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Author Topic: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product  (Read 794 times)

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Offline beenthere

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Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« on: October 11, 2021, 02:01:48 AM »
Logs to lumber video that might interest FF members.


Long but good video, about a guided tour of a family member showing their sawmill complex while it is shut down, so no machines running (except for a short clip while mill is running). 
Shows unloading logs from logging truck in the yard, through the debarker, head saw, cant resaw, edger, trimmer and out on the grading chain. Shows the by product of pallet boards, bark mulch, colored mulch, and sawdust product. Side tour through the sharpening room. 

The producer is Chris (known as letsdig18 for his excavating business and video's) while visiting Wade whose family harvests timber and saws the logs. Father, mother, and apparently three brothers.

There is also a logging video if interested. 
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2021, 04:39:20 AM »
I found that hugely entertaining. Impressive

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2021, 06:27:47 AM »
Thanks for that link. I've been through a few mills over the years and it's always fascinating to me how different operations manage the same basic processes. I saw a better mousetrap in this setup, and also something I'd change because it could be easily improved.

Problem with finding a better mousetrap - in this case the underfloor/ basement waste system - is that now I want it. On the plus side ... with earthworks underway for the new green mill shed... it ain't too late to set it up that way. More $, but money well spent to get it right the first time.

The thing I didn't like was there wasn't an accelerator on the resaw infeed. An  accelerator there works to get the next cant butted up behind the one in the saw itself, which takes a lot of flex out of the band... there's no sit back on the wheels each time a new cant feeds in because the new cant is effectively a continuation of the current one. That extends the life of the band body a lot. Little things that create exponential savings.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2021, 02:16:36 PM »
I watched this with great interest considering our current stage in planning our mill.  I appreciate seeing about any operating commercial sawmill because theres always something to learn. 

How different sawmills go about producing the same products really is fascinating.  The single vertical resaw and carousel is one way but a gang or a multiple head horizontal resaw could do the same thing without as many passes.  Albeit a gang or multiple head horizontal resaw is considerably more money.  They all produce the same thing.  Part of it too is how and when in the process grading occurs. The great thing is there ARE so many ways to make a sawmill productive.  This one appears to work well.  

I like the grading station board flipper and the graded lumber bin unloading.
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Offline Resonator

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2021, 08:44:40 AM »
Great video, I recommend seeing Letsdig18 (Chris) first video also showing the logging operation. Wade's family has set up their business so they can buy the timber stand, log it with their crew, haul it with their trucks, and then saw it in their mill. Thereby controlling quality, timing, and costs (profit) of the entire process. One thing he has emphasized in his mill video's is "sawing to priority" and "grade face, grade face, grade face". Meaning turning the cant often to find the best grade, so as to get the best lumber to sell. Also running the mill to utilize the entire log, (bark, boards, edgings, cut offs, and sawdust) into product to sell.
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
Cuttin' while its green, through a steady sawdust stream.
I'm chasing the sawdust dream.

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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2021, 04:02:39 PM »
I watched this with great interest considering our current stage in planning our mill.  I appreciate seeing about any operating commercial sawmill because theres always something to learn.

How different sawmills go about producing the same products really is fascinating.  The single vertical resaw and carousel is one way but a gang or a multiple head horizontal resaw could do the same thing without as many passes.  Albeit a gang or multiple head horizontal resaw is considerably more money.  They all produce the same thing.  Part of it too is how and when in the process grading occurs. The great thing is there ARE so many ways to make a sawmill productive.  This one appears to work well.  

I like the grading station board flipper and the graded lumber bin unloading.
The difference between a single resaw and a mutihead or gang resaw is about grade vs production.
Multi's punch tons but there's no rolling the cant when it's half cut to come off a different face. They cut a lot of tons cheap, but loose a lot of potential earnings due loss of grade premium.
Singles you keep presenting your best face to the saw by turning the cant, and keep your grade up while you whittle it down. There's a higher cost of production, but grade recovery is maximized.
Both have a place, depending on what your desired product is. 
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2021, 06:46:35 PM »
Its a balance for sure to get the highest grade possible versus production.  Im working in a former sawmill location where they produced high grade and high volume.  

Bill Hanks Lumber Company had a worldwide reputation for consistent high grade hardwood at 20 million board feet per year.  They did it with two head rigs, a two pocket gang, resaw, board edger setup. All were optimized with relatively modern scanning systems.  The sawmill was among the most highly automated production facilities in our region.  They still managed to sell Appalachian Hardwood lumber in Italy, Spain, Germany and in several Asian markets as well.  We are talking about places where they checked consistency of lumber thickness with vernier calipers because their production machines were set.  

Heres a video of the optimized board edger (which is a charred relic of what it was).
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2021, 07:23:25 PM »
That's an interesting gang saw, but it would be nice to see the output on the other side.  I imagine there are boards that need to be re-edged as well as trimmed. 

Optimization is good, as long as you're looking to optimize fiber.  The problem with hardwoods, is you want to optimize dollars, not necessarily fiber.  That's where grade comes in and you are always grading on a face you can't see when you're cutting or scanning.

I believe there are optimizers for board edgers that scan for grade as well as fiber.  They position the flitch and the saws for maximum fiber and grade.  But, that's for a single flitch and not resawing an entire cant.
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Offline Larry

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2021, 08:37:41 PM »
I looked at my last price sheet.  The difference between FAS and 1c walnut was $1.56 bf.  The difference between FAS and 1c red oak was 40 cents.  This was green, the spread gets bigger once KD.  The spread in white oak was close to walnut, while the spread in hickory and maple was close to red oak.

I can't imagine anybody running walnut or white oak through a gang resaw at today's prices.  I guess a gang resaw would make sense in low grade and the flooring market.  Probably things I haven't thought out that would make a difference.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2021, 08:50:59 PM »
Have you seen the curve sawing gang?  It is a game changer.

Hanks did very little walnut and cherry.  They did mostly yellow poplar, red oak and white oak. As I said earlier the volume made up for some grade loss. The mill was successful for over 50 years.  

Walnut and cherry went to specialty mills.

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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2021, 04:29:15 AM »
Curve sawing gangs are really effective in the right application like cutting material for flooring where between weighting stacks, the inherent flexibility of the finished product, and how its nailed down at close spacing... bow isn't really a consideration.

Dont get me wrong I like gang saws. Got a little one cuts to 4+" inches deep, and once I get the current round of installations and upgrades done I'm working on replacing the little one with a somewhat larger one - I want to be able to handle 6" depth, because I'm doing more and more 6x1 & 6 x 1" feedstock all the time. And a lot depends on how you break your log as to the grade recovery potential of a gangsaw too. And sometimes it'd just about the infeed... you can run different collars on one shaft if its wide enough and between a laser and a linebar you can feed it into the gang to get different sizes based on grade.

What you can't get with a gang - maybe a sash gang but not any circle gang I've heard of - is deep cuts. I went to the band resaw to get that depth of cut. And in my case I needed the ability to size between cuts... I start seeing defects like shake and my thickness often changes depending on what I think I can pull out as clears, because I have a whole list of set size products and no market for pallet to speak of.

I just see an offer for about 5MMBF of Sapele hit my inbox... logs 36" plus x 18-40'... I got the right gear, just the wrong continent this week it seems. >:(
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: Sawmill complex tour of hardwood logs to product
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2021, 06:46:46 AM »
Band resaws are basically another head rig.  It reduces kerf, but it no longer has to worry about slabs, taper, defect positions or other decisions that are made on the main head rig.  The gang resaw also acts like another head rig.  

I know that sawing on a head saw, you have a lot of different options.  That causes your stack to change.  For oaks, I had several options for my heart, which would result in different monetary outcomes.  I could cut a 7x9 tie, 7x8 tie, 6x8 tie, multiples of 3x6, 5x6, or boards.  That changes a lot of things in your stack.  Add different thicknesses for grade, and the stack changes again. 

A lot of decisions are reduced by slice and dice equipment and taking out the human element.  As pointed out, the hope is that increased production yields outweigh the grade variations.  It all depends on grade input of the sawlogs.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.


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