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Author Topic: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...  (Read 3301 times)

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Offline Roundhouse

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2016, 09:47:14 AM »
I am not familiar with the bandmills you have mentioned however, one more to consider is the TK1220.  I own this model and super happy with the mill and what I can do with it.  yes, all manual but still an excellent mill.  Yes, has a hand-crank, much more efficient than pushing. I have pushed my mill but that would get tiring quickly, much more control with the hand feed.  I highly recommend you purchase an extension rail for almost any mill you buy. I can cut over 20 feet on my TK1220 actually about 20' 6-7". The nice part about an extension is much less demanding where you load your logs, versus squeezing them onto a shorter rail.
Thanks, I just looked that up and it looks like a very capable mill, well built and plenty of power. This is where the paralysis comes in, every time I try to narrow my list I instead find another good candidate and it gets a little longer. As somebody else mentioned I'll get to the point of just taking the plunge, learning, then reselling down the road with more experience if necessary.
Great point about the extensions and ease of loading, most of the ones I've looked at I plan to purchase at least one extension.
Woodland Mills HM130, 1995 F350 7.3L, 1988 F350 dump, 1979 Ford CL340 Skid Steer, 1988 Yamaha Moto-4 200, various chain saws

Offline Roundhouse

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2016, 09:59:20 AM »
A couple observations, may be of use.  I've had a couple different mills and have sawed on several others.  Every mill has its good and bad points, some come down to real life, some personal preference.  As with any starter purchase, get one you think is best with the reality in mind that you may run it for a while and may want to upgrade, one you figure out what you really want.  So resale value in your area would be paramount.  I had an LT 15 and sold it in one week for only slightly less than  what I bought it for new. Some sawmills just don't lose their value as much as others.
Also, horsepower is king. 
Portability is important- not necessarily to saw other people's wood, but it gives the ability to move the saw around on your own property, or roll it in a shelter, or back it into the garage for maintenance, etc.  Hand crank is easier than pushing, auto feed is easier than hand crank. 
Bands and band sharpening are important.  I got a call from a guy last week who said he didn't realize when he got his mill that nobody local would sharpen his bands and the company didn't have a decent resharpening program.
Pulls or electric start?  Try pulling a rope starter a few dozen times a day, instead of just turning a key.
Anyway, good luck
Thanks, great points. I'm pretty set on portability and if it isn't as small as a Bantam-26, it'll have to be on wheels. Considering all the other points and things others have mentioned I'm leaning heavily toward the LT28 with the 25HP option. I requested a formal quote from WM and I'm waiting to hear back. The profile and reputation of WM seems to support a good resale value if needed down the road.
Woodland Mills HM130, 1995 F350 7.3L, 1988 F350 dump, 1979 Ford CL340 Skid Steer, 1988 Yamaha Moto-4 200, various chain saws

Offline Verticaltrx

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2016, 11:24:03 AM »
As mentioned by WDH, the power feed was very easy to add, literally took me less than 30min. The trailer package on my LT15 was also easy to add, took less than 2hrs. I'm sure the LT28 accessories would be the same, everything is pre-drilled and ready for accessories to bolt on.

A few more things for you to think about, the newer LT15 mills are nothing like the old ones. They have received many improvements and are more robust and productive than the older ones. Also to note, the LT15, LT28 and LT35 all use the same saw head, the difference is in the bed design and the available accessories. A 25hp LT15 should be just as productive as the 25hp LT28, main difference is the LT28 can accept larger logs and can accept the log deck package. The LT28 is a nice step up from the LT15, but didn't fit my budget at the time (and I don't buy things on credit). If you can swing the LT28 I say go for it, if not I'd pick the base model LT15  over any of the others you listed.
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Offline Roundhouse

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2016, 01:30:45 PM »
As mentioned by WDH, the power feed was very easy to add, literally took me less than 30min. The trailer package on my LT15 was also easy to add, took less than 2hrs. I'm sure the LT28 accessories would be the same, everything is pre-drilled and ready for accessories to bolt on.

A few more things for you to think about, the newer LT15 mills are nothing like the old ones. They have received many improvements and are more robust and productive than the older ones. Also to note, the LT15, LT28 and LT35 all use the same saw head, the difference is in the bed design and the available accessories. A 25hp LT15 should be just as productive as the 25hp LT28, main difference is the LT28 can accept larger logs and can accept the log deck package. The LT28 is a nice step up from the LT15, but didn't fit my budget at the time (and I don't buy things on credit). If you can swing the LT28 I say go for it, if not I'd pick the base model LT15  over any of the others you listed.
Thanks, when I try setting things up for an LT15 on the WM website I can't find an option for toeboards, do you know if these aren't available? It looks like a lot of other options do transfer over to the LT15.

This is why my wife can't stand me when I'm truck shopping. I weigh options and prices over and over.
What others have said about not going in the hole to have payments on a mill makes a lot of sense, I'm having second thoughts about over extending to buy an LT28, I just don't think I can justify it with limited time to use it.
The endorsements of the LT15 had me giving that a second look. I could still go for the 25 HP option, trailer and power feed. That would run me just over 10K, about 2500 less than the LT28 without powerfeed (3300 less than the LT28 with powerfeed). If I put off the trailer and power feed until later the gap widens even more enticingly.
Also, the Woodland Mills HM130 is now up on their site with specs, pricing etc. When I run the numbers there I can buy it, and an extra length of track, with a trailer purchased separately for around 7000. This would exhaust the sawmill fund but not require payments. I do like the idea of a double axle pontoon trailer for a smoother ride and stability in case of a tire blow-out. This biggest drawback in operation would be the 14 HP engine and lack of power feed.
Woodland Mills HM130, 1995 F350 7.3L, 1988 F350 dump, 1979 Ford CL340 Skid Steer, 1988 Yamaha Moto-4 200, various chain saws

Offline derhntr

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2016, 02:05:56 PM »
Roundhouse,
I would look at how much you will cut in the next couple years as far as species, size, length.  Buying to little of of mill will hamper your efforts, to much mill, waste of dollars unless you plan on cutting and selling mill. If you are only cutting 10-20 trees per year, you could get away with small hobby mill. If you are planning on expanding as time goes by and cutting more get a bigger mill. Sorry that I could not be of more help. Would be happy to let you cut some on my LT40HD. Will be cutting some starting next week.
2006 Woodmizer LT40HDG28 with command control (I hate walking in sawdust)
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Offline derhntr

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2016, 02:07:37 PM »
OPPS did not see you are from Northern WI. Saw you had property in UP. LOL
2006 Woodmizer LT40HDG28 with command control (I hate walking in sawdust)
US Army National Guard (RET) SFC

Offline Roundhouse

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2016, 04:11:50 PM »
Roundhouse,
I would look at how much you will cut in the next couple years as far as species, size, length.  Buying to little of of mill will hamper your efforts, to much mill, waste of dollars unless you plan on cutting and selling mill. If you are only cutting 10-20 trees per year, you could get away with small hobby mill. If you are planning on expanding as time goes by and cutting more get a bigger mill. Sorry that I could not be of more help. Would be happy to let you cut some on my LT40HD. Will be cutting some starting next week.
Thanks, I'm trying to be realistic despite dreaming big. I may be at 10-20 trees for the next few years.
Just as I narrow it down an add pops up for an LT40HD an hour away from me for $8000. Tempting. From the photos it looks to be about 20 years old, under a roof, but having cut plenty of lumber in it's day.
I just think I have a lot to learn about milling in the next couple years. I suspect I need a starter mill to match my scale of output. If I have the fever I can then jump up to a bigger mill, used? hydraulic? once I know what I'm doing and have the ability to troubleshoot etc. There are a lot of open questions about what the practical limits of my drying, transporting, storing capacity will be. Once I start cutting I'll have more answers and suspect the other pieces will take some work before they match the output of even a small mill.
The replies here have been a huge help as I sort this out, I hope to share the lessons and excitement as I go ahead with getting started. FF has to be one of the best places on the web, great folks here.
Woodland Mills HM130, 1995 F350 7.3L, 1988 F350 dump, 1979 Ford CL340 Skid Steer, 1988 Yamaha Moto-4 200, various chain saws

Online btulloh

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2016, 07:05:39 PM »
Good luck with your analysis and your future sawdust addiction.  Advice from the good people here at FF is good and useful.  The Forestry Forum is the best tool in my tool box.

I went through a similar process as you and last summer I decided to get a hobby mill (HM126) instead of waiting to justify a bigger expenditure.  I'm happy with that decision and for me it has turned out that getting something was better than waiting until I could justify a bigger expense.  In eight months I've sawed seventy-few or so logs (a days work for Magicman).  I've been able to make and use a lot of lumber and learned a lot.  If I decided to move up to a bigger mill I could sell what I have today and even if I got back half what I paid, it would be a win.

There's a lot to producing lumber besides the mill itself that I didn't fully appreciate until I got in the game.  Moving logs, moving lumber, dealing with slabs and sawdust, storing, drying and all that.  Stuff you need to make the process work and work efficiently.  That's all true whether you have a hobby mill or an LT40HD.  If I had a bigger mill I don't think I'd be able to keep up with the 80% of the work that doesn't involve sawing.

Of course there's no way to argue that more is not better.  More HP especially.  But for me, having a hobby saw has worked out well and it makes a lot more lumber while I'm waiting to get my bigger mill - some day.

With my hobby mill, the most beneficial upgrades (in order) would be
  - log turning and dogging (takes a lot of time and effort with a manual mill)
  - easier way to adjust backstops (amazing how much time that can eat up)
  - more HP 

Of course I'm just sawing for myself.  But I'm really glad I went small and cheap instead of waiting to justify the bigger outlay.

That's just my situation.  It's a different calculation for everybody, but getting in the game has been a great experience and I'm glad I made the move, no matter what I decide to do down the road.

Good luck with your decision process and enjoy the whole thing no matter how you decide to go.  And keep coming here to the forum because there's lot's of good help here.

BT
 
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Offline WLC

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2016, 11:56:36 PM »
I have an LT28 with the crank handle feed.  Would power feed be nice? Yes, but I do fine with the hand crank for my needs. I saw only for myself, and not for hire.  I feel that I wouldn't like the push feed that some mills come with, seems it would be harder on the back after a day of sawing.  While I haven't sawed a lot of lumber on mine yet, and am no expert by any means I will say that I don't think you will go wrong with a Woodmizer.
Thanks! That helps. From what I've read elsewhere there are two "speed" settings for the crank. Do you change this depending upon the density/size of the log you're cutting? or do you switch it to a faster ratio to return back to the start, then slower for cutting?

Sorry for not responding sooner.  The two speeds you are referring to are on the winch that comes with the log deck package.  The feed crank is only one "speed".  You can adjust the feed rate by cranking faster or slower depending on the need.
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Offline Verticaltrx

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2016, 01:37:20 PM »

Thanks, when I try setting things up for an LT15 on the WM website I can't find an option for toeboards, do you know if these aren't available? It looks like a lot of other options do transfer over to the LT15.

This is why my wife can't stand me when I'm truck shopping. I weigh options and prices over and over.
What others have said about not going in the hole to have payments on a mill makes a lot of sense, I'm having second thoughts about over extending to buy an LT28, I just don't think I can justify it with limited time to use it.
The endorsements of the LT15 had me giving that a second look. I could still go for the 25 HP option, trailer and power feed. That would run me just over 10K, about 2500 less than the LT28 without powerfeed (3300 less than the LT28 with powerfeed). If I put off the trailer and power feed until later the gap widens even more enticingly.
Also, the Woodland Mills HM130 is now up on their site with specs, pricing etc. When I run the numbers there I can buy it, and an extra length of track, with a trailer purchased separately for around 7000. This would exhaust the sawmill fund but not require payments. I do like the idea of a double axle pontoon trailer for a smoother ride and stability in case of a tire blow-out. This biggest drawback in operation would be the 14 HP engine and lack of power feed.

The LT15 doesn't use toe boards, instead you can get a taper wedge from WM for leveling logs. It has notches on it and slips over the bunks, moves in and out to adjust height. You can see a pic of it if you look at the 'Pro Package' in accessories, or you can order it separately for about $50 I think. It's on my list of things to buy, but a wedge shaped piece of 4x4 has worked just fine so far.

I think I'd look at logs size as a determining factor in your decision as well. The LT28 will take bigger logs, but I've found I rarely get logs over the 28" capacity of my LT15. More HP is better for larger logs, I've found the 19hp on my mill to be quite satisfactory for the bulk of the sawing I do (pine logs up to 24") and the few 20" hardwoods I've sawn it didn't have any trouble with. If I were sawing a lot of hardwoods in the 20"+ range I would have opted for the 25hp.

Nothing against the Woodland mills, but the LT15 is a very well proven mill, the 19hp base model is only $7K when on sale. All that being said, have you looked at the offerings from Norwood? They also build a top notch mill and were high on my list when I was shopping for a mill. They have several models in your price and size range.
Wood-Mizer LT15G19

Offline jaygtree

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2016, 10:48:09 PM »
roundhouse, if you are anywhere near ashland wi you're welcome to check out my ez boardwalk jr. snow's finally melted and it's time to fire it up.   jg
i thought i was wrong once but i wasn't.   atv, log arch, chainsaw and ez boardwalk jr.

Offline SkyDoc

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2016, 11:06:29 PM »
I just got my Bantam 26 a couple of weeks ago, shortly after I had my scheduled shoulder surgery, so I havent had much time to play with it. I did cut one test log and I have had a chance to see how well it works. For the money it's pretty good if you leave out the supplied track sections. I'd have rather just bought the saw "head' and built my own track system. I chose this a my "starter' mill to mill logs of any length that I wanted, as long as the track was that long.

The log stop "securing bolt" (bolt used to hold it in the up position) broke the first time I tried to tighten it to hold a log. i looked at the head and it was a grade 2 bolt that I broke with a 6" crescent wrench. Other than a small height difference between the track sections the track assembly was "ok". I will replace all of it with one run of angle iron rather than sections when I make more progress.

The saw itself is nice and well built, the directions are easy to follow. The guard around the blade is spot welded galvanized material that had a number of sharp edges that need a file before I cut myself. The transport wheels are the bee's knees and make it easy to move around. I definitely suggest getting them.

All in all it's a good saw but I think you can make a better track system. the one they provide is "sufficient' but I could do better.



Dad always said "its easier to learn from someone else's  mistake than to make it yourself". Thats why I am here....

Offline Roundhouse

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #32 on: May 02, 2016, 11:46:02 PM »
Thanks guys, I appreciate all the first hand experience. I thought I'd provide an update. After all the rehashing I placed the order for a HM130 last Friday. Now the waiting begins.
In the end I was down to 3 options:
- Use the sawmill fund on a HM130 and trailer. My max trees this year and next are 24" dbh pine, 20" dbh maple, cut slowly as I learn and build sheds. Have a little cash to support those activities (tin for roofs etc.). If this really takes off I can shop for a bigger mill down the road.
- Use the sawmill fund and borrow a couple thousand to purchase a LT15GO. More HP and options to cut faster, but with me greener than the lumber does this just equal faster mistakes?  ;D Scrape for money as I gear up with blades, support materials etc.
(Option 2.5 keep saving until I have the cash for an LT15GO, mid-late summer, but with the bug to get sawing it would be a long winter looking at a new mill if I haven't scratched the itch first)
- Use the sawmill fund and borrow around $4000 to purchase a LT28. Same power setup as the LT15 but man I like the looks of that full size frame and trailer components. Less money available for other needs and the nagging sensation that I'm not using the mill enough.
While the big mill was tempting, I also want to have my mill stored inside during the off season, the bigger the mill the bigger the challenge that poses. I read another thread where a member took advantage of that sale to order an LT28, the delivery is estimated for July 1, I don't know if I have that kind of patience. I still have a soft spot for the LT28 and it wouldn't surprise me to be considering it again once I have sawdust in the blood.
So it's back to waiting for me, I'll post up a new thread once the mill gets here and I figure out the trailer build etc. In the meantime I'll be reading along and learning here in preparation for making my own sawdust.
Woodland Mills HM130, 1995 F350 7.3L, 1988 F350 dump, 1979 Ford CL340 Skid Steer, 1988 Yamaha Moto-4 200, various chain saws

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2016, 12:28:41 AM »
That's great news!
HobbyHardwoodAlabama.com

Offline Magicman

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Re: Bandmill Shopping, analysis, paralysis...
« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2016, 07:32:00 AM »
Congrats, and the journey begins.   8)
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

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