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Author Topic: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama  (Read 919 times)

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Offline Obiwan

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Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum - but have been researching mills for the past 6 months or so. I'm a hobbyist woodworker in Alabama, and have access to some free fresh cut hardwood logs and would like to try my hand at milling. My wife and I decided it was time to pull the trigger and buy a mill. We have a limit of about 9K, which puts us into manual mill territory. I've been leaning heavily towards the woodland mills hm130max woodlander, but I'm open to suggestions. We'd like to get a trailered mill so that we can offer services as a side hustle at some point in the future after we get used to the mill. 

I do have some concerns around the hm130 max:
1. How much weight can the trailer support? I see that the model without the trailer has a lot more leveling feet than the trailer model and wasn't sure if the trailered model could support the same weight as the non-trailered. If this was a heavier built trailer that was pre-assembled, I don't think I'd be as concerned.
2. While I have a small tractor (JD 2305 with loader attachment and forks), the head weight of the mill (800+ lbs) would be right at - if not over - the lifting capacity of the tractor. Given this, are there any recommendations for getting the head unit on the trailer with only 2 people?

Now for the non-woodland mills specific questions:
1. Prices seem to be going up for new mills, and I'm worried that we may be purchasing at a height of a bubble. I know we could wait, but that also has the risk of having prices increase even more. I just haven't price tracked long enough to determine if this is a normal price increase or if it is bubble-like or if it's tied to the crazy price of construction lumber (which is starting to come down).
2. Are there any other mills that I should be looking at with comparable cutting widths that aren't 6+ months out? I've looked at EZ Boardwalk, Cooks (outside our budget - but I'd LOVE to buy from a company in my home state  :) ), Timbery, Frontier, Norwood, Wood-mizer. All of these are either outside our budget for the cut width and trailer requirement, and/or 6+ months out.
3. Would it be better to get a non-trailered model and put it on heavier built trailer?


Offline Roundhouse

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2021, 12:56:05 PM »
3. Would it be better to get a non-trailered model and put it on heavier built trailer?
Option 3 is what I did when I bought my HM130. At that time Woodland wasn't offering a trailer package but I've been very happy with how it tows, how stable it is, and how the solid frame holds alignment year after year.
Details are in my build thread found here:
https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=90425.0
Woodland Mills HM130, 1995 F350 7.3L, 1988 F350 dump, 1938 Allis-Chalmers reverse WC tractor loader, 1979 Ford CL340 Skid Steer, 1988 Yamaha Moto-4 200, various chain saws

Offline RAYAR

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2021, 02:20:03 PM »
There's a good chance there will be a lot of mills coming up for sale in the for-see-able future (a year or two perhaps) as many people buying them have or had no idea of the labour and knowledge of using and operating them involves. With many for sale, the prices should be reasonable. That's my outlook on the current situation of this mill frenzy.

A lot of the lower priced mills use angle iron for the frame with lots of small supports legs for stationary set-ups. The mobile set-ups generally use a rectangular tube frame of at least 3/16" thickness which is much more rigid and the better ones will be a welded construction.

btw, welcome to this great forum.
mobile manual mill (local build) (mods & additions on-going)
Shop built auto band sharpener
Husqvarna 50, 61, 254XP (and others)
96 Polaris Sportsman 500
2006 Ranger 4X2 w/cap, manual trans

Offline Obiwan

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2021, 12:06:42 PM »
3. Would it be better to get a non-trailered model and put it on heavier built trailer?
Option 3 is what I did when I bought my HM130. At that time Woodland wasn't offering a trailer package but I've been very happy with how it tows, how stable it is, and how the solid frame holds alignment year after year.
Details are in my build thread found here:
https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=90425.0
I really like that idea! Guess I need to talk to some local trailer companies to see if they can offer something similar.

Offline Obiwan

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2021, 12:09:55 PM »
There's a good chance there will be a lot of mills coming up for sale in the for-see-able future (a year or two perhaps) as many people buying them have or had no idea of the labour and knowledge of using and operating them involves. With many for sale, the prices should be reasonable. That's my outlook on the current situation of this mill frenzy.

A lot of the lower priced mills use angle iron for the frame with lots of small supports legs for stationary set-ups. The mobile set-ups generally use a rectangular tube frame of at least 3/16" thickness which is much more rigid and the better ones will be a welded construction.

btw, welcome to this great forum.
I'm sort of thinking the same thing regarding some used mills being available in 1-2 years. I just don't know if I really want to wait that long or not. Maybe go ahead and get the manual mill now/soon, then in 2 years or so I can convince my wife it's time to upgrade to a fully hydraulic mill  ;)

Offline fluidpowerpro

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2021, 02:19:51 PM »
Have you looked at Hud-Son? I have 2 of them and they have done me well. I started with a small ground model and recently bought a bigger HFE-36 and then put it on my own trailer that has full hydraulics. In order to do this I had to find someone willing to sell me just a saw head without tracks. Woodland would not sell it that way so I found a Hud-Son dealer that would. If you buy one thats big enough to begin with, you could start with it on the ground and then use the same tracks and put it on your own trailer. If you do consider Hud-Son, I would recommend the Oscar series. The HFE-36 I bought is good but the frame is not as stiff as a "true" 4 post design like the Oscars. I was able to stiffen it up myself no problem, but others may not have that ability or desire...
When I was looking I was also impressed with Cooks but just couldnt afford it.
I happen to have a current Hud-Son price list. You actually can get an Oscar 428 with a trailer package for within your price range.
Change is hard....
Especially when a jar full falls off the top shelf and hits the top of your head!

Offline bushhog920

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2021, 11:38:23 PM »
Hey neighbor 2hr to the north. Don't know what your mission is but try to think outside the box everyone is getting a mill a lot more around you than you realize. If you did something to support and make money off them you could find your niche. Say kiln dry, plane, treat, sharpen blades, etc. Being portable wasn't fun for me I did one job and when I got home I pulled the  wheels off my cooks ac36 and parked it in the barn. 

Offline Obiwan

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2021, 06:45:12 AM »
Hey neighbor 2hr to the north. Don't know what your mission is but try to think outside the box everyone is getting a mill a lot more around you than you realize. If you did something to support and make money off them you could find your niche. Say kiln dry, plane, treat, sharpen blades, etc. Being portable wasn't fun for me I did one job and when I got home I pulled the  wheels off my cooks ac36 and parked it in the barn.
Howdy neighbor!
I'm not sure what the mobile plan is yet, or even if it will manifest. I'm also not sure if where I'm initially placing the mill will be where I will keep the mill (or if it will even stay on that piece of property). As for thinking outside the box, kiln drying (solar) and planing is in the plans, as is slab flattening.

Offline Obiwan

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2021, 06:55:57 AM »
Have you looked at Hud-Son? I have 2 of them and they have done me well. I started with a small ground model and recently bought a bigger HFE-36 and then put it on my own trailer that has full hydraulics. In order to do this I had to find someone willing to sell me just a saw head without tracks. Woodland would not sell it that way so I found a Hud-Son dealer that would. If you buy one thats big enough to begin with, you could start with it on the ground and then use the same tracks and put it on your own trailer. If you do consider Hud-Son, I would recommend the Oscar series. The HFE-36 I bought is good but the frame is not as stiff as a "true" 4 post design like the Oscars. I was able to stiffen it up myself no problem, but others may not have that ability or desire...
When I was looking I was also impressed with Cooks but just couldnt afford it.
I happen to have a current Hud-Son price list. You actually can get an Oscar 428 with a trailer package for within your price range.
I have considered Hudson. If I went with them, I'd lean towards the Oscar 330 series. My biggest concern with them is the 8-12 month wait. If I wait that long, I'd be very tempted to wait a little longer and go with a used mill.

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2021, 08:28:03 AM »
Welcome to FF! 8)

I will speak to your question about mill price tracking, specifically Woodland Mills.

I started looking at mills in Sept 2020 and between then and now, the HM122 increased by $160 and the HM126 increased by $200.  I didn't track the price of the HM130.

I have a spreadsheet with lots of information and prices for many of the others you mentioned if you'd like a copy to do your own price research and make a decision about the bubble based on that.

I do agree there will be probably be lightly used mills available in the next year or two for the reasons stated before.
HM126

Offline Obiwan

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2021, 08:43:03 AM »
Welcome to FF! 8)

I will speak to your question about mill price tracking, specifically Woodland Mills.

I started looking at mills in Sept 2020 and between then and now, the HM122 increased by $160 and the HM126 increased by $200.  I didn't track the price of the HM130.

I have a spreadsheet with lots of information and prices for many of the others you mentioned if you'd like a copy to do your own price research and make a decision about the bubble based on that.

I do agree there will be probably be lightly used mills available in the next year or two for the reasons stated before.
Hi VB-Milling,

Yes, I'd love to get a copy of that spreadsheet!

Offline Obiwan

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2021, 08:10:57 AM »
I ended up going with the woodland mills hm130max woodlander. The relatively short lead time (should ship in late november) and fast response to my pre-sale questions were a big deciding factor.

Offline maple flats

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2021, 08:55:22 AM »
Just a word of encouragement. I ordered a Woodland Mills on May 3rd with a projected ship date of 8/31. Two days ago I was told it was shipping, about 5 weeks early. In a Facebook Woodland Mills owner's group I've been seeing lots of posts about others getting their mill 3-6 weeks early.
I'm now thinking they project on the long side so when it's ready earlier buyers are happy rather than estimating on the short side and getting loads of unhappy buyers.
Just a word of caution, at this time, almost 48 hrs after getting the shipping email and the trucking co. PRO number, the trucking co still has not picked it up. I now believe as a unit becomes ready to ship the paperwork and pick-up order is made, along with sending the notice to the buyer. Mine is still setting in a warehouse somewhere. I'll recheck later today, might be the weekend got in the way.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed, Woodland Mills HM130Max , maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2021, 10:09:30 AM »
@Obiwan



Did you get the spreadsheet?



Congrats on the new mill!  My HM126 is actually being delivered today.  I would agree with @maple flats about under-promising and over-delivering.  People are much happier with getting a product 3-6 weeks early versus 3-6 weeks late.
HM126

Offline Daburner87

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2021, 06:18:56 PM »
Ive been looking at mills for about two years and the Woodland Mills price hasn't changed.  It is what I bought.  I purchased it April 23rd and it shipped today....  Very fast turn around. 
Soon to be  owner of a HM130Max Woodlander XL

Offline Wayne_Stevens

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2021, 12:56:48 PM »
Check out Vallee or Thomas

Offline maple flats

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2021, 04:47:29 PM »
When I ordered mine (a Woodland Mills HM130Max) I just checked several at the lower end of price points (being almost 75 years old I was not interested in hydraulics , just wanted a simple bandmill) then I compared estimated waiting times. On May 2 they had estimated shipping for the mill I ordered by July 31, I ordered the next morning and the shipment  estimate date had moved from July 31 to Aug 31 overnight.
I just last Saturday received notice that my mill and the trailer had shipped and they gave me a trucking co name and PRO number. As of 15 minutes ago the trucking co doesn't show that they have picked it up.
I'm now thinking the emails go out as soon as Woodland Mills does the paperwork and the shipment has not yet been picked up. I'm eagerly awaiting it showing up with the trucker
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed, Woodland Mills HM130Max , maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline Daburner87

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Re: looking for advice on portable mill with trailer in alabama
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2021, 07:48:17 PM »
When I ordered mine (a Woodland Mills HM130Max) I just checked several at the lower end of price points (being almost 75 years old I was not interested in hydraulics , just wanted a simple bandmill) then I compared estimated waiting times. On May 2 they had estimated shipping for the mill I ordered by July 31, I ordered the next morning and the shipment  estimate date had moved from July 31 to Aug 31 overnight.
I just last Saturday received notice that my mill and the trailer had shipped and they gave me a trucking co name and PRO number. As of 15 minutes ago the trucking co doesn't show that they have picked it up.
I'm now thinking the emails go out as soon as Woodland Mills does the paperwork and the shipment has not yet been picked up. I'm eagerly awaiting it showing up with the trucker
I wouldn't overthink it.  I got the email a few days ago, finally updated the shipping info on it today.  Shipping company called and asked if they could deliver tomorrow, but I have work, so I asked if they could come Saturday, and they are trying to put that in the schedule if possible.  I ordered April 23rd I believe, so I got the Aug 31 estimate too.  Much sooner than anticipated.  I thought I would get it in Sept.
Soon to be  owner of a HM130Max Woodlander XL


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