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Author Topic: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback  (Read 2856 times)

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Offline blderman

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New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« on: November 24, 2018, 09:44:32 PM »
Hi All,

I am new here so I apologize if this has already been asked; I spent about two hours doing some research but didn't come to any definitive conclusion.  I have been a General Contractor for 24yrs and relocated my company to NE Oregon last year.  There is a pretty good market here for custom cut millwork so I would like to invest in a sawmill for the occasional job that may pop up along with my own woodworking needs.  I don't intend on this being an integral part of my business rather a service I can offer instead of relying on the local sawmill.  My ideal budget would be less than $5,000.  I have narrowed it down a Norwood LM29, WM HM130 or Woodmaax SM-26.  Any feedback on those three models would be appreciated or perhaps another model I haven't thought of.  I don't believe there are any dealers near me so that aspect is irrelevant.  Basically looking for the best bang for the buck; right now I am really leaning towards the HM130 on a trailer.   Thanks in advance for any help! 


Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2018, 10:08:48 PM »
   Welcome to the Forum. No comment on your mills listed. Just questions. Tons of them. What support equipment do you have. More on the "Millwork" you want to do. What is your source for logs? Are you going to kiln dry the lumber or do you have a source for KD services? Do you plan to saw mobile or stationary (Yeah, I saw your comment about HM 130 on a trailer). Are you planning on sawing alone or will you have a helper? Have you ever run a mill? Ever watched one in operation? You might want to visit a few in use to see the features, pros & cons. 

    Before you commit you might want to take a log or two to a local sawyer or have one come out and custom saw some project lumber for you. Good luck.
Howard Green
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Offline Lawg Dawg

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2018, 10:14:52 PM »
I think you would like that trailer!  Just do it!
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2018, 11:05:12 PM »
Welcome to the Forum.  WV's advice about working with a sawyer or two for a couple days is the best advice anybody can give you.  I would add to it that if at all possible try to spend a day with a manual mill and one with a hydraulic mill so you can have some first hand experience in how each operates and how they would fit into your desires and needs.  Best advice I was ever given when it comes to mills was to spend the extra money and get a hydarulic one.  Each person has their own circumstances, but you can make a much more informed decision if you have invested a little sweat equity into the education process.    
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Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2018, 12:13:30 AM »
  Welcome to the Forum. No comment on your mills listed. Just questions. Tons of them. What support equipment do you have. More on the "Millwork" you want to do. What is your source for logs? Are you going to kiln dry the lumber or do you have a source for KD services? Do you plan to saw mobile or stationary (Yeah, I saw your comment about HM 130 on a trailer). Are you planning on sawing alone or will you have a helper? Have you ever run a mill? Ever watched one in operation? You might want to visit a few in use to see the features, pros & cons.

    Before you commit you might want to take a log or two to a local sawyer or have one come out and custom saw some project lumber for you. Good luck.


HI WV, 

Thanks for all the questions.  

- I have access to a Mini Excavator whenever I want it.  Also plan on rigging up an overhead winch above the sawmill and have plans to purchase a Telehandler in the spring.
- Millwork would primarily be rough sawn mantles, timbers, trim components and tables.  Nothing S4S or anything like that.  My source will be standing dead on my own property along with private timber that is all around me.  Juniper is in high demand for removal from properties so I plan on milling a lot of that. 
- I will probably make some sort of Kiln at some point in my pole barn.  However, the climate where I live is very dry with little moisture so I my main plan is to put the sawn lumber on open racks in my pole barn or in my heated shop. 
-Sawmill use would primarily be stationary with the very rare occasion of taking it to a jobsite.  I have been building commercial and residential projects solo for a very long time so I don't have any plans of having a helper for the sawmill either.  That being said I do have three employees that could pitch in if I needed the help. 
-Seen plenty in operation but never ran one.  Have used lots of 16 1/4" beam saws and large chainsaws though.  



Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2018, 12:33:54 AM »
Welcome to the Forum.  WV's advice about working with a sawyer or two for a couple days is the best advice anybody can give you.  I would add to it that if at all possible try to spend a day with a manual mill and one with a hydraulic mill so you can have some first hand experience in how each operates and how they would fit into your desires and needs.  Best advice I was ever given when it comes to mills was to spend the extra money and get a hydarulic one.  Each person has their own circumstances, but you can make a much more informed decision if you have invested a little sweat equity into the education process.    

Thank you and I am sure that is right but a hydraulic one simply isn't in the cards for me right now.  Money wise I need to start small and then see how things go. 


Offline Ianab

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2018, 01:02:23 AM »
Thank you and I am sure that is right but a hydraulic one simply isn't in the cards for me right now.  Money wise I need to start small and then see how things go. 


Wise. 

If you can buy a "hobby" level sawmill, and start sawing there are 3 possible outcomes. 

1 - the mill will do everything you need, and you will saw lots of stuff over the coming years. 
2 - You will learn how to saw, develop some contacts and markets, and figure you can sell the mill, and justify upgrading to a better machine. You now know what you are doing with a sawmill, and have a working business plan. 
3 -  You decide it's all too hard, so you sell the mill and get most of your money back. 

All the mills you mention "work as advertised". I suggest you might want to look at a kiln and a shaper / moulding machine next. Being able to saw out the boards is only the first step. You need to get it dry, and then machine it before it's any use. But solar kilns, decent planers  and shapers are options too.

And ditto the advice to go and see some mills actually working. Gives you a good idea of the logistic of setting up operating a mill, then you can apply that to your situation / support equipment / helpers. 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline hturner12

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2018, 05:37:28 AM »
Be an offloader for a day, if you can move the next day look at the mill. If your sore all over  give it a second  thought
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Offline Pabene

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2018, 05:51:06 AM »
I have a mill with a capacity of 32" log diameter. The problem as I have, rather often, is that the mill has a limitation to cut deep. A good design rule for mills would be to be able to cut a little more in deep than in diameter. (I am sorry for my English).
If you have cut a wide slab/board, it is good to be able to fix it vertical and split it in two parts. If you want to quarter saw a big log it is good to be able to cut it in the pit or some inch below the pit.
Thimberking has that design and I have also seen some of the Wood-Mizer to. What you would look for is a mill with an "open saw frame" so there is space over the blade all the way up to the guard for the upper part of the blade. It is a mill design as are the best in my opinion.

Offline redneckman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2018, 07:32:25 AM »
As far as deciding on a manual vs a hydrulic mill; my advice is buy you a Logrite cant hook and go to a local sawmill and ask if you can practice turning some logs.  Do that for about 3 hours on logs from 12" and up in diameter.  After that, your question will be answered.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2018, 10:18:41 AM »
blderman,welcome to the forum.
I have an all manual mill. A Thomas,made in Maine,a very rugged mill.That's why my signature line is,If I Don't Do It,It Don't Get Done.
I only saw for myself. I never wanted to saw for others. First off I don't have time and if I need some money I can cut a load of wood off my land.
A manual mill is ALOT of work. I only use mine to saw out an out building. And they are slow,very slow. I suppose if you had 2-3 guys that was dumb enough to do all the work and you stay at the sawing part than they would be fast. ;D
I have a 40hp tractor that is my support equipment. Need some way to get the logs to the mill. I put my logs onto 2 small logs and use 2 pieces of iron flat stock and roll the logs on to the mill. I try to keep the tractor away from the mill. I don't want to drop a log on the mill or hit the mill with the loader.
Buy a cantdog or a peavey from Logrite,sponsor on the left. I think a cantdog would be better for you. Does not leave marks on the wood like a pevey would. You will need one of those to turn and work the logs on the mill.
There is a nice thread about bugs in wood that has not been kiln dried that I have been reading. Give that some thought.
Good luck to whatever you decide.
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Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2018, 11:49:23 AM »
Thank you for all the feedback thus far.  I am honestly not concerned about the physical aspect of it whatsoever.  I pack lumber all day framing houses and roll 30+ foot glu-lam beams all the time without equipment.  I won't be advertising that I mill lumber it will just be something I can do during the construction of a home.  For example one of the houses I am building now the owner wants a standing dead juniper on his property milled into a couple of mantles and some seat benches all of which would be less than 16" wide and no more than 4" thick.  Without a mill I have to load it up onto a flatbed, drive it 20 miles to the local guy with a mill, pay him $350 to cut everything up and then bring it all back.  Since I want a mill for hobby woodworking it makes sense in my mind that I could also use it for occasional jobs like this and save a lot of trouble hauling wood to town.   With that being said are any of the mills I listed better than the other for this type of use?   


Offline hturner12

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2018, 01:12:18 PM »
Every mill owner is going to say their  is best. With a 5 k  budget  there is a whole range. If you not checked them out look at the EZBordwalk the jr  without ext will cut 30" x 12. Mine  has electric start, 5 ft extention and trailer package was 5300. Mennonite  build in MO. Before zi found  the I was looking at the Woodmax
Hugh
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Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2018, 01:59:20 PM »
Every mill owner is going to say their  is best. With a 5 k  budget  there is a whole range. If you not checked them out look at the EZBordwalk the jr  without ext will cut 30" x 12. Mine  has electric start, 5 ft extention and trailer package was 5300. Mennonite  build in MO. Before zi found  the I was looking at the Woodmax
Did the $5300 include shipping? 


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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2018, 03:34:55 PM »
I drove out and picked  it up. Shipping to Ga was 700. If I had it shipped sould not have got the trailer kit. If you pick it up all you have to do is put the  blade on
Hugh
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Offline 47sawdust

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2018, 04:20:17 PM »
Have you given any thought to a Linn Lumber mill?They are a quality product made in Oregon with free delivery on orders placed in November.Very nice people and they have been at a while.
Mick
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Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2018, 06:21:56 PM »
Have you given any thought to a Linn Lumber mill?They are a quality product made in Oregon with free delivery on orders placed in November.Very nice people and they have been at a while.
Never even heard of them, I will look into their product.  Thank you. 

Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2018, 10:34:31 PM »
Need to look at the woodmizer line Lt10 or LT15, These people know what they are doing and have it well engineered.  I looked at Norwood etc. but the mill frame work was not up to par.  Never had a problem with LT15.  Also with manual vs hydro.   Never had problems with turning logs on bunks, rollers on the ends of stops worth it.  Key is get the mill bed up to knee level, I used blocks and timbers.  I guess it really depends on how much you plan on cutting per day.  Anyway the way I look at it is I belong to Club woodmizer and it is better than going to the gym and working out on those weight machines.  The manual has kept me in shape, lowered my blood sugar and stimulated my brain cells
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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2018, 10:35:00 PM »
I have WM 126, I wish I had bought the 130 with one extension, and the trailer from the get go. I did get the extension, and plan on building a trailer this winter. The WM seems good so far, it is well built. I didn't think I needed a trailer then we got rain 3 days a week for 2 months. The area I set up to cut in is a mud pit now! It was always a good dry area. There are expenses beyond the mill itself. You need to get logs to and on the mill, store and dry wood, skin the bark off, buck 24" logs, sharpen blades, or send them out, etc.. It all takes some sort of gear.
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Offline JB Griffin

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2018, 12:20:30 AM »
If I was in the market for a manual mill, I would not look anywhere but ezboardwalk. Best little mill on the market.
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Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2018, 01:03:25 AM »
Need to look at the woodmizer line Lt10 or LT15, These people know what they are doing and have it well engineered.  I looked at Norwood etc. but the mill frame work was not up to par.  Never had a problem with LT15.  Also with manual vs hydro.   Never had problems with turning logs on bunks, rollers on the ends of stops worth it.  Key is get the mill bed up to knee level, I used blocks and timbers.  I guess it really depends on how much you plan on cutting per day.  Anyway the way I look at it is I belong to Club woodmizer and it is better than going to the gym and working out on those weight machines.  The manual has kept me in shape, lowered my blood sugar and stimulated my brain cells
I am actually reconsidering a Woodmizer right now as their Oregon office is 300 miles from me and I could go pick up the mill instead of paying for delivery.  There are a few things I don't like about their mills but it's probably things I can fix myself over time. 

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2018, 04:06:55 AM »
If I was in the market for a manual mill, I would not look anywhere but ezboardwalk. Best little mill on the market.

Stanton and his boys are great to work with.

Hugh
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Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2018, 12:00:43 AM »
Well I found out a guy in town has a Linn 1900 so I went and looked at it tonight.  I really like the simplicity and strength of the design.  He has been running his daily for 10yrs and said it hardly ever needs any work or adjustments.  I am pretty sold with one exception and that is I don't like the location of the height adjustment handle.  With the mill on a trailer it's almost impossible to reach and I am 6'1".  Has anyone seen this modified where the handle is lower on the mill?  I don't want electric as that is just something else to fail. 


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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2018, 10:39:15 AM »
I don't think you would ever regret having power up/down or power feed for that matter.Loading and turning logs and handling all the material you saw will be physical activity enough.Strongly encourage the added power option.The mfg.will be there if needed.
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Offline proptorudder

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2018, 11:00:09 AM »
Hello and welcome. Im also a new member. I built the Linn 1900 and definitely agree that the height adjustment is not very handy. Im not going to add an axle to mine but it still gives you a workout raising the head. Im considering a small 1 to 1 right angle gearbox and adding a shaft extension to the vertical output shaft so I can lower the crank handle and change the cranking motion from the horizontal to the vertical plane. I have added rollers to the post slides that helped a lot with the cranking. I also designed a different blade roller guide that makes adjustments very simple.

 

 

 

    

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2018, 11:27:43 AM »
Oops sorry. Thought you were building a mill. Not sure Ill ever figure out how to maneuver around on this site. By the way how do you delete a post?

Offline Skipper11A

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2018, 11:28:47 AM »
Well I found out a guy in town has a Linn 1900 so I went and looked at it tonight.  I really like the simplicity and strength of the design.  He has been running his daily for 10yrs and said it hardly ever needs any work or adjustments.  I am pretty sold with one exception and that is I don't like the location of the height adjustment handle.  With the mill on a trailer it's almost impossible to reach and I am 6'1".  Has anyone seen this modified where the handle is lower on the mill?  I don't want electric as that is just something else to fail.
The Linn 1900 looks like a great mill, but I think you'd have to get the power up/down option due to the manual crank's position on top of the carriage (Looks really awkward!).  Get their 12V motor and you can run it off the battery in the carriage.  You might also consider upgrading to the 25HP motor If you expect to be cutting wide slabs on your mill.

I remember now that the Linn mill's hand crank position was the primary reason I did not buy their kit, and instead bought the EZ Boardwalk  which has the best manual up/down system of any of the manual mills I have seen.  The EZ Boardwalk's up/down system is spring assisted cranking up but gravity fed free wheeling down.  Super fast and smooth going down while you are watching the scale, and apply the brake to stop the crank when you get down to your next cut.  But again, I really like the Linn mill but I would have to have the 12VDC up/down option on mine.

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2018, 11:51:29 AM »
Hello and welcome. Im also a new member. I built the Linn 1900 and definitely agree that the height adjustment is not very handy. Im not going to add an axle to mine but it still gives you a workout raising the head. Im considering a small 1 to 1 right angle gearbox and adding a shaft extension to the vertical output shaft so I can lower the crank handle and change the cranking motion from the horizontal to the vertical plane. I have added rollers to the post slides that helped a lot with the cranking. I also designed a different blade roller guide that makes adjustments very simple.
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Thanks for posting the mods you did.  I wish I could do that, I can build anything out of wood but welding I haven't figure out yet.  Would you mind sharing why you went with the Linn over some of the other options? 

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2018, 12:41:14 PM »
blderman, if you fill out your profile some more including your location I bet you can find someone to help you with any welding you would need. 

I built a Linn Lumber mill and do not regret doing it. I do agree 1000000000% about the crank location. I put a 12 volt wheelchair motor on mine for raising and lowering. I left the crank in place. So if the motor does fail I can still use the crank. It won;t be the most comfortable but in a pinch I can finish what I am doing and fix it later.

I went to visit Ox, he built a Linn mill as well. he added an extra arm with a jackshaft, chains and sprockets to lower the handle to a much more manageable location. 

When I was building mine and trying to get the mast setup properly after about the third time taking it from the bottom to top I decided the hand crank had to go. That is when I bought the motor for it. I definitely do not regret doing that upgrade.

Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2018, 01:25:15 PM »
blderman, if you fill out your profile some more including your location I bet you can find someone to help you with any welding you would need.

I built a Linn Lumber mill and do not regret doing it. I do agree 1000000000% about the crank location. I put a 12 volt wheelchair motor on mine for raising and lowering. I left the crank in place. So if the motor does fail I can still use the crank. It won;t be the most comfortable but in a pinch I can finish what I am doing and fix it later.

I went to visit Ox, he built a Linn mill as well. he added an extra arm with a jackshaft, chains and sprockets to lower the handle to a much more manageable location.

When I was building mine and trying to get the mast setup properly after about the third time taking it from the bottom to top I decided the hand crank had to go. That is when I bought the motor for it. I definitely do not regret doing that upgrade.
I live in Baker City, Or.  I know plenty of welders but I am trying to keep my cost and time investment into this at a minimum, at least to start anyway.  Sounds like if I go with the Linn mill I will have no choice but to go with the electric raise/lower option.  That doesn't thrill me as it routinely gets below 0 here and all the other electric motors I have don't hold up well to that kind of cold.   
BTW, your build looked awesome. I wish I could weld like that. 

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2018, 01:52:16 PM »
Thanks. if you were closer I could give you lessons.

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2018, 04:36:53 PM »
When it gets below zero there aren't many who will be sawing.
Mick
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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2018, 06:01:41 PM »
Frozen logs make for a whole new sawing experience, and it's usually not a very good one. 
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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2018, 07:35:18 PM »
Come on Southside. Frozen logs are so much fun. Sometimes you won't have to add stickers from all the waves :D
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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2018, 10:03:39 PM »
Hello and welcome. Im also a new member. I built the Linn 1900 and definitely agree that the height adjustment is not very handy. Im not going to add an axle to mine but it still gives you a workout raising the head. Im considering a small 1 to 1 right angle gearbox and adding a shaft extension to the vertical output shaft so I can lower the crank handle and change the cranking motion from the horizontal to the vertical plane. I have added rollers to the post slides that helped a lot with the cranking. I also designed a different blade roller guide that makes adjustments very simple.
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Thanks for posting the mods you did.  I wish I could do that, I can build anything out of wood but welding I haven't figure out yet.  Would you mind sharing why you went with the Linn over some of the other options
I chose Linn Lumber because they offered the plans, complete sawmills or everything in between. I enjoy fabrication and figured if I couldnt make a components I would be able to purchase it. It worked out that I was able to make most all the parts other than the obvious purchase parts.

Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #35 on: November 28, 2018, 08:14:01 PM »
Every mill owner is going to say their  is best. With a 5 k  budget  there is a whole range. If you not checked them out look at the EZBordwalk the jr  without ext will cut 30" x 12. Mine  has electric start, 5 ft extention and trailer package was 5300. Mennonite  build in MO. Before zi found  the I was looking at the Woodmax
What is the width between guides on the EZ? I can't find info on that and have had a chance to call Stanton.

Offline blderman

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #36 on: December 01, 2018, 11:04:38 AM »
We'll I decided on the EZ Jr, placed the order yesterday.  Got the trailer package, log turner, electric start, 5' extension and am having it painted black.  I'd like to get some 4 degree blades for hardwood and 9-10 degree for softwood.  Any suggestions other than the Timberwolf blades?

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2018, 10:10:10 PM »
I started milling like you plan to. I've had a small 10 hp mill that worked well, sawed logs for a customer and he made an offer to buy the mill and off it went. I upgraded to the Norwood Lumbermate 2000 manual mill. I've sawn 1000's of bd. ft. of mostly hardwoods. Mill has the 23 hp engine, trailer pkg, and manual loader that I can turn a 3,500 lb log with the turn of the crank on the winch loader. Now that I'm 72 yrs young, it would be nice to have hydraulics. You might want to look at the new Norwood mills like the HD 36 that can start as manual and add hydraulics later. They have a lot of log handling mods. on the mill that really speed up log handling. My mill has been very durable and the only mod I've added is the ceramic guides that work very well.

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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2018, 11:02:31 PM »
   As to blades you might contact Woodmizer. I thought they provide blades other than for their mills. Check with them - the worst they can say is no. If you get them from them you should be able to use their re-sharp if you want to do so. Good luck.
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Re: New to Sawmills-Looking for Feedback
« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2018, 10:11:43 AM »
We'll I decided on the EZ Jr, placed the order yesterday.  Got the trailer package, log turner, electric start, 5' extension and am having it painted black.  I'd like to get some 4 degree blades for hardwood and 9-10 degree for softwood.  Any suggestions other than the Timberwolf blades?
You ordered all the right options for that mill and you'll be very happy that you did.  If you didn't order the blade sharpener, with the diamond wheel, you might reconsider because it will allow you to put any degree blade angle you want on your blades.  That blade sharpener totally saved me when I bought 10 Timberwolf blades but discovered that almost all of my wood needed 4 blades.

But you live in Oregon and I'm not sure you will need 4 blades with the types of trees you have up there.  Not all hardwoods need a 4 blade, only the extremely hard to cut types like Pecan, White oak, Mesquite, and I don't remember seeing any of those growing in Oregon.  You might consider starting with 10 blades and get some experience.  Then decide if you need something different than the standard 10 blade. 


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