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Author Topic: Concrete base for sawmill  (Read 8215 times)

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Offline jrokusek

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Concrete base for sawmill
« on: September 06, 2007, 09:34:45 AM »
I'm tired of screwing around and having my homemade sawmill sitting on railroad ties and having them move, sink, heave, etc.   I took 2 days off next week and want to form up and pour an oversized concrete sidewalk for the sawmill to sit on.  I was thinking of bolting 6"x6" green treated timbers to the concrete and bolting the sawmill bed to the timbers.

How thick should I make the concrete?  I'm wondering if the standard sidewalk thickness of 4" is a bit too thin.  Should I use a 2x6 for forms (5.5") or can I get by with 4" or so?  I'm just a hobbyist so it won't be used daily....if that makes any difference.

Jim

Offline beenthere

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2007, 09:42:31 AM »
I can only think that you will want to account for frost heaving below that slab. Beiing in SD, seems that will be the major problem. Are you going to make it a floating slab? such that it moves in one piece on the movement of frozen ground beneath? 

I'd think piers (concrete or treated wood) with ends down below frost line, with timbers on the piers would be a better choice. What is the choice of other construction in your area?
south central Wisconsin
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Offline jrokusek

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2007, 10:04:21 AM »
Floating slab was what I was thinking.  A few pieces of rebar tied together were in the plans....probably would have helped had I told you that piece of info!   ::)

I was thinking piers too at one time.  I could use the railroad ties I have and put the nice timbers on top.  Also have a tractor with a post-hole digger to make digging MUCH easier.  However, I kinda want the concrete slab to keep things lower to the ground and more stable than if on piers.  Either way would work fine though.

Around here a floating slab is no big deal as long as you use mesh or rebar and it's backfilled propperly. 

Offline Weekend_Sawyer

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2007, 10:09:48 AM »
 I put in a real nice pad for my mill. It is 32 x 24. about 11 yards of concrete. I really liked it. I poured it 4" thick and had it floating with no problems. I prepared the ground underneath with my skid steer and it was very well compacted.  It was nice to have enough area to turn the skid steer around on, stack boards or park a truck to off load onto. The mill was along the high side so slabs could be pushed off and allowed to pile up on the slope.

 I traded that pice of property to my brother who now has his garadge on that pad and I have my mill set up in my back yard in the dirt. It is compacted fill but I still have to level the mill alot more. I am going to pour another slab someday and will make it the same size and put a roof over it.

Jon
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Offline Haytrader

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2007, 10:34:35 AM »
Jim,

In consideration of the cost of concrete and all the labor involved, and the possibility that you may at some time have the same issue as Jon, I would consider stiffening the frame on your mill.  Angle iron, while strong, can allow a lot of twist. How about adding a frame of 2x6 rectangular tubeing under the angle iron. Box the ends and add a couple cross members with the same tubeing. This would make it very stiff and may solve the original problem.
It looks like you are set up in an urban setting. (looked in your gallery) An electric power source would sure be quieter.  ;)
Haytrader

Offline Tom

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2007, 11:52:51 AM »
However you decide to place it, I would be concerned with the ability to clean out from beneath it.  I have sawed on my portable mills that have ample room beneath them and still  get sawdust and trash buildup beneath the bed that is difficult to remove.   Openings should be a must. Perhaps the idea of using a power washer or garden hose will help in the design.  The slab will definitely make it easier to level, but piers might make it easier to clean.  Maybe combine both.
extinct

Offline jrokusek

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2007, 03:01:37 PM »
Jim,

In consideration of the cost of concrete and all the labor involved, and the possibility that you may at some time have the same issue as Jon, I would consider stiffening the frame on your mill.  Angle iron, while strong, can allow a lot of twist. How about adding a frame of 2x6 rectangular tubeing under the angle iron. Box the ends and add a couple cross members with the same tubeing. This would make it very stiff and may solve the original problem.
It looks like you are set up in an urban setting. (looked in your gallery) An electric power source would sure be quieter.  ;)

I've been thinking about that.  There's more to this story than meets the eye, however.  My wife and I are considering buying a new house.  In the Sioux Falls area the housing market is still quite good.  I'm fairly sure I can get a lot in town where I want it and may be my own contractor and then subcontract most stuff out to others.  I looked at what a house costs to build and realized that contractors make about 20% off the cost of the actual house.  ANYWAY, I think I have my wife almost talked into letting me cut enough wood for the trim, moulding and flooring.  If I can do that I can buy a Woodmaster Moulder/Planer and it will probably come close to paying for itself.  HOWEVER, I need to get some boards made in the very near future.  I don't necessarily need to cut everything right now, just enough to show my sweetie that this crazy idea is indeed possible. 

The pad is meant to be semi-permanent.  I can use it for the sawmill for the time being and later use it for a stack of lumber to air dry.  It's only about 1.25 yards of concrete anyway.  It won't take up much room....I have right under 400 acres to work with so I'm not concerned about room.  The second part of this is that I may upgrade to a commercial sawmill of some sort in the future so I'm not sure how much work, time or cash I want to put into this one right now.  I'm researching the idea of an urban logging/sawmill operation so I'd need something a bit more reliable if I take the plunge.  I really just need what I have to be more functional.

The pic's in my gallery are right after I finished it.  I brought it into the city to tweak it, paint it and test it.  The thing got lots of looks from curious neighbors!!  Right now it's about 75 miles away from me.  Sure was lots more fun when it was in my driveway!

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2007, 11:02:16 PM »
I suppose you know to have a good gravel base and compact this down.I  had to level a place off for my mill.I only put round pre- made cement pads to put it on.Has not moved.The gravel is about 2 feet deep where the mill is.I would go with the 2x6 rectangle tubing too.That is what is under my 4x4 angle iron.
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Offline jrokusek

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2007, 04:17:36 PM »
I went ahead and poured the pad.  Now I remember why I haven't poured concrete for over a decade!  It was only 1.25 yards, but man am I tired!  Scraped the dirt, dug it in, put down gravel and compacted it, formed it, poured it and finished it all in about a day.  Would have gone faster if I didn't have to fiddle with the tractor to get it running and keep it running.  Dimensions:  44" wide, 5" thick and 20' long.

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Offline beenthere

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2007, 04:26:30 PM »
jr
That looks good. At least it will keep the weeds down. and be much easier to keep level and more fun to saw.. :) :) :)
south central Wisconsin
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Offline fivedogs

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2007, 09:41:45 PM »
i'm going to build something  similiar very soon  did you put in any footers  iwas wondering if i need to i live in upstate n.y. and it gets cold up here

Offline jrokusek

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2007, 11:50:51 PM »
Nope, no footers.  Gets DanG cold here too but I figure sidewalks hold up OK so this should too.  I did use three pieces of 1/2" rebar in it just for good measure.  I used these goofy little plastic rebar "chairs" to elevate them off the base.....I'd recommend using something a little better like a rock or a half of a brick.  I was trying to get fancy, but they were mostly just a pain in the rear end. 

Offline bedway

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2007, 08:55:03 AM »
nice slab, let us know how it works for your purpose,,,bedway

Offline dail_h

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2007, 08:18:19 PM »
   Reckon why he went to all that trouble to pour a slab for the mill,an then didn't pour it under the mill?????
   WE REALLY GOTTA GET A RUNNING FOR COVER SMILEY
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Offline jrokusek

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2007, 10:19:27 PM »
Awwwww dangit.....I knew I was going to screw something up   :D

Offline Furby

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2007, 10:21:15 PM »
Better try again. ;)

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2007, 11:27:44 PM »
That's the trouble with pouring concrete, as soon as you are done, the screw-ups start showing up.  :( :(

Sometimes they come with advice on how you should have done it.  :D :D :D
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Offline jrokusek

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2007, 11:52:02 PM »
Well, I guess I can update this thread now.  I bolted 6"x6" green-treated timbers to the concrete, and then bolted my mill to the timers.  I guess I should have known that the treated timbers from the BORG are only treated for the first half-inch to an inch or so.  Oh well.

Anyway, I bolted everything together, leveled and shimmed a few spots, and then adjusted everything on the mill that can possibly be adjusted.  This homemade mill now cuts incredibly well!  I can't wait to get more logs - this is fun.  I cut some 7' Elm slabs and got lots of sawdust in my teeth 'cause I was smiling so much!

Jim



Offline Furby

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2007, 12:26:08 AM »
 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)

Offline logwalker

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Re: Concrete base for sawmill
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2007, 12:04:10 PM »
I didn't know that John Deere made sawmills. Ain't she purty? Joe
Let's all be careful out there tomorrow. Lt40hd, 22' Kenworth Flatbed rollback dump, MM45B Mitsubishi trackhoe, Clark5000lb Forklift, Kubota L2850 tractor


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