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Author Topic: Which mill do I want - swing or band?  (Read 1590 times)

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Offline samm

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Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« on: March 14, 2019, 11:54:28 AM »
Howdy folks. I'm pretty new to posting around here but have been following the forum for guidance for a while now.
I like timber frame homes.  My wife, me, and 2 kids are outgrowing out little house and are looking forward to starting to build our forever home to raise the kiddos in.

I have yet to come up with a floorplan, but let's say I intend to make a 18x40 "great room" with five 2 story bents complete with, plates, girts, purlins, and rafters.  The remainder of the house could be standard stud construction.  I don't have a need to mill my own dimensional lumber, although it would be a bonus to mill my own furniture-grade hardwood for finishing the home; thanks to my brother I have access to 240v jointers, planers and shapers.

In order to economically source the larger timbers - and because I really want to make the timbers out of doug fir and nothing else - I have this far-fetched dream of porting a mill to the Pacific NW and getting a hold of a logger out there to supply me with some larger doug firs.  Making a memorable trip out of it for me and my retired dad would be kindof fun, I think.  The mill wouldn't have to be ultra-portable, I have access to a gooseneck flatbed.

I own a small tree service in SE MN and have access to various different types of local hardwoods and some conifers.  The businessman in me wants to be able to use the mill to offer sawyer services to customers, too, even if just on the small scale.

If this was your situation, would you suggest to yourself a swing mill or a band mill?  I really have my eye on a Lucas 10-30, but they are getting hard to find used.
Thanks for your input!
Cheers
Keep your stick on the Ice!

Offline Magicman

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 12:15:34 PM »
First, Welcome to the Forestry Forum and your plans sound exciting and adventuresome.  We have several FF members located in the PNW that are capable of securing the logs and sawing your required timbers.  Just a thought and you could be on hand/help as they were sawn.

I wonder about commercial licenses, weight, etc. transporting your timbers back home.
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Offline samm

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 01:46:05 PM »
I wonder about commercial licenses, weight, etc. transporting your timbers back home.
A legitimate cause for concern, for sure. But a CDL and a tractor/trailer isn't too hard to come by between my family and those I consider friends.. I'm hoping a trip like that could be a reality someday, would make a neat youtube video too.
Keep your stick on the Ice!

Online terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2019, 03:53:11 PM »
Size and weight of the logs you'd encounter might decide it.  

For example (and I have no idea what the log sizes are, or what timber lengths you want), but logs might exceed bandsaw diameter, length, and weight limits.  

A 30" x 20 foot DF log will weigh maybe 4800-5000 pounds, getting too heavy for a Wood-mizer.  And at this diameter or greater the yield of beams will suffer because of max width/depth of cut that a bandsaw offers.

On the other hand a swing mill can efficiently saw out beams from large diameter logs without a lot of waste.
And give a still portable option if you want to saw much over 20 ft.

But if everything you would encounter would be under 30" and 20 feet, a hydraulic bandsaw would do it too.  

You would have to have log handling equipment on hand no matter which saw, and don't forget that heavy timbers need to be picked off gently from rest of log if swing milling.

My Peterson with everything needed for cutting to 33 feet only weighs about 1100 pounds total and could be efficiently packed up on a semi load along with timbers.  

Hard to recommend though getting a mill just based on this adventure. For one thing I wouldn't want to be learning how to use it for the first time 2000 miles from home.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT  2001 WM LT40SHDD (42HP Kubota, Accuset2, FAO's, Lubemizer, debarker), Peterson WPF 10-30 with chain slabber. Logrite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.  2001 F350 7.3L PSD 6 spd manual ZF 4x4 Crew Cab Long Bed

Offline Magicman

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2019, 04:12:11 PM »
A secure sawing location, securing logs, waste disposal, log/timber handling, and transportation came to my mind.

My immediate thoughts went to @redbeard and @mad murdock .  There are probably others that are already set up for long and wide.
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Offline Southside

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2019, 04:20:27 PM »
Be sure to check on any potential quarantine issues before you start rolling across the country with green lumber and if necessary get any permits/inspections that may be required.  These days one never knows without checking what bug is causing trouble where.  
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2019, 05:02:07 PM »
If you mill at the log source you will only be transporting finished product back home, versus a lot of waste, so fundamentally your plan isnt bad.

If we can mill a log on our hydraulic bandmill, thats always our first choice.  Much faster than the swing blade.

However, most of our timber frame sized logs are milled on the Peterson.

As MM posted, you will need a place to mill, and most importantly you will need log and timber handling equipment.  Probably best to rent that for a month or so onsite instead of transporting.  Depending upon the length and size of your timbers/logs, you may need something that can pick up 10K lbs or more.

One thing to be careful of is the drive back home.  At 65 mph you will be exposing the timbers to air flow in the 6000 FPM range.  As a comparison, we strive for around 350fpm in a kiln.  If not tapped you may hyper-dry the exposed surfaces of the timbers on the trip back home.

However, if you transport during the summer and tarp the timbers,  you may get mold and mildew on them.

Lots to consider.
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Offline samm

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2019, 07:48:48 PM »
Thanks for helping me generate ideas, guys, it's definitely helping.
I realized right away I need to secure a location to mill.. I was hoping that would be the easy part can't I just setup shop on a logger's property, near the timber stand, out of their way?  Leave my waste to go along with theirs..

My immediate thought was use a mill at home and try to get logs here, but the transport for whole logs just isn't as economical when compared to finished squared timbers.  I don't even need to get them to final dimension, in fact leaving them large but square would be the best balance between packing efficiency and scabs for bonus dimensional lumber.

We have a skid steer, but it will not be able to lift 10K. But I'm not sure I require logs/timbers that size.  I could ask the logger to find me logs that aren't oversized for what I require - based on my timber frame design specs.

Speaking of timber frame design specs - who does anyone use for engineering specs - besides an engineering firm? I realize engineering firms exist mainly to protect the engineers in the "errors & omissions" capacities.. and a chap could save some coin by going with a qualified engineer (a family friend, for example) and forego the expense of having engineering firms / insurance agencies involved.
Does anyone do this, or am I going to have to hire a firm?
Keep your stick on the Ice!

Offline samm

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2019, 07:56:31 PM »
For one thing I wouldn't want to be learning how to use it for the first time 2000 miles from home.
Duly noted, thank you. I'm the type that values precision over speed, and as a business owner I'm ready to carefully consider the "weight" of an equipment purchase like a mill.
Keep your stick on the Ice!

Offline samm

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2019, 08:20:04 PM »
If not tapped you may hyper-dry the exposed surfaces of the timbers on the trip back home.

However, if you transport during the summer and tarp the timbers,  you may get mold and mildew on them.


Lots to consider.
I can just anchorseal them, right, along with some sort of end wax?
Thanks for the input, definitely happy to consider everyone's thoughts.
Keep your stick on the Ice!

Online terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2019, 08:28:07 PM »
Scotts not talking about the ends but instead of the whole timbers. Theyd be ruined if transported untarped (thousands of miles at highway speeds) and maybe mildewed if tarped in warm weather. Probably have to transport tarped in cool weather. Customer sent a semi load once from Connecticut to Montana took 36 hours to get there, It was in April the load was covered with tarps, there was still snow in MT,  and everything was fine.
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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2019, 08:57:06 PM »
Yup, sticker the timbers and just tarp it when you load up, I had log homes shipped all over the US and some were not particularly dry, at all. The best commentary on our modern way of life was I went out to WA to build with WRC that had been milled in NC, I was within 100 miles of the forest the trees came from, go figure :D.

If you have a friend who is a good timberframe engineer then it never hurts to ask. That is a very small fraternity. Wood is one of the more difficult materials to engineer in, timberframe is a very small niche within that field. It's not a coin problem as much as its a competence one.

I'd use a swinger and what is in your backyard but road trips are fun. The ability to "joint" the timbers with the planer head when you get ready to use them is a big plus in my book.
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Offline samm

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2019, 09:32:56 PM »
Scotts not talking about the ends but instead of the whole timbers.
Yep - can anchorseal be applied to faces too or is that a no-no?
Talk about tarping - how does a guy seal a flatbed load like I see sometimes on the highway.. it looks like a vacuum seal, or a heat-shrink seal, or some sort of ultra-stretch tarp.  Usually it's covering some fancy pants HVAC or millwright equipment straight from the factory.  How does one seal a load to that degree?  That ought to do the trick?
Keep your stick on the Ice!

Offline Mt406

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2019, 09:38:20 PM »
I have a D&L swing blade Its for sale right now listed here on the forum.
Not sure when your rd trip is planed you have to drive by my place (50mile side trip)
As far as I know beams travel easy Log travel into MT easy I think WA is your problem.
If you want to give me a call I will give you my 2 cents.
I relay info over the phone better than typing.

Scott

Online terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2019, 09:45:29 PM »
Tarping is a standard request in truck shipping.  The driver had tarps in a container on the truck.  He put them over the stickered and strapped lumber.



 
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Offline Brad_S.

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2019, 10:20:49 PM »
 Regarding setting up in a secure spot. I certainly cant speak for anyone but as for me, I would not let you set up in my yard. I wouldnt want the liability risk should something go wrong. I wouldnt want your skid steer digging up my property even though I do so all the time with my own. And I have enough trouble dealing with my own waste much less somebody elses!
 Maybe Im just an old curmudgeon but I think you may have some difficulty finding a cooperative logger.
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Offline samm

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2019, 10:43:09 PM »
Regarding setting up in a secure spot. I certainly can’t speak for anyone but as for me, I would not let you set up in my yard.
OK, thanks for the input. I should realize that I can't expect someone to offer their place just because.
As a business owner, I am insured for my operations. But I also understand not digging up someone's property with skid tires! I suppose I could haul to dispose of the waste if they wouldn't want it for firewood - would a local brush dump take something like that, a few $ per load?
Keep your stick on the Ice!

Offline Ianab

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2019, 01:43:00 AM »
I suspect that you will be better off finding someone in the PNW area to mill the timbers you need for you. They will have the logger contacts, the yard to work in, and the machinery to handle logs and beams on site. 

Now maybe you can find someone that will let you "help", from the picking out logs, sawing and loading onto the truck etc. 

The issues that others have bought up with a place to work, machinery, being 1,000 miles from home etc just seem like a LOT of hassle, when there is probably some small scale operator in the area that can do the work, and load the timbers you need on a truck headed for home. 

Very different scenario when you are working local in your own yard. Then get a Swing mill as they are the most versatile. 
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2019, 05:21:23 AM »
So if I got this right the plan is to buy a mill, take a month off work to drag it a thousand miles, buy some logs, hire some yard space and a loader, saw the logs up, staying on site for a month if necessary, then i drag the mill and the sawn timber back where you started from, all to save some money?

Won't work. Find someone over there that knows what they're looking at and get them to pick you some logs to freight home, or just buy the lumber. I've done more walkabout mill than most over some impressive distances and i hate to spoil the party but what you're suggesting will be way too expensive for the small volumes of lumber you need.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the economics are unsound.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline jimparamedic

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Re: Which mill do I want - swing or band?
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2019, 08:00:07 AM »
Why not use local timber for a locally built home Mn. has some very fine timber for the project yo wish to build. Even if you have to go to northern Mn. and transport back to southern Mn. I only ask because my mother is from Nevis and I have seen some very nice timber there.


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