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Author Topic: Circular sawmill  (Read 2526 times)

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Offline Rob30

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Circular sawmill
« on: April 30, 2017, 07:52:11 PM »
I am looking for some information about what advantages a circular mill  may have over a band saw mill.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2017, 08:12:37 PM »
Rob, its speed and production. Bandmills have come a long way but they would still be hard pressed to out produce even a 100 yr old handset circular mill. Each has advantages, but theirs room for both. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline dgdrls

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2017, 08:39:20 PM »
 I'll add Blade Life,

Whats driving the question?

Best
D

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2017, 08:47:11 PM »
Small horizontal  band saws are well suited for clean valuable logs , small nice cedar logs and especially resawing .  Circle mills in spite of being wasteful and some what crude are capable of sawing tough ugly frozen logs fast. There are endless modifications that can be adapted to the circle mill. Today many circle mills produce cants for a band resaw.

Offline irvi00

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2017, 09:31:08 PM »
We just pulled a circular out and bought a woodmizer. Why? Yes, the circular was faster but it requires labor. We couldn't keep reliable employees, like 10 years of struggle to keep employees. We gave up. Now me and my dad saw daily and make more money. Less headache.

Offline dgdrls

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2017, 09:51:44 PM »
We just pulled a circular out and bought a woodmizer. Why? Yes, the circular was faster but it requires labor. We couldn't keep reliable employees, like 10 years of struggle to keep employees. We gave up. Now me and my dad saw daily and make more money. Less headache.

How many workers did you have on your circle?

D

Offline Darrel

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2017, 10:05:09 PM »
A wide band 6 - 8" or wider can cut just as fast as a circle mill and it also has a wider cut capacity than the circle mill. However up keep on the wide band will be more than either the circle or narrow band.
1992 LT40HD

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Offline irvi00

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 10:38:35 PM »
Three hands, plus me and dad handling logs and lumber. It got so bad in the last few years we couldn't keep it running.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2017, 06:46:09 AM »
We worked the same amount of people and got about 2.5 MMbf annual production, sawing hardwood grade lumber on a circle mill.  Milling costs were under $200/Mbf.  Pay was good, but we still went through periods where getting help was a problem.  Normally, it was a stacker,

When we had a hand operation, we sawed with 3 people.  Sawyer, edgerman/off bearer, and stacker.  No automation and annual production of a bit better than 1 MMbf. 

If you're cutting high value logs, there is a point where you make more money with a band mill than a circle mill.  I ran those numbers about 10-12 years ago, and the breakeven was around $600/Mbf on log run.  That has probably gone up a bit since then.  $600/Mbf could be pretty high on the commercial end, but a lot easier to get on the retail end. 

Fit the mill to your operations.  Blade costs are greatly reduced on a circle mill, as well as initial capital input, especially when you look at dollar input for production output.  Our maintenance was a bit more, but that was due to automation.  We didn't shovel sawdust, or handle slabs, or roll logs, or carry boards.  If you want to be portable, a band mill is a good fit.  If you're cutting lower grade logs, a circle mill is a good fit.  A lot depends on the markets you're trying to go after. 

Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline TKehl

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2017, 07:34:51 AM »
Irvi00, one of the local mills recently shut down and sold equipment.  Got to talking with the owner (bought a stock trailer from him) and he said it was labor.  It ran good with 5 guys, OK with 4, but if only 3 showed up it was bad.  Got tired of no shows, quit milling, and now they just do logging. 
In the long run, you make your own luck – good, bad, or indifferent. Loretta Lynn

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2017, 08:53:49 PM »
With rudimentary automation, manpower wise, a circular mill is competitive with a band mill. Most of the time I run my circular mill and band mill alone and theirs not much difference. The more help you have circular mill production pulls ahead. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline TKehl

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2017, 09:15:02 PM »
That's what I was thinking in my head as well.  A bit of basic automation and two people would really make their place sing.  It wasn't said, but I think the owner was ready to slow down a bit and his sons seemed more interested in logging than milling.  Besides, they had to compete with the local Mennonites for milling.  Now they are a log customer.   ;)
In the long run, you make your own luck – good, bad, or indifferent. Loretta Lynn

Offline papow22

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2017, 11:10:06 PM »
We just pulled a circular out and bought a woodmizer. Why? Yes, the circular was faster but it requires labor. We couldn't keep reliable employees, like 10 years of struggle to keep employees. We gave up. Now me and my dad saw daily and make more money. Less headache.
:D
Here I thought that I was only dreaming.But mow I know I'm awake and I have to AGREE WITH 100% X TEN FOLD on that remark.My late father put the circle mill together just so Father & Son can do the work without asking for workers that want $ 40.00 hour to watch us work.So we do it ourselves up till 2006.(POP'S) Dad passed on in 2007 so now sits that circle mill waiting.Maybe one day I'll fire it up just to saw slog or two. ;) . I have me a LM2000 band mill and I do all the work myself. ;) .
Lives to do sawdust,run a trapline,hunt big game,live life to it's most.Got 4 mills a circle mill,(2 band sawmills) Norwood's 2000, Trim Saw,Beam Machine (chainsaw mill).

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2017, 06:12:23 PM »
We run a circle line. Hydraulic sizing headsaw feeds to one man bench circular resaw that also doubles as a standalone small log line, green chains to docking and stacking.

I can run it alone: production around 20MBF a week. 4000 a day might not sound like much, but thats 4000 a day stacked and stickered and answering the phone and loading the kiln and interuptions from customers and... viable at that, but barely.

With 2 people production triples and its an efficient small mill.

With 4 she sings. And with a 5th to unload/load trucks and tend walk ins and swing a grease gun in the workshop the whole things takes flight and we can push out about 3MMBF a year working regular hours.

Mostly we run with two and a half, which is to say there's me and one man on the mill side and dad gets about doing the million and one small things that would otherwise eat at my time.

Automation is key to sawlines being productive. Band or circle makes no difference - if you can replace a man with a machine you should do it because the machine is there to work every day, doesnt need insurance or penalty rates or overtime etc etc etc. You'll see all sorts of production numbers tossed around by manufacturers and operators but I'll tell ya... BF an hour or BF a day is irrelevant if it doesnt include the time it takes to stack and sticker and grease the the thing and sharpen blades and mow the yard and the million and one other jobs that go into running a mill full time that arent necessarily saw in wood related. If you saw 8,000 a day solo with your LT70 and then spend tomorrow stacking and strapping and resawing slabs and shifting sawdust then you only got 4000 a day: its the week on week average that counts.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2017, 05:31:11 AM »
Rule of thumb is that you should have a 2 yr payback on automation to make it effective.  With the cost of labor, it doesn't take much of an investment to replace labor. 

I worked a couple of mills that had a bonus package.  We had a goal production where mgmt made their expenses in base labor and on costs plus a profit.  At that rate, they paid a bonus on production.  Guys don't mind working harder if they're paid more.  Also, guys busted hump to make the weekly goal.  Keeping labor happy is all about incentives.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2017, 07:34:22 AM »
Labour here is expensive. The mining boom hasnt helped at all - the kind of skilled, think on their feet reliable, and multi skilled people that make the best sawmill staff are worth about $100k a year cleaning toilets on a FIFO mines site. (Not joking, thats what the mines pay!) So while the award rate isnt too bad on paper in practice you've got to pay well over that to hold anyone worth having because if the mines don' t steal them another mill will. We pay $30 an hour gross. Plus Super at 10% (401K stuff). Plus comp (injury insurance) which is set at 7.5% of the above. It costs me $70,000 a year to have anyone other then a brain dead LCD (Lift , Carry, Drag) guy stacking boards. That works back to $5000 a month... and thats the equivalent of the lease payment on a quarter million dollars of machinery give or take a little. Crazy isnt it? Soon I'm going to need to be a 2½ man, 1MMBF operation with an automatic stacker, just to drop the need for LCD guys back further.

What I've done is held 25% of the stock (we trade as a company) as a class j share, which means that the owner of the share gets a dividend on the share but the voting right attached is a managing directors proxy and the share cant be sold except to another shareholder.  Class J shares get issued by the director at his discretion and can be resumed at his discretion yada yada yada. Class J's are for issuance to permanent staff.

What it all boils down to is a tax effective, legal, profit participation scheme, that also has a few bonuses attached because the rights holder is legally a part owner which has beneficial implications  re insurance and a few other little lurks and perks around use of company vehicles, fuel out of company tanks that get filled at a fair discount under pump price etc etc.

Theres a fair difference between profitable and productive... as an employee I was at my most productive while being least profitable because I was beating the gear to death chasing a production bonus.  :D
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2017, 11:32:23 AM »
For comparison $70k Austrailian Dollar = $52k US.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2017, 06:12:42 PM »
$30.00 an hour to stack wood ? when do you want me ?
Collector and builder of many things.
Love machine shop work
and Wood work shop work
And now a saw mill work

Offline coalsmok

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2017, 04:16:46 PM »
What is the cost of living in a place where it pays $30hr to stack wood?  May be worth the court and moving cost. I get a little better than that as a mobile technician in the gas field fixing what ever breaks.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Circular sawmill
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2017, 04:53:35 PM »
Around here, unskilled labour like a fruit picker, timber stacker or similar will get around $20 an hour.
Skilled labour like a machinery operator, sawmill hand will get $30.
Tradesman like a plumber/mechanic gets charged out at $60 and probably makes $40 himself.
Mines operator with the FIFO crews will make around $130k a year. Tough lifestyle on families though,  14 days on, 7 days off and you loose two of your days off to travel back and forth. dad is never home.

But things cost more. Wood sells for more, food/house/electricity/fuel costs are higher, income tax gobbles at it faster etc etc. A few years back when the AUD to USD exchange rate was sitting around 1:1 it meant we couldnt really export timber because it priced us out the game. At the same time every time we went to see the stateside family I felt like king of the world because in Aussie Dollar terms everything looked so cheap. With the exchange rate back around "normal" visiting the grandkids has become an expensive pilgrimage again.

 It's all same same really: still got to work to tread water and bust your hump to get ahead. And Kbeitz can start on Monday because I've always got room for people who can make something from nothing and keep this tired old gear of mine moving.


The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.


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