The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Sawmills and Milling => Topic started by: mroldstyle on April 16, 2018, 03:38:33 PM

Title: comparisons
Post by: mroldstyle on April 16, 2018, 03:38:33 PM
So in looking at a lot of different mills for possible purchase a few things stand out that  are different from one mill to the next, lets discuss the pros and cons possibly. FYI this will be my first sawmill, but have been around mills, lumber and logging including 8 years working at a commercial circle sawmill. I'm only looking at manual mills in the 5-10 thousand range, primarily for personal use but maybe a little custom work down the line. Probably set-up stationary.

1: push versus crank which do you prefer? In watching videos of the lt-15 it seems you have to crank pretty fast and it looks like it would get pretty tiring. The 1220 TmberKing appears to have a longer handle and seems a little more comfortable, while others are simply pushed down the track.

2: which side is most productive to walk on, the two crank models above both have operator on sawdust side of mill, while others have you on log loading side which would require operator to step over or move any log ramps or deck.

3: Guides - roller bearings or ceramic guides?

4: Track - TimberKing appears about the heaviest built, mostly all welded construction, but again Hudson uses simple angle iron track and seems to have a decent product.

5: clutches - centrifugal, electric, or direct drive?(moving engine to engage)

I'm really liking the Norwood LM 36 with its expand as you go features, and like the idea of pushing the handle and having the blade engage and water start flowing automatically.

So what are your thoughts
Thanks
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: SW_IOWA_SAWYER on April 17, 2018, 02:49:53 PM
I have a Norwood HD36  mill, before that I had a Norwood Lumbermate2000 for many years. I am still getting used to the HD36 there are some things I don't like on it, but overall I would buy it again. I also looked really hard at Timberking which was my first choice when I upgraded. I visited their factory and talked to Will and was ready to buy but the mill length would not work in my application. I also talked to Woodmizer same problem with mill length. So I went with Norwood I am not sold on the ceramic guides but I am trying to get them tuned in, so far not as well as I would like. I am considering buying the rollers and installing them as that what I am used to from the Lumbermate2000. I just added power forward and back and so far I think I am going to like that a lot. Mine has pretty much everything I want except setworks and debarker which are available now but seem pretty expensive so I am going to wait and decide if I really want that or not.
I also looked at Cooks video and they seem to make a good mill, I am not sure you can go wrong with any of them it all boils down to how much do you want to pay and what features you are willing to pay for.
As a side note my Lumbermate2000 was a great mill I never had any issues with it and only replaced a roller bearing in all that time and it stayed straight and true the whole time. (http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10576/IMG_1926~0.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1494882484)
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: dmoore1983 on April 17, 2018, 04:24:30 PM
The LT15 is a push or crank. You don't have to use the crank but some people prefer it.
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on April 17, 2018, 06:01:03 PM
Please fill in your profile.
If you are young and strong or like me who is neither young nor strong, the advice will be Germain to your questions.
Older and weaker means more hydraulics etc.
Pete
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: mroldstyle on April 17, 2018, 08:20:54 PM
Please fill in your profile.
If you are young and strong or like me who is neither young nor strong, the advice will be Germain to your questions.
Older and weaker means more hydraulics etc.
Pete
I wil fill that in when I get to a computer on phone now. For what it's worth I'm old but strong but fail to see what hydraulics have to do with any of the comparisons I mentioned.  I have equipment for moving logs and lumber
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: moodnacreek on April 17, 2018, 08:30:54 PM
Hand set circle mills are cheap.
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: bandmiller2 on April 17, 2018, 09:16:39 PM
Moodnacreek speakth the truth, Handset circular mills can be had reasonable and will run with the best of the band mills. Frank C.
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: Skipper11A on April 17, 2018, 10:10:56 PM
I have an EZ Boardwalk 40 but I am going to comment on your questions that I have an opinion on.

1: Push vs. crank: Push, I prefer push.  I can feel everything that is happening inside the log and I can feel the moment when the blade begins to dull and I resharpen it.  I just don't see the point of the cranking, at all.

2: Which side:  I really like walking on the sawdust side.  You'll never be walking in mud and the sawdust is so soft that your feet don't get sore after a day's sawing.

4: Track-  I really like heavy, welded frames which is one of the reasons I bought the EZ Boardwalk 40, but even my heavy guage, one piece frame flexes when I do something stupid with a 3,000 pound log.

One question that you didn't ask that I think is most important is, "how do you turn the logs?" If the mill doesn't have a log turner winch option I wouldn't buy it.  You're not going to be able to turn the big ones with a cant hook and a simple hand crank winch with a J hook makes the job really easy.
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: mroldstyle on April 17, 2018, 10:27:57 PM
I have an EZ Boardwalk 40 but I am going to comment on your questions that I have an opinion on.

1: Push vs. crank: Push, I prefer push.  I can feel everything that is happening inside the log and I can feel the moment when the blade begins to dull and I resharpen it.  I just don't see the point of the cranking, at all.

2: Which side:  I really like walking on the sawdust side.  You'll never be walking in mud and the sawdust is so soft that your feet don't get sore after a day's sawing.

4: Track-  I really like heavy, welded frames which is one of the reasons I bought the EZ Boardwalk 40, but even my heavy guage, one piece frame flexes when I do something stupid with a 3,000 pound log.

One question that you didn't ask that I think is most important is, "how do you turn the logs?" If the mill doesn't have a log turner winch option I wouldn't buy it.  You're not going to be able to turn the big ones with a cant hook and a simple hand crank winch with a J hook makes the job really easy.
Thank You for your response that's what I was looking for. I will keep in mind the log turner but that should be pretty is to fab up if it's not offered as an option
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: f350rd on April 17, 2018, 11:36:40 PM
I agree with skipper11a, I also have an EZ Boardwalk 40. I have modified mine. I have installed carriage drive and carriage up and down controls, I have also built chain style log turners and leveling jacks because I travel with mine. I have sawn those 3000 lb logs. the log turner wench work fine but I need production with my mill. I would buy an EZ again because the quality of workmanship.

f350rd
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: petefrom bearswamp on April 18, 2018, 11:18:57 AM
I failed to read your initial post carefully and apologize for getting off track.
Manual mills certainly have their place and i have no problem with those that prefer them.
I had an LT15 in 2000 for 4 weeks.
The second log I tried to saw was a 26"x 10'  Beech.
Couldnt turn the log or the cant by hand.
Knocked it off of the foundation twice turning it with my 4020 tractor.
Was extremely hot to operate due to engine heat in the hotter days of the summer which is when I had it.
I pushed rather than cranked too.
Took it back to WM and bought a used  lt40 hydraulic and never looked back.
Upgraded to the 40 super hyd in 2008.
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: Skipper11A on April 18, 2018, 01:39:04 PM
I had an LT15 in 2000 for 4 weeks.
The second log I tried to saw was a 26"x 10'  Beech.
Couldnt turn the log or the cant by hand.
Knocked it off of the foundation twice turning it with my 4020 tractor.

Took it back to WM and bought a used  lt40 hydraulic and never looked back.
Petefrom bearswamp's experience is precisely what I'm talking about! A log turner is what I think is MOST IMPORTANT in a manual mill....you have to be able to turn the big logs in a controllable and safe manner, and you're tractor just isn't going to be able to do that!  Don't get me wrong, your tractor will turn them, but in an uncontrollable manner and you will constantly be knocking your frame off the foundations and if you have a bolt together frame, I imagine that you will be constantly readjusting all the bolts to get it level again.  A log turner winch is the perfect answer for this problem short of going to hydraulics, but if the mill frame isn't designed for a winch, I'm worried that it won't be strong enough for a winch!  And that brings us right back to the strength of the frame issue you asked about.  F350 ford modified his EZ Boardwalk 40 with a hydraulic log turner but he had a massively thick, one piece frame to attach to. 
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: thecfarm on April 18, 2018, 02:34:36 PM
I've never seen a EZ Boardwalk, But from what I hear,sounds like the Thomas that I have. I have thumped and banged mine,and it's still level.
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: mroldstyle on April 18, 2018, 02:57:31 PM
Ez is on my list. Price is good. Like the Honda engine. Website not real clear on which side you push from
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: mroldstyle on April 18, 2018, 03:27:34 PM
I have a Norwood HD36  mill, before that I had a Norwood Lumbermate2000 for many years. I am still getting used to the HD36 there are some things I don't like on it, but overall I would buy it again. I also looked really hard at Timberking which was my first choice when I upgraded. I visited their factory and talked to Will and was ready to buy but the mill length would not work in my application. I also talked to Woodmizer same problem with mill length. So I went with Norwood I am not sold on the ceramic guides but I am trying to get them tuned in, so far not as well as I would like. I am considering buying the rollers and installing them as that what I am used to from the Lumbermate2000. I just added power forward and back and so far I think I am going to like that a lot. Mine has pretty much everything I want except setworks and debarker which are available now but seem pretty expensive so I am going to wait and decide if I really want that or not.
I also looked at Cooks video and they seem to make a good mill, I am not sure you can go wrong with any of them it all boils down to how much do you want to pay and what features you are willing to pay for.
As a side note my Lumbermate2000 was a great mill I never had any issues with it and only replaced a roller bearing in all that time and it stayed straight and true the whole time. (http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10576/IMG_1926~0.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1494882484)

PM sent
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: dgdrls on April 18, 2018, 06:45:58 PM
Have you considered a swing-mill?

"
1: push versus crank which do you prefer? In watching videos of the lt-15 it seems you have to crank pretty fast and it looks like it would get pretty tiring. The 1220 TmberKing appears to have a longer handle and seems a little more comfortable, while others are simply pushed down the track.  

Push for me, otherwise hyd.

2: which side is most productive to walk on, the two crank models above both have operator on sawdust side of mill, while others have you on log loading side which would require operator to step over or move any log ramps or deck.

You'll want to develop a log to plank "flow", some mills you walk in the sawdust others not so much,
I work my Lucas from behind the carriage moving left to right and moving cut lumber out behind me

3: Guides - roller bearings or ceramic guides?

Rollers, with a band

4: Track - TimberKing appears about the heaviest built, mostly all welded construction, but again Hudson uses simple angle iron track and seems to have a decent product.

I'm a big fan of lots of steel when log bunks are used, logs are heavy

5: clutches - centrifugal, electric, or direct drive?(moving engine to engage)

If a fan of some kind of clutch  I have a centrifugal style  

Best
D
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: Skipper11A on April 18, 2018, 10:00:59 PM
Ez is on my list. Price is good. Like the Honda engine. Website not real clear on which side you push from
The EZ 40 is pushed from the sawdust side.  It also loads from the sawdust side, which is a little different.

I've never seen a EZ Boardwalk, But from what I hear,sounds like the Thomas that I have. I have thumped and banged mine,and it's still level.
The Thomas mill is a great comparison to the EZ Boardwalk.  If I ever want an upgrade in a manual mill, I will buy a Thomas.  But the Thomas can't compare with EZ Boardwalk on the price.  In fact, there aren't any mills that can compete with the EZ 40 on price.
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: mroldstyle on April 18, 2018, 10:57:15 PM
What is it you like about the Thomas above the EZ?
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: Skipper11A on April 18, 2018, 11:18:43 PM
What is it you like about the Thomas above the EZ?
I like their tracks!  Look at how much steel they have in their tracks.  That's how I would build a track.  And on their big mills, the bunks are so tall that you can load with a forklift, The EZ's bunks are not tall enough for a forklift.  I've got a lot of confidence in the entire mill when I see how over-engineered their tracks are, but I've never actually seen a Thomas.  I don't go to Maine because they don't have chicken fried steak up there.  That's just uncivilized!
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: WLC on April 19, 2018, 12:23:36 AM
I have a WM LT28.  It can be pushed or cranked.  I sawed today and purposely pushed it on several boards vs cranking it.  I'll go with the crank any day.  Still work, still gonna be tired at the end of the day, but my back and shoulders like the crank better than pushing.

On my saw you walk on the sawdust side.  Kinda nice having that soft sawdust layer to walk on.  When it builds up I just use a shaving shovel and push it out of my way till I can scoop it up with the tractor.
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: Bruno of NH on April 19, 2018, 07:32:11 AM
The frame on the Thomas is what sold me.
The trailer package is a little better than the EZ
I load with grapple and forks so I like the high bunks.
Don't like the clamps on the Thomas
I need to find some thing different 
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: thecfarm on April 19, 2018, 09:00:53 AM
Don't like the clamps? That is another reason I bought Thomas. The ease and the quickness of them. I don't think they changed the design.

Here's a picture of my frame. I got the No- Flex track. That is the piece of rectangle tubing,2"X 4" under the rail. I think I could pick the mill up at the cornor,shake it around and put it back down and it still would be level.

(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10436/thecfarmsupport.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1351783746)
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: Bruno of NH on April 19, 2018, 09:20:47 AM
My Thomas has 2x6 frame under the track
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: mroldstyle on April 19, 2018, 05:48:04 PM
So what does the EZ 40 have for band engagement? There website doesn't say, a video I watched looked like a lever to either tighten belt or move the  engine?
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: thecfarm on April 19, 2018, 07:44:52 PM
Bruno,I went and checked,it's 4 inches. You have the wide head,that might why yours is 6 inches.
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: Skipper11A on April 20, 2018, 12:00:21 AM
So what does the EZ 40 have for band engagement? There website doesn't say, a video I watched looked like a lever to either tighten belt or move the  engine?
The EZ 40 has one lever that slides the engine on a shaft to tension two  drive belts, which drives the drive wheel.  Also attached to this lever are linkages that open the throttle and open the blade lube.  So with one move of the lever, the drive belts are tensioned, the throttle is opened, and the blade lube is opened. And when the lever is moved down, everything is shut off. 

You mentioned EZ Boardwalk's website and I must point out that these folks are Mennonites and their religious beliefs preclude them being on the internet.  A neighbor is hosting their website and it lacks fancy sales techniques that we are used to. 
Title: Re: comparisons
Post by: mad murdock on April 21, 2018, 09:33:35 AM
mroldstyle-as drgrls asked, have you looked at swing blade circle mills? They are fast and true, no moving of the log needed once set up to begin milling. Quartersaw a log without ever touching the log. Mill it down to the nubbins removing only boards and firewood (slabs) till you get to the bottom of the log. Built in edger on a swingblade and cheap to operate as blades last and last and resharpen on the mill in a minute or 2. My Turbosawmill is easy to move and as fast as an LT40 class of mill for a lot less$$. With the Alaskan cradle option I have I can slab wide also. Good luck on your search, and welcome to the Forestry Forum!!