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Author Topic: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE  (Read 1036 times)

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Offline seaview

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Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« on: February 19, 2019, 08:48:45 PM »
This may sound like a 'past past already hashed' question but is not; small economical few option gas mill vs wide fully featured diesel expensive sawmill. LT35HD gas vs LT40HD WIDE Diesel

My situation---I live on a farm on West Coast in BC Canada; we have a LT15 Wide electric auto feed with a S300 Bobcat & grapple. Lots of large cedar and fir logs piled up ready to cut. Thing is I am a 65 yrs old recreational sawyer and find the manual LT15 challenging... but doable. Want to hurry things along while saving my finely tuned body, so was thinking to pick up a hydraulic mill that we can sell down the road when we have enough lumber for the many farm projects we have in mind. Keep the LT15 electric for an enclosed wood working shop later on.

Shall I buy LT35HD Gas? or the full meal deal LT40HD Wide Diesel? Canadian pricing is aprox. $35K vs $60K !! Will I end up selling the 35 and picking up the 40 in the future? Only had the 15 for one year! Is a progression from 15 to 35 to 40 a reasonable concept? Shall I stay with the 15 a little longer? or jump to the 40 RIGHT NOW! What will make me happy in the long run?
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Offline starmac

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2019, 09:47:59 PM »
I bet you would find out that unless you have some good help, you would be able to do just as much with the 35 as a diesel 40.

Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline Southside

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2019, 10:00:27 PM »
Well, as a guy who went from a 35 to a 70 (and kept the 35 by the way - they are an excellent mill) having a drag back makes a tremendous difference in the work you can get done in a day.  Even a walk along with a drag back is an improvement over a non-drag back mill and the 35 just will not stand up to a drag back.  

I looked at jumping up to a 40 but the cost vs advantage did not make sense to me when a good used 70 offered a lot more for not much more money.  I realize the exchange rate makes the numbers even less favorable, just trying to give you some input from someone who was where you asked about being one day.  

If I were in your shoes and could afford the 40 diesel wide, I would go that route coming from a 15, but get the drag back for sure and the Accuset 2.  My 70 has the remote and it spoiled me really fast, again so much less physical work to accomplish the same goal, it also lets you multi-task since you don't have to follow the head, so even one guy is more productive per hour if for no other reason.  

If you had never run a mill and were asking me the same question I would say go with the 35, learn the ropes, and be sure you want to do this.    
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Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2019, 10:02:00 PM »
Match the mill to your production goals and available man power.  You will be limited by your weakest link.  The LT 15 is a fairly low cost mill and I myself would keep it as a backup when the mill with the bells and whistles is on the blink.
Woodmizer LT-15, Ross Pony #1 planner, Ford 2600 tractor, Stihl chainsaws, Kubota rtv900

Offline redbeard

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2019, 11:26:27 PM »
Since you have the big n heavy duty Doug firs and Western red cedars.
A bigger heavy duty hydraulic mill will hold up alot longer and better.
Whidbey Woodworks and Custom Milling  2019 Cooks AC 3662T High production band mill and a Hud-son 60 Diesel wide cut bandmill  JD 2240 50hp Tractor with 145 loader IR 1044 all terrain fork lift  Cooks sharp

Offline Raym

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2019, 05:39:42 AM »
I purchased my mill (cash is the key here) with the start of my business in the spring of 2014. Sawing reclaimed lumber and manufacturing unique/custom HW flooring for the construction industry. I brought a super 40 with bells and whistles and a 47HP yanmar. Knowing this was way more mill than I needed, I wanted a mill that (a) when I wanted to saw, I could saw. (b) if things didn't work as I had planned it would have great resale potential.

Y'all know the old saying, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Fast forward almost 5 years later, my business has flourished in every aspect except for the flooring. From a business standpoint I should have sold the mill a long time ago BUT the times that I do get to saw is very enjoyable and relaxing. The fact that I didn't borrow money to purchase it to begin with means that I don't have to wont sell it. However if I did want to sell it, I like I could at least get what I paid for it to begin with (if not a little more) due to the fact it has very low hours and a pre-regen 47HP diesel which isn't available any longer. I think a 35HP is the largest HP available now.

So, my advise to you is to buy as much mill as you can afford without borrowing money. If you have to wait a year, then wait. I drew the hard line in the sand 5 years ago that whatever we did in our business (and personal life) if we didn't have the cash to do it then we had to wait. I can't tell you what it means to not have equipment payments to stress over. 
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2019, 07:03:53 AM »
If I were in your shoes and could afford the 40 diesel wide, I would go that route coming from a 15, but get the drag back for sure and the Accuset 2.  
I agree, and this is exactly what I did, except at the time they didn't offer the wide LT40.  I had an LT 15, sold it, upgraded to the LT40, got the dragback, Diesel and Accuset 2, and could not have been happier.  The LT40 is a pure workhorse of a mill, and I use it pretty much every day to cut wood for our business.  Its isn't LT70 fast, thats for sure, but it is pure reliability and fires up every time I turn the key.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2019, 07:52:34 AM »
I went from a 15 hp LT15 to a 25 hp LT15 to a LT40HDD35 diesel.  I should not have waited as long as I did :).  
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline seaview

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2019, 01:06:24 PM »
Yes- my sentiment too; don't want to wind up saying "why did I wait so long to do this?" and miss out on lots of easy hydraulic saw milling... story of my life actually! too conservative?!
It is the degree of upgrade that has me in a quandary...
And when it comes to funds invested; for me, if it's being used a lot and provides a conduit for our family to come together, improving our lifestyle and relationships, then great. But if it just sits around half the time depreciating, then I'd rather not invest too much (i.e.: LT35 Gas). Also, the pressure of having to keep the thing going rain or shine to meet my personal expectations is not what I want to buy into at this ripe and wonderful age of 65 !
So the question remains- stay w 15 elec., move to 35 gas or step up & join the elite with a 40WIDE ?

Note: your comments are helping, especially those that have been through similar- thank you
 

 

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2019, 01:50:38 PM »
If you don't increase the amount of the logs being sawn, then the time spent sawing will decrease instead.  Where it might have used to take all day to mill a whack of logs, now would take a fraction of that.  So that would either mean less time to spend with family on the mill, or more to spend to spend with them on something else. 8)

For example, when I was preparing for my hydraulic mill delivery, I stacked up a bunch of logs to play with.  I was accustomed to sawing with my LT15, and it would have taken a half day or more to get through these logs, so I figured it would be enough for me to play with my new mill.  Well, surprise, surprise, I burned through that stack of logs so fast, before I knew it, I was standing around looking for something else to saw. :D :D
 
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Offline Resonator

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2019, 01:52:26 PM »
I would suggest getting the LT35, it will do everything the LT15 does, just easier with full hydraulics. It sounds like your just milling for your own use, then the LT35 will do the job. If you were doing sawing as a business, then I would suggest the LT40 WIDE for cutting bigger logs into slabs.
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
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I'm chasing the sawdust dream.

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Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2019, 04:44:34 PM »
I don't want the business, "some guys just want to have fun"
Woodmizer LT-15, Ross Pony #1 planner, Ford 2600 tractor, Stihl chainsaws, Kubota rtv900

Offline Stephen1

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2019, 06:55:39 PM »
Lt40HDwide Gas us another option. I did not think the upcost of the diesel to be in my price range. I have the LT40 Wide 38 Gas and it performs on everything I have tackled. I put the 7degree carbide and it is smooth and fast. My problem is trying to saw as fast as the blade wants. I am still going to slow
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Offline GullyBog

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2019, 08:42:50 PM »
My Pops got an LT40Wide and went with the 26hp Kohler.  So far so good but I did stall it out on a big walnut.  Then I just slowed down and it sawed out fine.  We're doing this as a family project, he's retired and I have a full time job.  A smaller rig would have worked too but then it would change the work to fun ratio.  It amazes me how much this saw has sparked family time.  Cousins, in-laws, and grandparents have all gotten involved.  Who do you want to help you? and what are they happy to do physically.  I'm passionate about sawing, but most of my family aren't interested in suffering for wood.  The hydraulics have expanded the possibilities for family time.  The trailer definitely improves resale opportunity.
There might be a little dust on the butt log, but don't let if fool ya bout what's inside

Offline seaview

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2019, 10:44:18 PM »
GullyBog--- So far, I work alone, as it takes eons to cut just one log on this manual LT15; mind you we cut big logs here on the west coast. Right now I am cutting full dimension 2X12 fir 17ft planks and 1X10 cedar 17ft. boards for a new barn. Occasionally friends schedule in a few hours for firewood or lumber trade. But really could not afford to pay a helper with this setup! 

The family wants someone else present when I am milling and here alone; that's understandable...

I know hydraulics will make a big difference as I have been a 'once in a while' helper on my buddies LT40HD Super over the years. Now its me who's the sawyer with all those numbers and all the fun!

This is my wife who keeps that darn LT15 rail free of sawdust; phew! Woodmizer challenges! Brings lunch when the sun shines. She's great.



 

Offline Raym

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2019, 04:40:29 AM »
I still say go with the super 40 diesel. Wide if you want wide. One thing is for sure, you wont enjoy it any younger.
'14-LT40 super, nyle l200m kiln, vintage case 480E loader.

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Offline WWright

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2019, 06:20:58 AM »
  I went from an LT15 to a 40 wide super with diesel. I started out thinking about getting a 28 or a 35 after many months thinking and building mills on woodmizer site I went with 40 Super. I am so glad I did. The super hydraulics and acuset were game changers for me.The only two options I did not get and most likely will order are the Lubemizer and fine adjust out riggers for each end of mill 

 In my maple operation Im on my third maple evaporator because I always worried about cost and downsized my purchase. It has cost me much more going this route  :D

Good Luck!

Offline taylorsmissbeehaven

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2019, 01:36:15 PM »
I started with an lt 15 in 2010 and loved it. Simple machine that gets the job done. As word got out,  and I sawed more and more, my back began to speak. So in 2015 I purchased an lt35. Fantastic mill does a great job and the hydraulics keep my back quiet! This winter, I have cut more custom orders than any other year in total. Im not sure what happened but the phone just keeps ringing. This week I have really started to think about upgrading. I am a big diesel fan and would like to have the diesel engine and the wide feature for bigger slabs(they seem to really be hot right now). Point of my long story is: buy as big as you can afford and dont look back. I am glad I learned on the 15, 35 is a real gem, but bigger would be better for me at this point. You never know what tomorrow will bring so stay within your budget and have fun!. JMTC Brian  
Opportunity is missed by most because it shows up wearing bib overalls and looks like work.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2019, 01:40:10 PM »
I still say go with the super 40 diesel. Wide if you want wide. One thing is for sure, you wont enjoy it any younger.

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Offline seaview

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Re: Reasonable sawmill upgrade progression: LT15-35-40WIDE
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2019, 09:58:32 PM »
The thought that automation & hydraulics increases production and the possible resulting overstock of lumber for small producers is well founded and needs consideration- for this reason alone, (along with my own experience of excess lumber buildup) we are raising the LT35HD Gas to a higher position in my decision making process... against the capital outlay for a LT40HD in CDN $- phew! 

These mills are designed to provide for certain levels of production and SALES. No point in production if the sales are not there to pay for da mill; ya think? 

Pretty hard to predict sales without much history- the future remains murky! 

Below is why old men need hydraulics! 



 


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