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Author Topic: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)  (Read 1118 times)

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Offline nunya001

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Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« on: July 05, 2018, 06:31:32 PM »
Hi - I'm not a frequent poster, because I often find the info I need already here. Thank you for your collective knowledge. 

I'm doing a small manufacturing project for some off season $ - it involves cutting 70,000 2.125x13x.25 pine slats and assembling them. I've got a pretty efficient process for all but one part. Here's a quick overview. I take logs, cut them in half on my CSM, cut those halves to 16 inch lengths, put them in my kiln (firewood style) for 3 days, cut those halves into 2.125 thick blanks on my bandsaw, cut them down to 13.25 on my radial and then slice the blanks on the bandsaw ONE by ONE. I do have a nice sled built for speed and safety, but still - 70,000 is a big number. I need to figure out a better way to cut the blanks into the final slat size - it looks fast but is too time consuming. There's opportunity for recurring revenue here so I'd like to figure it out. 

I've begun looking at gang rip saws. I'd buy the strips cut for a reasonable price but can't find anybody interested in cutting tiny bits of wood - even in large quantities. Any reasonable ideas are welcome and appreciated. 

Agreed, sounds kind of crazy but there is actually some money in this. And, it's peaceful work.   
Knowledge is not a substitute for real experience.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 07:38:52 PM »
Wood shop type band saw or sawmill type band saw?

Yep, that's a lot of pieces! :o

What is the tolerance on the sizes?  Are you having to run them through a thickness planner? 

Wondering if making your blanks 2x or 3x the length would help.  Then you're at least handling 1/2 to 1/3 as many individual blanks and slats during the process.  I think ripping the slats long (3x) and then gang cutting to length on your radial saw would decrease your per part time.  Trying to figure out what these are for...  Wine boxes?  Old fashioned fruit boxes?
John Sawicky

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Offline nunya001

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 07:47:42 PM »
Hi - It's a 5hp wood shop style bandsaw. 

Tolerance is reasonable easy - they all just have to be reasonably the same thickness. 

2x or 3x length impedes drying and actually slows handling. What you're suggesting is logical, at this point experience show it's not really faster. 

Good guesses - they are assembled to make a flat platform and my customer mounts local graphics printed on canvas and linen. Gift/art stuff. 
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 07:59:31 PM »
When I need a product like yours I do what I call cluster cut. I cut planks of the width required stand them on end on my band mill and make many cuts. Its surprising how many thin pieces you can get from a good sized log. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline Larry

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 09:26:22 PM »
You need a gang rip. Most of the good ones are shop built for the application. I bought a couple out of a toy factory. The arbor is the hardest to build followed by the pinch rolls. The first two pictures are of an arbor to cut 1 X 1 by 10 blocks by the thousands. It used standard 7-1/4 circular saw blades (cheap) and was powered by a 5 hp motor with a gear motor for the feed. The third picture is of a larger gang rip that had maybe 12 blades. It was used to cut hardwood blocks 2 X 2 by 10 along with a few other sizes. Powered by a 20 hp motor and a 1 hp gearmotor for the feed.







I helped build a third that was used to cut 1/4 pine strips to separate standing seam roofing panels. No pictures of that one.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2018, 09:56:32 PM »
Can you post a picture of this single cut you are making on this sled and on the saw youre doing it with? 

Can you stack multiples on the sled?  Could you sort of automate a powerfeed for the final cut by loading the sled and having a weighted cable or something pull the sled through the cut so you can be freed to do something else for a moment?
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Offline nunya001

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2018, 11:35:12 PM »
Frank, I was wondering about your method earlier today. Are the cut edges reasonably clean?

Larry - thanks for explaining and showing. Gang rips are new to me. I have a line on one locally with a 20hp 3ph motor. May try and check it next week. 

Mike - yes definitely I can post some photos, I don't have any but can take a few. As far as stacking - a couple of things: the blanks I'm cutting from are not uniform width so it would get tricky - also, the bandsaw is a Grizzly (not one of my better purchases) so I'm doubtful of it's ability with even a double stack let alone the breakage that would ensue with a power feeder - but I like the idea of that. 
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2018, 12:04:48 AM »
How many have you made so far?  Do you want a supplier?
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2018, 12:26:43 AM »
So if I'm reading this right the finished thickness is "?

If so forget the gang rip. What you need is a thin cutting frame saw, which is a somewhat different assembly to a regular frame saw. waste of time money and wood cutting KD timber into 0.25" strips with a circle gang.... the waste will kill ya, and you'll struggle with lack of HP because you're pulling so many saws on the arbor.... if you can machine spacing collars that will work adequately in the first place

My option given normal resourcing would be to mill the log at say 10/4 x whatever width you can get x as long as your kiln can handle. feed those cants to gangsaw or frame saw with 1/2" spacings so you've got 2 x green  boards ... then KD, which will take no time being so thin, then feed the lot through a moulder to get to the desired dimensions and dock it to length last

Hope you quoted high... you either going to be employing some minions for the night shift or buying some gear.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline Alberta Wolf

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2018, 01:29:48 AM »
 :-[ I hate to ask ,But are all the saw blades set the same or are the blades set a little  a head of each other.My 5. 

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2018, 06:37:34 AM »
Nunya, a sharp band and decent wood you get a nice clean edge. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline nunya001

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2018, 09:50:18 AM »
Southside - I've made 4000 so far but, yes I'm interested in having a conversation. PM me your number. 

Long time - great idea and suggestion. Agreed the gang will require huge HP and at that width I would have concerns re: destroying the wood in the cut. I will research thin cutting frame saws. I quoted fairly and my customer understands the challenges and is wants this to be equitable for me - so I do have that going on. 

I may have come up with a solution for this size and another size. Give me a day to check my assumptions. 

J-
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2018, 11:26:28 AM »
I cant seem to link it but there was a google image of a vertical frame saw where it had one row of saws and two decks of feeding.  A log went into the bottom and the pieces that came out went back thru again, layed flat up onto the top feeder to be edged and sized.  It looked like a very efficient way to make maybe tomato stakes or drumstick blanks.


Its a single image half way down this page.

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Online Hilltop366

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2018, 12:17:45 PM »
I'm with bandmiller2.

A small band mill (could be electric) then cut one thickness, stand on edge and recut, dry then cut to length. 

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2018, 06:15:58 PM »
Yanno I'm putting a bit of thought into this one because this is exactly the kind of idiot job I take on at times... (not calling you an idiot.... but its a too big to be small/too small to be big job with difficult sizes etc etc that might leave you wondering What you were thinking when you agreed to do it: just the kind of thing I do all the time)

If it were me I'd be having a real good sit down talk RE customer expectations. What level of finish are they aiming for, dimensional tolerances, straightness that kind of thing. What I'm seeing with this one is that being so thin it'd going to want to move a lot which means it needs to be dry before going to finish size... and being so thin+short theres not a lot of market for reject/downgrade material with no hope of resizing it.

This isn't a matter of cutting " strips and then drying them... I'm starting to think the best bet might be to cut " thick with a bandmill, strip it out with great care to keep flat, kiln it, then break those with your shop bandsaw at 2" wide, then feed those to a moulder , then dock. Or depending on customer expectation for finish maybe you can get away with cutting your 2" strips and just a thicknesser but a moulder will work out cheaper because it can size all four sides at once and in this case the value of the wood chewed up by the moulder is less then the value of the time you'd spend going any other way.

You might also struggle to find a moulder that wants to feed workpieces so thin: most throughfeed machines have a minimum thickness somewhere down around there too. And they definately need longer workpieces to feed well... I'd be aiming for 12' lengths that i can then dock out when finished for 10 pieces + a margin for endsplits. But as a job running 80k lineal foot through a moulder is a big days work for a shop machine (or about 3 hours for a biggun) and i dont think you'd have too much trouble subcontracting that one out at a reasonable price.

It all depends on customer expectation but me: I'd be aiming to sell them a DAR product on this one because its going to give them a more stable and consistant product that will result in time(cost) savings for them during further processing. The fact that it would be also cheaper for me to produce is not something they need to know... I'd be selling a better finished product for a better price, not selling them a better finished product cheaper because in this case I can make it that way.

That would leave you hiring in a sawyer to break your logs or buying in " slabs. Stickering them with great care, drying them which wont take long, feeding said slabs through your bandsaw to break into strips... and again that wont take long in 12' lengths and being so thin. Then a day getting them dressed to size, and again you hire the job done.

Easy...
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Offline GAB

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Re: Small slat milling solution (gang rip, etc)
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2018, 08:04:58 PM »
longtime lurker wrote: "Stickering them with great care".
How thick, and how far apart should the stickers be for this thickness of material?

In my case, if I had this job, I would be hauling the material approx. 3 miles down the road to Kurt's who has a 5 head molding machine and the capability to make and sharpen his own knives.  Even if I had to bring the sawdust home when the job was done it would be quick.
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