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Author Topic: Timber Harvester upgrades  (Read 1158 times)

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Offline East_NY

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Timber Harvester upgrades
« on: March 23, 2019, 01:19:40 PM »
I have a timber harvester 30H with a Honda GX670 v-twin. Have been using it on and off for a few years now. Would like to start using it more often and wanted to look into what upgrades I can put into it.
Not sure exactly how old it is. I was given it 6 years or so ago, and the guy who's it was said he had had it for 15-20. Not sure the accuracy of that.
Have had a lot of problems with the hydraulic drive. Its very jumpy and difficult to get a good consistent speed through the cut, resulting is some wavy boards at times. 
Tried replacing the hydraulic motor thinking that would fix it, to no avail.  Did read one post on here about switching out the cable drive for a chain drive. Want to try that and see how it goes.

Another problem I've been facing is getting consistent thickness on each board. Moving the head vertically is almost like a carnival game with how close you can get to your measured line. very jerky and quick so you spend a minute or so raising and lowering the whole head trying to get the blade lined up, only to start your cut and realize you're and 1/8 or a 1/4 off. which for stacking to dry, triggers some major ocd.

Any ideas or info anyone can provide would be great.



 Going to also pour a slab and make it permeant in one spot, don't have a need to trailer it around. Trying to also design a saw shed for it to get it out of the elements and get it organized a little for production.


 

Also toying with the idea to disconnect the hydraulics completely and try to instal some type of crank system for moving the head vertically,  for pushing it along try to do it manually to also get a better idea of when the cuts progressing too quickly. Straight off the bat just a bad idea?

Offline Hewer of Wood

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2019, 02:22:52 PM »
I would never remove the hydraulics to make it manual. For getting the saw head in the position you want have you tried bringing the head back further than you need, then advancing it while adjusting the head height at the same time? This basically splits the hydraulic flow and makes adjusting the head speed slower and much easier to hit your target.
For the head not feeding consistently, youd want to make sure you have decent tension on the cable and that its not frayed and catching during the revolutions. And of course make sure there is no debris on the track. Of course upgrading to chain drive would be the way to go
1997 Timber Harvester 1967 Pettibone Super 8 and too much sawdust. Joshua 9:21

Offline East_NY

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2019, 03:21:20 PM »
Thanks for the reply,
Ill try splitting the difference tomorrow and see how that helps. 
I've tighten the cable, still just getting a very jerky motion, see it more so in the motor (but replaced that) than slippage on the cable.

Have been toying with the idea lately too of replacing the engine. Im not sure if the engine is the original one provided or if the previous owner put it on but it is loud. Haven't had any complaints about it yet, but i'm assuming that is to the infrequent use. Any recommendations there as to upgrading? When does power become a bad thing?


 

 

Offline 47sawdust

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2019, 04:28:22 PM »
I have a Honda GX670 on my WM LT30.It has been a good performer.The muffler on mine is a different style.I will try to post a picture.
There are many TH owners here who should be able to help.Personally I think they are great mills.
 Welcome and good luck getting your mill sorted out.

 
Not the best picture but you can see the muffler is quite different then the one on your mill.It still is loud.
Mick
1997 WM Lt30 1999 WM twin blade edger Kubota L3750 Tajfun winchGood Health Work is my hobby.

Offline millwright

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2019, 05:39:07 PM »
On the hyd. Issue, you may want to look into putting in flow control valves. They are fairly cheap and simple to install.  They would let you control the hyd. speed

Offline East_NY

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2019, 02:13:48 PM »
Does anyone have experience with purchasing and installing a setworks on their hydraulic mills?
Would that be a useful addition even if the mill is very old?

Also would my saw be able to tolerate a board drag back system if I was to fashion and weld one on? Or would the head unit be too light and the hydraulic motor not strong enough?
I ask because i'm trying to figure out a layout for the mill where I can put it in a saw shed but have the layout be efficient for one man to run it. And would like to add a log deck


Offline esteadle

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2019, 02:14:30 PM »
I'd leave the hydraulics on it. They are real work savers.

Properly designed hydraulics systems have backfeed circuit to bypass the drive motor to avoid rupture if the head can't move forward (like at the end of the cut). There is one on the TH hydraulic system. Even so, the flow to the drive motor will be far greater, and should drive the head forward. It may "stick" and then "surge" a bit when the carriage comes up against some friction or something on the track, but that's normal and should not affect the thickness of lumber, especially if you are cutting with a good sharp blade. 

You have a Flow Control valve for the drive motor sticking out from the right front corner of your mill. I see it in the first picture. That knob gives you fine adjustment of the flow and that should let you set the speed of the mill to exactly the right speed to cut properly. It varies as the fluid warms up a bit, but it always gives you perfect control. You should be adjusting that knob on every single cut and while in the cut to maintain the speed of the engine at cutting speed. 

If you are confident your drive motor is inconsistently driving the head, and it's not the result of cable slippage (you're sure about that right?) and you've replaced the hydraulic motor (not sure why, but OK), then have you checked the FLUID level in the hydraulic system? You might be low, and the advance motor might be getting aerated fluid and not pushing consistently. You'd know if this was the case though because your hydraulic pump would be screaming out loud as it cavitates the hydraulic fluid as it tries to pump it. The fluid reservoir is the square box that sits above the head and has the big Timber Harvester logo on it. The fluid level needs to be at least 1" above the bottom outlet port that connects the big hose to the hydraulic motor. 

If you are good on fluid level, have you changed your Hydraulic Filter lately? If it's dirty, then the fluid is dirty, and it might be obstructing the flow in various parts where the fluid is restricted (like at the flow control valve).

You already have the correct answer for setting the height of the mill for cutting a correct thickness on this mill. Start the mill moving forward at least 2 feet in front of the log, and as the mill moves forward, you have finer control over the height. You can move the mill up or down in very fine increments when it's moving forward, because the hydraulic fluid is split between moving the head up and down and feeding the drive advance motor, making the rate of flow slower, thus raising or lowering the head at a slower rate. Practice this a couple times without a log, and you should get the idea. 

Your dial gauge may have some "gear backlash" in it. Mine certainly does, because of the way the dial is mechanically joined to the head. If you move up and down but the dial "lags" the head movement, then you have gear backlash and need to tighten up the worm gear at the top of the head that connects the lifting shaft to the dial gauge. You might also have to tighten up the chains if they are really loose too. 

Finally, I'll note that wavy cuts are usually the result of dull blades, not drive motor problems. A sawmill cuts across the cut, not with the cut, and drive motors are there to move the sawblade forward after the teeth of the blade has removed material to make room for it. If you are cutting wavy, check the teeth of the blade with a magnifying glass, and make sure they are not shiny and dull. They should have a nice clean edge on the top front of the tooth. If they are shiny, it means they are rounded over and need to be sharpened. I'd check that before you throw any more expensive parts at this problem :-) 

Best of Luck, 

Eric
Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).

Offline esteadle

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2019, 02:32:14 PM »
I'd keep that Engine too. Honda is an Engine company, not a car company, and the beautiful engineering they put into those things is a pleasure to work with and will last practically forever. Looks like whoever had it also cared about it, as I see a well marked date on the oil filter meaning someone wanted to know when to change it next. 

Specs on that engine are here: 
Honda GX670 (24.0 HP, 17.7 kW) V-tiwn engine: review and specs

It's a 24 HP design, and I'd say it should be no louder than my Kohler 24 HP engine. Yet you describe it as very loud, which should not be the case. 

In my prior post, I mentioned cavitation of the hydraulic motor. Could it be that, you are hearing? The engine always turns the hydraulic motor on these mill designs, so as soon as you start it, you'd hear it. 


Setworks... 
If you want to add Setworks to this mill, you should try to find a Timber Harvester setworks to use. That will make it a lot easier for you to install it. I recall a post here on FF that mentioned a "fire sale" when Timber Harvester went out of business a while back, and as I recall, someone here picked up a lot of extra parts from their inventory liquidation. 

The main thing you'd want for Setworks is 1) the little black box that attaches to the main head lifter shaft (a rotating encoder counts pulses of rotation of that shaft and a small embedded circuit keeps track of how many have been counted, and stops the rotation at the right place, depending on what we selected -- 4/4 5/4 etc.). The control box for Setworks is different than the small remote box and is set up in a fixed location as well. I have the original manuals which include some wiring diagrams for the setworks on my web page. That may get you started. You can pull down the PDF here: http://steadwood.djfirefly.com//assets/docs/Smart_Sets-Documentation.pdf

Also, the Klauser family (Ken, Tim) has some extensive experience with Timber Harvester mills (they were a former dealer for TH) and also designing and building their own mills. They may be able to give you good advice and/or help you set up a working Setworks on your mill. 

I think an investment in Setworks is worth it - it gives you much more consistent thickness lumber, and your stacking experience will involve much less OCD...  ;D

Eric

Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).

Offline Hewer of Wood

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2019, 02:37:41 PM »
Thats an excellent write up by Eric. Especially concerning the hydraulic fluid level.
As for the drag back, if you can weld up something youre happy with, the mill should have no problems. Mine is 20+ years old, with the original hydraulic drive motor, and as long as the cable is tight and in good condition you should be able to drag back most anything you want. I can drag back 7x9x10 hardwood pieces without much difficulty.
One other thing to check is the pulley that the cable wraps around. Its subject to wear over time. If it shows wear it can be taken to a decent machine shop and smoothed out. It is hardened though.
1997 Timber Harvester 1967 Pettibone Super 8 and too much sawdust. Joshua 9:21

Offline esteadle

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2019, 02:53:28 PM »
Sorry, it was the Clousers, not Klausers. 
Clouser Farm Enterprises - Sawmill_Prices
(But I don't see any setworks on their current mills, so maybe they don't do those ...) 


Board Drag Back
Yes. You can do board drag back with your setup. I have 24 HP hydraulics and that's what I do all the time. I have moved entire logs with my dragback (sometimes I have to hammer them a couple times to make them move... not something I recommend though). 

Now, you may have to convert over to the Chain Drive as was explained in this thread. 
Timber Harvester Chain Drive Upgrade in Sawmills and Milling
The work on that was top notch, btw. I think anyone could follow this post and do it too, really. 

Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).

Offline tylerltr450

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2019, 05:10:29 PM »
Sorry, it was the Clousers, not Klausers.
Clouser Farm Enterprises - Sawmill_Prices
(But I don't see any setworks on their current mills, so maybe they don't do those ...)


Board Drag Back
Yes. You can do board drag back with your setup. I have 24 HP hydraulics and that's what I do all the time. I have moved entire logs with my dragback (sometimes I have to hammer them a couple times to make them move... not something I recommend though).

Now, you may have to convert over to the Chain Drive as was explained in this thread.
Timber Harvester Chain Drive Upgrade in Sawmills and Milling
The work on that was top notch, btw. I think anyone could follow this post and do it too, really.
All... Clousers has no info on the Timber Harvester electronics I have tried many times. I did however find the company that made the boards and design the logic. PS they were no help since they haven't worked on them for over 15 years.

As for the electronics its a very simple system, I have a rotary encoder (if someone needs a part number I can get my invoice)  already which I plan to make my custom set works for my mill. Just have to get around to it been way to busy with cutting wood and sharpening bands.

For Brad S who was around the fire sale of Timber Harvester he has no set works boards. The only board he was able to send me was the board in for the switches. However I wouldn't use this since I can make the system way simpler. Amazing how 15 years of advancements in technology can go.

PSH that guy doing the drive upgrade has no idea what he was doing LOL. I plan to make new lines and bend them to reverse the setup however that will come in time.

For cutting issues I would put money on the cable drive. Esteadle thanks for the great posts on here to help a fellow Timber Harvester owner.
Timber Harvester 36HTD25 fully loaded
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Offline East_NY

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2019, 10:38:53 AM »
  Eric, thank you for taking the time for a really in depth response. I appreciate it. 
The problem must simply be slippage, and I'm just over analyzing it. The fluid level is good and I've replaced all the filters (I dated them). 

I'll tighten the "worm" gears, I have very limited mechanical knowledge so learning the accompanying jargon, and see if that gets rid of the slack. 

Embarrassingly I never used the dial anyways. Was thrown off by the settings of the two hands. The previous owner would mostly cut slabs and when he was showing me around he would always just go up to the log with a sharpy, mark his next cut on the log and try to hit it with the mill. So I've just gone with that to. Under the assumption the dial wasn't to be trusted.

Thank you as well for the link to changing out the cable.

Have been searching for a timber harvester networks to no avail. 

Tylerltr450 I've been looking up how rotary encoders work, with no experience with coding it'll be very interesting to see your build for a custom setworks. What setworks board would you go with?

Again thank you to everyone taking the time and responding 


As far as alignment and blade tension. Where are some places I should be checking for alignment and routinely servicing? Do the guide wheels/bearings (not sure the name) need to be routinely adjusted (with the set screws behind the blade guide)? And for blade tension, where should the square fin land in relation to the cutout.

 



 

   

Offline East_NY

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2019, 10:44:22 AM »
I have a lot of logs that I need to process and get out of the way, so I wanted to tackle any problems before they became problems once I started. 
So thank you for any info 

Offline tylerltr450

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2019, 11:06:01 AM »
Tylerltr450 I've been looking up how rotary encoders work, with no experience with coding it'll be very interesting to see your build for a custom setworks. What setworks board would you go with?

       I am planning to use a texas instruments chip set probably.
Timber Harvester 36HTD25 fully loaded
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Offline tylerltr450

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2019, 04:23:17 PM »
Sorry, it was the Clousers, not Klausers.
Clouser Farm Enterprises - Sawmill_Prices
(But I don't see any setworks on their current mills, so maybe they don't do those ...)


Board Drag Back
Yes. You can do board drag back with your setup. I have 24 HP hydraulics and that's what I do all the time. I have moved entire logs with my dragback (sometimes I have to hammer them a couple times to make them move... not something I recommend though).

Now, you may have to convert over to the Chain Drive as was explained in this thread.
Timber Harvester Chain Drive Upgrade in Sawmills and Milling
The work on that was top notch, btw. I think anyone could follow this post and do it too, really.
Esteadle,
Embarrassingly I never used the dial anyways. Was thrown off by the settings of the two hands. The previous owner would mostly cut slabs and when he was showing me around he would always just go up to the log with a sharpy, mark his next cut on the log and try to hit it with the mill. So I've just gone with that to. Under the assumption the dial wasn't to be trusted.

Can you help the guy out about he dial and the 2 hands. I am actually not sure how to use the dial. I just use the first hand.
Timber Harvester 36HTD25 fully loaded
2006 Dodge 2500 first Auto to NV5600 swap, EFI Live Tune by me
John Deere Tractor
Internatioal Harvester 3200B SkidSteer

Offline Hewer of Wood

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2019, 09:17:49 PM »
The dial is adjustable for cutting different thickness lumber. One pointer shows the height of the blade above the bunks. The other can be set for whatever you want. If youre cutting 4/4 lumber and assuming 1/8 kerf, you could set the other pointer 1 1/4 below the blade height pointer(1 1/8 thick lumber plus the kerf) so all you have to do is look at the pointer and know where your next cut will be. Supposed to save you from having to do the math in your head. But in reality I find it much easier just to do the math and ignore the second pointer.
1997 Timber Harvester 1967 Pettibone Super 8 and too much sawdust. Joshua 9:21

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2019, 09:30:55 PM »
    Also, for the blade tension the front edge of the rectangular piece should protrude slightly through the notch, if that makes sense. But as long as the blade feels reasonably tight, tracks on the band wheels properly, and is cutting well, thats where it should be set.
    The blade will need to be leveled periodically, either from roller guide wear, or bumping the guides themselves a bit too hard. Thats done fairly easily with the 4 bolts behind each guide(2 on top, 2 on bottom). Unless the guides are really tilted it doesnt take much to bring them back to level. If the blade is riding up at the beginning of the cut, then sort of levels itself off after about a foot, making kind of a hump at the beginning, thats a good indication your guides need to be leveled. Assuming of course the blade is in good shape and not dull. A good thing to do before messing with the leveling bolts is to clean them up some and spray with some penetrating oil. They can get a lot of crud built up on them over time.
1997 Timber Harvester 1967 Pettibone Super 8 and too much sawdust. Joshua 9:21

Offline esteadle

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2019, 10:02:36 PM »
Ahh the Dial. Yes, the 2 arrows are a bit confusing. Let me discuss the theory, and then the practice.

Here's the theory: Both dials are able to be set by means of an allen set screw that tightens against a shaft. Each is independent and can be set to it's own measurement. As set from the factory, when the mill height is at "bottom" (the lowest it can cut and not cut itself apart), the Silver dial should read 1". However, (and this is the confusing part), the blade height is set at 1-1/8" and the last board cut will be 9/8 thickness. This is because the mills were set up for NHLA grade lumber production which specifies an "over" thickness of 1/8 on all thicknesses. So the sawyer can cut down to the last thickness board, and will be assured to always have an 1/8 over.

The second arrow on the dial gauge is there so that when you are cutting for grade, you can plan your next cut thickness. The Silver dial shows where you are, and what you are supposed to do is set the red dial behind it, to show you where the next cut will land. If you are trying for 6/4, for example, and you are at 7 7/16 on your cut, if your red gauge is set to 6/4, you can see that your next cut after this one will be at 7 7/16 - 6/4 => 5 15/16.  The math on that is a bit of work, but if you can see that you're going to be a shade under 6, then you know you won't be at 6" width when you flip. Don't wanna miss FAS boards on the left face by cutting a little heavy on this face... it helps with that kind of saw-time decision.  

Now, here's the practice... The 2nd pointer on the dial doesn't help that much if you're not sawing the same thing all day (which is really, what grade sawing is all about, I think -- really reading a log and getting the best possible board -- thickness included -- from each and every face). But really, it's easier to do everything in 16ths when sawing for grade anyway. The blade takes away 1/16 from whatever cut you are making. As the grade market wants an 1/8 over on every board, I just think of that as 2/16s, and so on every cut of grade, I know I'll need to add 3/16 on each one. And I add that as I go, as I plan my cuts. 2 boards left in this cant? (2 x 3/16) = 6/16. 3 boards left? 3 x (3/16) or 9/16. 4 boards left, 12/16. 5 boards left? 15/16. Just add that to the N boards times thickness cutting and you will not have a miscut, or leave a thin middle board. Now here's the cool part.... 16ths are easy to count on that dial. I can do it from it's furthest point ;-)

In fact, I got so used to doing it that way all day, I found I didn't even look at the second pointer anymore. When I realized this one day, I moved it right behind the silver dial and have not thought about it again until today. :-D


By the way, I also use the "sharpie method" from time to time. It's a good method to work out what the log is going to do. I like to measure up from the deck height and verify where a cut will land. Sometimes, I will let the saw drift into the log and score the end of the log and then stop and pull back, and maybe even go measure up from the bunks and just make sure it's going to hit where I thought it would... On a good quality log with figure and character, oh, yes, you wanna strut and fret about it for a while before you cut that thing. Yes. yes. A Sharpie or a crayon mark are good friends to have when you're sweating a cut like that...

Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2019, 10:36:33 PM »
Heh heh... Looks like I'm going to turn this into a Timber Harvester User Manual. :-) 

>  blade tension, where should the square fin land in relation to the cutout. 

The 3 bars of the blade tension guide line up basically with each other when the blade tension is correct. The factory red marks on the top face of these guides has a thin black line running through the middle which give a finer indication of correct tension.

This tensioning mechanism is simple and reliable. It uses a constant linear spring to balance the blade tension, which helps to absorb the shocks and expansion of a blade as it moves around the bandwheels. It also makes up for different length blades from different blade manufacturers, as the spring won't start to engage until it fills out the length of the blade, making small length differences irrelevant.

In your picture you see the threaded tension block, and there is a grease port there, which needs a dab about twice a year, once in the spring and again in fall. A dab of grease under the end of the rod that pushes against the mill frame makes turning the tension adjustment bolt a lot easier. 

When running blades from different manufacturers, you can adjust the tension from "center" a bit to add or subtract tension. When I used to run silicon blades, I would reduce tension a bit. When cutting thick wide pieces, I increased tension a bit to avoid band slippage. After centering, I just count 1/2 turns one way or the other, and then watch it cut. If you watch the guides as you turn that adjustment rod, you can see that you have a lot of control over the tension, but you have to "feel" it... there's no numbers there to guide you. 
Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).

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Re: Timber Harvester upgrades
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2019, 11:12:42 PM »
Bearings and grease.

The Main Shaft bearings may have grease dashpots with spring feed mechanisms as seen in a similar Forestry Forum post here... 
http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/45473/20190206_081334.jpg?easyrotate_cache=1549459800

These just need a push if they ever get below the line. Otherwise, they can be left alone. 

The roller bearings on the other hand, need a squirt of grease at the start of every workday. They will roll fast and take pressure all day and need the benefit of fresh grease because they heat up. 

As for the idle side band wheel, this is likely a pressed-fit sealed cartridge bearing. No maintenance required. If you ever need to change it, I posted a reply on a thread on here a while back about it. 
bandsaw wheels and tracking in Sawmills and Milling

Other grease ports that need a squirt now and then. Let me see if I can remember all of them... 
There should be 2 or 4 main guide shafts that the mill rides on, these are made of machined steel. There are an equal number of grease ports on the sleeves of the main mill mounting plate that ride on these shafts. maybe once a year?

There is a horizontal shaft at the top of the mil that has 2 pillar block bearings that need a little bit of grease a couple times a year. 
On the mill frame, you might have a log post set that swings on some bearings that need some grease monthly in sawing season. 
Log lifter arms. Log turner bearings. I think there's 4 for that. Seems like I'm missing a couple.... 


Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).


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