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Author Topic: First Mill  (Read 1676 times)

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Offline Lyndaker

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First Mill
« on: July 31, 2018, 11:08:53 PM »
I'm a newbie here but have read posts for years already. We are purchasing land this fall with timber. I intend to use the timber to build a dovetailed cornered house. I have built numerous scribe fit log buildings previously but never used flattened logs. I have been doing lots of research on mills as I need to cut the logs flat inside and out and have no intention of doing so with a chainsaw, way to tedious. I will also be cutting lumber for the interior of the home. I need a mill that has extendable rails to cut long lengths. Would love to get a swing blade but ..... there pretty expensive. 
Mills I am currently looking at are:
Swing blades: D and L 6x16 (can't seem to find a lot of info from other owners even here in Canada), Lucas 6x16, brand X (but probably to expensive)
Band Mills: WM LT 15, Timber King 1220, Ez board walk

Money is an issue, isn't it always. I'm sure there are lots of other basic mills out there as well. I believe in buying quality but don't need fancy. Would be probably upgrade as have money. I am very handy and a quick learner. I live in a fairly remote area in Northwestern Ontario, so parts availability and time and cross border ordering are a concern. 
I'd greatly appreciate any advice more experienced ones on this forum might have.
Thanks

Offline Southside logger

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2018, 11:37:52 PM »
Welcome to the Forum.  The one bit of advice I can give you is find a way to buy a hydraulic mill, "settle" for a used one if you need to, but you will come to understand why hydraulic log handling is critical given the project you have outlined.  I was going to get a manual mill at first but my wife talked me out of it  - probably the best equipment decision I ever made.  Your body will thank you for it.    
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2018, 12:21:45 AM »
As southside said, hydraulics are a huge back saver. My first mill was a manual mill. When I got it my wife said this wont be the last mill you buy. I didnt understand what she meant at the time, but she was right. After building some hydraulics for the manual mill, it was better, but the time came to upgrade to full on hyrdraulics and its a game changer. Best wishes
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2018, 06:36:04 AM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum, Lyndaker!
~Chuck~
Retired USAF (1989), Retired School Bus Driver (2012), and now a Mobile Sawyer
1995 Wood-Mizer LT40HDG2425 Kohler - Shingle & LapSider, Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener, 4-foot Logrite cant hook.
Basic mechanical skills are all that's required to maintain the Wood-Mizer.
I LOVE MY SAWMILL

Offline Magicman

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2018, 08:55:24 AM »
First, Welcome to the Forestry forum, Lyndaker.

My recommendation; a sawmill with hydraulics and from a manufacturer that has a presence in Canada.  Yes, I would absolutely consider "used".
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Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline Lawg Dawg

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2018, 10:21:28 AM »
I'm partial to the LT-15, and I've also done a few dovetail logs ;D

 
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2018, 05:44:37 PM »
In the equipment rental business they say, Time is money and money is time.

Money will buy hydraulics - hydraulics will save time.  If you have plenty of time, then a manual mill might be the way to go.  If you can spare the money, I doubt you will regret having hydraulics.

A manual mill is a lot of physical work.  The hard physical work will reduce the production in a given amount if time.  

Im much like some of the others, my wife knew she didnt want to be helping move heavy logs and she knew a manual mill would make me lose interest quickly. Plus we both knew a manual mill would require additional equipment for log handling. 

So we bought a hydraulic mill.
Woodmizer LT35HD25, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher

Offline thecfarm

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2018, 07:10:14 PM »
Lyndaker.welcome to the forum.
How big the house?
I have a manual mill. Would not think about hyds. Money and one more thing to troubleshoot when it don't work. BUT I'm not sawing out a house either. I just build out buildings with mine. The mill has sat for a year waiting for me. I do have a tractor to help out,if needed. I try to sell the big stuff and I saw the small stuff.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Ianab

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2018, 09:30:57 PM »
I wouldn't rule out a swing blade mill, for several reasons. 

Simplicity and ease of maintenance. These mills shipped into Africa / New Guinea / assorted Pacific Islands etc. Spare blade / retipping jig and a "remote service kit" with a few common wear parts, and some isolated villager in the jungle can keep them running. 

Portability. I'm assuming you wont have good roads around the property? Once the mill is broken down for transport it's pretty easy to move. As, in utility trailer behind a quad bike.

Price is going to be more than a manual band mill, but less than a hydraulic one. Production is more in line with the hydraulic band mill. Most sawing operations don't involve turning the log (although you can to produce oversize posts / beams if you want)

If you get yourself set up with a good log deck and have a tractor or similar to move logs and sawn product around, you can get through a lot of sawing with a swingblade, even one of the smaller models.  
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Lyndaker

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2018, 08:48:10 PM »
The house will be 32 x 34
Lawg Dawg did you use a chainsaw jig to cut the dovetails.
I'm very interested in the D and L but there seems to be very little info available from them from current users, which makes me leary. Vallee in Quebec also makes a study looking band sawmill. 
I can't figure out how to reply to peoples individual posts. So just commented here.


 

 

  
Here are several pictures of our scribe fit home.

Offline TKehl

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2018, 01:36:46 PM »
A lot of this will depend on how big your timbers will be and how big your logs are...  
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline DDW_OR

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Offline hturner12

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2018, 08:14:40 PM »
I just ordered an Ezboardwalk jr. 6 week lead time. Stanton is super guy. There is a thread by pineywoods about adding hydraulic to a manual mill.

Offline dgdrls

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2018, 07:49:56 AM »
Welcome Lyndaker,

Good advise already given,  I support the Canadian manufacturer suggestion.

I looked a while and found an 8" Lucas,  dandy mill and very portable. Its stores in my
shed without taking up all the room as well.  Easy to maintain and robust build.

D

Offline Lyndaker

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2018, 07:43:22 PM »
Does anyone on the forum have experience with Vallee sawmill out of Quebec? They look like a good quality mill. 

Offline Lyndaker

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2018, 07:50:18 PM »
Most of our logs are smaller 12-18" range as trees just don't get huge up here. How will a band mill or swing blade compare when cutting smaller logs? A "huge" log up here is 24-30" and they are rare. Does anyone have experience with aspen? There are many on the property and they have very little taper. Are they suitable for floor joist?


Here's a "huge" northern tree

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2018, 08:09:52 PM »
I think a bandmill is suited better for small logs.
Vallee has a model that will cut 2 12' logs at once.
They look like a nice mill.
thomas 8013 mill ,Mahindra 3540 cab tractor loader  Dump trailer  and lot of contracting tools

Offline shortaction

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2018, 08:10:58 PM »
When you say Vallee are you referring to the Pascal Metals Bandsaw mills?  Little Blue, Big Red, Green Monster.

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2018, 08:43:58 PM »
Yes
thomas 8013 mill ,Mahindra 3540 cab tractor loader  Dump trailer  and lot of contracting tools

Offline Lyndaker

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2018, 09:55:03 PM »
Yes thats the mill's I'm refering to.

Offline shortaction

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2018, 09:56:40 PM »
Sorry I wasn't clear, I was asking Lyndaker if that was the mill he was referring to.  If he is I have the Little Blue and have cut 4-5000bdft of spruce, pine, cedar, hard maple & burr oak.  I have nothing to compare it too as I've never cut with another mill but it works really well, easy to use scale, clamps are fast and secure, the log leveller works well on small to medium sized logs up to 12-14' length and then the logs start to get very heavy to adjust.  I can cut about 100 bdft per hour by myself when cutting decent 8' cedar using a tractor to load the logs.  I have cut some pine logs 16'8" long with up to 18" small end and had no trouble at all as long as I kept a sharp blade on the saw.  I cut a big burr oak over 30" in diameter for a friend.  We had to trim it down with a chainsaw and I had to go really slow on the wide (16") cuts and I had some waves around the knots, but it was a log that had been cut for a couple of years and my blade had gotten dull.  Don't think I was using quite enough lube either?  I really enjoy using the mill and I will soon have my other jobs out of the way and get back at.  I have about another 5000-6000 bdft of logs to get through.  

Offline Lyndaker

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2018, 11:07:42 PM »
Do you have track extensions? How long of logs can you cut? What is the build quality of the mill like? My one concern is the cost of the blades. $36 per blade seems pretty steep. Did you get a sharpener? or do you send them away for sharpening? Keep me posted as you think about it and have any thoughts on the mill. I'd prefer to get a mill that has a Canadian presence as parts and support are simplified.

Offline Ianab

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2018, 11:51:29 PM »
Most of our logs are smaller 12-18" range as trees just don't get huge up here. How will a band mill or swing blade compare when cutting smaller logs? A "huge" log up here is 24-30"



Swing blades do work fine with smaller logs like that, especially if you can fabricate a good set up bunks, well clear of the rails if they are lo-lo like mine, and load them with a skid steer or tractor. Or a log deck and roll them in under the rail with the Lucas or ATS style rails. Getting any production with smaller logs is about getting the next log in the mill, and the blade back in the wood quick as you can. That goes for whatever mill you have, time spent loading the next logs isn't time spent  cutting.

Of course a band mill can also handle those logs just fine as well.

While the big log handling is one of the big advantages of Swingblades, they work fine with smaller logs too. It's just the log deck / dogging isn't included. But once you have a sawmill, then making bunks and a log deck becomes simple.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline shortaction

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2018, 03:47:07 PM »
Do you have track extensions? How long of logs can you cut? What is the build quality of the mill like? My one concern is the cost of the blades. $36 per blade seems pretty steep. Did you get a sharpener? or do you send them away for sharpening? Keep me posted as you think about it and have any thoughts on the mill. I'd prefer to get a mill that has a Canadian presence as parts and support are simplified.
No I don't have track extensions.  My understanding is that you can't just buy sections, you buy the whole extension you want as one piece, they fabricate it by foot.  
The specs say you can cut 17' but it would require a lot of niggling around each time you flip the log.  I have cut a few at 16'8" and gives a couple of inches to spare at each end but still seem to have to slide the back or forwards to keep it centred.  I'm quite happy with the build quality, wish there was a catch of some sort at the end to keep the mill head in place.  
I average about 4-500 bdft per blade, but it really depends on how clean your logs are.  I bought 2 boxes (10/box) of blades and there are 2 blades come with the mill so got 22 blades at purchase and have just been using those.  The blades are the more expensive ones (Apex RF), my dealer said they last longer than the cheaper ones and that is what he uses.  But I have never used anything else so couldn't be sure?  I also read somewhere that the Apex RF blades where tough to get resharpened?  Again I don't know but maybe something to check on? 
My mill has the 13hp Subaru engine and it works really well, but the mills now come with a Honda engine, Subaru has gotten out of the small engine business. 
The Scale is really well laid out, would be awesome if it slid up with a set screw so you could work it off a different base height than just the bed of the mill. 
Overall I've been really happy with it.
If you happen to be coming down by the Manitoulin Island stop in and I be happy to let you try it out. 

Offline Lyndaker

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2018, 11:51:20 PM »
Thanks for the invite I will definitely keep that in mind. Would be great to actually try out a mill before purchasing. Not uncommon for me to drive by your area when I visit relatives in upstate NY.

Offline dgdrls

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2018, 08:44:10 PM »
Thanks for the invite I will definitely keep that in mind. Would be great to actually try out a mill before purchasing. Not uncommon for me to drive by your area when I visit relatives in upstate NY.
Perhaps related to the Lyndakers of Croghan NY area??
you may want to look at a Clarke mill built in Lindsay Ontario
travel safe  
D

Offline Lyndaker

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Re: First Mill
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2018, 10:06:27 PM »
You guessed it. My dad grew up there and I have Aunts still living there. Not to many Lyndakers around. We seem to be few and far between.  Also have distant relatives across in Canada.


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