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Author Topic: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big  (Read 1831 times)

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Offline SawyerTed

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Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« on: May 28, 2021, 12:10:28 PM »
For a couple of reasons I've been scarce here for several weeks.  One is I am nursing a badly twisted knee.  The Dr. says nothing really badly damaged so rest and limited activity has been the prescription.  BUT....I can't stay still very long.

Since I can't stay still very long, I have a new job! I've joined a team rebuilding a commercial sawmill and building of a fairly large wood products company.  Yes, I've come out of retirement to start a new business with a family friend.

The site is what used to be a large commercial saw mill that burned nearly four years ago.  After trying to sell it the owner decided to auction everything off.  We tried to buy it prior to the auction but couldn't work it out.  So the property and buildings is what we bought.  Everything else went to various other buyers who sent riggers in to dismantle and remove the equipment (did I say riggers are hacks and choppers?).  The main headsaw is where the fire started, it is gone but the overhead end dogging carriage remains and will be taken out.  All the green chain, the unscrambler, grading station and sorter are gone.  The edger and gang remain.  The gang saw is rebuildable (we probably won't) and the edger was abandoned by the buyer apparently.  There was also a large bandmill and carriage for larger logs, the saw and carriage are gone the burnt out cab remains.  Many square feet of decking and railings remain and will have to be removed as well.  

The sawmill equipment will require some additional demolition and the sawmill building will require some serious repair but we have plans to come back with a commercial sawmill to cut and kiln dry lumber,  cut crossties, cut crane mat timbers and cut road boards.  We will eventually set up a planer operation.  The planned mill has a target average production of 100 Mbft a day.  We probably wont be there for two to three years and our other plans may limit that. 

We are starting with a blank slate more or less.  We have 6 steam heated commercial kilns and boilers that are still operational.  There are multiple warehouses and other buildings.  There is also an huge fan shed for air drying lumber.  

Besides clean up and and demolition in the sawmill building, we are starting with some other wood products - wood shavings for the poultry industry, pressure treated fence posts and bulk and bundled firewood.

The shavings and firewood will be the first operations we will have going, hopefully by the end of summer.  We have a shavings mill and one firewood processor we have already on hand to get started with.  Rebuilding the entire sawmill operation will take some time but we hope to be running in 10-12 months with the post mill and pressure treating plant.  

So for the last 6 weeks or so the LT 35 has been sitting under the old shelter at my friend's firewood log yard.  My first portable job in a couple of months is Saturday.  Hopefully the knee will hold up.  I have three tail gunners lined up.  They have to show up because one is the customer, one is his wife the other is my wife!  Our wives are best friends and they can't let their husbands get together unsupervised because we are known the get in trouble together.
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2021, 12:18:55 PM »
Sounds pretty cool. Congratulations on the new venture 👍

Offline Southside

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2021, 01:47:29 PM »
Wow! Congratulations!!
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White Oak Meadows

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2021, 04:21:17 PM »
Retirement escalated quickly!  Congrats on that massive undertaking
Proverbs 19:11

Offline Nebraska

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2021, 04:50:26 PM »
Well I guess that's jumping  in with both feet. Good luck ....  Except you know thinking about it we're  
gonna need need more pictures...   ;D

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2021, 04:59:42 PM »
RETIRED.

I was tired yesterday.
I am tired today.
That means I am re tired.

Methinks you've got a lot of retirement ahead of you. Congratulations on what sounds like a most excellent adventure.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2021, 05:05:42 PM »
Cool.  Sounds exciting and scary all at the same time.  There is a large sawmill for sale locally, just the mill itself.  It came from a big mill that I used to buy at.  They went out of business and auctioned everything off as well.  Maybe this mill would work for you.  I know nothing about it, but it appears to be a lot of equipment.  
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Offline Don P

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2021, 06:00:33 PM »
Ted... from that description, did you buy Eller's mill up here?
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Patrick NC

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2021, 08:27:41 PM »
That certainly is going big! Best of luck in your new venture.👍
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Offline samandothers

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2021, 09:53:41 PM »
Too much time to sit and think when retired and now you went and acted on some of them thoughts!

You want have time to think much while you are getting all that up and going!

Best of luck to you!

Offline trimguy

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2021, 10:39:52 PM »
Wow! Going big is right. Good luck.

Offline Crossroads

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2021, 12:25:24 AM »
Thats great! I wish you all the best......
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Offline Bindian

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2021, 12:30:39 AM »
Ted,
   That is awesome.  Good luck in the ventures.  I am interested in the pressure treating operation.  I get questions all the time asking if I know anywhere that pressure treats lumber.  When you get time, please share anything on it here.
           hugs,  Brandi
Mahindra 6520 4WD with loader/backhoe and a Caterpiller E70 Excavator.  My mill is a Woodmizer LT40HD Wide Diesel. An old Lull 644D-34 called Bull

My Hero is Johnny Jett

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2021, 07:21:58 AM »
Thanks the positive thoughts!

The location is the former Hanks Lumber Company.  Ill post photos soon. Most of it is empty buildings right now but some of it will be interesting. The sawmill building is a mess!
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Offline Southside

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2021, 07:41:37 AM »
What are you going to run for a saw?
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Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
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Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2021, 07:44:30 AM »
Awesome 
Lt 40 wide with 38hp gas and command controls , F350 4x4 dump and lot of contracting tools

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2021, 01:31:28 PM »
We are seriously considering a Cooper End Dogging Overhead Carriage twin blade scragg.  The previous owner ran a McDonough twin band saw with Cooper End Dogging Carriage.  They also ran a Corley Carriage saw for larger logs. 

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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2021, 02:43:10 PM »
Most interesting sawmill purchase I've read about on the forum.  I guess many of us have thought about buying one of the mills going up for auction, or buying pieces or parts.  You've done it.  Congratulations and best of luck to you and your friend on this new adventure.

I don't have much advice except to do everything to create processes that reduce labor input.  Not advice but info:

 Long Island Lumber is among the more modern mills I've visited, look them up.  They do about 60MBF a day in big timbers, sometimes more.  They have 1 person on a debarker, one on the mill, one of the edger.  I guess you'd be competition for them now but it would have been worth a tour.  They do have people on the sorting line sorting side lumber but mostly it is just very automated, long logs rolling in, processed, scanners grading everything and running edger, technical support being done remotely from canada (mill is mennonite owned).    The mill is brand new, process was well laid out and the mill is sort of interesting, very long (line football field sized) linear process without people.  They had more people in some other facilities doing pallet lumber type stuff like building crates, and specialty ag stuff (sweet potato box's), timber mats etc.  

Another great mill to tour would have been Lams in Barboursville  (sp? )VA, not sure if he closed or not but he had a super clean mill with a well thought out focus- 1" lumber and pallet cants all sold green.   It was up for sale last year due to some health issues.  He had great logs ...scaled every log himself but he had more people doing half the production of long island.  He also had trucks.  Obviously half the production does not mean half the profits.  No idea of the profits on either mill.  

I would see the kilns being a great opportunity and challenge.  

Long Island will be a strong competitor for you if you want to do mats, bridges and the like.  They pay very well for logs (high bidder on all the junk and have 5 trucks doing back hauls that take logs back to the mill).  They are our high bidder for long, tie log quality, over sized logs.  WO that looks like a Christmas tree but is straight is $1/bdft on international scale at 12" top.  They might even have raised that recently, not sure.  We've been cutting YP and we don't send that south.  Anyway, they are 100 miles from you and truck south quite a bit, NC flooring plants buy the side lumber.  

I know nothing about shavings.  

I know nothing about firewood except I don't see how it pays in the south at scale.  Maybe kiln drying and selling in parks?

I know very little about trucking but man it is critical.  

I do know quartersaw and veneer buyers that would visit your mill.  Not sure if you aware but the veneer buyers are pee on the mills and loggers and they don't like to bid against each other.  Why a mill usually has only 1 veneer buyer coming around to buy veneer.  So be careful as you start buying logs and are looking to sell veneer, the buyers all talk to each other and once one has claimed you...well it will limit you.  QS is trickier.  Many QS mills are almost as picky as veneer.  The trick is find a QS buyer that has markets for 1 or 2 sided QS logs.  

Our experience with stave material sales is interesting, I would discuss in a phone call.

Again best of luck!  As LTL said you'll be tired and re-tired, have fun!






Liking Walnut

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2021, 07:15:21 PM »
I hurt my knee last fall, and didn't think it would ever heal, then had surgery and had to stay down, and the knee healed with the surgery.  So am all good now.  Try to take it easy.
Most everything I enjoy doing turns out to be work

Offline Southside

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2021, 10:23:20 PM »
Ted - you do realize that the 100,000 BF club does not require you saw that every day... :D
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows


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