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Author Topic: Startup portable sawmill  (Read 2087 times)

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Offline Jakewhaley19

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Startup portable sawmill
« on: November 06, 2019, 06:10:29 PM »
I am a 27year old 6'3 245 and work construction so I am used to being outside in all conditions and working with lumber and beams but I have a wife and three kids hoping to be debt free soon if I sell my house my question is if I want to start this what would it take realistically to support a family with a sawmill and how do I determime the market in my area for portable sawmilling. Also is it worth all the time money to also invest in a kiln to start with or add it on later I live near gatlinburg tn and have 20 acres of property fully wooded and the construction company always clears lots for houses so plenty of free logs
Wanting to learn as much as I can while I can

Offline PAmizerman

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2019, 07:03:45 PM »
I would go into with the mindset of it being a side job. You will know soon enough if it can be done full-time
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2019, 07:32:33 PM »
   Good luck and welcome. I would also try to contact Nathan at @123maxbars  and look at his operation and compare notes with him. I don't think he is that far from you. I think Nathan is mostly stationary now but he knows/has learned a lot about sawing, woodworking, marketing and maybe even Kiln ops. You might want to off-bear for him a few trips and see if you can pick his brain. If he is stationary and you are mobile you two may be able to refer back and forth of customers needing what the other has to offer. 
Howard Green
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2019, 07:34:51 PM »
Donít quit your day job!

You will be under pressure to produce money to feed your family.  Bad decisions or no decisions will be made.  Itís extremely rare for any business to be profitable from day one.  Most business donít become profitable for many months, if not years.  We are talking positive net profit, not gross profit.  

There is a lot more to running a successful sawmill business than running a sawmill.  Look at it as an apprentice program by going at it part time.  How are you at marketing?  Knocking on doors, schmoozing customers?    

Get a good sawmill.  Work long hours.  Work weekends.  Build a good reputation.  Understand the business.  Make some money.  Then make some more money.  Make connections.  Make and sell product on schedule, because your bills will come in on schedule.  When you are ready, and you will know when, then jump in head first and start paddling.  

Taxi before you take off.  

My two cents...,


 
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Offline 123maxbars

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2019, 07:52:13 PM »
Donít quit your day job!

You will be under pressure to produce money to feed your family.  Bad decisions or no decisions will be made.  Itís extremely rare for any business to be profitable from day one.  Most business donít become profitable for many months, if not years.  We are talking positive net profit, not gross profit.  

There is a lot more to running a successful sawmill business than running a sawmill.  Look at it as an apprentice program by going at it part time.  How are you at marketing?  Knocking on doors, schmoozing customers?    

Get a good sawmill.  Work long hours.  Work weekends.  Build a good reputation.  Understand the business.  Make some money.  Then make some more money.  Make connections.  Make and sell product on schedule, because your bills will come in on schedule.  When you are ready, and you will know when, then jump in head first and start paddling.  

Taxi before you take off.  

My two cents...,


 
What he said x10
One think I have learned in going full time three years ago, everything takes four times as much time/effort to complete when you are in this business. 
Good Luck, and also ready everything about forestry/trees you can get your hands on, sawmilling is the easy part. 
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Offline Southside

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2019, 09:00:47 PM »
the construction company always clears lots for houses so plenty of free logs


You have been given spot on advice here by folks who are doing it so the wise man would heed it.  As to the part of your post I quoted above, free logs are worth exactly what you paid for them, or in some cases even less.  

First, a log is not a log, is not a log.  Just because it's made of wood and round-ish does not mean it will produce lumber that someone will pay for.  Second is species, you are only going to sell so much gum - and unless you have the ability to add value to it and market it to the right customer, it won't be selling for much,  Add onto that the way many house lots are cleared - whack the stem with an excavator bucket, and cut the pine log at 7'4" because that was convenient, plus they are not getting paid to carefully deal with your free tree, and you just became the free traveling dump that picks up. 

Start slow, figure out what works in your area.  WRITE DOWN your business plan, just do it in pencil because it will change.  I think all of the guys I know who are in this business are not doing exactly what they started off planning to do.  They kept the concept but changed the goal to what actually makes the money, I know I sure have.  

Welcome to the Forum, pull up a stump and hang around, lot of great folks here. 
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Offline Jakewhaley19

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2019, 09:23:15 PM »
I reallyappreciate all of you for taking time to respond I think starting off slow is key but how to I test the market in my area and if its part time should I still get a decent size mill amd if so what is decent size to yall
Wanting to learn as much as I can while I can

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2019, 09:40:36 PM »
   I suggest you read everything here on this thread. You will find a lot of what works and what does not. Everything from business cards to contracts to blades to use to insurance to equipment needed to sawing techniques to wood profiles and so much more is in there somewhere. 

    You might check the local Craigslist and Facebook and see what is listed for sale and in the wanted sections. That might give you some indications as to competition and potential markets in your area. Check to see what other sawyers and mills are operating in your area and see what services they offer and any gaps they don't cover which may be opportunities for you. No matter what you offer customers are going to want something you don't offer. Being able to refer them to an arborist or a  kiln or slabber may actually help you get the part of the business you are chasing.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Southside

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2019, 09:53:00 PM »
That's a really hard question to answer without knowing your finances.  If you want to try the portable avenue then a hydraulic mill is honestly the only answer to success.  There is nothing wrong with a manual mill, but production will be very slow and customers don't appreciate or understand that these days.  Now if you are sawing on your time, and your location then speed does not matter in the sense of a customer standing there watching you, it does matter in terms of revenue / hour but that is a different conversation.

I started with an LT35 for three reasons, 1) It is hydraulic, a great compromise of capacity, speed, and ease of set up, so it makes for a great starter mill.  2) I found a one year old machine at a great deal.  3) I had the cash to buy it so even when it sat without making a dime I didn't have to worry about making a payment that month.  

A well cared for, name brand, mill will hold it's value.  That is good and bad.  Good if you are looking at trying something for a while with the possible idea that you might sell / upgrade down the road and bad if you are buying and looking for a $500 deal.  

If you were standing here today asking me what to do I would tell you to look at what you can comfortably afford to spend, compare a couple models in that price range, then find a couple of sawyers with similar mills to what you are looking at and some higher end and lower end - then spend a couple of days and visit several operations.  Go to the guy with a complete manual mill and get a first hand knowledge of what that is like.  Find one that you are serious about and see what it can do in experienced hands, then find a higher priced one and see the difference - mostly so you don't begin to experience mission creep and talk yourself into more than you need at this point.  

This will also give you an idea on possible market opportunities that may fit for your location.  
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2019, 10:24:38 PM »
WM hydraulic from an LT35 to an LT50.
Look in Craigslist to see who your competition is.

How to find money is something you have to answer.  I guarantee it will change every day.  You must have multiple ways.  

If you really want to play, hereís how I started.  You must set a reasonable starter goal and achieve it. Then increase the goal.  

I had a sawmill.  I told myself I was going to make $100 in 1 weeks time.  Every week.  I knocked on doors, I went to the local coops, other local businesses that needed wood. I did everything and anything I could do to make that $100.

When that became easy, I upped the goal to $500 per week, then $1,000 them $5,000, then $10,000, etc.  

You canít just say ďI am going to make money,Ē you have to get down the the nuts and bolts of actually doing it.

If it was easy to make lots of money with a sawmill, everybody who owns one would be rich.  
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Offline jeepcj779

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2019, 01:01:32 AM »
  I am looking to start working as a sawyer as well. I can tell you I would not want to start a sawmill business and have to depend on that business's success to pay my bills or feed my kids because I have no experience and don't know what the market is like. The advice given not to quit your day job is right on the money. You will incur costs to start up to the tune of $10,000-$20,000 at a minimum buying a used mill, and more than that for new if you are buying a hydraulic mill. You may be able to finance and spread that cost over years, but you will then have to make money to make the payments. There are other things you will need that will cost you $ as well.
 If I were in your position, I would start small (maybe purchase a used portable manual mill), only doing work on the weekends or in your spare time (while keeping you day job). This way you can figure out how to use the mill before butchering anyone else's logs. You may have some issues using a manual mill for "production" work at first, but you should explain that beforehand to any customers who hire you.
 Tools, infrastructure, equipment, waste management, insurance, etc. will all incur costs in terms of both time and/or money.
 Take look at the thread I created to ask questions about getting started http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=107252.0. There are likely many answers there to questions you don't know you have yet. Even better, check out OldJarheads Milling Thread  http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=89720.0. Read it start to finish, and take notes. He made the journey from running a small manual mill to a successful business running a LT40 hydraulic mill, and in the process paid for the mill, a 3/4 ton truck, and two campers. I learned a lot reading his thread, and it was enjoyable to boot.
 Good luck to you.

Offline ladylake

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2019, 04:28:40 AM »
 
 By all means keep your day job until you get your business started good.  Saying that I should have started milling at 25 years old rather than when I was 55.   Steve
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Offline Jakewhaley19

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2019, 06:33:12 AM »
Hey you guys are awsome this is the kind of community I want to be a part of that gives you honest answers with some incouagement thanks to all of you but lord willing in a year's time I will have a small house and land completely debt free so I may be able to buy a mill and pay it off with my day job pretty fast I think an lt35 hydraulic used is what I am looking at
Wanting to learn as much as I can while I can

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2019, 06:48:24 AM »
As long as the sawyers are giving advice I can give some from a foresters/land managers perspective.  Right in the beginning you listed your height and weight.  I don't view physical size to be an advantage in the sawmilling or logging business.  The best cutters I know are wiry somewhat lean smaller guys, there is one good one that is 6'4" but his back is killing him today, not enough bending when he was young. Magicman is as savvy a portable sawyer as you'll find and he's not the largest fellow.    

The name of the game is to keep the body healthy and minimize the impact and abuse your body takes.  Save your body so that when critical it is a strength but do not rely on it to do activities that you could/should have mechanized.  This is a business that can easily destroy knees, backs, feet, etc.  Wear ear protection so you can hear your grandchildren laugh and whistle, read all the sawmill safety tips on old threads.  

After trying out milling and finding a niche (so many of them) look at doing everything possible to mechanize and automate your workflow.  You are already carrying a little extra weight (as many of us are) that is having an impact, you just don't know that.  Do what you can now to cut out a few calories and move a bit more (no elevators -there are always stairs, things like this) in cardio programs (several sawyers here do some light bike riding, walking, etc).  We probably all wish we had taken better care of our bodies when younger because at the end of the day there are physically demanding aspects of the jobs.  
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2019, 07:24:46 AM »
I agree with "don't quit your day job". Start slow and work your way up. In your area I would be looking into selling some to tourist, but you will also need to find some consistent locals to keep your monthly flow going. 
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2019, 08:00:58 AM »
Welcome to the FF! Before I started my own business, I cut a lot of logs from my own land to learn how to make lumber. Running a sawmill is a skill, and only with practice do you become proficient at it. The customer is trusting you with there logs, and paying you there hard earned money to do quality work. You have to be confident in your ability before you jump in. Learn as much as you can about the business also, there's tons of good info here on the FF. Starting a small business is tough. I quit my day job over a year ago to be my own boss, and I've learned the hard way that there's no guaranteed paycheck in the bank every Friday. Things don't happen overnight, it takes time to become established, get repeat customers, and build a good reputation.
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
Cuttin' while its green, through a steady sawdust stream.
I'm chasing the sawdust dream.

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Offline Magicman

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2019, 08:07:46 AM »
"Startup portable sawmill" and "making a living/supporting a family" are two different subjects.  Keep your day job and keep your feet on solid ground while you establish your sawing ambitions.

Completing your profile with your location etc. would go a long way toward members being able to answer questions and give advice.  Remember that "unasked" questions are the only "dumb" questions so don't hesitate to ask away.   :P
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2019, 08:20:56 AM »
   I am going to disagree with the info above about buying a used manual mill and learning on it. If you just want a hobby mill for personal use you can get by with a manual hobby mill if you have enough support equipment and enough time. We have members with manual mills (I keep thinking of LT15's) where the mill is a key part of their business but they are woodworkers, making beams, etc and have good support equipment like skid steers and such working at home and are not trying to make production. If you are only able to saw part time to start with you certainly want to be faster and more efficient and use your limited time effectively. When I was thinking about setting up my portable business I was trying to go cheap and buy a manual mill with log assist kits (Ramps and wenches, etc) and my wife and friends talked me into spending a little more and getting a hydraulic mill. I thank them every day and seriously doubt I'd have stayed with it using a manual mill. My ideal job is a 1-2 day job 25 miles or less from home where the customer has a weekend available to get his logs sawed and we go knock it out and I come on home. 

    Visiting others and going to trade shows and seeing how the mills and the different features work will be time well spent. Every time I go to a show I learn some little trick that makes my life easier and sawing more efficient.  Yellowhammer says it best "Take steps to save steps". You want to make sure every step you take produces something of value whether removing a slab, brushing sawdust away, picking up scraps, stacking a board, etc. Set up and operational procedures will make or break you.
Howard Green
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2019, 01:54:12 PM »
Considering on portable jobs you will get paid for what you produce, the more you produce, the more you get paid.

I had a manual LT15 when I started.  It didnít take long to realize there was actually very little time during the day when sawdust was coming out of the chute, even though I was working my tail off. 

So a year or so later, I bought LT-40 hydraulic and stacked up a days worth of logs to saw in preparation of the delivery, the same logs I would be sawing with my LT15.  So the WM guy shows up, towing the LT40 behind his pickup, sets the mill up before I can blink, chucks a log on there and has it cut down into boards before I know whatís happening.  He said he wanted to ďwarm it upĒ before I started with it.  Wow.  Within a very short period of time, a few hours or so, of me playing on my new mill, I went to get another log and realized that I was compeletly out of logs, not only was my quota done but I hadnít even broke a sweat. Wow.

My old LT-40 was not the fastest hydraulic mill out there, by any means.  

Get all the mill you canít afford. :D    


   

  
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2019, 06:27:50 PM »
I started with a manual mill and I never planed on portable work.
I built my business slowly learning as I went.
My first advice buy a hydraulic mill and keep your day job as you build your skills.
Save money and make money you will no when it's time.
I'm still figuring it out been in business my whole adult life.
If my health was better and could still do some building or snowplowing I would be much better off.I enjoy the retail side but would like to find a small wholesale account to help when slow.
In New Hampshire sawmilling and sales can be weather related.
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Offline esteadle

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2019, 07:02:38 PM »
To make money cutting wood, you have to sell it. If you buy equipment, logs, and space to store it, and kiln and stickers and trailers and trucks to move it, you've invested a lot. But you still have to sell wood and turn it back into MONEY.

Wood is cyclical and leads the broader economy. A lot of clever business analysts look at the wood palette industry to predict economic cycles... More palette orders means more product shipments... Fewer palette order means fewer product shipments.

Right now, your President is waging a trade war with one of the biggest consumers of wood and wood products in the export market: China. In PA, the hardwood markets send between 40-60% of timber and manufactured lumber products to Export markets. 70% of that went to China before the trade war. However, since the trade war escalated, and tariffs were levied by both countries, the costs of our hardwoods are 25-40% higher than other suppliers, and that has caused the demand for exports to drop by over 50%. Less than 35% is going to China right now. Meaning, that lumber has to be sold somewhere else to make money. Where else to sell is an easy decision... local markets are cheap to ship to.

You are probably not going to sell into export markets right away. But... you will be selling into local markets at the same time that other, more experienced, and better equipped sellers who WERE selling into export markets, but who are now selling into YOUR market (because they have no other place to sell).

If I were starting my sawmill business today, I would think twice about it and I would think seriously about what else I could invest my money in.

Have you checked out the Chainsaws portion of the forum? You need a good chainsaw if you are managing 20 acres. :)
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Offline jeepcj779

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2019, 12:26:12 AM »
  Our President is wining a trade war with the Chinese, which, despite the current negative effects on timber prices, will be better for everyone in the end. When a trade deal is reached, tariffs will be removed, and it will also bring an end to the market fixing, currency manipulation, and unfair trade practices perpetrated by China. These behaviors have been allowed by previous administrations for years and have put the US at an economic disadvantage. A new trade agreement will give a boost to our already booming economy and create more opportunities for the type of business Jake is talking about. Demand from China will return, and domestic demand for those pallets you spoke of will also increase. Prices will rebound as a result. Maybe it is a good time to go into business.
Jake, here is another good thread to look in to: http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=100326.0

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2019, 12:14:24 PM »
This is why I said you have to set fixed monetary goals for your business.  In order to be successful in business, itís important to be aware of all the factors involved with making profit, but use that knowledge to know where not to step, and also where to push.  

If you read the HMR, Hardwood Market Report, then you will know where the market is soft and where to get your foot in.  Remember, try to make a reasonable goal at first, $100 per week, for 6 months.  That is a lot harder than it sounds.  Every week, no skips, no breaks, no whatever.  Every week.  Then you will really learn your local market forces and which ones apply to your operation.  Outside forces are important, but the inside forces are what pays the bills every week.  

How do you do that?  Get in your vehicle and drive down the road and talk to anyone who might need a wood product.  Think out of the box.  If you donít want to be a salesman then you will probably go out of business.  

You can do this well before you get a sawmill.  How many wedding planners are in your area?  They all want hardwood cookies for wedding, I sell mine from $5 to $10 and cut them with a chainsaw.  I donít even need a sawmill to make them, or a kiln, for that matter.

How many concrete guys are in your area?  The ones in my area used to buy their forming wood from Lowes or similar.  They jumped at a chance of getting their wood at a significant savings from me.

How many taxidermists are in your area?  I sell character pieces to several.  Every fish mount and deer mount has a piece of wood behind it.  Where do they buy that from?  

These are just a few examples.  If you think these may be small potatoes, and arenít classic sawmill business, then I will use Wal Mart as an example.  Even with all their money, they still sell $1 packs of gum and ball point pens.  Itís good business to diversify and cover every market you can, with what you have.  

In my case our business changed many times through years based on how I could make profit today, not a year from now.  It still does.  

I know the subject line is ďstartup portable sawmill.Ē  But I have to ask the question, why just that?  Should it be more like ďStartup Sawmill Business?Ē 





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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2019, 05:30:59 PM »

WRITE DOWN your business plan, just do it in pencil because it will change. 
Southside's suggestion is a good one, however I suggest that you save all of them as you progress so if you want to you can go back and see where you have been you will be able to.
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2019, 05:48:02 PM »
Jakewhaley19:
To what the others have said I'd like to add the following - If you can I would suggest seriously considering purchasing a wide head mill. They were not available in 2005 when I purchased my mill and a few times it would have been handy as there are jobs I had to pass on.
Also, knowing math (especially Trig.) and how to fixture things can be a great asset to you.
For example: how would you saw an octagonal post for a porch, or how would you saw a tapered octagonal post for a porch.
Prior to purchasing a sawmill I spent time with two individuals watching them, off bearing, asking questions, etc.  They each had their own operations, and both were completely different.  They helped me a lot.
Some sawmill designs are better to off bear than others.
Oh,and welcome to the FF and hope you learn a lot.
GAB
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2019, 06:22:08 PM »
   I agree with Gerald on getting the wide head. That will open up a lot more markets for slabs and such compared to a regular width head.
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2019, 08:01:21 PM »
I am going to be the odd one out here. You can't be all things to every part of the market. If you have a killer slab market then a wide head makes sense, just realize that your operating expenses will be higher, so if 2% of your market is live edge slabs then does it make sense to operate 98% of the time at a higher cost? 

My market is flooring, siding, and other specialty lumber, I don't market slabs at all, so neither of my mills have a wide head, not would I want one. A multi head re-saw and drum sander are next on my list as they will make me money every week. 

You are starting out and likely will change your operation along the way,  leave yourself room to adapt / change course as you figure it out. 
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2019, 07:53:18 PM »
I have been reading all of these and I will not be buying a mill for about a year and a half so I have to go work witha guy down the road on his mill it's a stationary one but its not his business its a hobby but I will be able to get the fell for it. My biggest question is will I be able to work a full time job and run a part time sawmill without completely neglecting my family.
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2019, 08:25:13 PM »
Jake,

   We don't know your family situation so I don't see how we can answer your "neglect" the family question. You say you work construction but what kind of hours and what shifts do you work. (I assume construction is mostly day work but is it seasonal, do you work 4-10s of 5-8's, etc). I think most of us with kids look back and say we wish we had spent more time with our kids. My wife was lucky as a teacher she was at school with them all day and they were in her high school band so she spent lots of after hours time with them there too. I worked overseas in some real remote areas with longer breaks between hitches. The main thing no matter what your situation is to make sure you spend quality time with each of the kids and some may require more than the others. Its not fair but that is life. Good luck with the interning with your neighbor.

@Southside ,

   Can you please clarify your comment about the wide head costs. I'm reading your reply as wide head mills being significantly more expensive to operate. Are they? Based on what? Obviously they cost more to buy initially and the bands are longer but seems to me they would not have to make as many revolutions to to cut the same amount of wood. Most of the time my blade guides are only about extended about half way out and I assume that is even more the case with the wide head models. At least when you do have that occasional wider log you can cut it without extra Bibbying. @POSTON WIDEHEAD - Dave, you've had that wide model long enough to give a good experienced opinion on that. What % of the time are you using the wide feature? Are you seeing an increased cost when sawing "Normal" sized logs?
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2019, 08:49:16 PM »
WV - looking at it from a production perspective say I use 6 bands in a day sawing 3,000 ft, a non wide head band is $34.00 right now on the WM site, Turbo 7, .055, 1 1/2", 184", double hard.  A wide head band, same spec, is $38.30.  A difference of $4.30, x 6 / day = $25.80 / day additional cost or $554.00 / month.  Now I sharpen my own bands so obviously I normally get more than one use / band so that number is not an actual cash number, but the cost of owning the bands and using them adds up.

As far a revolutions or BF / band I don't think there is any difference.  The band will still be running at +/- 5,800 FPS and your forward speed is limited by the engine torque and band profile, so you are not going to saw any faster with a longer band reducing the number of call it "teeth used per cut".  

To qualify my original statement though my point is that there is a correct tool for every purpose and if one is say looking at a $20K used non wide head mill vs a $35K new wide head best to know how often you will need that extra 6" to justify both the operating expense and the additional purchase cost, for me making 6" wide flooring the math does not add up.  
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2019, 09:35:57 PM »
SS,

    Thanks for the response. I am still not clear on the FPS issue but that's not your fault. I just figured if I cut a piece of meat one slice with a 12" knife it will cut deeper than using a 6" knife with the same pressure on the stroke. If you are correct it seems to me the wide and normal head bands will cut a board off a 10' long X 12" diameter log at the same speed/time required then the wide head will have run about 25% further than the narrow one. I just figured you'd have to change the bands less often on the wide heads and if a 158" band would cut 500 bf I thought a 200" band would cut something like 600-650 bf between changes. 

    If the difference is having to buy new vs finding a good used mill you make a good point. I was assuming new costs only but assuming used wide vs normal would be the same except fewer wide are likely available used. 

     My thoughts are a wide head will cut narrow stuff just as good as a wide one with a normal head you are going to miss out on the occasional wide log. I get calls all the time where the customer wants me to cut his logs into lumber 12" or less wide but he has one special log that he'd like to get a 32" wide counter top out of it. I can't cut the counter top with my mill but I could cut both with a wide head mill. If I were just cutting slabs I'd want one of the new slab cutting monsters. :D
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2019, 11:35:53 PM »
you are going to miss out on the occasional wide log


You are correct, I may not be able to saw as wide of a slab as a wide head model, but that occasional log does not justify the constant expense I would incur, and to me it's about how much I keep, not how much I make at the end of the week that drives business decisions.  Of course, when the log is just a tad too wide for the wide head and the customer wants a single slab out of it then you are in the same boat.  

The other thing I find about those monsters is that production rate or BF / Hour drops like a cantilever head without the bottom cam follower, sorry too soon? :D .  They are miserable to maneuver around, roll on the mill, etc., those monster slabs are heavy as all get out, honestly I hate sawing them.  Give me 24" logs all day long and I can hammer.

Like I said, this is my experience in what works for my business model, a guy making single piece counter tops, table blanks, etc has a completely different market and if WM put full hydraulics onto one of those slab monsters then that would probably be the ticket.  When folks come looking for big, dry, slabs I actually send them down to another FF member who is set up for that, complete with kiln, a big planer, etc.  
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #32 on: November 11, 2019, 07:23:28 AM »
 Our President is wining a trade war with the Chinese, which, despite the current negative effects on timber prices, will be better for everyone in the end. When a trade deal is reached, tariffs will be removed, and it will also bring an end to the market fixing, currency manipulation, and unfair trade practices perpetrated by China. These behaviors have been allowed by previous administrations for years and have put the US at an economic disadvantage. A new trade agreement will give a boost to our already booming economy and create more opportunities for the type of business Jake is talking about. Demand from China will return, and domestic demand for those pallets you spoke of will also increase. Prices will rebound as a result. Maybe it is a good time to go into business.
Jake, here is another good thread to look in to: http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=100326.0
Not sure that such a political tone is appropriate on this thread.  That said I don't see any evidence that anyone is winning any "trade war".  @esteadle is stating facts on the negative impacts of the trade war and he didn't even note that hardwood forest products took the single greatest hit on a percent basis of anything.  If you purchase a sawmill and make plans for your product you absolutely should have some clarity on where the product will be marketed and the effort required.   AND the risks involved.  So much risk that entities like Norwest are retrenching and the Appalachian mills are rumored to be for sale.  Log exporters are sawing fence boards, etc.  As a portable sawmiller you're capped at an income of X many dollars- basically requiring you to be able to saw as many hours as you have income needs.  If you do part time and have a regular job that leaves weekends and evenings (family time) to be out at clients.  Something to think about.  In my mind @magicman has done just about as well as someone can do, he's retired  :D.  Ok not really but he does not have to depend on the mill to support his family.  I really think not being portable is the best choice for a person with family obligations and a job.  You might be surprised at how many logs make their way to you.

Know your local market- examples- @Magicman saws locally-this is not  global market, @Southside and @YellowHammer have well developed specialized local markets and are real experts.  If you can identify a local specialty market you'll be much safer from the impacts of trade disputes.  If you are a logger today the product market is tough, all low grade wood products have been adversely impacted by the trade wars and the markets are just flooded.  That has trickled up into things such as pallets, tie prices, etc.  By August of this year I had 3 buyers announce their plans to enter the fence board market as a way of consuming low grade redoak and keeping people busy.  Further, 3 more locals bought wide sawmills to make slabs.  Combined that stopped me from buying a mill.  Glad I hadn't received it.  My real niche is bespoke land management solutions and for me a mill was just a means to productize low grade material.  Now I am getting bugged by these guys trying to dump fence boards on my clients and badgered by wide slabbing guys who think I somehow have a need for a thousand slabs.

I can't speak to all local markets but one thing I would strongly caution...the wide slabbing market is, to me, oversupplied.  The cost to get into that business is low.  The quality of products coming from most suppliers is terrible.  Wide slabbing requires being willing and able to sit on inventory for a few years while it air dries or it requires a fancy vac kiln and some air drying.  I have been to some yards where they have literally thousands and thousands of slabs drying- maybe over an acre piled high and deep.  Secondly the export market has begun buying big uglies...only a matter of time before some of those reenter the US wood markets as dried and finished slab tables.  The only hope I see for this market is if someone siphons off a few hundred thousand slabs and sells them into California, TX, and S Florida maybe sparking a mini boom or if this becomes the thing to own in Dubai- the middle east has quite a few large homes and excess capital.  I know 2 really good live edge table makers-both have sold their slabbing mills as it is just so much easier to simply buy slabs.  They focus on the planning and sanding of 30-40" slabs they buy air dried or kiln dried.  Folks like @tule peak timber are in a different class of millers but again, it is a specialty market.  Lastly if you are doing portable slabbing and the log is huge how does your client deal with a 3" thick 30" wide 10' long slab of red oak.  Talk about a back breaker.  

The reason I expect slabs to re-enter the US market is that most homes in Asia are just too small for a large slab table.  Only the 1% of 1% have homes the size of the avg American home. 

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #33 on: November 11, 2019, 09:54:02 AM »
This is just a question regarding the slab market. 

Is the ďslabĒ furniture/bar demand based on a fashion trend that will run its course and taper to a small but steady demand?  Are we already there?

I donít know the answer or have an opinion on the national or regional level.  I do have almost 2 years operating a portable milling operation so I have a handle on the answer for my situation.

It seems those who have been in this business for several years would have a good feel for the answer.  I know I get a request to saw wide slabs every few weeks.  

Fortunately, there appears to be a steady demand for utility lumber and out building framing and siding. Around 70% of my sawing is for trailer decking, barn framing, fencing, siding, dump truck side boards etc.  The other 30% is sawing for other purposes including about 3% of all being for live edge ďslabsĒ.  My requests for wide slabs donít justify the upgrade in mills.  This is especially true if this is a fashion trend trend that runs its course. 
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #34 on: November 11, 2019, 09:55:20 AM »
We sold our Lucas super slabber and our LT-70 wide last year.........It has proven to be a good move.
  VERY good advise above on this thread............ :)
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #35 on: November 11, 2019, 11:50:20 AM »



Political tone was imparted by the previous poster with the "your president" remark. I was stating my opinion on the trade war and the potential for a positive outcome. Past administrations have been both republican and democrat. What was political about that? If you would like to continue this discussion and keep it out of this thread, feel free to PM me.

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #36 on: November 11, 2019, 01:00:54 PM »
You only get so many chances to be a good dad and good husband. Nothing else I can say matters to me more. Best of luck with your adventure.

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #37 on: November 11, 2019, 01:12:46 PM »
Jakewhaley19,
 Some of the major sawmill manufacturers put out some good products for research. I started my research about a year and a half out, so you're timing is good for getting started I think. Norwood puts out a pretty informative booklet "The Ultimate Guide to Portable Sawmills". I think you can request or order it from their web site. Timberking also has a booklet called "How to Set Up and Run a Profitable Custom Sawing Business". The Timberking booklet has some good stuff near the back that will help you to visualize what your expenses might look like and how increases and decreases in working hours affects your bottom line. Good basic information in both about wood characteristics and sawing techniques.

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #38 on: November 11, 2019, 03:47:19 PM »
Wood-Mizer also has (or had) various booklets aimed toward a potential sawyer.  I know that I "wore the covers" off of mine because the FF was not available to me at the time.  They do have an album of videos.

I am completing 17 years of portable sawing and have over 2MMbf (as in million) of lumber sawn under my belt.  My website is my principal advertising medium and I do not refuse any sawing job that the customer is willing to pay for.  258 miles is the furtherest paying job that I have sawn and I went there twice.  236 is the next furtherest and I think that I have been to that job location 8 different times and each time was for 2-3 weeks.  I have gone over 200 many times.  I gave away a 179 mile job and a 386 mile job this year.  Yes, I could have sawn both of them but my already committed sawing schedule would not allow it.  Choose your poison and take your medicine.

I can fairly easily saw 25" two live edged slabs.  If the customer wants wider than that, saw one live edge bookmatched slabs.  To me, that is the best and prettiest anyway.  Any competent woodworker can make one glue joint.  ;D

My mentality and business profile is not for everyone, but it works for me.  Not a living, but a good sideline gig.  Heck, I am 'posed to be retired. 
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2019, 04:13:50 PM »
Here is the link to the Woodmizer stuff:

https://woodmizer.com/us/Resources/Magazines-Guides

The guides are at the bottom of the page, but you need to supply contact information to get them.

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2019, 05:39:44 PM »
Slabs are just a total pain for us.  I hate them.  However, they sell, and they sell well.  Considering I can charge more per board foot and as well as get double the board foot per slab, plus totally eliminate edge drop waste, slabs are very good money.  I think we sold maybe a dozen or so live edge slabs this Saturday, from $150 to $350 each, everything from poplar to walnut.  These are kiln dried and planed, either double live edge or single live edge, as MM describes below.  

For us, its just another product, and the LT70 Super Wide makes it a lot easier than with my old not wide mill.

The thing is, there are sooOOO many ways to make money with a band mill, its up to the Sawyer to figure out their market.    
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2019, 07:00:46 PM »
YH,

 Sorry about Saturday night. You make an excellent point. I am still waiting for a cost comparison from someone as to what it costs to run a wide vs a normal mill. I still think a wide band should cut more board feet between sharpenings than a normal band. If you can confirm or refute that I'd love to hear from an experienced user.

As to other products, I got 2-10' ash logs from a neighbor the other day and cut them this afternoon into tomato stakes. I find 5' tomato stakes sell best so I cut 10' logs into 1" thick boards, then stand them on edge and cut them into 1" strips like making stickers. I take the long "Stickers" and cut them in half with a circular saw set to cut on an angle so it leaves a diagonal cut on each half, hence each makes 2 stakes per sticker. I can sell them around here for $10/dz or $2/bf. They require more labor but if I made more I'd simplify and reduce the time required.


 1 Mediocre and 1 poor quality ash log.


 Approximately 45 Stickers ready to saw into 90 5' tomato stakes


 Cut in half and ready for bundling into dozen/pack.


 Approximately 22 dozen finished tomato stakes. $220 sell price for the 2 logs. Time could easily be cut in half if I made more and took the time to make a more proper station and better equipment to saw and tie them into bundles.

Because of flare and defects I ended up with a dozen 4' stakes, for which there is sometimes a market and a few 2' and 3' stickers and several buckets full to short 1X1 kindling pieces.
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2019, 08:16:54 PM »
From a BF / band comparison my 35 uses a 158" band and my 70 uses a 184", which is about the same difference as a wide vs non wide 70, I don't see any increase in BF / use between the two.   
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2019, 09:10:27 PM »
Well I think everyone is close to the same page here another question I have is if I go so with a used mill I think I want an lt35 or an lt40 but how old should I be willing to look at or how many engine hours I am mechanical and have access to a welder and shop but I don't want a peice of garbage either 
Wanting to learn as much as I can while I can

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2019, 09:26:55 PM »
Make sure that your local WM dealer will be able to give you the level of support that may be required. The dealerships vary . Guys that are successful in this business are pretty handy to begin with. Keep asking questions !
persistence personified - never let up , never let down

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2019, 09:42:11 PM »
The LT40 underwent some significant changes from 1997 to 1998, so I would look for one at least 1998.  All of these changes are incorporated in the LT35 since it came online after 1998.

Horsepower and hydraulics are "king" when it comes to log handling.  Diesel also trumps gas in the torque category.  "Worn out" is not really a factor since bearings, etc are easily replaced.

Whatever you get remember that you will be dealing with mechanical, electrical, and hydraulics.  Reading, understanding, and following adjustment procedures, etc. will be the normal.
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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2019, 09:54:58 PM »
   If you are looking at WM mills I'd be sure to get the Viin and contact WM to see their suggested resale price and also check on support. WM has a service loop that comes through here every 2 years and a highly qualified tech comes out and does a complete check up and they come in a well stocked service truck with the normal wearing parts that may need replacing. Their parts are top quality and for prices their parts are very competitive. I'd check to see if the service loop covers your area - I bet it does. I see LT 35 hydraulic mills come up for sale fairly often as owners trade them in on an upgrade to a bigger mill. Keep your eyes open and good luck.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #47 on: November 12, 2019, 08:40:44 AM »
I've had two WM sawmills the first one for over 18 years, and never asked after the sale for any support from the regional dealer which sold it to me.  

Three regional dealers are in other states about 300 miles away.  With an exception or two, I called Indianapolis and got help there.  

Distance, the fact that I don't do DOT, but more importantly, that all problems I had were simple enough that I could fix them myself with excellent WM phone support, are the factors that made taking the mill to, or calling a regional dealer unnecessary.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT Woodmizer Million Board Foot Club member. 2019 LT70 Super Wide,  Logrite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.  2001 F350 7.3L PSD 6 spd manual ZF 4x4 Crew Cab Long Bed

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #48 on: November 12, 2019, 08:57:09 AM »
On the band length issue, 184/158 = 1.16, 16% longer, and (70 wide) 195/158 = 1.23 (23% longer).  One would have to have some good records and tight control between apples and oranges to notice or say reliably that there is longer band life or not.  Even though intuition tells me there should be some benefit which counteracts the higher band cost for longer bands.  Same as chainsaw cutting with a long chain vs a short chain.

My experience with WIDE so far....

My new mill is wide and my old one not.  On the old mill many customers would say they didnt want wide but then when they saw wide they wanted wide.  The old mill would cut 24" wide with the cant on the bed and the guide wide open but I could get up to 27" wide if I put the cant up on blocks and shifted it over.  Some of the customers wanted me to do this even though it took longer.

The new Wide mill cuts about 31" with the cant on the bed and already customers wanting me to do that who first said they didnt need wide wood.  So give them wide whether it's good for them or not, if that's what they want it seems.

The biggest difference I have found with WIDE so far with about 130 hr on the mill is that sawing big logs is much less drama. A 36-38" irregular log previously could take up to 3 hr to saw the first hour being just getting it under control.  That first hr is eliminated and the remaining 2 hrs shortened so the irregular monster gets cut in 1-1.5 hr overall.  And logs in the 30-34" range on the WIDE mill don't seem very big anymore.  The careful trimming, scooching over to the left, having to stop in a cut to make clearance etc. dont happen.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT Woodmizer Million Board Foot Club member. 2019 LT70 Super Wide,  Logrite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.  2001 F350 7.3L PSD 6 spd manual ZF 4x4 Crew Cab Long Bed

Offline Stephen1

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #49 on: November 12, 2019, 09:33:03 AM »

My experience with WIDE so far....

My new mill is wide and my old one not.  On the old mill many customers would say they didnt want wide but then when they saw wide they wanted wide.  The old mill would cut 24" wide with the cant on the bed and the guide wide open but I could get up to 27" wide if I put the cant up on blocks and shifted it over.  Some of the customers wanted me to do this even though it took longer.

The new Wide mill cuts about 31" with the cant on the bed and already customers wanting me to do that who first said they didnt need wide wood.  So give them wide whether it's good for them or not, if that's what they want it seems.

The biggest difference I have found with WIDE so far with about 130 hr on the mill is that sawing big logs is much less drama. A 36-38" irregular log previously could take up to 3 hr to saw the first hour being just getting it under control.  That first hr is eliminated and the remaining 2 hrs shortened so the irregular monster gets cut in 1-1.5 hr overall.  And logs in the 30-34" range on the WIDE mill don't seem very big anymore.  The careful trimming, scooching over to the left, having to stop in a cut to make clearance etc. dont happen.
I couldn't agree more with the above. 
Like a lot of us, I started with a chainsaw mill, blew up the chainsaw and when I priced a new bigger saw, I bought an old 1993 norwood, rebuilt it, ran it for2 years in my back yard. I realised there was a market for portable and bought the 1993 LT40HD.
 
I had the 1993 LT40HD for 7 years. I replaced most components in that time except the motor. It was a great mill, As MM says they revamped it in 97-98, changed to a 2plane clamp and roller toe boards which when I went for the new mill is all I really needed. The Wide was a suprise bonus that as TT points out, it makes those big ugly's easy to saw with or with out heavey equipment.
 I very rarely have to get the Tape measure out to see if I can saw them now.  I will aslo float my Bobcat to portable sites for a nice fee, which makes my day so much easier and around here and people will pay. I usually demand that now when I go to portable site for big ugly yard trees. 
I have been and still am portable, 80% of my work is slavaging someone's yard tree. 
I evolved and bough the IDRY vacuum kiln, as I was losing sawing jobs on those salvaged trees to firewood, as people did not want to wait 2 years to build their table. 
I have been doing this for 10 years now, and looking back, I would have bought the new mill sooner, the kiln came at the perfect time, as I did not lose any money selling my older mills, they both sold for I had paid for them. Used mill depreciation is almost nonexistant. Both my mills sold in under 2 hrs of the listing. Remember I am in a area of Canada that has 12-15 million people within a 4 hr drive of me. 
IDRY Vacum Kiln, LT40HDWide, BMS250 sharpener/setter 742b Bobcat, TCM forklift, Sthil 026,038, 461. 1952 TEA Fergusan Tractor

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #50 on: November 12, 2019, 10:22:31 AM »
   Thanks TT & Stephen. It is great to hear "The other side of the story" as Paul Harvey used to say. Everyone is different with different circumstances but like I always tell my customers "You can always make them smaller." It just looks to me like the wide head gives you more flexibility and based your comments it looks like you are picking up some extra business and saving some time in the process that would appear to help off-set any extra operating costs for "normal" wood (if there is any such thing) by using your wide head mills. Just something else to consider when you take the plunge.

   As to used mills it is sounding to me like more wide head models may also be showing up on the markets as some customers/users are going back just like so many others want to upgrade to a bigger mill. Good luck.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #51 on: November 12, 2019, 10:42:45 AM »
From the perspective of staying within the Woodmizer LT series, because the max diameter of 36" and loading weight of 4400 pounds nominal limitations remain the same, WIDE just makes the big logs easier.  Having WIDE doesnt automatically mean one will be sawing bigger logs even with an LT70.  Just dispatching them quicker.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT Woodmizer Million Board Foot Club member. 2019 LT70 Super Wide,  Logrite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.  2001 F350 7.3L PSD 6 spd manual ZF 4x4 Crew Cab Long Bed

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #52 on: November 12, 2019, 02:37:43 PM »
The wide lets me purchase and mill big logs that other mega mills won't saw.  So I get big logs for a reduced price.  Saves me money.

Decent sized logs, 30 to 40 inches. get whittled down fast, no piddling or fiddling.  Load and go.  Huge timesaver, especially since I buy lots of bigger than average, high grade logs that I used to have to really battle with my LT-40.

No more chewing on a big log butt with a chainsaw.

Even though we can saw wide, except for live edge slabs, most boards aren't sawn wide.

For quarter sawing using the RRRQS, a wide head is a huge help, because I can halve cants up to 34" diameter, I can produce much wider quarter sawn boards.  

I don't notice any difference in longevity of sharpness of a band, I still go through about a band per 800 bdft, which is one of our pallets loads.  It may go longer, but it wouldn't matter because when the pallet is full of dead stacked boards, I'll forklift the entire pallet out, change the band, empty the waste pile and load new logs on the deck.

I will say that I don't have any mechanical issues specific to it being a wide head, and I would not ever buy a "Non Wide" again.  The bands cost $10 more, but the other benefits more than outweigh it.  I save that on my log prices.  

Heres a 42" small end poplar coming to meet "Mr. Wide".  Thats a decent sized log.  My Super 70 Wide uses 195" bands.



 





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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #53 on: November 12, 2019, 03:08:14 PM »
That is part of the reason I made my mill capable of running a 158" band and a 176" band. I do not need the wide head very often but when I do I just swap the band to the longer one. the $3-4 difference in bands is enough to make me like the dual width.

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #54 on: November 15, 2019, 07:02:56 PM »
 @POSTON WIDEHEAD - Dave, you've had that wide model long enough to give a good experienced opinion on that. What % of the time are you using the wide feature? Are you seeing an increased cost when sawing "Normal" sized logs?




My original mill would only saw about 27 inches wide with the high performance blade guides in place.
With my wide head I can saw 34 inches wide......BUT I have whittled down a 38 inch Poplar and made lumber.
The wide head doesn't let the head go higher but will allow you to saw a wider slab.

There are no normal size logs. We saw what comes in from customers.
We saw a good many 30 inch inch logs for the simple reason a customers support equipment cant pick up anything larger.

The wide 34 inch is when were sawing table tops from customer logs.
It is our policy that when we saw anything over 30 inches, we charge by the hour instead of the BF.
The customer knows that and I have had no problems. 

We saw by the hours because its slower cutting to get a better finish.

The diesel engine is where my cost went up versus the gas engine I had. 
I use genuine YANMAR parts and filters when I service.
They're not cheap and the shipping does cost. I order them out of Ohio.

You asked me if I was seeing an increased cost when sawing normal sized logs?

No. 
Blades and sharpening is the same now as it was when I had my other mill. the only additional cost is for service.

When I bought this mill I was not buying it for the Wide Head. I was buying it for the Diesel engine since the gas engine was not giving me good service.
The Wide Head was available at the time I bought the diesel. So I figured bigger is better.

My first LT40 with the Kohler cost me around $27,000.
It paid for itself in 19 months.
I traded this mill in for my diesel mill.
I let Woodmizer N.C. sell it and got $20,000.
I put that money on my new diesel mill that cost right at $33,000.
That was almost 2 years ago and this new mill has been paid for and I'm still happy.

I do not worry about blade cost or sharpening.
I do not worry what it cost me to service my mill.
Me and kirk stay busy sawing and the Wide Head is making me more money just because of the diesel engine first and the widened second.

I hope i've helped and will gladly answer any other questions if i know the answer.  :)





The older I get I wish my body could Re-Gen.

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #55 on: November 15, 2019, 07:20:21 PM »
Dave,

   Great to hear from you. I figured you were out on the left coast putting out brush fires and such.

   Thanks for the info. From what I'm hearing deciding between a wide or "normal" head is going to take a little more analysis and soul searching for new sawyers wanting to enter the market. Unfortunately for most of us we won't even know what questions to ask until we have been doing the work for a while.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Startup portable sawmill
« Reply #56 on: November 17, 2019, 06:04:56 PM »
I have started sawing for the second time this year. My first start up was twenty some years ago and I sawed for nine years that time. This time I started just a little over two months ago. Starting is always hard and there is always surprises, both good and bad. This one has been plagued with lots of problems with brand new mill and I am just now getting it to saw like it should. I still feel like I have to put more into the mill to make it produce as I think it should.

Finding places to sell your product at a profitable price is a big deal. Working out what your costs will be to produce it is another concern. Every new contract or request will be different.  Because of all the ins and outs you will have to work out I would go at least six months to a year before making up your mind if you should make it your steady income or not. Things happen and it will take you that long to get enough experience and information about demand in your area to make a good decision.
 
 When I first started sawing I had a friend tell me that if you had somebody really didn't like and wanted to make him miserable, give him a sawmill. There were many days when I saw the validity of that. Even after all these years it comes to mind more often than I would like .


Good luck learn all you can before committing to the point of no return.

Sawing can be a very satisfying and rewarding vocation. It can also have its problems. Problems can be solved as a rule.
TimberKing 2200


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