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Author Topic: Portable milling support equipment  (Read 1386 times)

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Offline mad murdock

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Portable milling support equipment
« on: January 11, 2018, 08:14:12 AM »
I am looking at different strategies to improve efficiency. Once one maximizes the output per hour of any given mill platform, material flow into and out of the mill need to be maximized in order to really unleash the potential of any mill. I most likely, will be looking to sustain an output level of 800-1000 bd/ft per hour(that is the goal), and it is reachable. Just seeking input on best method to maintain through put with regards to material flow. Important info is mill: will most likely be a turbowsawmill automatic M10 or M12, so no need to move log once milling I s started on each log. Material flow enhancements will be things like roller table(s), skid steer or small wheel loader, or possibly 4wd tractor with easily swappable attachments.  Leaning towards tracked skid steer at the moment, as they are compact, and lots of different quick Change attachments for task such as moving units of lumber, moving logs, or moving slabs. Work site organization will be key, site is semi- stationary, but mill will be easy to move from spot to spot as required. What has or hasnít worked for those of you whom have stepped up to consistent higher production?
JD AMT 626, Turbosawmill M6 Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 09:17:35 AM »
Mad,

   How big are the portable jobs you are thinking about? In my part of the world I'd think 800-1,000 bf/hr to be an unreachable goal since most of my portable jobs are in the 1500-4000 bf range. You'd spend more time setting up than sawing. I guess what you seem to be describing would be more of what I'd think of as a Temporary mill site where you come in and set up a complete milling operation in an area, saw for a few months till the wood is gone, break it down and move to the next site.

   Please describe more about the kind of sites/jobs you are thinking about servicing.
Howard Green
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Offline mad murdock

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 09:59:39 AM »
WVSawmiller- that is kind of what I will be dealing with. I am workin in an old high production mill site, that has since been vacated. We will be getting logs delivered to the site, and will be producing 5-8mbf per week. That is the initial plan. 
JD AMT 626, Turbosawmill M6 Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 12:16:46 PM »
Mad,

   Yeah, I'd call that temporary/short term mill sites vs portable. When most of talk about portable milling we mean moving the mill to the logs instead of moving the logs to a permanent or semi-permanent site. Not right or wrong just the way we tend to think.

   Those of us doing portable milling usually just take the mill and a few hand tools such as cant hooks and such. MHE (Tractor with forks, Skid steers, etc) support, if any, provided is provided by the client We have the client stage the logs at a landing, pull the mill up next to the pile and start rolling them on to the loading arms with a cant hook and start sawing. Most of the time the edging is done on the mill.

   I hope others who have set up such temporary/semi-permanent milling operations can chime in to help answer your questions or offer suggestions.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Percy

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 12:32:48 PM »
I am looking at different strategies to improve efficiency. Once one maximizes the output per hour of any given mill platform, material flow into and out of the mill need to be maximized in order to really unleash the potential of any mill. I most likely, will be looking to sustain an output level of 800-1000 bd/ft per hour(that is the goal), and it is reachable. Just seeking input on best method to maintain through put with regards to material flow. Important info is mill: will most likely be a turbowsawmill automatic M10 or M12, so no need to move log once milling I s started on each log. Material flow enhancements will be things like roller table(s), skid steer or small wheel loader, or possibly 4wd tractor with easily swappable attachments.  Leaning towards tracked skid steer at the moment, as they are compact, and lots of different quick Change attachments for task such as moving units of lumber, moving logs, or moving slabs. Work site organization will be key, site is semi- stationary, but mill will be easy to move from spot to spot as required. What has or hasnít worked for those of you whom have stepped up to consistent higher production?
A few things Ive learned doing the same thing you intend to do.

Speed to the next cut is as or possibly more important than feed rate. Get those two things tuned up and you will be on the right track. Setworks/board drag back, and rollers/conveyors to deal with 1000 bdft per hour will help you achive those goals.

With those production rates comes usually heavy lumber packages. Have a way to efficiently move them and the heavy logs that that will be cut for these packages. Every situation is different so flexibility is important. We have two A300 bobcats. They can pack 5000 lbs with a skilled operator(3000 is the "rating"). The allwheel steers do not tear up the ground. When I had a skid steer there was a deep hole at the end of my log deck from where the employees would always turn and the lumberyard was rough from all the skid turning. Slowed up the machine considerably.


Have a waste/sawdust plan. Working on an elevated deck/platform is a good plan if the option exsists as gravity is your friend.

When cutting the numbers you are hoping for, you will end up with alot of lumber we call "falldown". Stuff that is a byproduct of your target sizes. Them boards can end up in what we call "Deal with it later piles". Soon, one can be overwhelmed with those piles. Have a plan for that stuff as it can make you some extra profit if you can dump it for  bottom line improvement.

Consider large purchases carefully. Rent a particular loader you are interested in if possible  for a week just to learn if it suits your plan.

Pack a big lunch........ ;D ;D

GOLDEN RULE : The guy with the gold, makes the rules.

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 01:56:27 PM »
I operate with a different mindset in that I have no daily production goals or expectations.  It's just me, the sawmill, and whatever is in the back of my truck.  Anything more would increase my expense base which may or may not increase my net income.  I depend upon the customer to provide help as well as whatever support, such as tractor with FEL, that may be needed.  These are always discussed with the customer on the phone when we are discussing the job so there are very seldom any surprises.  I also very seldom make a site visit.  I am quite often overwhelmed with the excess but welcomed help that shows up.  It is often a neighborhood event which may result in more jobs.

Of course my income goal may also be different from other sawyers.  I consider mine a part time job producing supplemental income which is all that it was ever intended to be.  I just completed my 15th sawing year.   :)
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Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 02:20:44 PM »
Good advice from all. I don't go portable much unless it is a large job .If it is local i offer to go pickup the logs with my knuckle boom truck for a fee . Most customers jump on that because they don't have the equipment to handle the logs.

My most useful piece is my 325 john deere skid steer . I have a bucket,grapple attachment and forks but like Percy said it will tear up the yard.

I work by myself most of the time so 1000 bd ft per hr is not a goal that is going to happen here.
al glenn

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 02:53:27 PM »
Well outside my class or experience but I do have a question as I am hoping to learn from this conversation.  If you are shooting for 800-1000 bf per hour, and a production run of 5-8000 bf per week; isn't that one day's milling?  For a normal work week, 8000 bf production would only be an average of 200 bf per hour.
07 Timberking B-20, Custom-made log arch, 20' trailer w/ log loading arch, F350 SD flatbed dump.  Princeton piggy-back forklift.  Bobcat S250, Stihl 025C 16" and a Husqvarna 372XP 24/30" bars, Grizzly 20" planer, Nyle L200M DH kiln.
If you call and my wife says "He's sawin logs", I ain't snorin'.

Offline mad murdock

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2018, 04:15:00 PM »
Well outside my class or experience but I do have a question as I am hoping to learn from this conversation.  If you are shooting for 800-1000 bf per hour, and a production run of 5-8000 bf per week; isn't that one day's milling?  For a normal work week, 8000 bf production would only be an average of 200 bf per hour.
Great question Tom! I am at 150 200 bd ft/hr with my turbosawmill M6 Ultralightweight powered with my Husqvarna 395XP.  I can and will probably get the roller tables first to see how much I can tweak that, though I don't think by much, but it will be necessary to take advantage of the automatic feed M10 or M12 that is in the planning stages.  standing order initially is 8mbf/week, but based on conversations with the market guy recently, that could easily double, just depends on availability of species of wood desired.  Also, milling is not my day job, only doing it part time for now, so have to maximize my time when I am doing it, and will have help also, as I can only dedicate 10-12 hrs a week to it at this point. 
with additional family help, that will change. Great suggestions thus far, and it is what I was hoping to elicit.  The yard site has a real good base, so I don't think a skid steer would be tearing much up. Would like to know if anyone has used a compact wheel loader and wonder how that stacks up to a skid steer, or a good sturdy FWD tractor for that matter, compared to the previously mentioned 2 machines?
Thanks one and all for tuning it to this thread!  I hope all have a good and safe 2018 season!
JD AMT 626, Turbosawmill M6 Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2018, 05:37:20 PM »
Need more info.
Are you going to have electricity on site?
It sounds as if you will be set up on a good foundation in a semi permanent location, and board foot per hour is the goal.
What is the reason for staying with a turbo saw type mill, nothing against them, just trying to comprehend the thinking.
For instance if the reason it is needed happens to be oversize logs, that would affect the support equipment choices, pretty much leaving out compact.
Also what is the end product, which would also make a difference in production support equipment needed.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2018, 06:07:25 PM »
I was thinking the same thing.The turbo saw is a neat machine but how are roller tables going to help you much without a drag back .

I used a fwd farm loader for a while but it will not go where a skid steer will in a tight spot. I do like the idea of a wheel loader and the size logs will determine what size machine you invest in.

The ability to change attachments on the skid steer has made my small operation much more efficient.

When I saw the big stuff , which is a pain , I use my knuckle boom loader to load the log on the mill.
al glenn

Offline mad murdock

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2018, 06:21:26 PM »
Starmac/slider-no electricity close by, will be unplugged operation.  Turbosaw offers the most efficiency for the money, and least amount of work for the sawyer.  Logs are sometimes smaller but often larger than 48" dia.  My friend (who's site it is), has slabbing operation at the same location, and has a band mill slabber, and a custom slabber that can do 144" wide slabs.  I will be cutting 4/4 6/4 and 4x4 some smaller stickers.  The turbosawmill is a lot faster than a band mill, and can quickly change from one product to another on the fly, with little effort, It offers me the most flexibility of any saw in the price range, and the maximum in output. The only thing close to it in production is a fixed hand set circle mill, which is too much of a jump for me, plus I do not want to set up a permanent milling site.
JD AMT 626, Turbosawmill M6 Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D

Online starmac

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2018, 06:39:44 PM »
I guess I do not know enough about the turbo saws, I do not see how you can change from one product to another any faster, or that they are less labor, but I have never used one. I do se where one would be faster or at least easier on oversize.

Is this milling site something you will be doing a week or two now and then, or basically all the time??  The way I understood, it was to be like an ongoing weekly job.
If you have good ground, sometimes a good forklift is about as good as it gets, especially if you need to load trucks with bundled lumber, just get one with a side shift. You can almost always pick up a serviceable forklift much cheaper than a skidsteer or a decent front end loader, unless you have farm related or other duties where a 3 point lift is needed I would not be looking at farm tractors.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline mad murdock

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2018, 07:16:54 PM »
Starmac-It may turn into a semi-permanent gig, but will not know until it gets underway.  Completed units will be containerized, and shipped to market.  At this point, compact wheel loader or skid steer type machine are the 2 top contenders, but I will be getting things on an incremental basis, to not bite off more than I can chew, as it were.  The biggest advantage of a swing blade mill is no need to load on the mill, just roll or place under the beam, then fine tune align log to beam or beam to log (quick adjustment), quarter sawing can be done without turning the log, and you can switch from one size product to another easily, as well as no edging is needed, due to the way the saw chews away at the log. Biggest ongoing factors are waste removal and product movement away from the mill to keep production going. 
I have been around band mills and handset circle mills, as well as MD mills.  IMO, most bang for buck in production and cost to operate per bd ft of production, from my experience is a swing blade, for the wood type and sizes I typically encounter here in the NW part of Oregon and SW washington. The turbosaw offers an additional level of simplicity over any of the other flavors of swingers, as the single beam is really the easiest/quickest, to set up, and get underway in all the situations I have seen thus far. I am in no way disparaging any other mill or mill platform, I am simply saying for my conditions and intended use, the Turbosaw is the best tool for the job, just like I am similarly picky when it comes to my day to day 8-5 job as an aircraft mechanic, in regards to the tools I choose to put in my tool box. 
JD AMT 626, Turbosawmill M6 Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D

Offline Gearbox

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2018, 07:30:30 PM »
I have been around circle mills my whole life and have only seen a very few mills that would do 10,000 BF a day and every one but the big PNW ones were sawing cants and 2x8x16 and up with a crew of 1 man per 1000 ft. per shift . How big a crew will you run rollers ? You still need to touch each board .
A bunch of chainsaws a BT6870 processer , TC 5 International track skidder and not near enough time

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2018, 07:57:02 PM »
Well if this is a try and see if it works out deal, I definitely would look at an older forklift. Mine is a 6,000 pound lift and gets around good except for soft ground, where even a rubber tired skidsteer will start to have problems, and I picked it up several years ago for 1000 bucks, so no major investment. If nothing else, they are handy to leave exactly where you need them with the forks at a good working hight to pull your lumber off and store on the forks, till you sticker them.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2018, 07:00:50 AM »
I dont want to rain on your parade friend, but were I you I would be dividing your estimated output by four and seeing if the proposition was still viable.

Then I would be volunteering myself to another operation to stack and sticker, strap and store 10MBF per day by myself. For 5 days straight. Ain't built like Hulk Hogan or The Rock yet? You will be... :D

I have had this goround before: you cannot extrapolate a manufacturers production numbers that are based on short production bursts in a demonstration into any sort of real production number. 1000BF per hour, a sawyers 10 hour day, and a 50 week year puts you at 2,500,000 BF per annum with a lightweight portable mill. That mill is incapable of that level of production, regardless of how much support gear you throw at it.

In order to maximise your production you're going to need a machine that can quickly and safely handle a minimum 6000lb lift ( you said 48" diameter logs, I'm assuming DF at 38lb/cubic foot).
You're going to need a way to handle your sawdust, and a plan for how and where you will be disposing of it. Ditto for solid wood waste.
You're going to need a highly organised arrangement with regard stacking your lumber by size and grade, and a roller/conveyor/greenchain arrangement that means that lumber handling is limited.
You need to think about how you will be loading this lumber into the containers. It's not like shovelling them over the side of a truck with a forklift.
And as Percy said, you better pack a big lunch. :D

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

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2018, 10:09:12 AM »
Would like to know if anyone has used a compact wheel loader and wonder how that stacks up to a skid steer, or a good sturdy FWD tractor for that matter, compared to the previously mentioned 2 machines?

Bibbyman had/has a Terex wheel loader.  He'd be a good one to ask opinions of.

As for a FWD tractor, if you already have one or need a tractor for other things, great.  I would in no way seek one out for this as the loaders and front axles are generally not built for what you will need.  You need industrial equipment.  Now with that said, a skip loader (tractor with industrial loader & axle) or backhoe can be a good option. 

4x4American has a backhoe recommended by  ???  maybe Custom Sawyer or WDH  ???.  The model they recommended has controls to switch from bucket to forks from the cab.
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline mad murdock

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2018, 10:21:57 AM »
LTL-well shared and I agree, my ultimwt goal may be a bit high, i will be happy with a sustained average output of half that, but in larger average sized lower logs, it will be doable with 2 guys which is what i am going to be modeling as my average production scenario. I will let you know how it all goes. Will see if I can get some pics as well.
JD AMT 626, Turbosawmill M6 Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D

Offline Gearbox

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Re: Portable milling support equipment
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2018, 10:28:20 AM »
Maybe I should give you a old rule that still stands today . 1000 feet per man and 5 gal of fuel for a thousand feet .
A bunch of chainsaws a BT6870 processer , TC 5 International track skidder and not near enough time


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