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Author Topic: Seeking source for education in "sound" bandsaw mill design and construction.  (Read 5100 times)

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Offline MikeySP

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Hello Gentlemen.
 
While a new member, I have been on the board many times reading threads on homemade sawmills. I am about to pull the trigger on building one myself, but I need wisdom to I minimize costly errors.
 
Seeking education in "sound" bandsaw mill design and construction.
 
Is there a book, booklet, build thread, set of plans that teach the why and options, or any other media that would help me to avoid errors in the build and to understand design options and pros/cons of the different options. To get smart, so I do not make a boat anchor, or spend several hundred hours in reading and distilling the pure gold and silver from the dross.
  
I am planning on building a portable mill with the production capability of something on the magnitude of a TimberKing 2000 or Woodmizer LT40 with all the hydraulics or electric powered feed, etc.. but not the computer control… yet.


--------------------------------------Detailed Minutia Below-----------------------------------------------------
 
I do not need it to look sophisticated or pretty. It can look like a dying duck, but it has to perform with close to the corresponding speed and dependability.
 
Learning K-I-S-S (simple) techniques is very appealing too, as some designed elements are very impressive, but "complicated" and others appear to  work just as well, but are very simple and this is most desirable to me. Spending 8 hours building a powered up/down or chain log turner is much more appealing than a week, or more, on the same section.
  

I have access to many free items such as steel, hydraulic parts, etc, etc...  I will buy items used, cannibalize a mobility scooter as needed or anything that will save my out of pocket costs. I will trade some of my guns/ammo/etc.. for an engine, band wheels, etc.. I plan to make parts work that I can get for free or as close as possible as I have plenty of time, but pockets are not deep…. The mill must perform.  I will make decisions as I plan as to where/when to spend vs sweat more.
 
I have access to a fairly well equipped welding/fabrication shop with welders, saws, iron worker, and limited access to a Bridgeport sized  mill and lathe.
 
I have been reading threads and watching videos on homemade sawmills for several years off and on. I have not seen one yet that is a production machine and most require mining to find gold, silver,  and gems of info to get educated. I have not seen "Tips, best build practices, or the common errors and how to avoid, etc.."
 
I just learned yesterday how to use cross strings to make the carriage flat for example. This was something I could see as a problem. I am concerned about those area I cannot see potential problems.
 
How many men have watched a bunch of videos and read a bunch of threads and went at it, only to spend so many hours and result in a big boat anchor because of one or two significant errors?  Thus my appeal for a pathway to education that is more streamlined than  the path I have piddled in for several years.
 
Also, more ignorance means not knowing where tolerances are "very critical" for excellent results and where an 1/8" is not a big deal. This can turn a few week project into a several month project because of over engineering.
 
Use: My children and I will use the mill for income and wood to build our houses and shop on our newly acquired land where we currently live in our camper. We have plenty of big pines and several acres of mature hardwoods. Manual mill is not an option as my body is broken somewhat from my previous career, so I need a machine that does  the heavy lifting. We happen to have a skidsteer we purchased to develop our property and it has a very HD grapple that easily lifts 3000lb logs, so log handling on our land is handled easily enough.
 
Well, that was a lot of wind on my part gents. What say ye? Where is the tips of design booklet, or the right thread(s), or?
 
Thank you for your wisdom.

Offline Hilltop366

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Welcome MickeySP!

I have not built a Bandsaw mill but have been looking at many factory made and DIY's from what I can gather for a heavy duty mill you need heavy duty parts and steel.

Take a look at the Cook's Saw Mfg. web site there is lots of info to be gleaned from there, also look at their online store section for info on band wheel size and minimum shaft size etc.


Offline 1938farmall

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To avoid the "don't tell me - show me" dilemma, the most obvious approach would be to copy the mill of your choice.  the engineering has already been done for you and the design is proven, so all you have to do is put your fabrication skills to work & get 'er done.
aka oldnorskie

Online charles mann

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Youtube search Matt Cremona bandsaw build. 
He built an electric powered stationary mill with a huge (67”) cut width. I bought his plans and will be tweaking it a bit for a diesel powered mill, but with the same cut width. 

He used parts from cooks saw and and a few other places and fabbed the rest himself. 
Temple, Tx
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Offline mike_belben

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For a second i thought i was reading some post i forgot ever making.  Im building junk, live in a camper and am wearing out too. And log with a skidsteer. 

Anyhow, one tidbit i can tell you on any cutting or milling machine is mass.  Whether its a mill, lathe, bandsaw, whatever.  A dainty machine can make a nice dainty pass.  Whe  you start ramming wood or metal through and adding horsepower to cut it, you need to be adding mass to the tool, the tool holder, the framework, the base.  If you look at commercial band mills from 50yrs ago and compare to current band mills.. Other than vertical vs horizontal, the biggest difference youll note is physical size and mass.   No different then a tractor, dozer or excavator really.  Wanna cut more dirt, you just need more horsepower and more mass.
Revelation 3:20

Offline Southside logger

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Welcome to the Forum.  Where are you located?  I hear you and can greatly appreciate your desire to build a mill, I looked really hard at doing that, but came to realize that it was not going to be a quick process and in the end what was I really going to have?  I can also appreciate the beat up body issue, sawing is hard, it's even harder when you are manual.  

What is the budget you think you can build an accurate, production mill for?  

You can learn a lot about sawing while producing lumber for your house, if you are willing to accept the learning curve issues that will come with learning to be a sawyer.  If you want to saw lumber to generate income you will have to learn to saw quality lumber, all of this takes time, and time is money. 

I guess what I am getting at, without trying to discourage your idea, is that a lot of really smart and talented folks have spent many, many, hours solving the riddle of building a quality, production, sawmill, and they have sold plenty of them for many years.  A depressing number of which sit in dusty old barns, out in a pasture with shrubs and trees growing up around them, and in any number of sales yards.  Many have been attacked by the demons of time, lack of half decent maintenance, wire chewing mice, and UV rays on hydraulic hoses.  The good news is that these demons can be exorcised from a mill with a little elbow grease and by posting questions here on the Forestry Forum.  There are deals out there to be had, quite a few members have successfully gone down that exact same road.  

You have a skid steer and logs - can you sell some to generate some cash which can be used to purchase a mill that needs some TLC?  Can you hire skid steer work as a way to generate cash?  Can you trade logs to another mill owner for custom sawing at the same time so you have material to build your house?  At least this way you would be making progress on that project at the same time.

One other thought is a decent, used manual mill that you buy right, knowing that it is not going to be around for very long.  The ones that are not abused hold their value, and often sell for almost as much if not more than you paid for it.  It gives you the chance to begin to learn to saw, it gets you house lumber, and nothing says you can't begin to sell some off of it. 

Like I said, when I was first looking around at mills I was convinced I would just build one, then decided a manual mill was the way to go, fortunately I was talked into buying a hydraulic model.  Found a good, used, LT35.  It's not the biggest one, and not the fastest one out there, but it was not the most expensive one either.  

It's really easy to set expectations / goals for a project, keeping to those can be a different matter especially when it is a new venture.  From what you have described I would look around at multiple options and really explore the ups and downs of each before committing to one path.  
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
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Riehl Edger
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Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.

Offline JB Griffin

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Sage words of advise, nothing is ever too straight,  square, level, plumb, or accurate. EVER. 

Other than that bigger is almost always better, get the biggest engine and bandwheels you can afford (diesel or electric and crowned steel are best, don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise). 4 post is easier to build,  but a cantilever is a little more flexible to get around knots and such. 

The track the head rolls on should be replaceable,  and claw turners are crap. Hyd feed and up/down are the only way to go.

Bed frames should be as heavy as your billfold can stand, log bunks must have a replaceable wear surface.  Backstops should be of the vertical persuasion and adjustable in all 4 directions. Chain turners are the absolute only way to go, the only people that don't like em are the ones that ain't used one. 

In my opinion, 35hp diesel or 20hp 3ph and 8gpm hyd flow is the minimum. 
2000 LT40hyd remote 33hp Kubota, 160 Prentice, Frick 2 saw gang edger, Wright W-37 ABG, Suffolk dual tooth setter, Cat claw single tooth setter,'96 F-250 7.3 PSD 4x4, CS-590 Echo, MF 20c, M681 Memo.

Over 2.5 million bdft sawn with a Baker Dominator and counting.

Offline waynorthmountie

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Look up @kbeitz did a great build. http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=82853.msg1264270#msg1264270

One of the best described and explained ones on this website.

Offline bwstout

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there is a guy that goes by the name of Texas Ben that has a set of plans on EBay that are good plans they are easy to follow and make adjustment to fit your needs. He has a YouTube channel that show his mill in operation there is a few on here that used his plans. I used them to build my mill. It will cut accurate I added power to the head to move it up and down and for power feed. If you have to buy most of the metal form my own experience you can buy the LT15 for about the price of  metal and parts. But building it yourself is a rewarding experience. I found this sight after I built mine and made a lot of mistakes. There is a thread here that talks about different mod on sawmills read it then read it again you before you build. It will save you a lot of time and make your mill easier to use. Best to you on your build.
home built mill

Offline Crusarius

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I was looking at buying a cheap sawmill. but all the ones I looked at all had at least 1 feature I really liked. none of them had all the features I wanted. I chose to build my own. its still not quite done but I forced myself to step away from it so I wouldn't just try to cram finishing it and make a ton of bad mistakes. 

one of my biggest mistakes I made was not actually doing any milling before deciding to build my mill. Now that I am using it I am finding a ton of things I would have done different. But alas, when all else fails I sell V1.0 and build V2.0 building it is half the fun :)

I do think that hydraulics or electrics for log handling would be something worth investing in. I did build the mill with the intention of adding it one day.

here is my build thread. I am happy to answer any questions.
Crusarius’ sawmill build - started with Linn Lumber basic kit in Sawmills and Milling

The build thread is not up to date. I am planning on fixing that eventually. just no idea when I may get to doing that.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Welcome, MikeySP!

Well, since you cannot find a "best practices" thread on building a mill, I'd suggest you start one!  What others have done is you start a list on the first post.  Then, go back and edit/add to it as others make comments.  Then a new reader only has to read the first post.

From my build, what I've learned - I got lucky on my first set of track (16').  I welded it up and it came out true.  My last section has a heat-induced sag in the middle as the track contracted as it cooled.  Its only about 1/8" but annoying!  So my first suggestion would be to bolt the track together.  So long as you don't drop a log on the track, you should be good.  My second suggestion is to NOT make your own blade guide rollers.  Just buy Cook's.  Since you have the tools, make your own adjustable mounts.  Third, make it bigger then you think you need.  I can hold a 42" diameter log on my bed and can cut a full 32" wide slab.  Should have made it bigger ;)
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Another factor you need to consider in your plans is whether you can legally use lumber you've sawn to build the structures you plan to build. Many (most) areas have adopted building codes that require the use of lumber that has been graded for structural use by certified inspectors... You should investigate, including checking with your local building inspection agencies...

Good Luck!

Herb

Offline MikeySP

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Gentlemen, you have something very special with this forum. I have never had so many, so helpful responses on any of the several forums I have visited for help over the years.  I actually cringed a little, joining the forum and saying "help me" as I thought I hadn't given anything, so the help may be very thin. To the contrary, I am blown away and genuinely am very grateful to your pity on my ignorance and to be part of this group. I retired from Special Forces and after getting hurt contracting, we started a coffee roasting company, but shut it down to move. I am looking at some options, but don't think I can fund reopening the roasterie for a year or two (Government regs cost a lot). The sawmill might be a good bridge to cross the gap. I have much in place to launch this build. I am trying to think through all your responses and recommend reads. I am

I had not realized the importance of mass/weight. Makes total sense after hearing it.

1. I had watched Matthew Cremona's videos on construction, and it was very good, but since I wanted a portable, hydraulic, I was hoping to see someone make homemade TK2000 style copy.
2. As for copying an actual mill. That would be awesome if I could find a local sawyer with a TK2000-2500 or an equivalent that I could go to with tape measure, caliper, sketchpad, and camera. For example, when looking at the TK mill, I would not even know the width of the rails looking at a pic and it is not in their specs. I wrote them and they told me, but surely they are trying to make a living and are not there to answer all my questions on copying their mill.
3. Mike_Belben, are you my long lost twin :) BTW, we are in Middle TN too (Centerville). I just found the profile page and updated it.
4. As to my budget, I hope to do a serious machine for under $2K. Factors: I will probably not have to buy any steel, will get an engine for nothing or in trade, fasteners, brackets, hydraulic pump, motors, valves, for free along with a lot of small stuff. I will probably have to spring for band wheels, clutch, pully's, blade, and other assorted stuff. This does not include sharpening tool, blade set, and other assorted support stuff.
5. I will read all the Cook's stuff. I had read 3 or 4 of their articles, but they are not all easy to find, so I missed them.
6. I will need to learn fast to do quality cutting, even if it means low board footage initially, as I need to augment my military pension.
7. Southside logger, I am grateful for your reality check and challenge to think it through. I do not want regrets.
8. JB Griffin, we just moved from your area (Calico Rock, AR). That is an awesome elevator class on the overall picture. Noted!!!
9. Waynorthmountie, I had actually seen that thread, but I did not think it a good fit initially, but will now read through it. Thank you for the tip.
10. While I am glad to learn about fabricating ( I love engineering stuff), but I do not have time for building for experience sake. I am only planning to make one if I can do it a LOT cheaper than a used machine with all the hydraulics. Manual machine is out of the question, unless it is buying a REALLY cheap one that I can add the hydraulics to.
11. I think I will weld the carriage for speed and ease of construction. I also really want to see how tight I can keep it by going easy on the heat build up. I hope I do not mess it up. I may use some long pipe clamps and other jigging to aid me. The Matt Cremona video welding his frame was pretty good actually.
12. PC Urban Sawyer, excellent point. you are correct on code issues in certain areas and codes on usable lumber. In my county (Hickman, TN) house structural (framing) must be stamped. However, detached barns, garages, and all the trim, siding, etc… can be non-stamped. I will indeed put together a solar kiln and dry some for where it is needed. For my shop, I found some free truss designs online for long spans, so I will use these on my shop building.

Thank you all again… VERY much. Amazing!

-Mike

Offline Crusarius

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It does not need to be heavy to be strong. Proper geometry goes a very long ways.

Offline MikeySP

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Crusarias, I think the weight/mass was for plowing through the wood, meaning more BD FT capability? Actually, I was surprised to see how heavy a LT40 or TK2000 are. about 7K pounds if I remember. Thoughts?

Offline Crusarius

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had no idea those were so heavy. well the timberking doesn't surprise me but the LT40 does.

Offline MikeySP

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You are right, just checked:
LT40 - 3900 lbs
TK2000 -4600lbs
TK2500 - 6400lbs
LT70 - 4590lbs

I am at loss where I got my weight idea. May have been my first inspiration TK2500?

Offline Crusarius

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Timberking likes to hmm well I call it overbuild but some ppl call it just right and others still call it not enough :)

I still stand by my statement "using proper geometry you can build a lighter and stronger machine".

I do like the timberking mills.

Offline MikeySP

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Crusarius, I am intrigued by your position. Looks like the LT does it. I may need to get smarter somehow on this concept. This is the sort of question I need to find the answer to. Someone mentioned copting a machine, but without getting my hands on a  smart built machine with caliper, tape measure, I am left to learning engineering and having to reinvent. When it comes to good designs, what is one or a few that you think are well designed, with geometry in mind? Thank.

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They all have their strong points (no pun intended). Every one of them have something worth copying.

One of the things I did for my bed was instead of going nuts and doing a 4x4x.250 wall tubing or something crazy heavy I used a 2x6x.188 wall. stronger cross section vs square. and also quite a bit lighter.

a bunch of the manufacturers use angle iron to build the bed. Angle is heavy and does not provide much torsional rigidity (it twists easy) Thats the reason I went with the 2x6. I can put 1 trailer jack down on the corner of my 24' long trailer and lift the entire trailer with very little deflection. I did put 8 trailer jacks on trailer so the max distance between them is about 5'.


4x4x.25 wall weighs 12.212 pounds per foot.
2x6x.25 wall weighs 12.212 pounds per foot.
2x6x.188 wall weighs 9.444 pounds per foot.

Thats a difference of 2.78 pounds per foot. To me that sounds like a lot. especially when I have at least 75' of tubing in just the trailer.

so the .25 wall weighs roughly 915.9 pounds for my trailer
the .188 wall 708.3 pounds. 
207.6 pounds lighter.


I may have gotten off on a tangent there but in the end after all the re engineering and re configuring time and money spent I got a look at the Woodmizer LT15 wide. that is the one I want to copy. I am actually planning on contacting woodmizer to get some parts to put on mine.


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