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Author Topic: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)  (Read 6041 times)

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Offline jpschersch

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Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« on: March 21, 2018, 10:50:14 AM »
Good morning Forestry Forum!

I've been researching for quite a while so have obviously been reading through here for a bit.  I'm looking at getting a sawmill for personal/hobby use.  We live on a little over an acre of woods and have quite a few trees that I've already had milled by either myself (chainsaw mill) or someone with a Woodmizer. The idea now is to get my own mill to mill up the rest of the lumber. 

We're wanting a mill on a trailer and don't want to shell out the $9k for a Woodmizer lt15go.  I've been looking at a few different mills (HM126 Trekker mainly) and have just come across a mill on Craigslist (first time seeing one on there since I've been searching).  The mill on Craigslist is custom built in 2017, 28" diameter and 12'6" log capacity.  He advised that it is heavier duty metal than the aluminum used on the cheaper mills for the base. It has a removable Trailer tongue and axel to lower the mill to the ground (I assume making it easier to roll logs onto it?). It comes with a few pikes and log rollers, a towable log transport with adjustable tongue for longer logs. The engine is a 13HP Ironton with less than 40 hours on it. It also comes with a few Woodmizer blades.

My thoughts on it, and concerns:
  • Custom made, meaning no company to back it with support/service.
  • Detachable axle/tongue which could be an interesting addition to make rolling the larger logs onto it easier.
  • Larger diameter and length than similar mills (HM126)
  • Under $4k for everything
 
When I asked why he was getting rid of it he said it was because he had double knee surgery and can't seem to get out and use it anymore. 

I'd LOVE some advice here. The main concern is obviously the lack of support/service options if needed, but the cost savings on it as well as all the accessories that come along is tempting. Any info/advice/etc would be extremely appreciated!

Thanks!

Joe


Offline GAB

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2018, 11:39:14 AM »
Joe:
Welcome to the forum.
I am definitely not the right person to offer advice in this instance.
Making a decision like that is like trying to balance a large mathematical equation.
Many factors and many variables to ponder.
Many small mills need to be placed on a level cement pad (or something rigid) as the frame is not rigid enough which can cause you to make undesirable lumber.
Do you have any pictures?
Maybe some one else can be of more help to you.
Gerald
W-M LT40HDD34 w/6' ext & SLR, JD 420, JD 950w/loader and Woods backhoe, V3507 Fransguard winch, Cordwood Saw, 18' flat bed trailer, and other toys.

Offline jpschersch

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2018, 12:34:08 PM »
Lol, I spent so long trying to find the reply button, I forgot I had logged out... Anyway, I'm back now. Let me get you a pic that I got from the guy.

 

Offline Jeff

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2018, 01:04:12 PM »
For not a whole lot more then that, you could have a starter mill that IS backed by a reputable company.  I'm not at all impressed by the photo.

Since you have seen a production mill work, (someone with a Wood-Mizer you said) you know a little bit about how it is supposed to go. If I were you I'd not even consider the purchase without seeing everything work as you intend to work it first.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Offline jpschersch

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 01:06:26 PM »
Thanks for the response Jeff. My Woodmizer friend also said he wouldn't touch it because of no support/service.  I do agree that is a huge concern, and of course I wouldn't even consider until I made sure everything worked as needed.  

Any other thoughts? 

Thanks!
Joe

Offline Jeff

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2018, 01:08:10 PM »
How much wood can you get sawn out by your wood-mizer friend for $4000?
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Offline jpschersch

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 01:12:06 PM »
Though that is a good question (because it is a lot...) I also have to factor in that he lives an hour away and is unavailable very much due to work and other obligations, so I have piles of logs in my yard (and have had for months).  

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 01:26:55 PM »
Any machine (sawmill, truck, tractor etc.) is a combination of features and compromises.  You have to determine which features you can't live without and which compromises you can live with.  The same is true with dealer/manufacturer support - strong points and compromises.  The majority of manufacturers produce quality saws that make boards out of logs.  I have experience with only a couple but see many manufacturers represented here and very enthusiastic support for their brand.

As for the home built, I think you are correct to be concerned about the lack of support and the compromises the builder made.  A plus for the home built is the likelihood that parts are "off the shelf" parts you can get at a surplus center, hardware store or auto parts store.  

Sounds like you've done some sawing on a mill.  I suggest, as I usually do, that you get some time on the type mill you are considering. In the case of the home built machine, you need to saw on it too.  Go to the dealers location, manufacturers shop or farm/machinery shows and test them.  Or ask around here for someone nearby who has a mill you are considering, many of us would welcome you to come look at our sawmill.  Even spending 4 or 5k on a mill is a big investment and should be seriously considered.  The worst thing would be to purchase a mill and lose interest because it won't do what you want or is too difficult to use.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 01:30:11 PM »
Is he the only sawyer around?  Owning a mill is great fun and rewarding. Owning a mill that doesn't do what you need it to do that you paid quite a bit of money for? That would be the pits. The manufactured mills have a much higher resale value as well. Keep that in mind. The difference in buying a mill, using it, growing tired of it, and then selling it may be less than the cost of that unknown mill.

The wood handled tools that come with it in my view would not even be a consideration of being of added value. I'd toss them and get some logrite tools.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life.
Ezekiel 22:30

Offline jpschersch

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 01:59:06 PM »
He is one of the few around, but definitely cheapest I've found who can handle the sizes I'm working with. 

So, all that said, what are your thoughts on the HM126 Trekker (which I was also looking at).  I looked at Hud-Son or HF, but don't really see anything with trailer like the Trekker.  Woodmizer is just too much $ for me. 

Joe

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2018, 02:12:12 PM »
If your a person that could build your own mill then I would look into it. If not buy a factory made one.
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Offline Slingshot

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2018, 02:17:07 PM »

  Wood Mizer 
                      LT-10.......$3995.00






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sling_shot




Offline jason.weir

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2018, 02:20:06 PM »
Do you have the skills & tools to fix and modify the mill when you have issues?

Every home built mill goes through stages where things don't work right & need to be re-engineered & corrected.  Think cutting, grinding, welding, machining & $$$.

From that picture it looks kind of light weight compared to the factory built mills.

If you are up for a project, it might be a good deal, if you plan on a plug & play mill that's not the one.

The extra $$ for the HM126 would be money well spent and still that mill will only cut 26"x10'.

I think 30"x16' would be the minimum.  More like the the HM130XL (but I have no experience with Woodland mills)

Another in that same price range is the Turner (Turner Mills - Trailer Models).

They are a bare bones manually everything mill but easy to run & built with standard off the shelf parts.

Around here you can get wood sawn for $.35 bd\ft - $4k = 11000 board feet.

Might be cheaper to just have it sawn, If you really wanna saw it yourself than that's a different story, go for it.

-J

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2018, 02:35:39 PM »
IMO the HF sawmill will not have support like other manufacturers.  HF sells a lot of other stuff besides sawmills.  There's a YouTube series on a couple of guys that bought a HF sawmill and they had to do tweaks right out of the box to make it usable.  The track didn't align and produced bumps in the lumber they sawed.  IIRC they had to grind and weld to get the track to align.

I'd rather be sawing than tweaking something to make it usable.  I don't know anything specific about the HM 126 Trekker.  

I agree you can have a lot of lumber sawn for the cost of a mill, but if you've got the saw dust addiction welcome to the club.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2018, 02:42:27 PM »
Harbor freight is the bottom of the sawmill barrel. Thats fine if you understand that going in.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Ezekiel 22:30

Offline curved-wood

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2018, 02:56:49 PM »
My first mill was a used Enercraft . The owner was saying : ''in perfect condition ''. So I asked the vender to rent me the machine. If everything is fine , the renting cost will be not charge if I buy the mill. The mill WAS in perfect condition so I bought it. I've used it many years and I sold it for few hundreds less than I paid for ;D. I went for a brand new Woodmizer fully hydraulic, no regret and, Woodmizer has a top after service.   Your choice as many variables.  It starts with; do you expect to use it after your logs will be sawed ? If not hire somebody to do the job

Offline jpschersch

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2018, 02:57:53 PM »
Oh no, I agree HF is bottom of the barrel. I'm in no way saying I'd want a HF mill. I just mentioned it with the lower cost mills (Woodland, Hud-Son, etc). 


  Wood Mizer
                      LT-10.......$3995.00






_______________________________________ ___
sling_shot




As for the $4k for the LT-10, that's true on the price, but it doesn't have a trailer and is a bit smaller.  

Also, I don't have the skill/know-how to fix/tweak a saw if it breaks (but I can learn :)).  

I do seem to have a sawdust addiction, so I think I'm still hooked on getting one vs. using that money to have someone else cut it.  Just can't figure out what I wanna do.  


The HM126 Trekker is just over $4k (plus shipping and extra for extension and blades if I wanted to go longer than the 10'5" trailer).  An extra $1k puts me in the HM130 Trekker but not sure I need that big.  To get anything similar in Woodmizer, I'm looking at twice that cost. Are there any other brands you would all recommend for around the same $4-5k (on a trailer).

Thanks!

Offline Jeff

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2018, 03:40:11 PM »
Sounds more like you are interested in buying a trailer than a sawmill.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Offline jpschersch

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2018, 03:41:20 PM »
I'm interested in buying a portable sawmill that is actually portable (on a trailer).  

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Re: Looking at a few sawmills (advice please)
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2018, 03:42:29 PM »
You do realize that many of those low end sawmills have to be placed on the ground off the trailer to saw.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life.
Ezekiel 22:30


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