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Author Topic: Purchasing my first sawmill  (Read 1577 times)

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Offline Vender

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Purchasing my first sawmill
« on: October 31, 2018, 02:13:18 PM »
 Hello all new member. I am a woodworker furniture. I am looking to purchase my first sawmill. I realize this is probably been asked 100 times. Unfortunately I have multiple sclerosis which makes it difficult for me to read.  I am looking at the following models. Warrior OS 27, the Norwood MN 26 and the Woodmaxx SM 26.  I would like to keep my purchase under $5000. I donít have any trees bigger than 22 inches. I guess having MS I am looking for a mill that may be easier to operate?
I think the most important thing would be availability of parts? Ease-of-use? It will not move once I placed it on a concrete pad.  Electric starter? 
 Thank you
Mark

Offline Magicman

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2018, 02:20:14 PM »
I have no experience with any smaller sawmills nor MS, but I will say Welcome to the Forestry Forum and I admire you for keeping on keeping on.  smiley_thumbsup
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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2018, 02:24:38 PM »
Welcome to the forum.
I have no idea what your limitations are. But sawing can be hard on the body. Well sawing is the easy part I should say. It's the lumber that comes off that is the hard part. Yes there is easy ways to do things,but how much does that cost. Hard to do both and make money at furniture and sawing. Have to get good logs to saw.
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Offline wesdor

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2018, 03:00:22 PM »
Welcome to the forum Vender. 
You might be better served to fill out where you are located in your profile. Depending on where you live it might be more cost effective to have a local sawyer come to you. That would not only let you get some boards quickly, but you would also gain some knowledge from an experienced sawyer. 
Like others have said, sawing is hard on the body. There is also a learning curve before you start producing quality lumber. 

Consider focusing on your furniture making with lumber someone else has sawn from your logs. 

Offline Vender

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2018, 03:17:24 PM »
Iím in Michigan. I agree it may be hard on me but Iím still walking and splitting wood for heat. Wood is very expensive for furniture and I have a lot of beautiful oaks I just canít see burning. Making money is no longer an option. 
Honestly I get all my hardwoods from auctions and pay nothing for it. I can get $5,000 in kiln dried black walnut for about $50. Nobody wants lumber at auctions. I can fill my work van to the top for peanuts. It is truly crazy how cheap I can get hardwoods. Donít tell anyone. So I could just carry on doing that. It would be something to keep me moving. I may be stupid thinking I can do this. But MS is all about failing. I just enjoy being in the woods and this would keep me there. 

Offline trumpets3u

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2018, 03:44:35 PM »
I would give these a good look they build good stuff.
 https://woodlandmills.com/portable-sawmills/
Brian

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2018, 05:29:52 PM »
Crap. It looks like I can add woodland mills HM126 to the list. I think I dismissed them because I just saw the harbor freight green and figured it was garbage. How can they be so inexpensive?  I like what Iím seeing!  Thank you!

Offline trumpets3u

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2018, 05:44:35 PM »
I have there WC88 chipper and it's built. They very good reviews on the saw mills. I have a mill that I got 18 years ago it's a norwood, but I do like the looks woodland mills saw mill I would get the 14 HP engine.
                    Brian

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2018, 06:26:33 PM »
Woodlands mills are a great company and make a great product with unbelievable customer service. I have had mine for 3.5 years and have pushed it to the max many times. And welcome to the forum.

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2018, 07:20:08 PM »
Thank you for the Woodland Mills recommendation! I am getting the HM 126 with the 14 hp motor. 

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2018, 07:50:43 PM »
Add one more to the confusion  list  Ezboardwalk Jr
Hugh
Ezbordwalk Jr

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2018, 08:29:55 PM »
Welcome to the forum!  Good luck with your new adventure!  The good thing about furniture lumber is it doesn't have to be much over 8 feet long.  Most furnture is made from 6' lumber or less.  Log handling is easier if you don't have to handle 10' plus logs and lumber very much.  

Go ahead and start collecting your tools to support mill operations.  Also study up on stacking/stickering lumber, end sealing logs and lumber, air drying etc.  All of that and so much more is covered in various thread here.  So learning to use the search tool is a very useful skill in this forum.i
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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2018, 08:39:57 PM »
So now that you'll be sawing your own lumber...might as well let me in on that walnut deal :)

Offline Magicman

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2018, 10:35:37 PM »
Add: https://www.timbery.com/  to your list.  Timbery is a Wood-Mizer company.
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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2018, 11:33:46 PM »
I would never build any furniture with air dried lumber. Woodworking 101. Don't do it!
Tools. The only tool I don't have is a sawmill. 😀

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2018, 11:49:40 PM »
So now that you'll be sawing your own lumber...might as well let me in on that walnut deal :)

Check out local auctions. You will be there all day but end up with a truck load of hardwoods for pennies. You will be loading lumber late into the night so plan a whole day and bring a helper! My last auction I loaded my 3500 van with all black walnut. Kiln dried. Sometimes it's a bust. But you can score big %80 of the time. Nobody wants lumber at auctions. I actually passed on about 10,000bf of all choice hardwoods for $10. TEN DOLLARS!! And TWO DELTA UNIs for .25 cents!  I just had no more room. I blew it on that one but was overwhelmed. Custom cabinet shop auction. So why do I want to get a mill...  I don't know why. Lol. I'm getting a kiln also. I don't do air dry.
So I could spend a day at an auction or spend a day in the woods.
Google auction sites and keyword LUMBER. You will see.

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2018, 12:32:17 AM »
I would never build any furniture with air dried lumber. Woodworking 101. Don't do it!


You can, but the extra step is to finish the air drying inside. That takes time and space of course. Commercially it makes sense to use a kiln.

Or live in wetter climate  ;D  I have to run a DH to keep our house DOWN to 60% humidity, so air dried wood is perfectly happy here. 
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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2018, 05:10:44 AM »
Welcome to the forum and I wish you well in your adventure. 
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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2018, 08:18:32 AM »
I would never build any furniture with air dried lumber. Woodworking 101. Don't do it!
Tools. The only tool I don't have is a sawmill. 😀
Air drying is an essential step prior to efficient kiln drying.  Wet green lumber certainly can go into the kiln but the costs of going from green to kiln dried are excessive without a period of proper air drying.  Proper stickering, stacking, end sealing are essential to both.  Commercial operations can shorten their air drying times.  Small operators benefit from air drying to reduce energy necessary to dry the lumber.  

As for tools, I'm a retired industrial arts teacher with 35 plus years of woodworking/furniture/cabinet building, wood cutting, farming and tool collecting.  I thought I had all the tools too, I didn't.  Swapping tools from the shop to the mill is a nuisance I choose not to endure.  YMMV
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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2018, 10:56:35 AM »
I would never build any furniture with air dried lumber. Woodworking 101. Don't do it!
Tools. The only tool I don't have is a sawmill. 😀
Air drying is an essential step prior to efficient kiln drying.  Wet green lumber certainly can go into the kiln but the costs of going from green to kiln dried are excessive without a period of proper air drying.  Proper stickering, stacking, end sealing are essential to both.  Commercial operations can shorten their air drying times.  Small operators benefit from air drying to reduce energy necessary to dry the lumber.  

As for tools, I'm a retired industrial arts teacher with 35 plus years of woodworking/furniture/cabinet building, wood cutting, farming and tool collecting.  I thought I had all the tools too, I didn't.  Swapping tools from the shop to the mill is a nuisance I choose not to endure.  YMMV

ymmv?
 This is my first post and you all have been a wealth of information! Thank you everyone. 
 I think I am going with the Woodland Mills as they seem to be very well-built And their videos seem very informative and honest. I donít think I will get the track extensions as like you said I work with shorter pieces.  I was going to order a 10 pack of blades? 
 More tools! What essential tools would you recommend? Hopefully I have them already.  I wish I never sold my Case 580 CK. I think I could use it for this. 
 Also I learned from an old wood worker not to use air dried lumber? The pieces will just come apart. I donít know everything, improper drying?
 Thank you again everyone!  

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2018, 12:27:48 PM »
Welcome Vender.  I would make sure that you get a mill with a log loading/turning winch which gives you some of the benefits of a hydraulic mill but at a much lower price.  The only manufacturers who make a manual mill with a log turning winch that I'm aware of are Thomas, Norwood, and EZ Boardwalk.  The EZ Boardwalk JR is the only one of those under $5,000

MODEL JR
Junior Sawmill.........................$4300.00
Junior Trailer Package............$400.00
Log Turner (Model JR).....$225.00
Electric Start.....................$250
Total: $5,175

And I say yes to the electric start for two reasons:
1)  You will save a lot of fuel because you will turn the engine off in between cuts.
2)  Your mill will already be set up with a battery and alternator so that electrical modifications in the future will be easy. These mods may include power feeding, power raise/lowering, even hydraulics with 12v hydraulic pumps.

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2018, 12:35:58 PM »
You will absolutely need a cant hook:  Standard Series Cant Hook - Logrite Tools LLC

I favor the 60".  Contact Tammy and tell her that the Forestry Forum sent you. 
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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2018, 12:58:04 PM »
 :)YMMV - "your mileage may vary"  just a way of saying your circumstances might produce different results/needs. ;)

A list of some tools/things I didn't have follow.  Some are small items and some duplicate tools in my shop but when needed they are irreplaceable.  You might be stationary - I do mostly portable milling so most of this stuff is dedicated to the sawmill operation.  I hate having to spend time going to get tools.  I just load my truck and go even if I'm sawing here on the farm.

Cant hooks - 2 long ones - 48" to 60" for log handling.  Short ones 30" or so for rolling cants on the mill.  Logrite makes excellent cant hooks and peavys.  
Several plastic wedges for opening the kerf if you need to back out of a cut.  You will need these less as time goes on.
Extra water jug to fill the lube tank.  It just makes it easier than going to the spigot if it's a long way.
Blade storage and transport containers.
A 12" sheet rock knife for scraping sawdust off finished boards-sawdust left on the boards at best hides the beauty of the wood, at worst starts staining and mold/decay.
A handheld leaf blower (the back pack was a hassle) to clean the mill periodically.  
Extra tape measures - I had several in my shop.  They all seemed to migrate there or to the sawmill truck.  Seemed like I didn't have a tape where I was working.  I bought extras of a different color so some are for the mill the others are for the shop.
I usually wear an apron when sawmilling.  It just helps keep my pockets and clothes freer of sawdust.
A small framing square and a good tri square for checking cants for square and for checking mill alignment. 
A Magicman chain/hook log turner- it is essentially the hook off a cant hook attached to a chain.  It is a simple way to turn or roll a log.  Others use a tow strap.  Look in Magicman's photo gallery, there's a photo there I'm sure.
A carpenters axe or hatchet for trimmimg an odd knot or limb or for driving wedges to open the kerf to back out.
A small collection of wrenches, pliers, Allen wrenches etc for quick repairs or adjustments.  I have a small orange toolbox that goes where the mill goes.
Anchorseal or similar product for end sealing logs and lumber.

Ten blades is a good start.  My suggestion would be get smaller numbers of blades in different profiles- maybe 5 of one and 5 of another (4, 7, 9, 10 degree).  That way you can try different profiles until you know what works best for your sawing needs.  When you purchase your mill talk with them about what species you will be sawing, they will be able to recommend what works with their mill.

As a general rule, you are correct that building fine furniture with air dried lumber is a bad idea if the item will move inside to a heated and air conditioned space.  At its best the moisture content of air dried lumber will be somewhere around 12-15%.  As mentioned above, you can get to the ideal 7-9%  by moving well dried lumber indoors prior to use.   

Again welcome!
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Offline Vender

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2018, 02:35:20 PM »
You will absolutely need a cant hook:  Standard Series Cant Hook - Logrite Tools LLC

I favor the 60".  Contact Tammy and tell her that the Forestry Forum sent you.
Wood handle?  I have a metal one that I just folded in half. 

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2018, 02:49:06 PM »
:)YMMV - "your mileage may vary"  just a way of saying your circumstances might produce different results/needs. ;)

A list of some tools/things I didn't have follow.  Some are small items and some duplicate tools in my shop but when needed they are irreplaceable.  You might be stationary - I do mostly portable milling so most of this stuff is dedicated to the sawmill operation.  I hate having to spend time going to get tools.  I just load my truck and go even if I'm sawing here on the farm.

Cant hooks - 2 long ones - 48" to 60" for log handling.  Short ones 30" or so for rolling cants on the mill.  Logrite makes excellent cant hooks and peavys.  
Several plastic wedges for opening the kerf if you need to back out of a cut.  You will need these less as time goes on.
Extra water jug to fill the lube tank.  It just makes it easier than going to the spigot if it's a long way.
Blade storage and transport containers.
A 12" sheet rock knife for scraping sawdust off finished boards-sawdust left on the boards at best hides the beauty of the wood, at worst starts staining and mold/decay.
A handheld leaf blower (the back pack was a hassle) to clean the mill periodically.  
Extra tape measures - I had several in my shop.  They all seemed to migrate there or to the sawmill truck.  Seemed like I didn't have a tape where I was working.  I bought extras of a different color so some are for the mill the others are for the shop.
I usually wear an apron when sawmilling.  It just helps keep my pockets and clothes freer of sawdust.
A small framing square and a good tri square for checking cants for square and for checking mill alignment.
A Magicman chain/hook log turner- it is essentially the hook off a cant hook attached to a chain.  It is a simple way to turn or roll a log.  Others use a tow strap.  Look in Magicman's photo gallery, there's a photo there I'm sure.
A carpenters axe or hatchet for trimmimg an odd knot or limb or for driving wedges to open the kerf to back out.
A small collection of wrenches, pliers, Allen wrenches etc for quick repairs or adjustments.  I have a small orange toolbox that goes where the mill goes.
Anchorseal or similar product for end sealing logs and lumber.

Ten blades is a good start.  My suggestion would be get smaller numbers of blades in different profiles- maybe 5 of one and 5 of another (4, 7, 9, 10 degree).  That way you can try different profiles until you know what works best for your sawing needs.  When you purchase your mill talk with them about what species you will be sawing, they will be able to recommend what works with their mill.

As a general rule, you are correct that building fine furniture with air dried lumber is a bad idea if the item will move inside to a heated and air conditioned space.  At its best the moisture content of air dried lumber will be somewhere around 12-15%.  As mentioned above, you can get to the ideal 7-9%  by moving well dried lumber indoors prior to use.  

Again welcome!
Thank you!  Thankfully I have that tool list. I use Makitas 18v tools and they sell a 18v blower.  I HIGHLY recommend it. It sounds crazy but that little blower is probably my most used tool. I love that little blower and use it all the time. 
I have heard guys bringing wood inside to finish drying. If I can get down to 7% that will work. 
Again best forum and you all rock!  Most people would bitch me out for not searching but truly reading is next to impossible for me. Double vision. If you are curious I have bilateral Internuclear opthalmoplagia. You all just helped with information. This is really appreciated!!

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2018, 06:39:46 PM »
@Vender,did you click onto one of the pictures that came up in that link? These are aluminum handles. I doubt,under normal usage,these will bend. Get someone that weighs 350 and says I will bend it.....,well that's diffeant.
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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2018, 08:08:16 PM »
You will absolutely need a cant hook:  Standard Series Cant Hook - Logrite Tools LLC

I favor the 60".  Contact Tammy and tell her that the Forestry Forum sent you.
Wood handle?  I have a metal one that I just folded in half.
It was not a Logrite.  ;D
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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2018, 09:38:48 PM »
@Vender,did you click onto one of the pictures that came up in that link? These are aluminum handles. I doubt,under normal usage,these will bend. Get someone that weighs 350 and says I will bend it.....,well that's diffeant.
I did. Time for a good one. Thank you. 

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2018, 11:42:25 PM »
We have a HM 126 with the 9.5 hp engine.  We saw almost exclusively hardwoods and my neighbor saws old oak barn beams.  We use 7 degree blades and can't complain.  The smaller motor works fine for us since we aren't out to set production records.  It starts pretty easy also, no harder than our push mower.  We didn't much care for the 10 degree blade that came on the mill.  We bought Woodmizer 9 degree blades and when I sharpen them I grind them to the 7 degree setting and it seems to work best on the hardwoods.  I have an egraver and mark each blade when they are sharpened to keep records of the times sharpened and set, etc...  Figure out how you are going to handle your blades so you have a plan on keeping them sharp.  I'm a blade changer...  If I even think it might be starting to get dull, CHANGE IT.

Welcome to the world of owning a sawmill.  We got ours because we have 63 acres of woods and hate to see any of it go to waste.  We will have it commercially timbered when it is ready, but the cullings and smaller stuff works for most of our lumber needs around the farm here.

That EZ boardwalk Jr. looks like a pretty good set up too.  
Always having a great day!
041 farm boss, MS 391, MS 250, HM-126, Ferguson TO-35, '97 Ram 1500 wood cuttin' truck, splitter, Woodland Mills Grindlux 4000 sharpener, Vogelzang Ponderosa keeping us warm

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Re: Purchasing my first sawmill
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2018, 01:25:31 PM »
Iím with you on a sharp blade. Iím the same way with my chainsaws.

OK I am ready to order my Woodland Mills HM126.
I am going with the bigger motor. I like HP.
ANYTHING you can suggest before I push the button?
Discount codes??


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