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Author Topic: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big  (Read 5703 times)

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Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #40 on: August 23, 2021, 10:16:51 AM »
@SawyerTed

I am facinated by this adventure, both from your new business venture and the previous owner.

A brief internet search puts the fire in early Feb 2018 with the auction in late 2020.

Sounds like the previous owner tried to sell everything as a package deal and when that didn't work, he decided to go to auction.  Any idea why he didn't rebuild?  Took the insurance money and got out of it?

From oils and starters for the yard equipment to 14inch Craftsman bandsaws, and everything in between, went to auction.  Seems like the fire really spelled the end of days for the previous owner.

I wish you the best of luck and hope you are able to breath new life into this business.  You are well on your way already.
HM126

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #41 on: August 25, 2021, 08:17:28 AM »
Things are progressing here.  There have been some stumbling blocks related to getting electrical service upgraded and installed for new machines.  Most of that has been manufacturer backlog, supply chain and materials shortage issues. Dealing with the power company red tape and regulations has been a bit frustrating but we are getting through it.  We have plenty of available 3 phase power, the frustration is that we are having to correct things that were allowed previously.  That equals both time and money.  At least our electrical service will be situated for the foreseeable future after all this.  Our biggest delay is getting the "insides" for an 800 amp service entrance.  Breakers and the rest of the inner parts are in short supply/backordered.

We are beginning to add personnel here as well.  We just can't get the machinery installation done in a timely manner with the people we have.  They are good skilled people, there just aren't enough of them.  Our team of 6 has learned to be flexible.  We've done everything from machine dismantling and reassembly/overhaul to weed eating around the office.

Our log concentration yard is beginning to operate a little.  How that develops depends largely on our ability to acquire rolling stock to operate.

The madness comes and goes.  Some days are arrow straight and we get a lot accomplished, other days leave us scratching our heads on what we got done.  Lately I've been working in the office mostly on our safety program, lockout tagout, logistics of equipment acquisition, personnel and state and county government stuff.  Mostly this is a fun endeavor and I don't feel like I'm "working"

The previous owner toyed with the idea of rebuilding the sawmill but decided to retire from the sawmill business.  He did say if he was 20 years younger, he would have rebuilt. 
Woodmizer LT35HD25, WM BMS 250, WM BMT 250, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher, Ram 3500 6.7 Cummins

Offline CCCLLC

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2021, 04:06:18 PM »
Great news that things are moving forward. Tough times  for getting supplies when needed I'm  sure. Wish I was closer to get in the way as well. Great job!

Offline Iwawoodwork

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #43 on: August 28, 2021, 06:34:11 PM »
Sawyer Ted, on your safety programs I strongly suggest you use the free Consultant program offered by OSHA.  The consultants are an independent group that do not interact with  the enforcement side of OSHA. They are free and confidential to your company. I was with Oregon Osha safety enforcement for 20 years and always told employers that the consultant group was the best bang for the dollar you can invest in, especially when just starting up. Here in Oregon they will go to your site, look it over, then help you set up the various programs, Many of them had developed fill in the blanks program, etc. I was always glad when I conducted an onsite safety enforcement inspection and found that the employer had previously had the OSHA consultants onsite, there were usually far fewer violations and of much less penalty $$.  Here in Oregon the EPA, environmental, air, chemicals, and water agency were far more aggressive than OSHA so do not forget that area either.

Offline Southside

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #44 on: August 28, 2021, 08:10:11 PM »
That isn't the same in every State. I can tell you from first hand experience that in some states the consultation side will absolutely report you to enforcement if they find a violation and you don't address it to their standard. 
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #45 on: August 29, 2021, 08:49:02 PM »
We actually are working with NCDOL OSH Consultative Services already.  Even though the services are free, we are still responsible for establishing and maintaining a safety and health program.  They dont do it for us.  But they will provide guidance and expertise.  Our agreement with them does say if they find noncompliance we must correct it in a timely manner.  If we do not, they will report us to the compliance enforcement section.  I just dont see any circumstance where we wouldnt correct an identified hazard.

My previous experience with this has been good.  They are mostly reasonable.  In my experience its better to be working with them than not.  Between them, our Workers comp company and out liability insurance company, we have plenty of help!  It is in their best interest and saves us money to access their help.  

On the storm water and air quality side, we are also working proactively with the consultants to minimize our chances of noncompliance and the enforcement cycle side.  Our permits are already in place, its just a matter of monitoring and reporting at this time.  
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #46 on: August 30, 2021, 04:21:25 AM »
When I was younger, stronger, and probably smarter I got involved in a big mill setup in a third world location; it was one of the best experiences of my life. Challenges, difficulties, lot of sweat... big plans and a small budget... I thrived on the experience. Fast forward 30 years and here I am halfway through building something from nothing again, albeit on a lot smaller scale.

And I am still mostly loving it. But I got to tell ya all that stuff... EPA compliance, OH&S, county/state/federal government, dealing with the union (not yet but it's coming for both of us), engineers, accountants and lawyers... sucks all the fun right out of it, and adds a whole lot of expense.

Know what I miss? Being able to just solve the problem. Need a road - take the dozer and make one. Need to get rid of sawdust? - drop a syphon into a creek, flume it down a hill and run water through the mill under every saw, drop the sawdust in a settlement pond and let the water run clean out into the river. Need a barge ramp - corduroy straight down the beach to low water mark.

I'm all for environmental responsibility, and safe work environments, and that. But I'm now in week 6 of arguing  about the fact I want to do a long span in wood not steel.... just like the nearly 100 year old mill buildings down the road or every hiway bridge in the area... cuz the engineering approval guy can't just look at a load rating table somewhere to say it's okay.

Truth is that we'd all be still getting around in a horse drawn wagon and gathering wood to cook dinner if the guys who built nations 150 years ago had to put up with the red and green tape that exists today. As I said before - if I was close I'd love to lend a hand but that part of it... that stuff I am not jealous of.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #47 on: August 30, 2021, 10:22:07 AM »
I don't disagree that there's a ton of time involved in being "in compliance" with the county, state and federal government requirements.  Of course, time is money.  Most our delays aren't due to lack of response or even disagreements on building codes, electrical codes, safety regs, air and water regs etc.  

Our delays are coming from manufacturing and supply chain issues.  For instance the power company tells us a three phase transformer is 128 days out due to the manufacturer's production schedule. They tool up and produce a batch of transformers, retool and produce a batch with different specifications every 128 days.  Another is the electrical contractor can't get the breakers and insides of an 800 amp panel due to manufacturing and shipping delays.  Our construction contractors and even the local hardware store are experiencing delays in the supply chain for things we need.  Even when we try to source items from other vendors, they have the same problems.

So the dynamics of juggling the delays is the frustrating part.  We get to a certain point with various installations and have to wait.  Then everything starts coming together for several installations all at once.  
Woodmizer LT35HD25, WM BMS 250, WM BMT 250, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher, Ram 3500 6.7 Cummins

Offline K-Guy

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #48 on: August 30, 2021, 10:53:40 AM »

That seems to be everyone's problem these days unfortunately. Hopefully they aren't too long for you.

I think businesses are rethinking this "Just in time supply"
Nyle Kiln Sales & Service
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 the vices I admire." -Winston Churchill

Offline LogPup

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #49 on: August 30, 2021, 10:29:49 PM »
I can see the "Just in Time" if your supplier and materials are with a certain area.  But, when it is coming from half way around the world things get messed
up.  The cost to air freight 3 pallets would pay for warehousing for twenty years.  Someone needs to learn how to count the beans. This happens more often than you would think.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #50 on: August 30, 2021, 11:35:49 PM »
This is really amazing.  

I was reading through the posts.  Are you an investor, an owner or majority owner?  You mentioned owner, or co owner, but how many partners do you have?  

Without the mill running, how are the personnel being paid, equipment being purchased, etc?  Who is staking finances?  

What is your drop dead date for beginning operations?  

Do you already have customers lined up, loggers on the payroll?  Whats the long term business plan?  

Very ambitious.  I'm excited to see how it progresses.  

YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #51 on: August 30, 2021, 11:57:15 PM »
(How do I delete a comment here anyway? I got off topic)
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #52 on: August 31, 2021, 09:44:53 AM »
@YellowHammer for simplicity sake, let's call me plant manager.  There's more to it than that but my function is as a plant manager  I'm one of three on the management team and I often fill cracks wherever and whenever necessary.  Of the other two, one guy is finance officer and the other handles yard operations and machine installations.

Our owners are currently providing the financial backing for this business.  We are one of five businesses they own.  This one is the only one operated independently.  The others all operate out of the same facility and under their management.  One of those is a forestry, land clearing company.  Our logs come from the three crews there.  Our log concentration yard serves to grade and sort logs to increase profitability on the logs those crews bring in.  Most of what we will be using are pulpwood logs for wood shavings and firewood initially.  So low cost, high supply and a consistent source is available. 

We will be producing wood shavings and bulk firewood by the end of September for established customers.  We already have the wood shavings customers lined up to bring their walking floor trailers to be filled.  Firewood production was previously done as a farm venture on the owner's farm so customers are already lined up for firewood.  

The sawmill is in planning right now.  We have a conceptual design with target production levels and target products.  The rest of the business plan has to be running and profitable before we tackle it. I suspect we will be targeting 2023 or 2024 for the sawmill to be operational. 

Woodmizer LT35HD25, WM BMS 250, WM BMT 250, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher, Ram 3500 6.7 Cummins

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #53 on: August 31, 2021, 12:18:18 PM »
This is a very interesting project.  I'm looking forward to your updates.
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #54 on: September 07, 2021, 01:27:53 PM »
So our supply chain issues have us in limbo more or less.

The breakers and other insides for an 800 amp service panel are finally on their way.  We expect installation on Friday or Monday.  The shavings mill is idle because of the delays.  Maybe we will be making shavings sometime next week. I'm sure that our setup will require some fine tuning once we get it running.  

Our firewood processor is being overhauled with a rebuilt valve set and new hydraulic hoses and an upgraded splitter box.  The conveyors and the steel substructure are being painted.  The valve assembly is at least two more weeks out.  Another couple of weeks will have us making firewood.

So today part of our crew is working on grading to solve some drainage issues and part of the crew is working on the firewood processor.  We are doing some painting and other general improvements.

Maybe Thursday we will be able to put our sign up out by the road.

The critical thing is we are not yet making any money.  ARRGGGHHH!
Woodmizer LT35HD25, WM BMS 250, WM BMT 250, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher, Ram 3500 6.7 Cummins

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #55 on: September 07, 2021, 01:51:09 PM »
So our supply chain issues have us in limbo more or less.

The critical thing is we are not yet making any money.  ARRGGGHHH!
Your bottom line is literally the bottom line. Supply chain issues have been very painful for even the most routine of things. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for less common things.
HM126

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #56 on: September 22, 2021, 12:31:56 PM »
So the progress on start up of our first shavings mill hasn't been a fluid process.  After the electrical delays, we have all the electrical connected, final inspections and operational.  Start up of the machine revealed some anticipated hydraulic leaks, that took a day to resolve.  The crew is now resolving some timing and travel issues with the box.  It isn't good for the box to travel too far in either direction.  

For those who aren't familiar, a shavings mill is basically a big planer head in a table.  On the table is a box that holds logs.  The box travels back and forth across the planer head.  Basically, it is a giant log planer.  

When I say big planer head, it is 60" long and approximately 8" in diameter.  It has five sets of knives that look very similar to planer or jointer knives, just bigger.  We have two sets of new knives, one set is 30" knives and the other is 20" knives.  

The box is approximately 5' wide 9' long and about 40 inches deep.  It will hold several logs.  

The head motor is 200 hp 3 phase and the hydraulics are driven by a 25 hp motor.  Box travel and the conveyor drive motors are all hydraulic.  

This is NOT our operation but one similar to ours.



Our firewood processor is just a couple of weeks away from having the overhaul completed.  Our first issue was hydraulic leaks.   Of course hoses aren't hard to get but they are hard to pay for :D.  There is a little fabrication/repair work to be completed and the metal has been hard to come by.  I'll share more later on the firewood operations.
Woodmizer LT35HD25, WM BMS 250, WM BMT 250, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher, Ram 3500 6.7 Cummins

Offline Resonator

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #57 on: September 22, 2021, 01:48:31 PM »
Is it cutting in both directions of travel? Or is there is a height difference (infeed-outfeed) on the table deck like a jointer (or giant mandolin veggie slicer).  ???
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 SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #58 on: September 22, 2021, 02:06:48 PM »
It does cut both directions.  No height difference between infeed table and outfeed table like a jointer.  Since the poultry and livestock don't care if the shavings are "square" a height difference isn't necessary.  The gap in the table where the head does the cutting is wide enough and the head/knives stick through enough to cut both ways.  The key is enough travel of the box relative to the log length to get them cut to the end so the logs drop enough to be cut.
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Offline hacknchop

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #59 on: September 22, 2021, 09:24:27 PM »
Thank you,I appreciate your taking us along on this journey i had a pretty good idea as to what you were up against with getting a sawmill operation up and running and lots of firewood operations in this part of the world, but your shaving mill is new to me. So again thanks for the education, for some reason I thought that a shaving mill was more like a chipper using by products from the sawmill operation now I know better.
Often wrong never indoubt


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