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Author Topic: Sawmill work flow  (Read 2716 times)

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Online Busysawyer

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Sawmill work flow
« on: June 30, 2018, 11:18:37 PM »
We have added an edger to aid in our quest to dismantle as many logs as possible. I plan on adding more equipment as we go, hopefully grow as a business increasing productivity and efficiency along the way.  I don't see a change from what we have now until fall. I have a set of goals and timeline and I would like to make some major changes before winter.  I'd like to build a lean to and move the saw out of the building. Add an incline conveyor and kicker table. For now a mill, log deck ,edger and bobcat to move materials is what I'm working with. The barn we are in is 30x50 and I think I can make it work with the current equipment.  I made a terrible little drawing of how I envision the layout and work flow. I would really appreciate if you guys could take a look and maybe give me some ideas of ways to possibly improve my layout. I can't really move the mill or log deck at this point. So with leaving the mill location where it is what are things you notice where I might be able to improve. 

 
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Online JB Griffin

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2018, 11:40:33 PM »
I'm very partial to a straight line work flow, much smoother flow that way.

If you could put the edger next to the mill just out of line of it, with a roll case right behind the mill.
Drag flitch back onto the roll case, set for next cut and send the head on its way, flop the flitch over on the edger and send it through, rinse and repeat.
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Offline PAmizerman

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2018, 11:59:58 PM »
Agree JB but I don't think he has the length to do it.

If it was mine i would put the edger where you have you're slab pile and slide the slabs towards the center of the building.
Bring the slabs off the mill. back on to  rollers and  pivot 90 (add another roller perpendicular to you're roller table) and slide the slabs into the rack. You can use the same rack for slabs and edgings this way.
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Offline PAmizerman

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2018, 12:17:22 AM »
Horrible drawing and definitely not to scale but I think it may get some creative juices going :D


 
I would definitely be making it so that you don't have to carry a full slab. I did that for a while and wish I never had. I've got bulging discs from it.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2018, 06:18:44 AM »
If you're looking for production and efficiency, you need to eliminate as much grunt work as possible.  I would think mill layout and workflow would be dependent on the number of workers on the mill.  I worked circle mills, and our layouts are probably different.  Stuff coming off our mills usually go onto a green chain, which also acts as a surge deck.  From the green chain, all the other satellite operations can be done without a bunch of carrying pieces around.  

I've worked smaller mills that had rollers.  Everything was in a straight line.  Once the piece is put onto the rolls, it is pushed away from the saw area.  The edger is parallel to the rolls so that material can either be stacked at the edger, or put through the edger and put back on the rolls at the opposite end.  You can stack off of either side, and heavy stuff goes off the end.  Carrying pieces to the pile is greatly reduced.

In the mills I've worked, we would be working on several different types of orders at any given time.  We might have 6-8 different sorts.  We had different types of sorts for grade or dimension markets, low grade hearts, and some specialty markets.  We did have the luxury of having a chipper, which eliminates the need to stack slabs.  But, chances are that not all the bundles will come up at any given time.  You need to have a system that gives easy access to those bundles without having to move a bunch of stuff.  If you don't lay out your cutting scheme for stacking, you'll end up wasting a lot of production time.

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Offline 4x4American

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2018, 08:01:15 AM »
Here is one of my old work flows.



Ive changed my setup around so many times...

Anyways, for you, where I was stacking the slabs to get run through the edger, stack your flitches there.  Stack them up until you cant reach any higher.  I used 5-6 long skookum sawhorses that could hold alot of weight.  I would stack flitches there as wide and as high as I could reach.  Could almost saw all day before having to edge.  Sometimes could get a friend to come tail the edger for a little while would make it alot easier. Where I have the ties stacked you can stack finished boards so that the finished ones coming out of the edger go there or the finished ones off the mill go there.  Makes it for a round trip.  I find it easier to have two different slab racks for the locations.  Where I had the cants stacked you could stack your cants or sawmill slabs.  I wish I had a video of my setup that was like this when I cut grade with it.  See the spruce stump there in the video next to the roller table?  I use that for a pivot to make it easier to stack the lumber to the side.  Never pick up a board at both ends.
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Online Busysawyer

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2018, 09:24:16 AM »
Thank you guys for all of your advice. I know the general rule is keep everything in a straight line and agree with all the advice given but I don't have the space or any of the other additional equipment yet. I'm trying to find the ideal set up for my particular situation with the space and equipment I have on hand. Also I should have mentioned to figure this as a two person operation at the moment. PA I can't put the edger where you have it pictured , that's where my door is. 
I guess the way I see this working at this point is everything is dragged back off the mill onto the drag back table.  Flitches would go right off the end and onto a wide pallet. I figure the off bearer could make maybe four separate piles of flitches on the pallet keeping them in somewhat similar sizes so less adjusting when it's time to edge.  The finished boards coming off the mill can be spun 90 degrees on the drag back table an be set on the finished lumber stacks. We have to stack 8s and under, 9 and 10, 11 and 12 , 13 through 16s on separate stacks. Once the flitch pallet is full I can use the bobcat to remove the slab wood so I can get to the flitch pile. I can pick up the flitch pile spin it 180 degrees and bring it over and line it up with the edger infeed roller table.  Keep it up off the ground and just pull the flitches right onto the rollers. The edger with roller tables is 21ft long and I need some length in front and behind the machine so I dont really see anyplace for it other than opposite the mill on that 50 foot wall.
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Online Busysawyer

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2018, 09:49:57 AM »
Here is a drawing of the long term layout with the addition of a lean too for the mill and log deck. Incline conveyor , kicker table and green chain. 3 guy operation.

 
This is a copy of a mill set up I found while searching mills on YouTube. It looked to be very productive.
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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2018, 04:20:00 PM »
This is the setup I'm working towards.  Not exactly the same but very similar.  https://youtu.be/7klLZeRQTfQ
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Offline 4x4American

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2018, 05:21:18 PM »
This is the setup I'm working towards.  Not exactly the same but very similar.  https://youtu.be/7klLZeRQTfQ
Thats forum member @youngstumps sawmill in PA
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Online Busysawyer

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2018, 05:39:37 PM »
This is the setup I'm working towards.  Not exactly the same but very similar.  https://youtu.be/7klLZeRQTfQ
Thats forum member @youngstumps sawmill in PA
I always wondered if he was a member here. Every time I see a sawmill video on YouTube I wonder if they are members here
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2018, 07:11:52 PM »
SO here's some thoughts for you:

The profit margin on an individual board is low, and every time you touch a piece of wood you eat into those profits. And often enough the least profitable stuff is the most handled, which is why you got to be really careful about your byproduct and waste streams.

Sawdust is a no brainer, and its also a (relatively) easy fix. Dust extraction systems are plentiful and cheap for what they do which is stop you putting manpower into the lowest value product you got. It needs to pipe directly from saws to bunker/hopper with no stops along the way. Everytime you put a bucket on a machine to handle the stuff its costing you money. Every time you pick up a broom to sweep what didnt get sucked down the pipe because you dont have enough flow it's costing you money. You got to spend the money to get that right as soon as you can, and you need enough excess capacity to be able to install more equipment in that system without it needing an upgrade every time. It's also a safety issue: its a different thing (to some extent) if you're an old guy but I'm 45, and I find myself huffing and puffing going up a hill with 40 lb of felling must haves and its not just from my pack a day habit its also because theres 15 years of build up in my lungs from sucking poor air full of fine dust all the time. Fibrosis is real, and all you got to do is buy a blower and some pipe to avoid it. You guys look at Youngstumps video vs 4x4's and see an incline conveyor and an edger and stuff.... I see a guy with a blower freeing up time to saw

Slabs... yanno i dont get the fixation with making big heavy slabs that you can pick up and put in a stack, so you can pick them up again when you unstack them later to feed through a machine to try and recover more wood from them, and then you'll get to pick it up yet again and put it into a pile of boards for the edger and a pile of waste. I know its a "how its done thing" for a lot of you guys but I do not understand why??? I'm looking at 4x4's slab pile and just shaking my head... all that work created for want of a single cut extra on the headsaw. If you think theres a board above your target cant thats worth taking..... make that cut the first time. All it costs is a bit more saw wear and you either get it or you dont. What you wont get is the.... okay now i'm going to handle this and look at it and decide if its worth rehandling it time loss, or the hernia from lifting them about. I get asked all the time about slabs and the answer is nope, dont got none, because if i think i can find a 4/4 board over 4' long in there i make that cut now and see how i did later. Probably takes less time to cut that slab at whatever thickness you think you can get when its still attached to the log then it does to lift the piece of wood with it attached to the slab pile.

And how you cut too. Whats with the 180 flip thing, it seems to be  defacto portable bandmill way of doing things. (I'm looking at youngstumps video) Is it a mill limitation or can you just roll 90 and hold her on the backstops? 180 gives you a whole nother set of slabs/ raw flitches with 2 live edges, followed by turning it a further 90 to start getting edged wood. A 90 turn, followed by two cuts to clear some  sap out the way, followed by another 90 means you got less work for your edger man and with that sap gone when you do eventually put your cant face down on the deck its sitting on a flat face with a lot of the tension inducing sapwood already removed. Maybe its a species thing that doesnt apply in your woods but... the best way to increase work flow is to reduce the amount of work you got to do in the first place.

And I hate linear systems : they're okay when you got a crew but I know how long I can spend walking from one machine to the other when i'm running this place short handed like i do most the time - You need big surge decks with linear systems. As someone mentioned above set your edger where you can work it yourself beside the mill while the mill is cutting.... not half a mile away down a greenchain unless you got a guy to stand there with it all day. Efficiency is about time, and time spent walking from station A to station B isnt time spent cutting wood. Standing there watching a saw cut when you could be feeding the edger within two steps doesnt seem like time well used to me. I got a lot of issues with that last one here... stuff too spread out. Im working on it.... :D

Just some off the wall monday morning thoughts.
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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2018, 07:43:46 PM »
LL. Thank you for your input. Im new to this and read your post a few times and I think I'm getting most of what you are laying down.  I already have dust collection.  I sawed for one day and quickly realized I needed one so I ordered it right away. I am grade sawing so I don't really have a target can't size most of the time. At this point my process goes like this. Log on the mill. Take slab waste cut. Slide slab waste off mill, no picking up. Take one to three say 4/4 flitches off depending on log quality and grade I'm seeing. Rotate 90. Take slab slide off on ground. Take 1 to 3 cuts again depending on grade of cuts coming off. Rotate 90 and repeat until all 4 sides have given up their highest grade jacket boards . As I'm going around taking the jacket boards off I try to make a decision on which face is giving me my best grade. Then after jackets boards are removed go to the face of the can't that's going to pay me the most.  The decision on which face to cut can mean a difference of more than 2.50 a board foot on a single board.
On a wide long cut my decision where to cut pay or lose me 20 dollars or more on 1 cut. Most of the time it isn't that drastic but there's a huge jump in pay based on what grade I get out of that log .
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Offline dustintheblood

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2018, 08:18:13 PM »
 

 
This is the working drawing of what became reality here.  Please bear in mind that this is not a commercial enterprise any longer, but rather a place for me to keep busy and to keep the farm running and warm.

Will send some actual pics as soon as I have time to take them properly.
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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2018, 08:24:30 PM »
This is a newtome that arrived last week.  Kept the big International outdoor one but this makes things move easier and quicker inside.



 
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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2018, 12:14:16 AM »
Good for you!  A true forklift on good ground will increase efficiency an incredible amount.  A self dumping hopper is extremely useful, also in your picture.  Of all the tools we own, each with its own specialized tasks, including the sawmill, kiln, planer, SLR, etc, our Cat forklift is the only tool that increases the production of them all, across the spectrum.  

I personally am not a big fan of long, stretched out linear systems.  I want to take the least amount of foot steps as possible, with the least amount of board touches possible.  However, every site is different and folks have to do what works for them.

I am more a fan of an optimized work triangle approach, otherwise known as the "kitchen triangle".
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2018, 03:16:48 AM »
whatcha gotta do (uh oh I been thinking again) is stop thinking horizontally, and start thinking in a 3D space. 

See the thing is we all think horizontal, and when we do that we limit how our material flows very dramatically. And any time I've been in a mill with good material flow - they move it vertically as well. Move your material vertically and it allows us to cross it over or under other material lines, or put 20 foot of greenchain in a 15 foot space.

So if you asked me to design a layout for a bandmill with an edger it might end up something like this:



 

I've got the material coming off the dragback and down to a short deck, then flowing up under the infeed chains, back up to working height across the gar end of the mill then back beside the mill so that it can enter the edger which is... oh bout 2' from the mill control panel. So while the mill is cutting forward I can be edging.  Waste from the mill and edger both flow out under the edger outfeed to one space and sawn timber flows ahead where it can start to be sent various ways. It wouldnt be hard to put a crossfeed in to bypass the edgings line and come out on the edger outfeed at all.

Or you could fit a drag forward... which isnt that hard it means that the board before the current flitch is being pushed along ahead of the saw right? That would give you dragback for finished articles right past you... and forward directly onto that edger infeed line again for what needs edging. Actually if you could do that it would be a real simple and elegant solution but you'd lose some surge capacity. For like the whole two steps it took you to run the edger.

Think all this is complex? Well it is... but after saving an edgermans wage for 18 months you'd be in front.




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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2018, 02:58:25 PM »
A lot of good information here. Thought I should mention that I almost always saw all the same lengths together.

Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2018, 09:48:16 PM »
A lot of good information here. Thought I should mention that I almost always saw all the same lengths together.


I do the same thing, Like 2by,4by,6by,8by x 8' 
But when I cut 16'+ I take the side boards nothing shorter than 8'.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Sawmill work flow
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2018, 05:49:05 AM »
We always separated by length and species at saw time.  Much easier for stacking and keeping the bundles organized.
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