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Author Topic: Circular sawmill foundation  (Read 888 times)

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Offline Plankton

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Circular sawmill foundation
« on: July 18, 2022, 10:48:12 AM »
I just purchased a lane sawmill on all steel. Looking for advice on mill foundations.

I have done extensive reading on here and havent quite found an answer. Im in new england and i want to do concrete for a permenant stable setup.

Considering either rectangular piers going perpendicular to the tracks every ? Feet not sure how close i would need them. Or parrelell under the whole thing except for gap under the saw for dust removal.

Track and husk are on 8" I beams.

Also considering frost etc. Which we get plenty of, Im thinking I need to go 4ft underground with whatever i do.

Theres a pile of these mills running daily where I am and I have a list of mills to visit in the coming weekends but figured Id ask here as well.

If anyone has set up a mill on concrete where it freezes 6 months out of the year i would love to hear or see pictures of your setup thanks, Dan.



Offline Plankton

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2022, 10:51:17 AM »
No dust removal came with the mill but i have my eye on another sawmill for sale thats 2 hrs away that has an edger live deck and blower which the seller said they would seperate. Funds are tight even though i log full time (funny how that goes) but still would like to set this up as perfect as i can from the get go.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2022, 11:41:06 AM »
Are you eyeing this up as a commercial operation or a hit-or-miss type.  If you're going commercial, you'll want to be able to make some sort of expansion as you add more bells and whistles.

Ideally, you'll want to raise your mill off the ground level.  Generally, the higher the better.  It will make cleanup a whole lot easier.  The last mill I was involved with put down a concrete floor.  Its easier to work on, but you'll have to make adjustments to accommodate equipment.  We put the mill up about 4' off the floor. We poured a 12" reinforced slab for the mill area.  They put in a heavy automatic mill. 

In the concrete, we put in 8" I beams where mill supports were put in.   They then welded I beam supports and an I beam across the supports.  There were cross beams to help the supports.  The mill was welded to the top I beam. 

That may be overkill for your project.  But, you still want to get it up in the air, maybe 3 ft.  I put in a hand mill that used piers with a 6x6 across the top.  Get it below frostline.  It was spaced out every 10' because it was on wood.  That seems to be a good spacing.  At the husk, I built concrete block walls with a huge beam across the top.  It connected the husk to the track in one piece.  It also enclosed the dust pit.  We put up a building, so we used a drag chain and brought it in over head.  Just make sure you have your guards on.

You'll also want to build some sort of floor, if you're thinking of working on dirt.  Many mills used low grade 1x6 for a floor.  The dust will fall through them, and eventually build up.  Its a fire hazard.  You'll want the floor at the sawyer end to be a bit higher than at the offbearer.  Too low of a sawyer floor will make turning logs and setting dogs harder.  Too high of a floor on the offbearer side will give you men backaches.  Good labor is hard to find.

I've seen track put on parallel to the whole track.  It is mighty tough to keep it remotely clean.
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Offline Plankton

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2022, 02:59:40 PM »
Thanks for the in depth reply. This will be semi commercial. Its going on 130 acres that we bought a few years back. Going to build house, barn, shop and sugarhouse and farm up there is the plan.
The mill will be used to cut as much of that wood as possible but also selling lumber which i have yet to go to far into figuring out a market for the hardwood which we have alot (ive tallyed it at around 360mbf) of really nice red oak. Thinking of shipping veneer and sawing the second logs etc.

Rough Softwood framing and 1" boards i can sell all day in this area I know that. Obviously log supply wont last forever off 130 but i can buy and bring home as much as i want from work.

So basically home/farm use and run it after/in between to generate some income. Havent thought the income side through too hard yet but is a dream anyways.

After all that...

I do plan on expansion for extras will be building a wood floor etc. Sounds like perpendicular peirs tied in to husk foundation would be the way to go. Didnt consider how hard parrellell with track would be to clean out. Apparently thats how this mill was last setup but the guy also shoveled his sawdust from under the saw so...

Dont know if 8" i beams that the track is on will be stable with 10ft span? Might need to weld those to larger beams set down into piers. Or closer piers? I would like to set it up heavy enough in case we find a log turner at some point.

Offline Don P

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2022, 06:01:31 PM »
Depends on the weight of the 8" I beam, they come in many strengths/weights. If you're curious post all the dimensions/thicknesses of the beam. Indoors I don't put pier bases, say under a house, to frost depth, the roof keeps the moisture down. I'm on individual piers on 10' spacing with a 6x6 on top, at some point I want to pour a "sidewalk" and set it up on that.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Plankton

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2022, 06:27:52 PM »
Not sure on i beam dimensions since i havent picked the mill up yet but will do when i get it.

This will have a roof what do you think i can get away with then as far as depth? Code around here is 4ft for house foundations. Would like to keep it as cheap as possible but still do it right which doesnt usually go together.

Offline Don P

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2022, 06:52:53 PM »
You'll have to study the site and the soil. If it is on a mound where water runs away that is good, if the soil is coarse and granular, free draining, no water = no heave. If it is fine, clay or muck then you're in trouble.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Ventryjr

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2022, 07:07:26 PM »


Heres a video form when I setup the track on my lane mill.  Im in a area with deep freezes. I put 12 concrete piers  in 4-5 deep. spaced ~8ft. Then put railroad ties on top of each pair.  Then 24ft 8x8 hemlock beams on top for the track to set on.  Mounted my husk on the railroad ties as well and poured a concrete pad for the motor.  If you scroll thru some of the more recent videos on my channel I left enough space on the r&r ties to mount some off bearer rollers. Im 1 year into my sawmill project.    Good luck! And be sure to post pictures.  
-2x belsaw m14s and a Lane circle mill.

Offline Plankton

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2023, 08:17:35 PM »
Getting closer to site work for the mill almost done clearing trees and brush so I revisited this thread.

I am thinking 8-12 inch wide by 7 ft deep (3ft above ground) concrete "walls" perpendicular with the track every 8 ft. Extra for husk and some sort of pad for engine etc. Havent quite dialed that in yet.

A mill ive worked on in the pass is setup that way but the all steel mill is sitting on large hemlock beams (10x12s?) My mill is setup on 1/8 thick 8" tall ibeams.

Is there any reason not to just mount those directly to the walls. Seems like the wood just adds potential for movement unless its needed for strength.

Any input is appreciated.

I put a picture of the mill ive worked on and the stack of track of my mill to be setup.








Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2023, 09:46:21 PM »
I am thinking you put the husk beams on concrete piers below frost and on footings poured first. 4 or 6 depending on how good a job you can do [could be a big rock down there]. The 8" track ways will set on the husk beams extended past the husk. Then 6 'leg sets', 3 at the log end and 3 at the board end. This should be good for a 60' or less track. Go heavy at the log end so you can load and turn heavy logs and never worry.   If you want to go all the way erect a 2 story mill you can walk under, that would be my dream sawmill. Put your mill where there will be plenty of room for handling lumber as that is where the real work is.    What size/ model Lane is it?

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2023, 03:34:45 AM »
I know nothing about setting a mill up for snow; I'm 50 and never even touched the stuff.

But Ive played around some with mills and one thing I know is that if you're going to be commercial then don't lift it just off the ground, lift it high enough you can get around under the thing. Elevated installation is a one off cost that pays for itself every other year and once you commit to real footings etc then the extra steel cost to lift it is negligible. What you spend for extra steel you'll save on the sawdust extraction anyway because suddenly instead of blowers and ducting you can get away with scraper chains.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline Don P

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2023, 10:44:07 AM »
Look at the forces you are resisting.
 
The beams are light, if that is really just 1/8" thick steel it won't span far. 

The carriage is travelling back and forth along the length of the track, starting and stopping abruptly and banging the end stops when you aren't paying attention. Cross walls topple under that kind of loading.

Turning logs at the infeed is a tremendous gravity impact load and a force acting 90 degrees to the track as you turn, bang the headblocks, advance and receed. Several cross walls in that area.

Just thinking about the direction things are shaking and banging and how best to resist it.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Plankton

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2023, 11:51:00 PM »
Sounds like the track ways i beams are not sufficient then don p. Should I go for wood which I can get easy from any number of local saw mills or another layer of ibeam in the concrete? The latter being costly.

Moodnacreek and longtime taller is better for sure. I dont want to go too high since the site is level and dont want to make my log deck prohibitively high. Future plans are a wheel loader to load logs and move lumber but for now I have a farmall 966 with a loader gotta start somewhere. Maybe go 6ft above ground and dig a pit under the saw/husk? Thats about how high the mill in the first picture is but its built into a hill so its easy to load logs with a logtruck or wheel loader etc. From the topside.

Mill is mostly a chase but the lane parts are from a number 1. 18ft carriage with 3 16ft track sections  and 2ft extensions.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2023, 04:48:20 AM »
Just a thought to throw into the mix is that while I love steel for a whole lot of reasons one of its faults is that it doesn't absorb shock loads like wood can.

The old fashioned way of mounting saws on whopping great wood bearers actually had a lot going for it in terms of allowing lighter gauge steel to be used because the wood allowed the shock loadings to disperse over a greater area. Steel on steel concentrates the same loadings over the immediate area it joins which is why tearing beside welds is common.

I prefer to work with steel but there's a reason railroad switch ties are wood, even if the rest of the track is on steel or concrete ties: wood isn't malleable, doesn't expand and contract so much with temperature and isn't  prone to work hardening
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 foundation
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2023, 06:14:35 AM »
I'd be a bit cautious of putting green rough sawn wood under the mill.  Rough sawn doesn't mean it will be a consistent thickness all the way through.  Then, there's also the problem of shrinkage.

At 6' height, you don't need to dig a pit.  You'll have to form a pit with either wood or metal.  You'll have to decide what you're using to move sawdust.  Choices are a drag chain, barn type conveyor, vibrating conveyor, blower, belted conveyor, or by hand.  I don't know what your expectations are from a production standpoint, but a drag chain works for a low production mill, and its pretty cheap.  I used old corn picker chain to build a couple of them. 

Blowers and vibrating conveyors work best if you have electric.  Belted conveyors can work with hydraulics, but tend to freeze on frosty mornings.  Hydraulics are a good thing to add to a mill, as there are a lot of uses for it.  I ran it with a model T rear end that was converted to be used as a dust drag.  I also ran one with a hydraulic motor. 

I put one mill in with a 3' dust pit and a drag chain.  I put a floor in the mill and sawing area.  The sawyer area was a bit higher and allowed for a good working height to set dogs, roll in logs, etc.  The off bearer and stacking areas were set to be about waist high for the dead rolls.  Figuring out way ahead of time how you want your mill design will let you figure out a good working height for your mill. 
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Offline Don P

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2023, 08:55:05 AM »
Look at where it was supported and if it has bowed in between, it was a working mill. Mainly I was pointing out that it is light, don't go bigger than they did. My belsaw is on 3/16 x 10" C and to me is super light.
One thing that would make me happy is some simple attachments to the foundations, like motor tension adjustments, to precisely slide and lock each attachment of the guide track to foundation.
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Circular sawmill foundation
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2023, 08:57:59 AM »
A drag chain takes little power and does not put dost in the air.


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