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Author Topic: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting  (Read 7724 times)

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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #100 on: January 22, 2020, 08:01:18 PM »
A good tool to have when setting up a mill is one of those infrared thermometers. Now I am not a gadget man [never bought a cell phone yet] but this is a must have item. After the saw has run, even in the air, check the saw bearing temp. As this bearing warms the center of the saw may follow and you can see how much and how long it takes. Check both sides, out near the guide line where it would be really cold. The difference between the center [at the collars] and out near the guide line tells the story. A difference of say 4 degrees can swell the saw center enough to set up a wobble or worse. A little too much grease or sun light on the saw can do the same thing. The mandrel is everything with the circle sawmill. Heat or rather warmth you can't feel by hand will drive you crazy.  Saws have lumps in them that someone has hammered flat. Every time you rub that spot they swell back out a very tiny bit. Sometimes you have to slow down the saw to get less bearing heat. [if the saw will take it]  Hope this helps.

Offline jemmy

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #101 on: February 10, 2020, 02:11:27 AM »
I have begun chunking out CSTEO, that is how I will be referencing the hand book Circle Sawmills and Their Efficient Operation from now on, and learning a lot. I am through most of the meat of it, and I have skimmed through everything. I am about half way through reading it in depth, with hopes of finishing it this week. From what it seems like from your guys replies is that I was too ambitious with my log. I should try to eliminate every single issue and then run the saw in an ideal fashion. There is no partially running saw, everything should be as close to ideal as possible. And start with a small log. 

Moondacreek, I have 3 of those laser thermometers. I totally forgot how useful they would be in this application. Next time I fire it up I will check the bearing and the plate as you have suggested. It makes sense that this difference in temperatures would cause problems. However, I had no idea thermodynamics would be a potential avenue of problems and something that would have to be combatted. Especially when we are talking about a difference of 4 degrees which seems to be very small. But I imagine those 4 degrees play a much larger role when discussing a 52 wide metal plate that is rotated at a high rate of speed. 

I believe my track is straight, there was not sawdust getting frozen to log when this happened. 

What is the best grinder/sharpener? I saw what looks like an electric powered sharpener for teeth while they are still installed. Sources for such sharpeners? I currently have a hand powered one that can be mounted on the blade and used to sharpen teeth in place. I have to free up some moving parts because I did not store it properly. Should I buy the electric one, or stick with my manual one that I have currently?


So if things seem to be off with a cut, I should always bring the carriage back?

The blade seemed to have deposited the iron from the central area of the plate. There are seemingly large gashes. Thoughts, do I have another start to a sign? Or is the plate ok? Can I measure/check my own fall away (tension) in the saw? The saw is supposed to run at 640 RPM so should it stay flat to the log side? Because in CSTEO, it says Saws that run at a speed of 650 r.p.m. or less should remain flat on the log side when mounted on the arbor and when stationary. The previous owner thought (admitted he didn't know for sure) that it was tensioned appropriately after placing a flat edge across the non log side (currently I don't know the technical expression for that side of the blade). 

Currently, do not have one, so is a splitter a high priority? 

I did not understand the technique that CSTEO used to test for a sprung arbor vs a sprung saw. How often do arbors become sprung? Are there any breakdowns of every piece of a sawmill with every synonym? Because what is actually considered the arbor? Is it the whole shaft assembly from where it enters the sawmill after the conversion from the transmission? Or is it from the arbor bearing/set screws out? I have down some vocab but it would be nice to be able to discuss every little piece of the sawmill and know with confidence that I am referencing each correct piece/thing/orientation/etc. 

I do not know how many hours I have spent researching, typing, and reading, yet, I still feel as though the light at the end of the tunnel is still very far off. I feel like I should live with one of you guys for a week if someone would be willing to trade knowledge and a place to stay for my  labor, heck Ill even sleep in a tent, I don't care. I need to get through this curve or just buy a band mill like have been saying for a very long time. I hope this all makes sense and I didnt forget to mention any topics.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and take what comes with a grin. - Grandpa Chuck

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #102 on: February 10, 2020, 08:17:56 AM »
Wow, you are really into it and that's the only way, so many give up. That book is the best and I glad you got it. Ron W. may chime in here, He has more experience than me. The saw plate must be clean/flat right where the collars grip it for sure. The teeth filed straight across and with equal swage on both sides, big deal. With good collars and a cold saw bearing, nothing bent, the mill will run if the saw is ok and the speed is steady. The drive pins should not be notched from a saw wreck that by the way can bend the threaded end of the mandrel. A sudden stop in the log is like hitting a big tree with your car and bending the frame a little and not knowing it. And then things are never quite right. That hand crank rotary file is good.  Need parts for that? P.M. me.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #103 on: February 10, 2020, 10:31:18 AM »
How many bearings on your arbor?  I've seen a bunch of old mills with 3.  When setting lead, you have to loosen your adjustment bolts on the middle bearing.  Set your lead by using either the front or rear bearing, then retighten the middle bearing.  If you don't do that, you'll be putting some spring into your arbor.  Not to mention you'll heat up your bearings.  

Easy check for your collars is to put chalk or lumber crayon around the rim.  Put onto your saw.  Take it off and see if you have any gaps in the chalk mark on the saw.  If you do, your collars need to be turned.  

Don't overtighten your saw nut.  If you do, you'll smash your collars and they won't work as engineered.  

I had 2 different electric grinders.  One was a Jockey grinder that I used on the big saw.  I had an Andrus to sharpen my edger saws.  Jones also makes a sharpener.  Any saw shop should have one.  Jones is the cheapest.  These will give you a consistent tooth angle for each tooth.  It attaches to the saw.  I used to machine sharpen to maintain angle, then hand file to get a better edge.

You should have a board splitter.  In most cases, you don't need one.  But, if a piece bends back onto the saw or the saw cut collapses, you'll pinch the saw.  This can especially happen when you're splitting large pieces.  The two types I've seen are a round one and a bar type.  I've preferred the bar since they can extend much higher than the round one.  But, when sawing you still have to keep an eye on the splitter.  If a piece gets between the splitter and the log, you'll have a piece come flying back at you at a high speed.  
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Offline jemmy

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #104 on: February 11, 2020, 04:31:43 PM »
Moondacreek I want to quit, but I havent had the option since 3 cement trucks showed up on my property and monolithically poured 25 yards of concrete 36 deep over top of an interconnected web of  rebar. If I could turn back the clock I would slap myself and get a bandmill. The foundation is not going anywhere so neither is that saw. I am committed. I knew I would have to get wet for this project, I just didn't know I would be strapping on the scuba gear and going DEEP! Thank you Ron as always for the help. I don't know how to answer your question because I do not know what is actually considered the arbor I get that it is the drive shaft for the blade, but I do not know where it starts and ends, that's why I mentioned the total schematic of a circle mill so I can properly identify parts for these discussions. I am still working on CSTEO.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and take what comes with a grin. - Grandpa Chuck

Offline jemmy

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #105 on: February 11, 2020, 05:13:10 PM »
"The intense heat that develops when a saw hangs and the arbor and fast collar continue to turn against the jammed saw may seriously damage the collars by warping them. When this happens, the nut is tightened with all the force and inertia of the power unit and pulley system and frequently presses all concavity out of the collars. Resulting friction rapidly turns to heat even when it lasts for only a second or two. The heat may become so intense that it melts the metal and ruins the collars or the saw or both."

GEEEEEZZZZZZZZZ this is WILD, you guys definitely under sold the whole "Dont hang your saw" advice. This is what nightmares are made of. And since I have a direct drive, if i were to hang the saw, what kind of chaos is expected? Will the drive shaft shred? Will the pins shear? BOTH?

And I stopped reading right before it discussed the chalk test. Pretty simple, thanks again Ron.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and take what comes with a grin. - Grandpa Chuck

Offline jemmy

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #106 on: February 11, 2020, 05:44:05 PM »
I finished CSTEO. Now its time to do a bunch of leveling and inspection of the sawmill. I probably have one solid day of working through many of these. How will I know if my saw is junk? I took some serious material off of it.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and take what comes with a grin. - Grandpa Chuck

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #107 on: February 11, 2020, 08:31:27 PM »
The shaft that the saw goes on is the mandrel. On the other end would be the drive pulley [or driven as the one on the engine is the driver] This mandrel is in bearings that mount on the husk [frame].   As you have herd the mandrel is everything on a sawmill. The saw blade is a temperamental  thing for sure and expensive but only one nut holds it on. It is almost impossible to get a beginner to see the little things that must be. A circle saw spinning and sawing looks so simple, like only one moving part. Not the case at all. If you get that mill level and straight on that big pour and nobody can make it go, even with a different saw, worst case is a new mandrel and bearings. I you ever get to this point don't use a regular machine shop. To have a mandrel made [or repaired you have to go to a sawmill shop that does this kind of work. Trust me, I have done all this before both ways, right and wrong and paid for both. That book you are using is very good but it is all the first time for you. When I started I could not saw 2 board without heating the saw. This went on for months. Made many trips to other mills to watch and ask. Problem was I couldn't ask the right Questions. I know where you are . [and it is too far for me to come help]  You know people who don't struggle don't learn,     Doug

Offline jemmy

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #108 on: February 13, 2020, 09:48:54 AM »
Moondacreek, this is not good news to me. I was really hoping this would be something that could be conquered in a matter of few days not a few months to a year. I dont doubt this time table at all, because it has taken me years to get to this point, I could see it being a few more before I am cutting efficiently. And I do not think this is a simple mechanism. I see a million parts all working together (or lack there of), and when it comes to the dynamics of the blade I might as well be learning another language. I guess I will keep tinkering away, refining and posting here. I have plenty of things to try before running the mill again and I am now busy with school and a full time job. A bandmill has now moved to the top priority i believe. I would love to avoid spending money on a band mill but if my time table is now months to a year I think a bandmill is wise. I have a lot of wood that is beginning to degrade. 
Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and take what comes with a grin. - Grandpa Chuck

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #109 on: February 13, 2020, 10:45:18 AM »
It makes no difference what type of mill you have, there is a learning curve.  It sounds like you've gotten this far, but are having problems with the fine tuning of being able to cut lumber without having your saw heat up.  I've always found that circle mills can take a lot of abuse, and be off somewhat, and still be able to produce decent lumber.  

There is a skill level that has to be developed on any type of mill.  Feed rate is a big deal on all mills.  There are technical standpoints and practical standpoints.  Technical are the ones that are theoretically achievable.  Practical ones that come from experience.  The technical one may state that you can just blast through a log and everything will be great.  The practical side is that depends.  Your skill level increases as you find out the variables that the technical side doesn't cover.  

With the problems that you seem to be having, I'd start to put more lead into your saw.  If you're not running enough lead, you'll heat up a saw.  I'm sure you read somewhere that lead should be something like 1/16" or 1/8".  Technically that may be right.  But, to run that particular mill, I needed 3/8" of lead.  Practical wins.  And lead need can change with weather conditions, saws, and other conditions.  If you don't have enough lead, your saw will lead out and heat up your saw.  If you have too much lead, you will lead into the log and your board thickness will vary from front to back, with the back being heavier.  Its a pain to get the lead just right, but when you do that, it should not be a problem for a long time.  We adjusted lead maybe once or twice a year, usually when we changed saws.

Make sure you're measuring your lead right.  Loosen the saw guides.  Measure from one tooth to the headblock at the front of the husk.  I always would run my headblock to an even inch, like 12".  Mark that tooth.  Rotate the saw to the back of the husk so you can measure to the same headblock to the same tooth.  You now want that distance to be a bit farther away.  Subtract front number from back number to get your lead.  Readjust your saw guides.  See how that works.  If your saw guides are too tight on one side, it will have the effect of pushing lead in or out.  Not what you want.  Just a bit of daylight on each side of a running saw.  It might take a bit of time to get used to adjusting it.  

Don't worry too much about welding the nut onto the mandrel (same as the arbor).  I've done that one time in several million cuts in my career.  Something else happened that caused that saw accident.  We ended up cutting the nut off.  

Hanging a saw comes from having loose belts or feeding too fast for conditions.  2 things you need to do to increase your skill level.  Listening to your saw is a big deal.  Whenever I walk into a mill, I can tell if a sawyer is crowding his saw or working with his saw, just by the sound.  You'll want to have a consistent sound or tone, all the way through the cut.  If the sound changes, your saw is bogging down.  Poor saw performance can cause your saw to cut off line as the RPM level goes down.  As your skill level increases, you'll get better at figuring out when you need to slow down and when you can speed up.  

The other thing to watch is your saw in the cut.  You'll be able to tell if it's going off line.  If it is, don't continue cutting like that.  Its not good for the saw, and you'll just have lumber you won't be please with.

To test any mill, I always used small, short logs.  Things are a lot less forgiving with the small ones.  Pine is also pretty forgiving.  I always used new teeth to take away any problems of tooth maintenance.  

One thing I found about skill levels.  There isn't a straight line in improvement.  They come in stages.  You'll see that you'll have a lot of plateaus on the way up.  You'll think you're not getting any better, then all of a sudden it goes to the next level.  Be patient.  You'll get there.
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Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #110 on: February 13, 2020, 10:46:19 AM »
This is why bandmills are so popular, all that mass of metal, muscle, and horsepower on a circle mill to move a log down a track into a spinning blade vs. stationary log being cut by a little bitty band by a itty bitty motor pushed by a person or a itty bitty dc motor.  If you are a hobbyist they have your model, if you want production, they got you covered also.  Every one that I ever saw buying an old circle mill including me spends years getting them set up and running right when all they want to do is start sawing lumber.  In the end I lost money or broke even and realized why most of these saws are sitting or in scrap heaps.  If you like to restore old engines, tractors, and anything old iron a circle peckerwood sawmill will be right up your alley if you want to start cutting wood spend your limited funds on a bandmill.
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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #111 on: February 13, 2020, 10:51:05 AM »
If I ever do a circle saw, I want Ron in my corner.   ;) 
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Offline Jeff

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #112 on: February 13, 2020, 11:01:30 AM »
Whenever I walk into a mill, I can tell if a sawyer is crowding his saw or working with his saw, just by the sound.


I miss that sound:(

On any given day, Ron or I could go into the mill, having had an uneventful day before, and find a saw that refused to cutm but we would struggle through and find the special sauce to make it sing. If he tells you different, well, it's because he is old.:D  Look at the troubleshooting portion in the Lunstrum book.

When a saw isn't cutting right, you start ruling stuff out.  When you are first starting out you won't know what to rule out first, that is why you need to start with the equipment. Make sure it is right. Don't take short cuts trying to guess what the next thing to try is. You will get to do that soon enough when you get to days like I mentioned in the any given day sentence.
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #113 on: February 13, 2020, 01:29:53 PM »
Try this; get that saw plumb [husk level all ways] Set lead 1/8", same tooth, same head block. Have new or like new teeth in saw. Start up, saw not wobbling. Stand there and study that running saw. Now with eye protection and small , short pine log, sight down on saw line and feed carriage in [log into saw] about 20 " and back out. Study everything. Go deeper next time back up, look for rub marks on log [break slab off to look]. The saw plate must not touch log and the saw not loose speed and wobble because that will make it touch.

Offline luap

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #114 on: February 13, 2020, 02:22:03 PM »
The first blade I ran on my mill, I gradually increased the lead until it was 1/4" and finally could cut without rubbing and heating the saw. I thought that was a lot at the time but that was what it took to make it work.  I finally bought a refurbished blade from Menominee saw and got a handle on improving my sawing. Your new solid foundation will go a long ways in eliminating other problems. I was fortunate to have made the acquaintance of two experienced sawyers that  helped me tremendously. One of whom told me later that at the time he doubted I was going to figure it out. To his credit He never told me that or discouraged me. No FF, no internet available then, 1970's. No small bandsaws either.  So don't give up. You are going to get there.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: 1950's Circle Mill Trouble Shooting
« Reply #115 on: February 13, 2020, 07:46:15 PM »
Old saying: you can't beat a man who won't quit.


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