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Author Topic: sawmill build*very novice*  (Read 1518 times)

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Offline ry597

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sawmill build*very novice*
« on: February 16, 2019, 08:25:53 PM »
so im in the process of getting started to build my first sawmill. I feel overwhelmed, i don't know how to tackle a project that big. I know nothing about sawmills, if someone could do me a quick rundown that would be great! im located in the north east so we don't have huge trees. my plans are to mill pine and spruce for timber framing then in the future i would like to start milling hardwood. If someone could give actual dimension and information it wouls be great!Also id like to know what size motor i would need ? 

thanks everyone

Offline Mike W

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2019, 08:38:02 PM »
Welcome to the FF ry597

you should post this thread in the Sawmilling section of the FF network.  a huge amount of very knowledgeable folks here on FF that will chime in with all kinds of questions and thoughts to help you along with this upcoming project of yours.  There are several saw mill build threads already on this topic, should check those out you will obtain a lot of information that would lead you to asking more specific questions based off the new information absorbed from these other threads, most likely, a lot of your questions will be answered through these previous threads and narrow down what is left to answer what would best suit your specific wants/needs.  Best of luck and again welcome.

Online BargeMonkey

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2019, 09:59:18 PM »
 Band or circle mill ? Honestly it's a buyers market for used bandmills. Alot goes into putting a mill together, sourcing the correct parts, not something the average person wants to attempt because by the time you correct something for the 3rd time your further ahead on a used low hr mill. 

Offline thecfarm

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2019, 08:18:53 AM »
ry597,welcome to the forum.
Lots of builders on here.
But not knowing nothing about a mill.... :o   But saying that,it has and can be done. Takes know how,things to cut the metal with,clamps,to hold in place,the experience to weld,not just to put two pieces together and make it hold,but to keep it from warping.
I myself have a 20 hp motor. I only saw for myself,but it's enough for what I need. It's a manual mill.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline ry597

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2019, 06:20:12 PM »
Thanks everyone for the replys!! I want to clarify something, i know the basic of a sawmill, its a slidding platform on 2 rails. from what ive seen from a woodmizer lt10, a belt goes from the crank pully to a little pully thats attached to one of the 2 wheels that spins the blade. the build i want to do is a bandsaw mill, something like the woodmizer lt10. still not sure about what size i need for a motor? trees here don't exceed 2 feet wide. im not sure about what to use for wheels that spins the blade? also not sure about the mecanism that brings the platform up and down. im pretty sure they are guidelines. im a great welder and fabricator if someone would have a blueprint or something on paper that i could base myself on? i was told that they are alots of builder on this forum that could help me get my dimensions right!

Offline Kwill

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2019, 08:05:28 PM »
Most of your questions depends on your budget. As far as engine/ motor size are you going electric gas or diesel? Best thing to do is watch alot of you tube videos look at build threads here maybe purchase a set of plans then come up with your own plan. I built my own and am somewhat happy with it. If i had it all to do over it would have been built very different. go for the biggest engine your budget will alow. Purchase a good set of blade guides such as cooks . Try to stay with a common blade size. As far as raise and lower i started with cable raise then went to acme thread and today i removed the acme thread and going back to cable and winch with electric motor. 
Built my own hydraulic splitter
Built my own outdoor wood stove
Built my own log arch
built my own bandsaw sawmill
Built my own atv log arch.
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Offline charles mann

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2019, 08:28:35 PM »
so going off the size of logs, and the capacity of the WM lt10/15. why not use a comparable sized power plant they use. it is already proven to work? why reinvent the wheel? some use car rim & tires, some use balanced steel/cast iron wheels for the band drive and idle wheels. there are plans out on the market on certain websites for purchase, and some of those sites sell the parts and pieces needed to build a mill. as others have stated, use the search engine in the saw milling section and type in bandmill build and see what pops up. many members have built their own, some from scratch, scrounging around for parts and metal, bartering for stuff they don't have. but in all honesty, why not just buy a used, or heck, even a new lt 10/15, or a hud-son or a timber king, somewhere between $4,000-$6,000 for a new mill? 
are you wanting "portable" or stationary? internal combustion or electric, manual or powered for feed and raise/lower?

go to linnlumber.com and see what they offer for kits, what they offer for parts to build your own and compare the cost of buying it all to build, vs. buying already built. it looks like US prices are a lil cheaper than the canadian prices, so pre-built might actually be more expensive, but what would shipping cost, plus parts for the stuff you can't source locally? 

use the search engine for the builds and see what is there and use google to search for sawmill parts and kits and see what is out there. there are so many variables, that its hard to pin point builds for ea and everyone. my build, the machine that is capable of cutting the width I'm building, cast around $70,000 and that is before bringing in 3 phase power, IF it would even be offered in my area. so, I'm build my own. but now that I'm into this build $9,000 already, i should have taken the advice of some on here and paid someone who does have that $70k mill, to mill my stuff and move on. i could use the profits from the big timber to buy outright, an lt40 or 50 or similar competitor's mills. 
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Offline ry597

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2019, 11:47:31 AM »
i was searching for the right term sorry,cast wheels were the words i was looking for. i believe that they require ti be a certain diameter and a certain widht if im not mistaking? the wood that we have here rarely exceed 16-18inch. here in canada there is no market for used sawmill. no in the east from what ive seen. thats where i had the idea to build one. my idea is going to a tractor supply store and buy all the right parts for the drive system but im unsure of the dimensions. something like a lt10 would be perfect for me. i found a 11.5 honda motor i think it will good enough for now. ive seen some bandsaw mills running a subaru sp-21 which is a whopping 7 hp lol. for the most part it will stay at the same place, it will maybe move to another location in the future but it won't be travelling that much. building the rails is a piece of cake. its the drive system and macnism thats a different storie... if i could get dimensions for the cast wheels and blade it would help me alot. i heard that you can get customs blades for a sawmill that you build yourself?? i don't know which company does that? i have searched before on other posts but can't seem to find detailed information. ive had more luck on my post then on other peoples posts. thansk alot for everyone replying!!

Offline charles mann

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2019, 11:16:21 PM »
Portable Sawmill Parts,

you can use this link to get an idea of the parts you will need, but you can also go to cooks saw, which is a sponsor for FF, but their site is currently down for maint. cooks doesn't offer as much for parts as linn does, but its another option. you can also try surplus center Surplus Center for other parts.

there is a WM dealer in NS, about a 4 hr drive from new brunswick. it may be a long drive, but maybe making a day trip there, see what they have, take some measurements and lots of pictures and then search the above site to see if you can piece together a mill cheaper than what WM sells their lt10 for ($5200) and you can make it what you want with added features that are not offered on those smaller mills. 

check out here too
Crusarius’ sawmill build - started with Linn Lumber basic kit in Sawmills and Milling

and there id another member that has a home made mill, Den-Den and see if there are pics in is gallery. 
the above FF link is pretty detailed and pic heavy, with a good bit of explanation and description of his build. he started with the linn lumber kit too. 

as for the lt10, i know its a good haul just to get ideas and pics, but actually seeing 1 in person may help with a lot of your planning and building. i drove about 4 hrs myself to visit the local dealer here in tx, and will be going back, but will also visit the portland oregon office since i will be in the area this weekend and all of next week for work. I'm having problems wrapping my head around the lifting mechanism, and hopefully they have something in the lx series to help with my monkey see, monkey do mind set.  

 
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Offline charles mann

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2019, 11:27:18 PM »
oh, as for custom bands, wm, kasco and cooks offer custom blades. but if you could take measurements of a lt 10/15 band wheels, you could get those size wheels, and put your center to center at the same distance as the 10/15 and you wouldn't have to buy custom bands. i need to order custom bands of around 26 feet circumference and the lead time from both WM and kasco is roughly 2wks. so keep the lead time in mind if go out of normal bands and building to the dimension of a know stocked size band will greatly expedite your availability in case you crap out your on hand stock and need to replenish asap. 
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Offline ry597

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2019, 09:17:26 PM »
Thats really not a bad idea!! i tried screenshoting sawmill videos and replicate their design on paper but its too hard. maybe if id go to a dealer i could get a better perspective. WD don't put much specs on their website either. Nova scotia isn't that far away its about a 6 hour drive but i think its well worth it. i didn't even knew they had a dealership near me. i think i have the infomation i need to get started. I wish you good luck with your mill and id like to thank you for your messages. It helped me big time!!

Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2019, 09:42:14 PM »
I think there are sites that sell plans on how to build a bandmill, with all the kinks worked out.
Woodmizer LT-15, Ross Pony #1 planner, Ford 2600 tractor, Stihl chainsaws, Kubota rtv900

Offline charles mann

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2019, 10:25:07 PM »
Thats really not a bad idea!! i tried screenshoting sawmill videos and replicate their design on paper but its too hard. maybe if id go to a dealer i could get a better perspective. WD don't put much specs on their website either. Nova scotia isn't that far away its about a 6 hour drive but i think its well worth it. i didn't even knew they had a dealership near me. i think i have the infomation i need to get started. I wish you good luck with your mill and id like to thank you for your messages. It helped me big time!!
WM specs on the lt10 minus the band wheel size. 
LT10 Portable Sawmill| Portable Sawmills & Wood Processing Equipment
Cutting Capacities
Log Length11' (3.3m) or no limit
Log Diameter24" (610mm)
Production Ratesup to 160 bd ft/hr (.37m³/hr)
Operation
Feed SystemManual Push
Up/DownManual
Product Dimensions
Length14' 4" (4.4m)
Width5' 4¾" (1.6m)
Height (max head position)5' 10¾ (1.8m) 
WeightMill 660 lbs (299kg) 
Skid 150 lbs (68kg) 
Other 
Blades .042" (1mm) thick x 1.25" (32mm) wide x 144" (3.67m) long
Bed Extension Unlimited 7' sections 
Blade Lubrication Water lube - manual valve 
Warranty / Money Back Guarantee 2 yr / 30 Day 
Locations for WM dealers
International Locations
 Nova Scotia
546 Stewart Hill Rd PO Box 8
Upper Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia B0N 2M0 
Canada
 +1 902 568 2980
 +1 877 866 0667
its not a full set of plans to copy the lt10, but it gives enough info for some of your needs, especially band blade length so you don't have to custom order bands. 
be sure to take a tape measure with you to measure the band wheels and see if linn lumber has, which I'm sure they do, band wheels. offer to buy someones band that is worn out and will need to be scrapped/thrown away, so you can set your wheels up on a piece of sq tubing so you can get a lay out of where the wheels need to be positioned. heck, you could even use poster or card board to do a layout and make cut outs so you measure 2x and cut once. 
do a youtube search for home made bandsaw mills. there are BUNCH of small size builds that you can watch and get an idea of how others have done it and with what. then search the net to see what parts are out there and where, cost and so forth. 
google, bing, youtube are your friends. don't be afraid to use them. 
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Offline ry597

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2019, 05:11:38 PM »
nice!!! awsome that you could find the blade specs, like you said it will help me alot.I will order one because i really doubt that i could find a used one. A couple of youtubers have a lt10 i could give them a message if they want to send me their used blades. now that i can figure out the drive system, the rest will be a piece of cake.

Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2019, 06:26:36 PM »
You could just buy the LT10, cost about $3,995 US, instead of trying to copy it.  I know they have all the kinks worked out and they have tight engineering and they know what they are doing. Just saying!
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Offline charles mann

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2019, 10:56:48 AM »
All i did was click on “specifications” on the lt10, then copied and pasted the info in the reply box.

But im in agreement with woodpecker, just buy the lt10. Its around $5,000 canadian, compared to the $4,000 usd. 
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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2019, 12:51:35 PM »
Thanks for the link Charles. 

ry597, check out my build. It may help you quite a bit. if you have any questions I be more than happy to answer them.

When I started my build I had seen maybe 3 different mills. Every mill I saw had one really nice feature I wanted. So instead of deciding which one to buy on my limited budget I decided to build one. 

I had zero sawmill experience when I started. Now version 1.0 is for sale while I work on designing version 2.0 now that I know what I really wanted the first build :)

One more thing. The company I work for uses 1.25" wide steel banding for palletizing goods. I went to the shipping department and had them make me a 158" loop of 1.25" banding. 158" is common length for a blade. Now I have a setup blade that does not bite nearly as bad as a real band.

I am still modifying my current mill and need to go get a 176" loop made so I can set it up to handle dual width.

I also run 22 hp predator engine from HF. engine has been great. Little cold blooded but has plenty of power so far.

Offline ry597

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2019, 05:11:44 PM »
in further note the sawmill i will be building will be more similar to the lt15 then the lt10. I will build the frame from 2x6 box tubing which is what the lt15 uses. i know its not that expensive to buy but i have a great parts supply store, a huge garage with a good quality mig and stick setup. I will calculate how much it will cost before for sure. i recently missed a 22 hp engine for 200$. that would have made the build very cheap. customs piece can be made in college for free. ypu supply the material and they cut it out on the cncc machine then they use other machines to make it within specs. if i can piece something together in the 1000-2000$ it would cost me half the price of buying a new machine. 

Offline ry597

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2019, 05:27:04 PM »
Hello Crusarius. I appreciate your help!! since you are familiar with blades lenght and size i have a couple of question for you! i imagine the idler pully and cast wheels need to be a certain diameter in order for the blade to spin fast enough? i have looked at several other mills but the ones that i prefer is WD! the build i want to make would be like a lt10/lt15 hybrid. something rigid with box tubing in the range of 12-20 hp depending on what i will find. that will mill in the range of 24-26inch wide. it will mostly be softwood so i don't see the need to have plenty of hp. i will mill hardwood in the future to make furniture and other projets. i will do the project on paper or on a computer before starting the build so i can share with others and i could have something to follow!

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Re: sawmill build*very novice*
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2019, 05:53:08 PM »
I have 19" bandwheels with a 14" drive pulley and a 4" centrifugal clutch coming off the engine. My mill was built to handle a 36" diameter log. I can cut 20' long. I have 31" between the guides with that wheel combination. If you wanted to play with other combinations you could get more but do sacrifice blade life because you will be flexing it more.

The following statements are just what I have experienced with my mill so take it for what its worth.

I have cut walnut, oak, hickory, spruce, pine, cherry and some basswood. Of all those the hardwoods cut so much better for me. The softwoods challenged me every step of the way. I had some crazy wavy cuts in the softwoods. I think some of that was from drive belt tension and some from blade tension. But I feel that the softwoods demand much more respect and HP than the hardwoods.

I may be completely wrong here but that is what I have personally experienced. So others may have varying opinions.

I went with the 22hp predator from harbor freight for 2 reasons. I wanted the biggest engine I could get for the best price. I wanted to get a nice quiet honda but the 21hp hondas started about 2300. I can put three predators on my mill for the cost of one honda. Keep an eye on them they go on sale for $650 sometimes. If you are scared its almost worth buying a spare :)


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