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Author Topic: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big  (Read 3958 times)

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Offline maple flats

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2021, 10:30:03 AM »
No rest time in retirement, I know that well.
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 Jay B

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2021, 09:32:19 PM »
I think that is awesome OP! Hope your knee feels better soon.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2021, 04:13:29 PM »
Ted - you do realize that the 100,000 BF club does not require you saw that every day... :D
The 100,000 bdft a day is mind boggling for us who run small sawmills.  Southside, I know you and several others here are very familiar with large commercial sawmills.  If the average log is 16" SED and 16' long, it will take around 695 or so logs to make 100,000 bdft (Doyle).  That's 85 logs an hour or around 45-55 seconds per log.  Of course it takes several machines to produce rough cut lumber - the main saw, a gang saw, an edger, a resaw, a trim saw, carousels, green chain etc.  The two sided cant will leave the head saw and go to the gang which will produce the bulk of the rough cut lumber.  The edger will take care of the flitches, the resaw will take care of recovery from slabs. Of course there will be a grading station, a grading mark reader, trim saw, unscrambler and sorter.  

On my LT 35 one log that size might take nearly an hour to saw and stack. I avoid cutting many logs over 12 without at least two helpers.  


This is the main sawmill building.  You can see the fire damage to the roof and side walls.  


This is the main saw location, the head rig is gone but the overhead carriage remains.  The bands to the right show heat damage and look like spaghetti.  Above you can see the remains of the saw sharpening shop in the mezzanine.  


 
This shows the inside of the roof above the carriage of the main saw.  If you look closely you will see a semi circular 6" I beam that was (straight) the beam trolley for the saw shop to lift and lower bands.  
 


This is the gang saw.  You can see the lasers for the optimization just below the window opening. It really isn't as bad as it looks, I hope.  We might rebuilt this to get started.  Of course all the controls and optimization will have to be replaced.


This shows part of the remains of the saw shop that was upstairs in the mill.  


Another shot of the saw shop.  A great deal of the heat was concentrated here.  I won't go further into this space again.  It is just too risky.  Anybody need a sharpener or setter?  I have some available at scrap prices :D  You just have to get them out! :D


This area was where the edger, resaw, green chain, grading station and trim saw were located.  Behind me was the unscrambler and sorter.  The top shows another view of the saw shop wall framing and bar joists that supported it.

Obviously there remains significant demolition and building repair.  
The other parts of our operation are the priorities right now - firewood processing, heat treating firewood, fence post production, pressure treating the posts and production of bulk shavings.  I suspect that we won't be running the sawmill for 18 months to 2 years.



 
These are our kilns.  Four are around 50,000 board feet capacity and two are around 80,000 board feet capacity.  


This is part of our kiln control room.  The kilns are steam kilns with steam generated from shavings, chips and sawdust.  
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Offline Nebraska

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2021, 04:55:11 PM »
Dang, you did go big! Thanks for the pictures.

Online Southside

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2021, 05:32:40 PM »
What will you run to produce the bulk shavings? 
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
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Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2021, 07:31:56 PM »
you really took a big bite this time ted.  ill be following along and wishing you good fortunes. 
Isaiah 48:10

Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2021, 06:08:13 AM »
Exciting and ambitious undertaking :o.

My former partner is putting the finishing touches on a newly installed Cooper scragg and hoping the test run will be the end of next week. The lead time on the mill was about a year when oak flooring was next to worthless last July.

For whatever reasons the availability of logs and labor has deteriorated drastically over the past 12 months. I would focus my diligence into the log procurement and labor side of the equation. I'd want to know where the logs are going to come from and who is going to drive the trucks? The answers to those two questions are markedly different than just a few months ago.





Offline nativewolf

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2021, 06:32:34 AM »
Echo stavebuyer cautions trucking and labor.  

As the kilns and the electronics are all there I think that is a pretty exciting thing.  Could you do custom kiln work for others?  There are a lot of supply/capacity constraints throughout the hardwood industry.  Perhaps kiln capacity is one of them and some hardwood mill is looking for overflow?  

Is the former kiln operator around to hire?  

Curious as to your plans to rebuild, will you try to cut out the fire damaged areas of the building or is it scrap it and rebuild?  I have no idea how insurance and building codes view these things.  The only consolation I would add is that perhaps this is the best time to sell scrap and work on the plans to rebuild with the understanding that the steel industry should autocorrect within the year. 
Liking Walnut

Offline Satamax

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2021, 07:12:07 AM »
Dang, you did go big! Thanks for the pictures.
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Offline tule peak timber

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2021, 08:27:41 AM »
Ambitious,awesome....Power, labor,fuel costs,,,,all the challenges us small mill guys face on a mega scale. May your rewards outpace the challenges ahead !
persistence personified - never let up , never let down

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2021, 09:01:11 AM »
Ambitious,awesome....Power, labor,fuel costs,,,,all the challenges us small mill guys face on a mega scale. May your rewards outpace the challenges ahead !
What he said!
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and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2021, 10:26:28 AM »
I appreciate the positive thoughts on this effort.  As chief "crack filler" here on site, I've got a bunch of stuff happening all at the same time.  Everything from working with vendors to get quotes and plan production, getting the electrical connections we need to helping get the track loader alternator changed.  Nothing is the same each day.  But I am blessed that we have good workers here.

There are a lot of questions to be answered and you all are asking the very things we are trying to anticipate.

What are we running to make shavings?  A 60" Salsco Shavings Mill.  It is within about 3 or 4 weeks of being operational.  Waiting on the power company and electricians to get the transformer set and we have some final setup to do.  We purchased the shavings mill from a company in Alabama.  Apparently they ran it hard so we are overhauling it.

Trucking and log supply?  We have a sister company that has three logging crews running right now.  They have the equipment and trucks on the road right now. Yet another sister company is a grading and hauling company with many drivers on the road daily.  We are thinking we have a good start on sourcing logs and trucking. We have on hand a supply of logs to keep the shavings mill and firewood processor running for a month with more logs coming about two days per week.  Once the sawmill is running we will need logs from other sources and have some independent crews wanting to bring logs now.

How are we planning to repair the building?  The sawmill building has to be assessed by an engineer before we can definitively say what has to be done but as best we can tell there is some limited structural work to be done the rest is purlins and sheet metal.  Of course we will have to take down that mezzanine which we believe will require removal of part of the roof anyway.  Most of the decking and metal inside will be reused where we can and the rest will be scrapped.  We've already sent several roll off dumpsters of scrap out of here and there will be several more to go.  The destiny of the overhead carriage still is up in the air.  We won't likely reuse it but may sell it.  Does anybody need knife blade material?  I have lots of sawmill blades for the asking - you pick up, I'll load.  

Can we start the kilns and offer kiln services?  We've been tempted to offer kiln services and still have that option.  The first problem with that is that doing so would direct us away from our primary business targets.  The second is we don't have control over the product coming in to be kiln dried.  It takes a good bit of resources to run a 50,000 board feet kiln load and if junk goes in, it comes out junk. The previous owner tried a bit of kiln drying for others and it didn't turn out well.  If we were to start kiln drying, it would be lumber that we purchase from mills with high standards for their product.  Another obstacle would be having enough sawdust, chips and shavings to run the boilers, our wood shavings will mostly be green softwood and we haven't yet designed our sawdust recovery from the firewood processor. 

Sometimes I am reminded of Todd Snider's song 

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #32 on: June 03, 2021, 10:34:42 AM »
did you get to keep the truck scale?  thats a big big thing. beautiful site. looking at the area i am sure logs will come to you at any price if youll buy from the ton truck hillbillies and gooseneck loggers.


i hope at least one of you owners gets a CDL.  it is only getting harder with time.  you are probably the only potentially reliable driver you know on a moments notice and there will be days when you want to go to the auction in the truck and drag your new stuff home without any fuss. trucks are probably half the fun of the log business.. playing billy big rig.  when the office and the mill are driving you crazy, turn the phone off and go float some gears to get away and clear your head. with flat rates in the $4+ per mile range it is economical to own atleast ONE of your own trucks, and the freedom it gives to fly out the door with keys in hand will be important at times. trucks are a necessary evil in all things lumber and i dont think you can rely on the outside spot market during a capacity crunch such as this.  when the tables turn you can surely take advantage of cheap spot market deck space which is precisely what lumber always always always does. looks for desperate trucks.  but there are no desperate trucks right now to build a business on.


 i have a few close friends who have run businesses that size and theres a consensus among them that less employees is better.  ive heard it a bunch of times that the more people i hire the less money i make and the more BS i am dealing with.  when its a skeleton crew of hard workers, the money is pouring in but everyone is running ragged and burning out. feast or famine as they say.    

(edit-  you posted while i was hammering away.  good to hear about the log supply and transport)
Isaiah 48:10

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2021, 10:49:16 AM »
i dont know if itll be of any help, but bestway south inc is a major pressure treater in stony point NC that i hauled from.    165 halyburton rd.  

arauco has an OSB plant in moncure and might buy chips.  i also saw a lot of chips and dust headed to the waynesboro/maggie valley area daily. i dont know if you have plans for 100% of your chip output or not.  charcoal plants and liquid smoke are booming too, know a few guys working in a major one now and theyre expanding a lot.   will you be sorting chips and shavings by species or running it all out one line for the boilers?


Isaiah 48:10

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #34 on: June 03, 2021, 03:31:50 PM »
We do still have the scales and they are working.  Not quite ready to start buying logs yet.  I suspect we will be buying from the local farmers and land owners by the gooseneck load at some point.  

The trucking side of things is someone else's headache for now.  We know that will be a challenge given the shortage of drivers right now.  The good thing about drivers for a business like ours is they will not be on the road overnight very often.

Got news today that the power company has our transformer and is ready for install once the red tape is done.  Electricians say they can get the work done in three or four days.  We will be making shavings as soon as the parts for the shavings mill arrive.

Today was a good day!  
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #35 on: June 03, 2021, 07:47:04 PM »
 

 The mill building is circled.  The long building with squiggly line is the sorter which is gone. The x is on T sheds for air drying, they are gone.  The rest is intact.  

It is interesting how small the sawmill building in relation to the rest of the facility.  

The idea that its a material handling puzzle with a sawmill in the middle is really true! Instead of within 100 feet for a small band mill this is 50 acres!
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #36 on: June 03, 2021, 08:02:59 PM »
Good to have a good day!  Enjoy the evening, your list of to dos must be quite a list.

Liking Walnut

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #37 on: August 19, 2021, 05:10:01 PM »
so we see you have gone big ted. the question is have you gotten to go home yet?

:)
Isaiah 48:10

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #38 on: August 19, 2021, 07:54:45 PM »
I love to comment on sawmills but that place [or any commercial mill] is past my pay scale. It is nice that someone has the ambition to make it go again. Over the years in the north east the sawmill auctions I have attended meant the end.                The best of luck to Ted and thanks for sharing , hope to see more.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Go Big or Go Home, Going Big
« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2021, 11:43:30 PM »
This is a form of madness. The best and most glorious type of madness to be sure - but still madness. I'm just a little jealous, i spent some time around big mills back when. There's not enough logs around here to feed that thing for moren 10 years.

I think like a lot of businesses when they scale up the issues you'll find will be - not quite what you expected. Managing a little mill is nothing like what you'll face there... little mills are about logs, sawdust, having two guys show up for work, and getting paid. Big mills are about contractual negotiations around fancy tables, cost projections, crystal ball gazing and futures trading with the bean counters, and finding a new HR guy when the old one quits.

If I lived close enough I'd be looking to come over sometimes, lend a hand, beer after work stuff. And run away the day after she gets turned on - the big mill environment is not for me.

But I sure get a kick about seeing people chase their dreams. I hope it gives you what you want from it
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.


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