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Author Topic: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?  (Read 6394 times)

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Offline 54Dutchman

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Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« on: January 26, 2012, 04:01:26 PM »
I am new to this forum and sawmills.  I would like to get a sawmill to get lumber for a couple of buildings I will be making, so i am more of a hobby type than professional sawyer.  I have been reading this forum and looking at a lot of sawmills. I am starting to like the features of the swing saw units were the log is not moved once you are set up and you can get the dimensional lumber with out having to resaw a slab.  But maybe I got it all wrong ???  In some of the for sale adds people were getting bandmills to up their production from the swing blade mills.
Any views on this would be greatly appreciated.

Offline mad murdock

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 04:12:09 PM »
Welcome to the forestry forum 54Dutchman.   I haven't run a swing blade mill, but have seen them run.  They are fast, Peterson used to make the skillmill, which was aimed at the entry level market, but I don't know if they are currently making it. 
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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 04:25:40 PM »
I could imagine extremes in log size and which level of bandmill is being compared, that could make production differences between the two mill types swing ( :D no pun intended) considerably one way or the other.  But I think most would agree that for sawing up intermediate diameter logs into lumber for buildings, by someone who has learned to handle either mill fairly well, whatever difference, if any, which exists in production rate, would not be big enough to be a main reason for choosing between the two types of mills.  Capability, versatility, cost, and ease of use in the intended application are more important factors to consider when deciding between the two mill types.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT Woodmizer Million Board Foot Club member. 2019 LT70 Super Wide, 2001 WM LT40SHDD (42HP Kubota, Accuset2, FAO's, Lubemizer, debarker),  Logrite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.  2001 F350 7.3L PSD 6 spd manual ZF 4x4 Crew Cab Long Bed

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 04:32:11 PM »
I really have no idea 54Dutchman, I've never seen a swing mill in operation.

I just want to welcome you to the Forestry Forum.
~Chuck~
Retired USAF (1989), Retired School Bus Driver (2012), and now a Mobile Sawyer
1995 Wood-Mizer LT40HDG2425 Kohler - Shingle & LapSider, Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener and single-tooth setter, 4-foot Logrite cant hook.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 04:40:58 PM »
What Swingmills do BEST is cutting dimension lumber from larger sized logs. About the only thing that bill beat them at that is a Twin saw design, but those are bigger and more expensive.

A swingblade should way outperform a manual band sawmill. Just the lack of log moving between cuts makes up a lot of time. Not reloading flitches to resaw, and generally a higher cutting speed.

A more powerful band mill with hydraulic log handling and all the power extras will be close, until the logs get over about 36" dia. Then the Swingblade sawyer starts smiling and the band miller starts scratching his head.

On smaller logs the swingblade looses a lot of it's advantages. You can still saw small logs perfectly OK, but so can something like a LT15 band mill.

What swing mills have going for them is their great portability, and flexibility. Big log in a remote place? No worries, haul the mill in (behind a quad bike if necessary), set up and mill. Haul everything out the same way.

If you are working with limited equipment, that ability to take the mill to the log, and set up around it where if fell is some cases is an important factor.

Ian
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Offline hackberry jake

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 05:32:44 PM »
Entry level bandmill, $4,000. Entry level swingmill, $8,000-$12,000. Widest board off entry level bandmill, 24". Widest board off entry level swingmill, 6". I've seen a Lucas run and they are faster at producing 2x4s and 2x6s by far, I chose band because sometimes I need 2x8s, 2x10s, 2x12s, and wide boards for tabletops, bar tops, etc. The biggest advantages I see in the swing mill are portability, cost and life expectancy of blades, speed, ability to mill very large logs, and the dedicated slabber option.
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Offline cypresskayaksllc

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 07:45:57 PM »
Sometimes I wish I had a swing mill for those big logs. Or some dynamite. 
LT40HDDR, JD950FEL, Weimaraner

Offline Slabs

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 07:52:14 PM »
Sometimes I wish I had a swing mill for those big logs. Or some dynamite.




One of our neighbors uses black powder.
Slabs  : Offloader, slab and sawdust Mexican, mill mechanic and electrician, general flunky.  Woodshop, metal woorking shop and electronics shop.

Offline jueston

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 08:30:49 PM »
everything that i think has allready been said. swing mills start out a little more expensive, they are more portible, and faster at cutting demensional lumber, but limited in what it can cut.

the bandmill can cut wider and and will cost you less to start....

the best thing to do is go see both in action, then you will get a feel for them...

and welcome to the forum

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012, 10:10:14 PM »
I am not a miller but have watched both work. The swinger was fast but as has been said, board width is a limiting factor. The big Wood-mizer was sweet, I would love to have one,  but throat size precluded large logs.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline 54Dutchman

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2012, 10:22:14 PM »
Thanks for the warm welcome 8) 8); I will stay looking for a swing blade. A used one will better fit my budget Now just to know were to find it ??? ???

Online Bill Gaiche

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2012, 10:25:07 PM »
54Dutchman, welcome to the FF. Cant answer your question but you will have all the info you need on here in a short time. bg

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 07:29:04 AM »
Thanks for the warm welcome 8) 8); I will stay looking for a swing blade. A used one will better fit my budget Now just to know were to find it ??? ???
If you're not in a hurry, be patient and keep your eyes open and search here and various other places.  It seems like now and then older swing mills come up and sometimes go for practically a song.  Compared to what a new one costs that is.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT Woodmizer Million Board Foot Club member. 2019 LT70 Super Wide, 2001 WM LT40SHDD (42HP Kubota, Accuset2, FAO's, Lubemizer, debarker),  Logrite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.  2001 F350 7.3L PSD 6 spd manual ZF 4x4 Crew Cab Long Bed

Offline woodsteach

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2012, 10:42:42 AM »
Welcome to the forum,  I have a brand x swingmill and am straight south of you on the nebraska, kansas border.  If you ever get this far south stop in and see a swing mill work.  I cut lots of 2x4's and 4x4's  for shipping dunnage.
Brand X Swing Mill, JD 317 Skidloader, MS460 & 290, the best family a guy could ever dream of...all provided by God up above.  (with help from our banker ; ) )

Offline customsawyer

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2012, 01:40:33 PM »
First welcome to the forum.  The answers depend on what you are cutting and what you are cutting the lumber out of. Both mills have advantages and both have disadvantages. Set down and ask yourself what you want to be able to cut and what size logs are you going to cut it out of. I have band mills and do enough big logs that I wish I could afford a swing mill too. If I had the swing mills I would be sitting here wishing I had a band mill to go with them.
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Offline Mooney

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2012, 03:24:42 PM »
Swing mills and band mills of various brands compete in the Portable Sawmill ShootOut every two years side-by-side. Although it's not a race, Independent Sawmill & Woodlot magazine records the board feet per hour on each mill, miscuts percentage, lumber recovery, etc. That would be a good resource to see how they perform next to eachother. The magazine does a good job of highlighting the strengths of the various mill types. The PDF of the ShootOut issue is actually free right now at the below link.

https://sawmillmag.com/app/home/index

Offline Peder McElroy

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2012, 06:59:34 PM »
I have a Lucas 618 and also a Woodmizer lt40hd. The swing mill is faster for the 2x4 2x6 &  6x6's ,you can change to what ever you want to cut quickly. I set up a slabber with my Alaskan mill for the wide stuff. The Band mill is good for larger stuff like 2x8 2x10 2x12 and beams.I feel lucky to have both,but the Lucas 618 was the first and I was happy to have that.
Peder

Offline Dave VH

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2012, 05:30:38 PM »
I got to play with Steve on his mobile dimension mill, I was very impressed with the overall efficiency of it for dimensional lumber.  I can't see how a bandmill could compete when it comes to dimensional lumber.  That being said, there are a lot of things that that mobile can't do that a bandmill can.  Steve and I agreed that for true versitility, you need both.
I cut it twice and it's still too short

Offline losttheplot

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2012, 10:50:58 PM »
I purchased a used manual band mill almost 1 year ago.
(lumbermate 2000)
I am a hobby sawyer, just cutting some trees to build some buildings.
I have cut around 10,000 bdft in the last year.

To collect and move logs I built a log arch a couple of months ago,I tow it with a pick up.
I load the logs onto the mill by hand with a pee-vee.

90% of what I saw is Douglas Fir with diameters of 10 - 24 inches.
The logs are often crooked and I turn them often to relive the stress in the wood as I saw it.
I have had great luck obtaining stable lumber using the techniques I have read on this forum.

I would say that from the time it takes me to collect the log then get it onto the mill.
Saw the log and off load the lumber by hand onto the pick up ( 8x8's I off load one end at a time  :( )
Move the lumber and re stack it on stickers.
Clean up the mess and deliver the slabs for free fire wood.
Then maintain the mill.
The time the blade is in the wood I count as a break from the hard work.
I think the time the blade stays in the cut is just a small part of the equation.

There is barley any time left for constructing the buildings that I now need to house the mill and all the wood I have stacked under bits of leaky tarps all over the place.

And to think it all started when I found a little sawdust in my pocket................................. ...... ;)

DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK !

Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Which basic mill is faster - bandsaw or swing mill?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2012, 01:40:52 AM »
One question I have-- what happens to a swing blade when you hit a 16-penny nail? Bands can be resharpened and I have sawn right through 16-penny nails before and finished my cut. I know swing-blade mills can be resharpened too, and usually more easily, but what kind of damage will be done from hitting that big nail?

I looked at a Peterson swing-blade mill for sale recently-- if I had the money I would definitely have bought it.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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