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Author Topic: Journey of family run sawmill  (Read 7368 times)

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Offline Busysawyer

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Journey of family run sawmill
« on: April 09, 2018, 10:49:37 PM »
Hello everyone. I wanted to start a thread documenting our progress and hope to get some advice along the way. I have been bombarding yellowhammer with questions via pm and he has been a ton of help. He suggested starting a thread to get some advice and opinions from the other very knowledgeable members. So far we built a 30x50 pole building with 12ft ceilings over the winter. It was a fun project to work on with my dad  and went well despite weather here in Michigan.  The floor is still sand and we are still working on getting 3phase power to the barn. Also need to insulate.  We have a woodmizer lt70 wide head being built and expect delivery early May.  In the meantime I have been clearing land around the barn for a work area, kiln and log storage. We plan on building a 12ft wide 50ft long lean to of one side of the barn for air drying lumber before kilning.  As of now the plan is to copy yellowhammer kiln build. Our land is very hilly and I can see issues with run off being a problem. There is so much more to turning this dream into a reality than I had imagined but I think with a lot of hard work and some guidance we can pull it off. We appreciate any advice or ideas from others . I'll start off with some pics of the project so far. Thanks for looking. 

 
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Offline starmac

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2018, 11:10:40 PM »
I could be all wrong in my thinking here, but instead of a leanto off of your barn for an air drying shed, wouldn't it be better to have a stand alone shed, where air can run through the lumber without hitting a wall?
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Offline Busysawyer

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2018, 11:20:09 PM »
That makes sense to me and is definitely an option. Thank you
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2018, 11:38:46 PM »
Will you be storing logs and lumber near the building?  I am thinking winter, snow plowing, etc.  What are your plans for dealing with sawdust, slabs, and other waste?  Will you have support equipment with the 70? 
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Offline Busysawyer

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 08:28:12 AM »
So far we are still in the research phase on support equipment.  I have a t300 bobcat to move logs around snd to remive snow.  Still trying to make a decision on edger. We would like to be portable and are leaning towards the cooks ae344p. Planning on burning s lot of the waste in a boiler to heat the barn, house and supplement heat for the kiln in the winter. What kind of support equipment would you reccomend?
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 08:41:03 AM »
   Nice thread I will be following. If you are going to be sawing portable I'd read this thread for any pointers that may apply to your specifics:
General Sawing tips for portable sawyers in Sawmills and Milling

   Good luck and enjoy the time with your dad and kids.
Howard Green
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 09:16:30 AM »
Well the support equipment list is determined by a couple of factors.   What and how much are you going to be producing?  You mention a 70 wide, so I am guessing you plan to produce a lot and big stuff, which is heavy.  Humping ties or 2" slabs by hand is not going to work for more than about half of the first day before someone gets hurt or just quits.  Conveyors, rollers, sort tables, green chain come to mind.  The more mechanical you can make the handling of your lumber the happier you will be.  
Franklin buncher and skidder
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Riehl Edger
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Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 09:22:50 AM »
I am very interested in this journey. My dad is close to retiring. Man would I love to do something very similar with him.

Offline Busysawyer

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 08:24:25 PM »
  Nice thread I will be following. If you are going to be sawing portable I'd read this thread for any pointers that may apply to your specifics:
General Sawing tips for portable sawyers in Sawmills and Milling

   Good luck and enjoy the time with your dad and kids.


Thank you. There is a lot of good info in that thread.  We plan to do some portable milling but our main focus will be to stay based at the house. 

Well the support equipment list is determined by a couple of factors.   What and how much are you going to be producing?  You mention a 70 wide, so I am guessing you plan to produce a lot and big stuff, which is heavy.  Humping ties or 2" slabs by hand is not going to work for more than about half of the first day before someone gets hurt or just quits.  Conveyors, rollers, sort tables, green chain come to mind.  The more mechanical you can make the handling of your lumber the happier you will be.  

I have looked into the incline conveyor,  transfer table and Green chain but haven't done much on that yet except for looking and pricing. I need to get with someone that can help me figure out what I can stuff into a 30 x 50 barn.


I am very interested in this journey. My dad is close to retiring. Man would I love to do something very similar with him.


My dad has been retired for about ten years now. He can't really offer much help and I am 100 percent fine with that.  Wouldn't want the old man to hurt himself. He makes me extremely nervous running a chainsaw. He mostly come over for about 5 hours everyday and "supervises " to make sure I don't do anything to stupid. 
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile

Offline Busysawyer

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 08:36:40 PM »
Well today was a lesson on tension. 12 hours of work with little progress.  First couple hours of land clearing went well then problems. We had a couple of fairly large beech trees to cut down so I got out the stihl 880 with 47in bar. About 5 seconds into the first cut it threw the chain. I checked tension before starting and thought it was tight enough. I was wrong.  Screwed up the bar a little so I spent about an hour opening the channel back up because the chain was binding.  Once that was fixed I went to town and made short work of those beeches. After dad got hungry and went home for dinner I was running around in the bobcat cleaning up the mess we made with the chainsaws . Threw a track on the bobcat,  second lesson on tension for the day. So after fixing that and 12 hours of work I'm sitting down for my first bite of food for the day.
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile

Offline Busysawyer

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 08:43:25 PM »
 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 10:23:25 PM »
Thanks for starting the topic, I'm sure it will be an inspiration and learning experience in both directions.  Lots of smart and experienced folks here on the Forum.   
Looks like you had to move a lot of dirt formfill in that building.  Such hilly ground will have its challenges, but looks like you have the equipment and energy to deal with it.  
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Offline starmac

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 10:50:15 PM »
There is a small mill 150 miles or so south of here that is set up extremely well  for just a guy or two to run. It is big for this country, but small compared to the big mills. 
Anyway they have a sawdust and chip burner that is automated and supplies all the heat for their two dry kilns, and all of their buildings, and it is in extreme cold country. When they are sawing, the sawdust is augered straight into the burner. They chip and store all their slabs and also supply fuel for two different schools that heats with with the chips too. I think they built most of their green chains,and sorting tables and such themselves. It is owned by a couple of great guys, I can probably get you their number if you want to talk to them, I looked their burner system over once, but couldn't tell you a lot about it, myself. They also burn all their planer shavings, all of their scrap as far as I know, it really is a very efficient run outfit. 
There main business is 3 sided tongue and groove house logs, but also make log siding and tongue and groove lumber too.
To tell you the truth, for what you are doing, it might pay you to take a mini vacation and tour their outfit, like I said they are great guys, and would show you the specifics of their whole operation.

When shopping for an edger, don't overlook the thomas edgers, they make some good products too, and have a reputation of being good to deal with too.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline Busysawyer

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2018, 08:19:41 PM »
Thanks for starting the topic, I'm sure it will be an inspiration and learning experience in both directions.  Lots of smart and experienced folks here on the Forum.  
Looks like you had to move a lot of dirt formfill in that building.  Such hilly ground will have its challenges, but looks like you have the equipment and energy to deal with it.  
Thank you. Definitely a lot of earth moving going on. Almost done with the cutting and clearing then I need to get the excavator in here to rip stumps.  We accomplished a lot today.
There is a small mill 150 miles or so south of here that is set up extremely well  for just a guy or two to run. It is big for this country, but small compared to the big mills.
Anyway they have a sawdust and chip burner that is automated and supplies all the heat for their two dry kilns, and all of their buildings, and it is in extreme cold country. When they are sawing, the sawdust is augered straight into the burner. They chip and store all their slabs and also supply fuel for two different schools that heats with with the chips too. I think they built most of their green chains,and sorting tables and such themselves. It is owned by a couple of great guys, I can probably get you their number if you want to talk to them, I looked their burner system over once, but couldn't tell you a lot about it, myself. They also burn all their planer shavings, all of their scrap as far as I know, it really is a very efficient run outfit.
There main business is 3 sided tongue and groove house logs, but also make log siding and tongue and groove lumber too.
To tell you the truth, for what you are doing, it might pay you to take a mini vacation and tour their outfit, like I said they are great guys, and would show you the specifics of their whole operation.

When shopping for an edger, don't overlook the thomas edgers, they make some good products too, and have a reputation of being good to deal with too.


I would love to take a vacation but with ten kids that's not happening. I wouldn't feel right leaving the wife to fend for herself and we don't leave the babies with anyone for more than a couple hours. The Thomas edger looks nice but we really want to stick with diesel. Mostly because the bobcat and mill run on diesel and don't want to deal with two transfer tanks.  We are talking about setting up our camp village up north for a month or two this summer and milling at one of our other properties. 

Pics of today's progress

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2018, 07:52:41 PM »
If I had the building pictured, I would put a sawmill under a shed roof attached to the 'back gable end'. I have suggested this before with no response. This was never my own idea but I have seen it done and think it is a very good layout for a 1 story mill. This way the sawmill feeds lumber on a green chain at waist level into the building that contains the edger and a way to separate and move out the slabs and sticks and sticker the green lumber. This is a huge advantage in wet weather.  Beginners tend to worry about handling logs and sawing [I know I did] but the real drudgery is handling the stuff that has been sawn.                                              What makes an edger is the diameter of the mandrel. Bigger is always better.  Also the edger should have one side of the infeed table open so you don't have to dead lift every board. The good ones are made this way either r/h or l/h.

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2018, 01:34:23 PM »
If I had the building pictured, I would put a sawmill under a shed roof attached to the 'back gable end'. I have suggested this before with no response. This was never my own idea but I have seen it done and think it is a very good layout for a 1 story mill. This way the sawmill feeds lumber on a green chain at waist level into the building that contains the edger and a way to separate and move out the slabs and sticks and sticker the green lumber. This is a huge advantage in wet weather.  Beginners tend to worry about handling logs and sawing [I know I did] but the real drudgery is handling the stuff that has been sawn.                                              What makes an edger is the diameter of the mandrel. Bigger is always better.  Also the edger should have one side of the infeed table open so you don't have to dead lift every board. The good ones are made this way either r/h or l/h.
Thank you for the suggestion. At this point we plan on having the mill in the barn . I was going to cut a 16ft wide about 5ft tall rolling door on one side to roll logs on ties into the building to feed the mill. One of the Amish mills we visited was set up like that.  I hope to be able to work in a heated environment through the Michigan winters which seem to last about 6 months. We are looking at both the cooks and woodmizer diesel powered edger but don't know enough about them . Also a little put off by cooks due to my uncle having issues with his ac36 mill. He tells me that he had a bad experience dealing with cooks and is salty about the whole deal. Do you have any specific edger you think I should check out. 
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2018, 06:02:06 PM »
I have been very happy with my WoodMizer ED26 edger. The only issue is the width of flitch that will fit through it. For really wide flitches,  I either edge on mill,  or rip some of the edge off with a cordless circ saw. The ones that give me trouble are usually heavily tapered butt cuts.
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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2018, 06:23:38 PM »
Beaver,

   I like the idea of a roll up door on the back side of the building for log access. I am pretty sure I would want it at least 18' if not 20' though. I find 16'6" logs are pretty common as people tend to want 16' rafters and such. A roll up door is pretty high tech for this application IMHO. An air curtain or roll up tarp would work too but the roll up door is probably more air tight. 

   Keep the posts coming and include pictures of your setup as it progresses.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2018, 08:10:47 PM »
B .B.
A heated sawmill? Some times I wish I had one.   Meadows Mills has several size edgers including the smaller Miner brand they own.  If you only do 1" boards on the edger , that's one thing. But if you get orders for 2" and thicker hardwood that's something else and who wants to take those heavy planks back to the head saw. When you put thick hard stuff in a inexpensive, light edger the mandrel vibrates and you can't saw straight. The real problem here is the cost of the real machine.

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Re: Journey of family run sawmill
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2018, 11:06:17 PM »
I have been very happy with my WoodMizer ED26 edger. The only issue is the width of flitch that will fit through it. For really wide flitches,  I either edge on mill,  or rip some of the edge off with a cordless circ saw. The ones that give me trouble are usually heavily tapered butt cuts.
At this point it's really looking like the cooks is the one we want. That is pretty much based on specs alone seeing as how I've never seen or used either one.
Cooks ae344p
34 1/2" wide capacity
2"-21" edge cut width 
Hydraulic speed control
14" dual stobe saws
Cuts up to 4" thick cants 
34 hp Perkins diesel 
Trailer
Woodmizer eg200
24 3/4" wide capacity 
3- 15" wide edge cut
14" blade 
21hp diesel 
Trailer package
On specs alone the cooks looks like a lot more of a machine and I have been quoted almost the same price for either machine.
Beaver,

   I like the idea of a roll up door on the back side of the building for log access. I am pretty sure I would want it at least 18' if not 20' though. I find 16'6" logs are pretty common as people tend to want 16' rafters and such. A roll up door is pretty high tech for this application IMHO. An air curtain or roll up tarp would work too but the roll up door is probably more air tight.

   Keep the posts coming and include pictures of your setup as it progresses.


Good advice on the opening width.  I can make it as wide as needed I guess.  Just have to size the header appropriately for the span. I was thinking a sideways rolling door . Like I had on my old barn. Definitely doesn't seal up tight like an overhead rollup would but I can build the rolling door and save thousands. I will post pics of progress regularly along with questions as they come up. 
B .B.
A heated sawmill? Some times I wish I had one.   Meadows Mills has several size edgers including the smaller Miner brand they own.  If you only do 1" boards on the edger , that's one thing. But if you get orders for 2" and thicker hardwood that's something else and who wants to take those heavy planks back to the head saw. When you put thick hard stuff in a inexpensive, light edger the mandrel vibrates and you can't saw straight. The real problem here is the cost of the real machine.
I was planning on spraying the barn with closed cell foam and heating it anyways. We will be using a large wood fired boiler to heat the house, barn and supplemental heat for the kiln when needed. Those meadows mills edgers look really heavy duty and well built put I didn't see a portable option or diesel option.  Also they look like they are really expensive. I will look at them more and call them. Thank you.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile


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