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Author Topic: Tell the truth - does size really matter?  (Read 2622 times)

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Offline malcolmtent

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Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« on: May 19, 2010, 08:05:27 AM »
As usual with me, I'm leaning towards making the unusual choice, at least for now.

I'm looking at a Lucas swing-blade, rather than going Orange, for my first mill.

Why? Because most of my own trees are down a steep hill where I can take my Lucas and mill the logs right where they've fallen. I can't justify all the hauling equipment to drag them up the hill and load them onto a manual mill.

Future plans include a slabbing attachment for the Lucas. And a decent sized Woodmizer with hydraulics, if things go well.

But for now, the Lucas seems to offer me several advantages - low cost ($8-10k for a good used mill), high production rate, extreme portability, no bands to send to Resharp.

But if I can only 8x8 on my Lucas (8x16 if I reverse the head), how many potential customers am I going to lose?

It seems that our Aussie friends only use Lucas and Petersons, and they seem to be managing just fine.

I'd appreciate your input.

Malcolm

Offline brdmkr

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2010, 11:36:45 AM »
Malcolm,

I have a Lucas 618 and there are plenty of times when I wish I could easily cut wider.  While I do saw for others, I do not do it as a primary source of income and cut less than 5000 bdft/year for others.  However, no one has ever balked at the size limitation.  It has been a good mill and it has been absolutely vital to building my shop and home.  For most wood working I do not find the 6" limit too much of a constraint as many folks recommend that you rip wide stock anyway for stability reasons.  The size constraint has been most troubling cutting beams and larger dimension lumber.  Double cutting works for this, but it is much slower and would really cut production if you were sawing for someone else.  In fact, I do not double-cut for customers.  At least I have not done this to date.  If I did, I'd have to charge by the hour and they would be better off getting someone with a band mill or larger circle mill to saw for them.
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline Tom

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010, 12:07:13 PM »
Your reasoning, to start with a swing mill, makes sense.   Many bandmillers wish that they had a swing mill as a second mill when start sawing for others.   You would be surprised at the times it would come in handy when cutting large urban wood.

While scoffed at by many, eight inches is a pretty wide board and is definitely in the wide range when cutting dimensional construction material.  So, I think that your thinking is clear, and the addition of a bandmill later will satisfy another whim for "new" equipment, when the time comes.  What is important is to make that first step, to find out if you really want to do this or not.  :)

Talk about the airplane someday.  ;D
extinct

Offline metalspinner

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010, 02:36:52 PM »
I have two sawyers on my speed dial.  One with a swingmill, the other with a band. 

My wishlist is to own both someday.  They have such unique abilities and attributes.  So much so that you may be able to collaborate with band millers in your area. :)
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2010, 02:48:48 PM »
I think buying the swinger first is a good idea if you want to have both someday. This will let you do your hard to reach logs now, and give you time to figure out where you want to go in the future, and to maybe get a few more bells and whistles on the bandmill when that day comes. Stephentown (the only one on Earth! :D) isn't very far at all from me.
Wood-Mizer LT40HDD51-WR Wireless, Kubota L48, Honda Rincon 650, TJ208 G-S, and a 60"Logrite!

Offline Brad_S.

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2010, 09:18:59 PM »
I think size does indeed matter........in the logs. I have often wished for a swinger but only when confronted with monster logs. For day to day stuff, it really looks harder and more wasteful to cut, say, a 14" log with a swinger than with a band mill. Swingers, feel free to educate me otherwise, but the two swingmills I saw in action left a lot of lumber in the slabs of small logs. I would say if your logs don't have decent girth to them, the band mill would be equally as fast and yield more.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." J. Lennon

Offline malcolmtent

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2010, 09:57:17 PM »
Sadly, the airplane was only somewhere to rest my elbow - every year at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, some lucky guys get to fly their planes in for a few days. I was only there to show them to my 9-year old son.


However, on my 50th birthday, I bought passenger tickets in stunt plane with my son, and had the best day ever. Who knew that barrel rolls over New Jersey would be so delightful....

 http://www.warbirdtours.com

Malcolm



Offline Ianab

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2010, 06:18:57 AM »
The 8" cut isn't a serious limitation.

Looking around my house I see 5 boards that are over 8", and they are all pieces I've sawn myself, with an 8" cut mill.

Everyone goes "wow" over those big wide boards, but 99% of what poeple use is under 8". For the other 1%, you can double cut and saw out those 12X2 . OK it takes a bit longer to double cut, but you can still put out some serious board ft on those bigger dimensions.

I would get the swingmill, work on the "go anywhere, cut anything"

Work with the local bandmill operators and become the "Go to Guy" for the big logs and difficult access. Small log jobs, send them to the bandmill guys. Those big logs down in the gully are your specialty

Thing is, Swingmills can cut smaler logs perfectly OK. Maybe no advantage over a bandmill. but they can do it. Bring in some remote location that you can only get to with an ATV, or BIG logs and the swingmills have the advantage  :)

Ian
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2010, 07:13:51 AM »
Mal,A swing mill is a very practical self contained sawmill you can use when needed then pack away in the garage out of the weather.Possibly go to the larger Lucas if you need/would like boards a little wider. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline malcolmtent

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2010, 07:48:13 AM »
All great advice, guys, and you just cost me a few grand because now I'm going to buy me a swing mill.

You'll be sorry - I'm going to be asking hundreds of questions next !

And then I'll be answering them soon. What a great board this is. Quite remarkable.


Offline Qweaver

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2010, 08:39:35 AM »
I've sawn out a house, four sheds and a garage over the past five years and all of them used 8" to 10" wide boards for siding and 8" to 12" wide boards for framing.  So for my use a bandmill was the best choice.  I've considered buying a swinger but if I can only have one mill it would have to be a bandmill. 
Most of my sawing for customers has also been in the 8" to 12" range.
Quinton
So Many Toys...So Little Time  WM LT28 , 15 trailers, Case 450 Dozer, John Deere 110 TLB, Peterson WPF 10",  AIM Grapple, Kubota 2501 :D

Offline Magicman

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2010, 04:44:04 PM »
For me, a swinger absolutely would not work.  I'm knocking two, three, and sometimes four  2X4's and 2X6's off with each pass.

But I have seen some 40-50 inch oak logs that needed a swinger.
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Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2010, 07:28:31 PM »

But I have seen some 40-50 inch oak logs that needed a swinger.

Or a big saw with a long bar. ;D


That's cool Malcomtent. What model did you decide on?
Wood-Mizer LT40HDD51-WR Wireless, Kubota L48, Honda Rincon 650, TJ208 G-S, and a 60"Logrite!

Offline malcolmtent

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Re: Tell the truth - does size really matter?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2010, 08:26:48 PM »
I'm negotiating for an 8-28 with 250 hours on it. I'll post the details when I have the mill in my hands. And there's another really good deal out there that I'll pass on, too, when my deal is safe.

Magicman - I hear you loud and clear, and your voice is one of the ones I respect the most on here. And one day, I'll have my organge mill, too, I bet.


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