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Author Topic: Darrel's Sawmilling Story  (Read 2640 times)

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Offline Darrel

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Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« on: February 24, 2019, 09:41:59 PM »
In June of 2014 Vera and I came here to Oregon to visit our son and his family. We were living in Utah at the time. While here, I saw a used LT40 hydraulic sawmill for sale on Craigslist went to look at it and ended up buying it. Went back to Utah and left the mill that I never even got a chance to use once behind at our son's. At the end of August we finished up work in Utah and made the move back to Oregon and I set about going through the mill and fixing all the issues. I spent about $500 on fixing minor issues such as leaky hydraulics, B57 belts, and blade guides plus various other odds and ends. I also bought a box of blades.  

At this point my wife was seeing the sawmill as bottomless rat hole that I was trying to fill with time and money.  I saw it as an investment that would pay big dividends in the near future. During most of this time, I'd been working a day job and puttering on the mill getting it ready to go to work and sawing mostly for my own projects and before I knew it 3 year had gone by. 

I wanted to be like Magicman and not be in the business of selling lumber.  I wanted to saw'em and leave'm but a high percentage of land owners in these parts own their land and and very little else. They have trees and a need for lumber but not enough cash to pay a sawyer. So I end up cutting on shares and end up with lumber in my yard all stickered and drying. And Vera is still seeing the sawmill as rat hole that money is disappearing into so she says "If you're going to cut on shares, you've gotta make the customer buy the gas for the mill."  So the customers started buying the gas for the mill and not one complained. 

So last Fall, we put an ad on Craigslist and FB Marketplace and before long all the lumber sold and and Vera was happy.  She wants to buy logs by the truckload and she wants a log arch and winch for the trailer so we can go get logs. And she wants me to build a solar kiln. During summer, here on the high desert, we can dry lumber down to less then 10% but that's  only in summer so a kiln will be nice.  

So finally my wife is on board with this sawmilling adventure. Yes I'd rather saw by the foot and do from time to time but for the most part, it looks like it's shares and that's ok too.  Unless I find logging truck loads of logs for a good price. 

To be continued. 
1992 LT40HD

If I don't pick myself up by my own bootstraps, nobody else will.

Online Southside

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2019, 10:29:45 PM »
Looking forward to part 2!!!
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 11:35:36 PM »
The evolution of the sawmill makes for good conversation. I look forward to hearing the rest of the story 
2017 LT40 wide, Kubota l185dt, 2-036 stihl, 2001 Dodge 3500 5.9 Cummins, l8000 Ford dump truck, hr16 Terex excavator

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2019, 01:09:41 AM »
 :P
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 thecfarm

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2019, 06:41:50 AM »
What works for some don't work for others. Glad it's working for you. :)
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Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 02:42:05 PM »
If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!!!!! 8)
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Offline DPatton

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 08:48:21 PM »
When one keeps the wifey on board life is good.
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Offline Darrel

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2019, 05:47:19 PM »
I went out and had a look see at my car trailer that I'm planning on using for a log trailer. This is what I saw. The bed is 15' long and 6.5' wide. 



There are four stake pockets more or less equally spaced along each side. 2" X 2" ID





I then came inside and made an effort to make some drawings. They're not much to look at but I know what they're supposed to look like so they will serve their purpose. 

The loading arch



The upper hinge section will mount inside arch tubing. 



The lower hinge section will mount in stake pocket. 



Then of course there will be a winch mount to fabricate and also I also want a setup for parbuckling.  
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If I don't pick myself up by my own bootstraps, nobody else will.

Offline Magicman

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2019, 09:58:41 AM »
Fact is no one's individual business plan will work for everyone/anyone else.  Markets are different, customers are different, and so are we. 

Your adventure should be required reading for anyone wanting to get into the "business".  A market may very well be there, but you will have to find it, try it, and then modify it to meet that individual need.

Some may remember that I bought my sawmill never having seen one run.  PatD asked what I was going to buy it with(?) and I said, "I don't know".  She asked how I was going to pay for it(?) and I said "I don't know.  Thankfully I happened to find a good one which also was the right one.  My intention was to saw and sell lumber and I did.  Actually paid for the sawmill the first year, but I was quickly finding out that I did not want to be in the lumber business.

Point is; watch where your market is leading you and be ready to adapt and change to take advantage of that market.  Never build a business which is dependent upon another person's business.  Sure, their success could lead to your success, but their failure or changing market could very well lead to your failure.  It has happened to several FF members who are no longer sawing, some of which are no longer active here on the FF.

My "portable sawing only" business works very well for me, but even it is changing or rather has changed my way of thinking.  My "comfort zone" has been tested within the past couple of years regarding travel distance.  For now anyway, I have no travel distance limit as long as the customer is satisfied.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2019, 10:32:13 AM »
The lower hinge section will mount in stake pocket.
 
You can save yourself a little fab time.  Pick up a couple of receiver hitches.  Already 2" tube with a hole to secure it to your trailer (hitch pin) and a hole to use as a pivot (ball hole).  One step further, you could use a bolt or weld on hitch on the arms to lock your arch on to your trailer if you went ahead and put 2" balls on the receivers.
John Sawicky

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Offline Darrel

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2019, 11:13:52 PM »
I do saw by the foot now and then and really prefer it over shares because on most jobs I arrive in the morning and leave at the end of the day with money in my pocket and my work is done. Sawing on shares on the other hand is a pain in the back side because I have to take my mill to the site and take my mill home when the job is over and then return with my trailer and pick up my share load it and then I take it home and unload it, sticker it and let it dry then I have to find a buyer. And all that extra work is work I'm doing for free if compared with sawing by the foot. 

At this point, I'm willing to do the extra work while I'm establishing my business.  When a by the foot job comes along, it can be bumped to the top of my schedule.  When it comes time to build my house, I'll be glad to cut on shares if the customer has what I'm looking for. Otherwise I'll try to stear my business away from sawing on shares. 

The third option, and this is why I'm building the log arch, is getting "free logs" from my arborist friend. He has told me that I can have logs that they currently have to hall away. He has been my tailgunner and knows what I want when it comes to logs. To me it's a better deal to go get logs and saw and sell 100% of what I saw instead of selling only half of what I saw when I cut on shares. 

One more thing that may be important to note is the fact that I don't need the money. I do enjoy the work and I enjoy having my income supplemented. Vera appreciates it too and also enjoys helping when she can.  
1992 LT40HD

If I don't pick myself up by my own bootstraps, nobody else will.

Offline Darrel

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2019, 11:18:52 PM »
Ijohnsaw, I had thought about using receiver hitches for hinges and may revisit that. The reason I wasn't planning to go that way is because it will cost a bit more. Yes, it will save time but time is something I have plenty of. 
1992 LT40HD

If I don't pick myself up by my own bootstraps, nobody else will.

Offline Dana Stanley

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2019, 09:04:46 PM »
Nice trailer! I am praying I find a deal on something similar! My Dawn wants to help me with my mill too, well, help me find ways to use my milled wood for her horse farm that is!!
Making Sawdust, boards and signs.
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Offline richhiway

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2019, 05:16:41 AM »
Ijohnsaw, I had thought about using receiver hitches for hinges and may revisit that. The reason I wasn't planning to go that way is because it will cost a bit more. Yes, it will save time but time is something I have plenty of.
Matthew Cremona - YouTube
Matt built a good log arch. 
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Offline Darrel

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2019, 10:18:51 AM »
Yes he did and I've studied his log arch as closely as I can from my armchair. My arch will be based on what he did. 
1992 LT40HD

If I don't pick myself up by my own bootstraps, nobody else will.

Offline Crossroads

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2019, 12:33:10 AM »
Something I would suggest on the arch is to put legs on it so that it wont lay flat on the deck when all the way to the front. Mine does and its very heavy and a bit awkward to lift it up into the upright position. Mine is pretty heavy duty though, possibly even over built with 3x4x1/4 tube. 
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Offline Darrel

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2019, 08:45:15 PM »
As often happens, life doesn't always go the way we plan so at these times I rethink, regroup and continue on. My goals have not changed but the rout traveled to get there does.

So anyway I sawed the two halves of the big log two days ago and today I played sawyer and hopefully learned a thing or two also.

I thought of you today Lynn. @Magicman I know that these logs aren't as bad as the ones on your long road trip but it still made me think of you.





Did get some pretty pine boards these have a bit of a pink hew from my Coca-cola umbrella.



Some that are not Coke flavored.



Then on the last log, some guy who wishes to remain anonymous went and rolled the log off the back side of the mill. I wish I could tell you his name, but out of respect for his wishes, I'll only post the picture.



His wife, Vera, came and helped him get it back on the mill after she had a good laugh. Did I mention that I have a wonderful wife?



1992 LT40HD

If I don't pick myself up by my own bootstraps, nobody else will.

Offline WDH

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2019, 09:12:44 PM »
We would not want to embarrass him. 
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2019, 09:55:39 PM »
That same guy has also visited my sawmill.  ::)
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Re: Darrel's Sawmilling Story
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2019, 10:17:20 PM »
Meh - the ones that roll half off are a gift - it's the ones that unnamed guy manages to wedge between the tire and the frame that are really lots of fun!! 
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