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Author Topic: The Frontier OS 27 or the Woodmax SM 26  (Read 3280 times)

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Offline hturner12

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The Frontier OS 27 or the Woodmax SM 26
« on: March 12, 2018, 06:45:49 AM »
First post. I am reseasrching mills. Something that will saw SYP, soft maple, oak and hickory 16 ft long . For the stuff for the house  about 1600 bf of oak various witdth from 3 inches to 10 inches  ,4/4 thick . About 400 bf of hickory or soft maple  4 or 6 wide 4/4. About 4000 bf of  6x 4/4 and another 100 bf of 8/4 4. That is just the initial cuts. I have time to do it we have not even started construction.  I also plan on building the Virginia Tech typle solar kiln.

I have sawyer that is very  reasonable (.25/bf pine or .31/bf hardwood) that with me providing 1 person labor(me) that at his place at my place there is an 80.00 trip charge. Kiln drying is another .30/bf at another location. To get the logs to the mill is an hour pull each way plus another  hour to the kiln.

I have a certain  price point to stay under or close  to. Yes I researched  the Timber Kings, the Woodmizer Lt 10 and 15, the Norwoods, the Woodlands, Ez boardwalk jr, the misters, the Timberly, the Linn and the Hudsons . Even researched the Petersen. So this is not another  thread on best sawmill to buy. I am looking at the small mills  will not be sawing  commercial. 

 The mills around the 2 k mark I think will be way under powered. Accept for the Hudson I think  they are all Chinesse made.

I have read every review I have found .  Most people like the brand mill they have. 

The two I think  will work for me are both fairly new.

 The Frontier  OS 29 which is a Norwood designed and uses Norwood parts but built in China. 
The Woodmax SM 26 is assembled in USA with a mix of parts

Time I add  autolube and track extentions and shipping on the Frontier  both mills are about same price. Wood max give a 5% military  discount I know Norwoods does also not sure 8f it applies to the frontier.

Here is the big question has anyone bought either  mill? I would like to know good or bad from ACTUAL owners. 
I know they are both slow but so am I
Ezbordwalk Jr

Offline nativewolf

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Re: The Frontier OS 27 or the Woodmax SM 26
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 07:38:24 AM »
Welcome and good luck! Seems you've done your research on the mills.  Wondering, how are going to get the wood certified and stamped?

Seems that the cost of the mill would be more than the cost of sawing, and that is without the newbie mistakes that increase costs (sawblades, time, cant hooks, etc etc).  I might propose focusing on the real task at hand, building the home, and doing the sawmill project once complete.  Further, you're going to delay things, most likely, by milling yourself...can your time budget take a few extra months of delay?  

Is there another portable miller close by?  GA has a huge number of portable mill owners, maybe someone closer?  Not uncommon to ruin a few loads of lumber in a kiln too, so if you have a schedule to build a home I think I'd skip the kiln this go around too.  

All this presumes that you're talking about building within 18 months or so.  

Anyway, best of luck. Great to build your own.
Liking Walnut

Offline hturner12

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Re: The Frontier OS 27 or the Woodmax SM 26
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 04:30:52 PM »
Thank you yes did all of research. I am going tp put all together  for a post.

There will no interior load  bearing walls IRC does require grading and stamping  for non load bearing in fact 2x3 are allowed.

That is why I have to stay at this cost point. Just cutting for the house would be cheaper, but I want to do more wood working afterwards.
Time is not a factor it will be more than 18 months.

Yes there are closer  mill but they are much higher.

I can build the kiln while  clearing. I am also going to get a shipping  container and set the woodshop up over that instead of transporting lumber  from land to here and back.

Ezbordwalk Jr

Offline hturner12

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Re: The Frontier OS 27 or the Woodmax SM 26
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2018, 06:16:02 PM »
I will have to watch that  video. I had to mixed help from Norwood customer service. They were slow to respond to my question about military discount. When they did instead of a simple yes immediatly  want to send me a quote
Ezbordwalk Jr

Offline jguidinger

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Re: The Frontier OS 27 or the Woodmax SM 26
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2018, 10:12:58 AM »
I was shopping for an entry level sawmill for my woodworking projects and I found the WoodMaxx SM26e sawmill and it proved a great fit for me.  My plan is to cut mostly hardwoods with a small amount of softwoods.  I listed below the pluses and minuses and my thoughts.

Negatives:  Very few but I expected some.
      (1) long vertical support was missing
      (1) short vertical support was missing
      Three of the rails were for the wrong side which caused the foot supports locations not in line with the foundation  boards. (see picture)  easily resolved by drilling 3 new holes
      Delay in shipping from order date of 5 months (read below)

Positives:  Lots of these.
      Excellent pallet prep and securing the mill.  Very well thought out
      Old Dominion shipping service-great email tracking and fast transit times
      Very well written manual with great pictures and detailed assembly steps
      Great communication with WoodMaxx customer service
      Removable warning tags added to locations that needed attention prior to running the mill
      12 volt battery included and installed in metal battery case
      Easy setup (6 hours total time for this by myself) I have a tractor with loader forks
      Rail to saw-head safety brackets to keep the sawmill from jumping off of the rails
      Moves easily on the rails-easily pushed
      Hand push lever well located and adjustable in height
      Auto water/lube setting to run only when sawing or throttle up
      Size of sawmill fits my needs
      5% military discount-current or prior enlistments.  AWESOME!!  And thank you!

Overall I am very pleased with WoodMaxx and their saw mill.  I ordered the mill the end of January 2018 and I received the mill the end of June 2018 for a 5 month delay.  I called several times to get an anticipated shipping date.  I was advised each time I called that some parts were on backorder and needed to be shipped by suppliers.  They also advised that the SM26e has become very popular and they had many orders pending for the mill which also exasperated the delay.  

WoodMaxx does not have a cover for their mill (nothing listed on their website) and I wish they had one for sale.  I am using a plastic tarp which works for now.  I will need to research this further to see if a competitors cover may fit.  I believe I will find the Woodland Mills saw cover may fit as they suspiciously appear to be very similar in size, parts and design.

I like the hand push with throttle control more to my liking (versus a hand crank lever) as I like to feel any vibrations while cutting which may indicate a problem.  By this I mean I can feel the saw resistance or binding better.  Also the auto lube is a great feature and saves on wasting water lube.

I set the saw up on concrete 8" x 8" x 16" blocks.  This is not indicated in the manual but I am tall with an old guy's back so I thought this would help with bending and lifting cut boards.  And indeed it has!

Also after drilling the holes in the wood foundation boards and setting the foundation pier boards on the concrete blocks, I used 1/2" rebar through those drilled holes and drove the rebar into the ground to keep the mill rails straight and in line.  Works great too!

Would I recommend the WoodMaxx SM26e as an entry level mill, YES absolutely  I'm glad that I waited.

**August 26,2018 update**

I contacted WoodMaxx regarding the noted "NEGATIVE" issues.  They advised their manual was not up to date regarding the vertical supports and the rail layout design.  They are now shipping only two tall vertical and two small vertical supports.  WoodMaxx also advised the rail layout changed where they now ship identical rails versus reversing the 3 of the rails so the hole alignments are in line with the opposite side.  With all of the same rail layouts, the hole design will "NOT" line up at a 90 degree angle and is noted in the image of my post.  I believe this is a mistake and should be reviewed by their design staff as this creates an issue with the tall vertical support whereas you cannot drop it down fully because it would bottom out on the support wooden board.  When speaking with WoodMaxx, I advised them that they should update their manual to indicate these disparities so the consumer is not confused with their directions.  WoodMaxx did send out a message pertaining to these disparities after the fact.  

Offline Frontier_Paul

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Re: The Frontier OS 27 or the Woodmax SM 26
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 04:52:14 PM »
Hey guys I have had the OS27 since April of 2018. I too was looking for just a hobby type mill with little investment. After looking at many of these type saws i went with the Norwood knockoff from china. The saw head is almost identical to their standard brand and i have no issues there. The tracks are just like any other cheaper mill, harder to keep level and straight as you are moving heavy logs. The mill gets bumped around as I have it on a slab but not bolted down with anchors. I have no issues in the mill other than having the sawyer bug now as my wife says she is a sawmill widow now. If anyone would like they can call and i can discuss over the phone in more detail my findings.

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