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Author Topic: ROI Mill  (Read 1749 times)

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Offline jemmy

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ROI Mill
« on: November 27, 2019, 01:17:20 AM »
What is you're ROI portable sawmill style, I have a few different routes but I would like to hear everyones I am looking to spend 5-10 and am willing to do a fair bit of work/acquisitions to achieve but not a full build. For instance a wide band mill on a beefy trailer, with lots of jacks ( also maybe make it able to be picked off with a bobcat). I have a lot of wood I need to cut. A wide variety but there is some nice stuff I would like to cut flat that is pretty wide and I don't think would be ideal through the chainsaw mill. But the other side of me is thinking I could get a mobile hydraulic mill for like 7-10. Thoughts suggestions all are welcome but this is a route I am taking immediately I believe(should have funds in 2-4 months so research begins now). I have a circle mill going on that needs one day of welding and a solid 3 days of field checks (i think idk lol lollol things 2 years in the working rn)and maintenance until firing. Need a few posts over there first too. Looking to hopefully have 3 operable saws, 1 wide chain sawmill for absurd logs, 1 circle mill (lollollol), and a band mill of support until I figure out the circle mill and will supply a fair bit of lumber for an innumerable amount of wood for one man and a bobcat to cut for now. Wider, faster, easier, minimal guaranty turnkey of performance for 5-10 ideally 5-7.  I think 20" would be the smallest width with ideally like 30+ I dont care about hydraulics too much and willing to retrofit/upgrade asap. All opinions welcome as I am just beginning trying to tackle this. Also willing to pour a pad for it being picked and placed on a pad. I have a lot of long stuff that I want to cut too and not apposed to build tracks/extend indefinitely. Just want an awesome saw and then build tracks. But idk if there is such a thing. But turn key and highly mobile has high appeal to me. I have like 20-50k of bdft that needs sawed up.... and its not clean so I want a band mill......lol  At this pt my current decision is a portable band mill of a high brand name that has solid width and reputation. I can mill up like 10-20 of of the board ft and see how things are going from there. Needs some barns, and sales. Even at a 1$/bdft I am a happy man and I can strike a few deals and get a sign up, and start launching advertisements. I just dont know what I should rely on. But I think I need a bread and butter. A quiver killer. But I once again I dont know what path is best, open to multiple avenues and options. Love to hear opinions. I dont want to mess with something super intense like a full build quite yet.
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Offline jemmy

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2019, 01:55:11 AM »
My bias is something like a lt15 or portable band mill
Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and take what comes with a grin. - Grandpa Chuck

Offline jemmy

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2019, 12:43:28 PM »
Well for what I have going on I feel like a lt 15 would be a very nice addition and the fact that you can retro fit and upgrade continuously with minimal effort seems a winning attributive. I just need a mill to help the farm and something like this is probably what I will get, if not this directly. 

Is the power feed worth it, anyone have any experience with the lt 15 platform? 

After I get a few thousand bdft under me and hopefully sold then I will be in a much different situation. I still need to start eating the elephant of drying before anymore mills are started after this one. 
Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and take what comes with a grin. - Grandpa Chuck

Offline A-z farmer

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2019, 01:59:03 PM »
Jemmy 
I do not have an lt 15 but I have a few friends that have them and they love them .That said they are about your age and do not seem to mind all the manual labor involved with the lt15.We have always used our wood from our farm forests to build our buildings and pens.But until a year ago we took our logs to a mill or had a man with a wood mizer come to our farms to mill for us.Having a wood mizer to be able to go to our farms is definitely great.
Best of luck in your saw dust journey.
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Offline alanh

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2019, 02:13:08 PM »
I`m sure others who have/had the 15 will chime in also. I have one, its quite the little work horse. I`m a hobby guy but thru word of mouth do sell some lumber. Mine is mobile with the auto feed, I used it for a while when the feed was broken....it`s well worth having  IMO, kinda nice to get a couple things tended to while its going thru a log rather than pushing. Ive added a hydraulic log turner, loader arms are next. I have the 15 hp Kohler and find myself wishing it had more power, I`m not known for patience. What you have for support equipment should influence the decision a little.

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2019, 03:45:13 PM »
Okay, color me stupid. What is ROI
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Offline luap

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2019, 03:49:23 PM »
Return on investment. That is my take anyway.
Okay, color me stupid. What is ROI



Offline luap

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2019, 03:56:00 PM »
What is you're ROI portable sawmill style, I have a few different routes but I would like to hear everyones I am looking to spend 5-10 and am willing to do a fair bit of work/acquisitions to achieve but not a full build. For instance a wide band mill on a beefy trailer, with lots of jacks ( also maybe make it able to be picked off with a bobcat). I have a lot of wood I need to cut. A wide variety but there is some nice stuff I would like to cut flat that is pretty wide and I don't think would be ideal through the chainsaw mill. But the other side of me is thinking I could get a mobile hydraulic mill for like 7-10. Thoughts suggestions all are welcome but this is a route I am taking immediately I believe(should have funds in 2-4 months so research begins now). I have a circle mill going on that needs one day of welding and a solid 3 days of field checks (i think idk lol lollol things 2 years in the working rn)and maintenance until firing. Need a few posts over there first too. Looking to hopefully have 3 operable saws, 1 wide chain sawmill for absurd logs, 1 circle mill (lollollol), and a band mill of support until I figure out the circle mill and will supply a fair bit of lumber for an innumerable amount of wood for one man and a bobcat to cut for now. Wider, faster, easier, minimal guaranty turnkey of performance for 5-10 ideally 5-7.  I think 20" would be the smallest width with ideally like 30+ I dont care about hydraulics too much and willing to retrofit/upgrade asap. All opinions welcome as I am just beginning trying to tackle this. Also willing to pour a pad for it being picked and placed on a pad. I have a lot of long stuff that I want to cut too and not apposed to build tracks/extend indefinitely. Just want an awesome saw and then build tracks. But idk if there is such a thing. But turn key and highly mobile has high appeal to me. I have like 20-50k of bdft that needs sawed up.... and its not clean so I want a band mill......lol  At this pt my current decision is a portable band mill of a high brand name that has solid width and reputation. I can mill up like 10-20 of of the board ft and see how things are going from there. Needs some barns, and sales. Even at a 1$/bdft I am a happy man and I can strike a few deals and get a sign up, and start launching advertisements. I just dont know what I should rely on. But I think I need a bread and butter. A quiver killer. But I once again I dont know what path is best, open to multiple avenues and options. Love to hear opinions. I dont want to mess with something super intense like a full build quite yet.
You should jump in with the lt 15, get some experience sawing and then evaluate your business plan.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2019, 04:06:28 PM »
I'm really not sure what you're asking.  There are so many details, many of which seem random or contradictory in your post, and some abbreviated numbers...I'm not sure what to make of it.  Not intending to insult you, but it just reads like random ramblings, or stream of conscientiousness.

First please define exactly what you want to do.  For example, I want to cut 1x and 2x 70% of the time, and beams 20 percent and slabs 10 percent up to XX width.

You mention portable several times, but you indicate you have lots of logs, 20K Board feet if I read it correctly?

If most of your sawing will be at home, Why not start with a stationary mill.  If you later find, after you're cut everything at your place, that you want to mill mobile, address it then.  You'll either switch mills, or build a trailer under your mill.

You have to determine, with the amount you're planning to mill, if you need hydraulics.  If so, it puts you in a different category and probably above your planned budget in the end after repairs etc.  A good hydraulic mill within your budget will need some repair, or will shortly in future likely I think.  

Do you have any bandmill experience now?  If not, and if you have a large amount to mill at home, I'd start on a manual mill.  I own an LT15, but if you want to do more slab cutting, Get an LT15wide.  LT15 is great, just limited as far as cutting width, and log diameter.  I have had quite a number of 28-36" logs, and to mill them for lumber or beams I have to chainsaw work to get them so they can even go on the LT15.  They have to be under 28, and under 24 for  full cut.  Don't discount the chainsaw prep work on these logs.  It's a lot of extra work and big logs like this will go a lot slower.  I can spend most of the day on one of these versus cutting 5-8 logs that are well within the LT15 specs in a day.

Try simplifying your requirements down and narrowing the focus of your questions.  I think that will really help you.  Whatever mill you get, you'll have to compromise somewhere.  Narrow in on what you really need, or what is going to do most of what you need.

Additionally your post title is ROI.  Return on Investment.  I don't think that's really your question.  That refers to a payback period or how much you can make in a certain time frame with a piece of equipment to determine how quickly it will pay for itself and get into profit.  There are way too many factors to approach answering that at this point.  Some factors are: what other support equipment you have, how well are you using your time, how many hours will you run on a regular basis, what is your market-can you sell what you make and what can you sell it for versus all the inputs by you... and many more.  I think you're just trying to choose a mill and figure out what will work best for what you want to do?  Are you going to specialize in lumber, in beams, or in slabs?  You can do some of all 3, but one will likely be your primary focus and your market may determine that.

The more focused you are, the less things you try to do at once, will really help you get good at that thing and make it work well before trying to expand it in my opinion.  That's how I try to do things.
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2019, 05:46:15 PM »
I am stupid too Jeff
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Offline JJ

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Offline John S

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2019, 07:16:32 PM »
Jeff, glad you asked, I was scratching my bald head!
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2019, 07:23:26 PM »
Jemmy,

You are certainly ambitious, but perhaps a bit of focus would help others answer your questions.  Your original post raises many unknowns, and I don't think you mentioned where you live, but it looks like you would be taking on 6-10 different learning curves.  Logging, learning to efficiently operate three different types of sawmills, drying, marketing, building, acquiring support equipment, employees, etc..  You may have some of these skills already, but you'll need all of them to be successful... or you may need to curtail some of your plans.  Doing that while maintaining the income you have can be daunting.

If you have an 'almost workable' circular mill, I would start there.  Learn to use it efficiently, it won't do everything in your plans but there are some overlaps, you are going to need support equipment and help to run that, and the other mills, if and when you add them.  With the product of the circular mill you should be able to construct any buildings or storage you need, and introduce your product to your local market, or find outlets for your products.  

I would certainly explore the opportunity to work with established sawyers who have similar types of equipment.  I have learned from every sawyer I have visited, even though I already had my own operation, but have evaluated different ways of doing things.  When starting out, spending a day helping and learning from an experienced sawyer would have huge benefits, plus you may develop a resource for those inevitable hiccups.   

After you have been in business for a few seasons, you'll begin to comprehend what services or products are missing in your area, and perhaps develop a niche.  Then is the time to consider what equipment you will need to add in order to take on those new markets, at a profit.    
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2019, 07:24:42 PM »
It is tough to get old.

Offline luap

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2019, 08:58:59 PM »
It is tough to get old.
At least that means you are getting some ROI on earlier life choices you made.

Offline Stuart Caruk

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2019, 12:58:47 AM »
ROI is a funny thing, but generally the more you invest the more that you can earn, so even though your investment is higher, your return is also greater. A guy with a hammer will never earn as much as a guy with a full suite of woodworking tools and equipment.

A guy with a chainsaw mill will have a hard time competing with a more robust automated mill.

I have a stationary mill, worth perhaps $50k, that I added another $35k in extensions, attachments, and things to make my life easier. It would be a waste if all I did was make siding from small logs. But, I saw mostly large beams from trees that most people don't have access to and I have all the equipment to do it without a crew so my ROI is about 3 times, this year alone.

Oddly my old LT35 paid for itself easily in just a couple months as well. Get something you can put to work to make money, and FWIW I wouldn't even consider a non-hydraulic mill.
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2019, 03:15:32 AM »
The ROi with a bandsaw mill is directly proportional to the amount of work one does with the mill.  The curves are different for an LT15 compared to an LT 35.  It takes more work and time but less machinery investment with the LT15 to arrive at the same return as the LT35.  

In an equal amount of time given the same labor input the LT35 will produce more product in most cases. So potential return over time is greater with a more capable machine.  Labor and time have to be considered as part of the investment.

Im not pushing the OP toward the hydraulic mill.  Just expanding on Stuarts thoughts.  ROI has to include the other investments of time and labor which can be variable. 

The addition of equipment to handle logs on the LT 15 changes the comparison curves because time and labor change.  But so does the equipment investment.  

ROI needs to include all related investments.  Operating costs of support equipment are an investment in calculating the total operation ROI.

It is easy to try to look at just the capital outlay in determining ROI.

My accountant and I have had this conversation.  For example she reminds me that every time I buy fuel for the tractor a percentage of that cost is part of the financial investment in the total operation.  Same is true for my time which is easy to consider free and limitless 
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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2019, 06:07:52 AM »
I have a manual mill. Just for my own use. I put a good size log on it and I slabbed one side,than I turned it,with a peavey. It's still round and will not stay in place,remember I said good size. I could not hold the log with one arm on the peavey and put the dog in to hold the log. I had to go get the wife to dog it in while I held the log with 2 hands on the log. Once I had 2 square sides,it would stay in place.Yes,I could of used the tractor,but I had logs staged and the logs was in the way. But with no logs staged,how long would it take me to get the tractor,put a chain on the log,to lift it  and get it in place? No big deal,I am sawing for just me,but if you are sawing to make money,time is money.
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Offline Southside

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2019, 07:28:40 AM »
Before you can begin to realistically answer any of your questions you need to get a firm understanding on what is involved with what you are proposing.  Just because you take a chunk of a tree and toss it onto a mill does not mean you are going to turn that into a product someone will pay you for.  Plenty of videos out there of guys doing just that, but there is not enough band with for Youtube to actually detail just what is involved to make it work on a day to day basis. 

I would suggest you take a couple of days and find a couple of mills to visit.  Find one that is manual and hobby sawing.  Document what is involved, the amount and variety of equipment, how long it takes, just how much is produced during that time. Then find a hydraulic production mill, preferably one that dries lumber as well, be it air drying, solar kiln, or powered kiln and get an understanding of what that takes.  This will give you boots on the ground observations of what needs to happen, evaluate that against what you can do, then you can answer your own questions about production, capacity, ROI, capital needed, etc. 

There is nothing wrong with starting with an LT15, more than a few guys have done exactly that and built successful businesses, you just need to know what you can produce and sell in order for that to work, don't try to replace a $100,000 / year salary with benefits and 5 weeks of paid vacation starting out is what I am getting at.  
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Online Sixacresand

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Re: ROI Mill
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2019, 08:37:42 AM »
Return on investment. That is my take anyway.
Okay, color me stupid. What is ROI
I'm still waiting on the "R" part of my "I".
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