Digby County ( I'm in Yarmouth County) and I must say it was well thought out and he almost made milling look easy. So no real help I guess but there is something to be said for local support / consumables.

 

Offline Kasba

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2016, 09:13:30 PM »
Have you looked into Timbery, I am very happy with mine. The parts are easy to get in Canada as well. I went with the 25 hp with
Timbery M285 25hp, Husqvarna 570 auto tune, Alaskan sawmill, Nova 1624 wood lathe, Dogo Argentino

Offline Bucksaw

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2016, 09:13:30 AM »
I have the SMG Econo 13S and I am more than pleased. With either mill, you will be cutting slow in large logs, so the little HP difference will be minimal at best.
Consider also that maximum width of cut is great but in a manual mill you have to horse that big log and trust me, you will like sawing smaller and medium size logs more for that reason.
1" larger band wheels offer only the advantage of possibly longer blade life and with proper tension, I would even wonder about that.
The SMG fit and finish is excellent and the one piece frame, either angle iron or 2x6 is very robust. Adjustment of a piece together is good but consider that it can also go out of adjustment as well, especially with big logs. Extending the mill is easy if you want to as is initial set up.
Sawing low to the ground is the way to go with a small manual mill unless you have loading equipment, again especially with large logs.
I have reached out to your local SMG rep Michael Warner for advice and he has been more than helpful. That is invaluable in my opinion and he is so close to you as well. Michael also has blades and parts if needed.
If you can, try both mills. I did and like the saw head controls layout, design and ease of use of SMG, but that is a personal choice.



Offline waynorthmountie

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2018, 03:13:44 AM »
I am looking at both mills also if I decide not to build one.

Which one did you go with.

Online Jeff

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2018, 01:01:21 PM »
The original poster came on, asked his question, replied once and was gone. That was a year and a half ago.
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Offline waynorthmountie

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2018, 03:20:24 AM »
well that sucks,

New to the forum so was going through page after page of old posts looking for info in the middle of the night. Came across this one and was just throwing it out there as a prayer.

Offline dboyt

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Re: Norwood vs SMG for first Mill
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2018, 08:47:04 AM »
Nothing wrong with bringing up old threads!  The info is still good.  I've been running a Norwood HD36 for about six years, and had very good success with it.  The post about considering the largest logs you plan to cut and being able to extend out the track length brings up some good points.  Biggest issue with Norwood is that you'll start looking at the HD36 and think to yourself "yeh, THAT'S the one I really want!"  Service has been great.  Let us know what you decide.
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