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Author Topic: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling  (Read 2085 times)

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Offline JamieK

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Hello guys, I've done alot of reading hear on this forum but I can't find if this subject has been dealt with. 
I currently own an LT28 and do mostly custom portable sawmilling. An Amish guy wants me to mill for him full time. I have been wanting this kind of opportunity since I started milling in 2017. This guy is getting 15-20 truck loads of logs per week so my current eq is not going to cut it. I'm looking at the full milling line for the LT70 at a cost of $120,000. As it is shown on Wood-Mizer's website it requires 3 people to operate at full efficiency. My goal is for it to be a 2 man operation with an output of 5000 bd ft per 8 hr day. Does anyone have any experience with this full line without any modifications? Can a green chain be placed in front of the transfer table to have lumber slide down and dispense onto the green chain? 
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Jamie

 

 
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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2020, 12:32:26 PM »
You will need really good logs and really good people, three of them total,and luck, to get that kind of consistent production, also will need a loader to keep the mill fed and remove finished product quickly. Then there is the building to consider. 

If you are sawing at a commodity rate I sure would not take that deal. My advice would be to visit a couple of operations that have 70's and get a first hand view of things. 
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Offline RPF2509

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2020, 01:06:18 PM »
5000 bf a day (approx. a truck load) will not keep up with 15 - 20 truck loads a week.  Are you the only miller for Mr. Amish?  For production work, its go big or go home,  the more mechanization the better.  Cutting the boards is not usually the choke point - its handling and storing the boards and logs.  I've always looked at the woodmizer as a way to cut quality boards or utilize trees that would not make it to a production mill.  Don't want to dampen your dream or opportunity but $120K is a chunk of change - could spending more for bigger and better actually get you where you want?  If you have to talk to a banker anyway why not ask for more? interest rates are low - its a good time to borrow.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2020, 01:26:28 PM »
It almost has to be a circle sawmill. If it must be band it must be a metal detector line and a log debarking machine. A used simi or auto can be found for a lot less money because nobody wants to do all the work to set one up. If you get into sawing that much wood with a small band rig you won't keep up.

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2020, 01:42:40 PM »
Don't build a business relying on another person's business.  With that described setup, you need to find your own log source and market for your product.

If it sounds too good, it usually is.
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Offline JamieK

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2020, 02:07:13 PM »
Magic, that is a good perspective on the situation. I also deal with tree service guys that cant handle the logs and I get them from his customers location, or services that sell the logs to me for $.10 per bd ft. One guy I can bring my mill to his location and use his equipment to load logs. With the Amish guy I would need to automate to remove the bottle necks of material handling. He is a buyer of standing timber and i believe he currently takes his logs to a mill for processing. For custom  milling I currently charge $.39 per bd ft he said he will pay me $.30 to do it full time.
There are a few videos on YouTube that show an lt70 being used with an array of equipment  and 2 man operation. Even though the mill is spitting out a log every 3 minutes guy number 2 sure looks bored

WoodMizer LT70 Grade Sawing Poplar - YouTube

Also in my situation this has to be outdoors only. I would even have to buy a 10k generator to power the electrics 
Wood-Mizer LT28, BMS250, BMT100, Moffet M5

Offline JamieK

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2020, 02:27:05 PM »
In this setup, guy #2 is working at a steady pace and not killing himself but they say they at getting 6000 bf per day.

Wood-Mizer Super LT-70 - Full operation - Mill for sale - 6000 bd ft/day - YouTube

Does anyone have experience with the Wood-Mizer transfer table and green chain?

I'm meeting with the guy this Saturday and am going to get all the details about his operation and his expectations.
Wood-Mizer LT28, BMS250, BMT100, Moffet M5

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2020, 03:42:54 PM »
$0.30 / BF, debt service on the whole set up, and you are outside, at the mercy of someone else - sorry to be blunt but that is a recipe to fail fast and hard.  It will be very difficult to keep guys showing up to work under those conditions and your equipment is going to take a beating, that 70 has 5 ECU's on it, yes 5.  First mills and lumber don't do well in the rain and snow, mills with lots of fancy electronics REALLY don't do well in adverse weather.  There is a reason he is making you that offer - because he can't make it work under those conditions.  4,000 BF of hardwood is approximately 56,000 lbs.  Do you really think one guy is going to keep coming back to stand around in the sun, rain, snow, and misery to hump around 56,000 lbs of lumber per 8 hour day?  He will have to do all the work since your hands won't be able to leave the joysticks long enough to keep that sort of production going.  Go pick up a bag of concrete, walk a few steps with it then put it in a pile, do it 700 more times over 8 hours, every day, that is what you are proposing.  
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2020, 04:01:25 PM »
I don't see how that business model is going to succeed.  One big customer supplying logs, high start up costs, needing to make commercial mill production with a small mill, tree service logs, being weather dependent, requiring reliable labor at the mill, no mention of support machinery and so on. 

If that one big customer goes back to his current mill or folds, it will be a scramble to fill that void.
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2020, 08:27:06 PM »
It's gotta be done with decks/conveyers not humped. When you get a sawmill, log splitter or processer really running right the raw material is powered in, cut and conveyed out and kicked or dropped on another deck,or something, without being handled.

Offline JamieK

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2020, 09:38:07 PM »
My idea is to have the Wood-Mizer incline conveyor feed the transfer table, from the transfer table larger ties and cants ( not mixed) would be kicked to one side and never touched except for straightening up with cant hook. Then dimensional lumber would go down the table to a(Wood-Mizer says that the two would not work together but I cant see why not) green chain where guy #2 would take the fliches and feed the edger then back to the green chain. Then all of the dimensional lumber will feed down the green chain to the end where my moffet will be catching everything coming off. It seems to me that nobody will be handling anywhere close to 50,000 + pounds of lumber. The only boards that would be picked up are the ones going through the edger and at that the edger has rollers on top of it for returning to the green chain. Wood-Mizer's plan in the above pick is to me ridiculous. I never meant to convey that I wanted to use the plan, only if anyone has used that plan and if it works for them
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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2020, 10:04:17 PM »
How are you going to sort the different sized cants and ties that roll off?  Also, will there be no lumber grade sort?  Just dead stack everything?  Returning over the rolls like that will make for a lot of dead time walking, so a return conveyor becomes necessary.  You will have to sort and saw logs by length and probably species is my guess given the limited sort capacity you would have.  
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Offline PAmizerman

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2020, 10:05:14 PM »
Be careful. My dealings with the Amish have not been good experiences. I know several guys that have gotten screwed by them. I won't even buy logs from certain loggers if I find out Amish are involved.
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Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2020, 10:18:44 PM »
Try a test run with your LT28, it is supposed to produce up to 350 board feet per hour. test it out on an 8 hour shift and see if you can average 2800 bd.ft. on an 8hr shift.  If you can meet that goal then the LT70 is rated above 1000 board feet per hour then make a decision  based on what you did before and what others are doing, hit the road and look at mills etc.  I know that woodmizer has heavier equipment built for higher production not portable. I am just curious but I thought the Amish did not use any powered equipment, how are they moving 15 to 20 loads of logs per week, by horse?
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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2020, 04:42:40 AM »
Here's the LT70 full line in real world production: Nothing wrong with the transfer table but the operators never bothered with the air tilt unless we were sawing switch ties.

LT70DCS - YouTube

Its possible to get the production.
It's highly unlikely you can do it with two. We had 3.5 people(loader man was shared with our adjacent lumber grading operation) and automated waste handling.(blower ,barn sweep, chipper)
Our numbers were just under 6K lumber/ties daily combined long term.

Wood-Mizers(all thin kerf mills) have a high cost per unit. You need to "own" the over-run and the higher the value of the lumber being sawn yields higher returns.

The Amish mill probably has excess logs in part because logs and lumber are in a market low point. That will change but even if he remains over supplied he would be a poor business owner if he didn't retain the most profitable logs to saw for himself. A  better scenario would be for YOU to own the logs and hire an Amish circle mill to saw the lower grade logs that didn't justify the higher operating costs of the band mill.

Contract arrangements can work but; I wouldn't do it with borrowed funds and it would need to someone I had a great deal of experience with and trusted completely.


Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2020, 05:16:48 AM »
What's your backup plan? You're going to need every one of the 1.5MMBF you're planning to cut per year with a lightweight, low volume line to make it pay.  Calling an Lt70 a production mill is a stretch without another saw behind it.

I'd be looking real close at the log specification... and how payment varies for out of spec logs.

It's doable... in the right logs. If the logs don't sit in the mills sweet spot you'll go broke. Viable I can't comment on but my gut says you either need a real mill not a toy, or a nice little mutirip behind the headsaw. Either way then you haven't got enough logs.

Me, I've done ok on a similar deal before but I had big mill experience and went in with my eyes open. You need a mill to suit the deal, sounds like you're looking for a deal to suit the mill, and it doesn't often work that way.
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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2020, 06:03:20 AM »
Another thing to factor in is coronavirus... Chinese export is dead in the water pending,  and even if he doesn't sell to the Chinese a glut is coming until the world market steadies around a new normal whatever it may be.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline florida

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2020, 06:33:09 AM »
Do you have a backup plan for when the guy screws you and he will?  Once you've spent your money, have your equipment on his property and big payments to make he will own you.  He'll tell you he needs more production or another guy has come along who will saw for less and you, because you've used all your money and credit will have no choice but to try and please him. Whatever you do won't be enough or good enough. I've had it happen to me, sadly I didn't learn anything the first time, and I've seen it happen over and over to others. No matter how good he makes it sound it's a terrible deal that has the potential to ruin your life, don't do it.
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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2020, 07:36:41 AM »
I posted the same Video above in a somewhat similar current thread asking about sawing ties. I did very well with my LT70 setup but I need to clarify that I built it to fill a specific niche at which it preformed very well. Being that I was a "log broker" I handled many millions of board feet of logs per year. Among these logs were a "class" of smaller diameter high quality oak logs that my large grade mill customers discounted in price because of diameter(12"-14"). Between freight and handling these logs were in fact worth less than tie quality logs that were cut tie length.

The thin kerf band mill was ideal for processing these logs. The big mills discounted them because the smaller diameter logs lowered production output. Tie mills are normally optimized for tie length logs and not so concerned about lumber grade and discounted anything longer than tie length as well. My hand picked logs produced a high percentage of upper grade lumber and very high rate of over run since my part of the world is all scaled on Doyle which penalizes small diameter logs. So there was win #1(low log cost) win#2(hand picked logs sized to the equipment) win#3 (high sales value lumber) win#4(large over run due diameter/log scale).

However to source the logs to make those outcomes possible I had the inherent advantage of already operating a wholesale log business and the connections to sell and move lumber. I already had the logs and basically the only profitable outcome after they hit my yard was to process them. If you had to "chase" that and only that log I sawed you probably would have to pay a premium for anybody to bother to make a separate sort.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Advise on Wood Mizer LT70 with full line for high production milling
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2020, 07:37:09 AM »
Be careful. My dealings with the Amish have not been good experiences. I know several guys that have gotten screwed by them. I won't even buy logs from certain loggers if I find out Amish are involved.
Sadly I agree.  There seems to be a complete lack of ethics in regards to dealings with non amish.  Mennonites to me have been a bit more stand up but even then.  The whole chain of custody issue arises when logs come from Amish.  One PA owned amish mill was banned from VA due to theft, beekeepers come to find hives (hundreds) have been sold by farmers (they didn't know videos had been made).  etc.

In any case, the consensus seems to be to stay far away from this deal and I second it.  If you want to do more sawing get an SBA loan and buy logs and saw with an upgraded mill.  So so many mills for sale now.  You can buy an entire band saw mill system in PA for $40k, tables, conveyors, green chains, log decks, etc.  The whole thing.  Buyers market and this is a good time to buy used (i think).

Mostly before embarking on anything like this I'd design a mill site from scratch, find a piece of land to lease for 10-20 years or buy if the price is right.  I'd design the mill to flow with minimal # of people. I'd really look at the threads discussing workflow because that is the most important thing I've seen (or seen a lack of).  I'd tour the newest mills you can find.  The long island sawmill doing bridge timbers outside Lynchburg is pretty slick for a new hardwood mill.  They have a guy on a debarker, a sawyer, guy on automated edger (computerized- and being remotely monitored by manufactures in Canada), then it flows out to a sort line that had several folks.  They are doing some impressive volumes in a huge facility set up to do 40' long bridge timbers.  Even then with local Mennonite connections and good labor they are struggling to make a profit in this market.  It was an impressive mill.  Worth a visit just to see how a new from scratch mill is designed.  They started small and kept incrementing, then tore it all down and expanded, then did that again.

Lastly, you did not even mention waste.  The bark, chips, dust all need markets.  This takes coordination and outside sawing is going to make that tricky.  You want all that contained and automated if you want to saw thousands and thousands of feet a day.  You have to get the waste side to almost no labor.
Good luck!
Liking Walnut


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