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Author Topic: Startup portable sawmill  (Read 2184 times)

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Offline YellowHammer

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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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Offline WV Sawmiller

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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.
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"

Offline Southside

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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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Offline Jakewhaley19

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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

Offline tule peak timber

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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

Offline Magicman

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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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Offline WV Sawmiller

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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"

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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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

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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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

Offline WV Sawmiller

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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"

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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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

Offline YellowHammer

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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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Offline Crusarius

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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.

Offline POSTON WIDEHEAD

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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.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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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"

Offline wdwomack

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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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