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Author Topic: Size Of Mill Needed  (Read 4523 times)

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Offline car

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Size Of Mill Needed
« on: April 17, 2006, 10:17:57 PM »
Hello,
 I am thinking about my first mill purchase.I have pretty much narrowed it down to 3 or 4 brands.
I own 67 acres of land of which 60 is timber. I have a mix of pine , hemlock, beech, ash, red oak,soft maple, hard maple, and cherry. I have a Kioti DK45 with a Woods fel which i will use for skidding.
 I will pretty much be a weekend warrior. I would like to quartersaw the hardwoods & plainsaw the softwoods. I am 45 years old and worked as a machinist for 20 years and I am now working as a cnc service tech.
 My question is for the description I just gave how big a mill do I really need . Plus how many bells & whistles do I want. I must have a trailer package & can load logs on the mill with my fel.I do a lot of reading between this forum & woodweb. Any advice will be appreciated! As far as selling my timber to a logging company my Father did so on 2 different occasions and I was not happy with the end result.


                                                           Thanks.
                                                           Charlie

Offline treecyclers

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2006, 10:42:54 PM »
Being a weekend warrior is only part of the equation, bud.
How large are the logs you'll be milling?
How long would you like your lumber to be?
How much physical effort do you want to put into the job?
How much is your budget for the mill?
How much lumber storage space do you have?
What is you intended result with your mill?

My suggestion? Figure out what you think the most you'll use your mill for is, select a mill that meets those needs, then step it up one level.
I have a TK 1600, and it's really great! I got all the bells and whistles on it that were available at the time, and it's a little short on total capabilities for me. I hadn't figured on the demand of what I am doing to grow so quickly. I spoke with TK this past week to find out what a B20 costs, and determine what the difference is between what I can get for my mill and the cost of a new B20.
In this forum, you'll find a few common threads amongst the membership.
First, everyone is more than happy to share their experiences with you, the pros and cons of their decisions, and give you the information that you need to make an educated decision.
Pause to consider what you want your mill to accomplish, and what your true needs are.
From that, the information you'll garner from the forum will mean more, and you'll be happier with your mill when your day comes.
Superdave
I wake up in the morning, and hear the trees calling for me...come make us into lumber!

Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2006, 04:50:02 AM »
Welcome to the Forum. 

Youve got a good question there. 

Youve narrowed your selection down to 3 or 4 brands so thats a good first start.  Id make a stab right in the middle some place on what size mill you think you need and then contact the manufactures and ask them for names of people that have mills that size in your area and are doing what you plan to do with your mill.  You can contact them and go see the mill in action.

Another good way to look at the mills in operation is to attend a forestry show where theyll have mills on demo.  Theyll always be owners there to talk to as well.  Open house and field days are well worth the effort too.

Another failsafe feature is to look for a company that has a no fault return policy.  I know Wood-Mizer has a 30 day full refund policy on their mills.  There has been times when a person has found out early he didnt buy enough mill and has traded up to a larger model and I suppose even down to a simpler model.
Wood-Mizer LT40HDE25 Super 25hp 3ph with Command Control and Accuset.
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Offline VA-Sawyer

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2006, 09:19:33 AM »
Charlie,
I guess that I'm more interested in how many boardfeet you plan on sawing per year and what kind of schedule you will be sawing on. Example, 10,000 bf per year spread out over 50 weekends is 200 bf per weekend. Even the LT10 could handle the job pretty easy. On the other hand, 10,000 bf harvested and stacked for sawing shouldn't be allowed to sit all year waiting on the mill. If you wanted to get that stack cut within a month of harvesting, then you are talking 2500 bf per weekend for 4 weekends. I find that in a 8-9 hour day of sawing, I actually put about 5 hours max on the engine hourmeter. This means you will need a mill that can saw 250 bf per hour. Sawing 50,000 bf per year needs more saw than 10,000 per year.  Sawing it all in a short harvest period verses spread out all year also affects the level of saw needed.
As for bells and  whistles, they fall into 2 main types, the ones that save your back, and the ones that make sawing faster. I think the 'back-savers' are worth the money for anyone wanting to saw 1000 bf or more per weekend. For a 'hobby' sawyer, I don't think the 'time-savers' are very cost effective. For someone making a living with the mill, time is money, and they tend to be more cost effective.
If you think you may end up sawing for friends and neighbors, then this will add to your saw needs. I would say that if you can afford to buy a level above your expected needs, then do so. It will tend come back to you as a healther back or as time saved.
I hope this helps in the decision process.
VA-Sawyer

Offline tcsmpsi

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2006, 09:32:22 AM »
I've recently made a decision on a mill.  

First and foremost, given the parameters as you have described, your primary decision is going to be how much you can reasonably afford.
From my own decision process, just as 'important' as to what/which mill, is figuring in the expense/time of the necessary drying/processing requirements, whether it's your own wood and/or wood for others.  

Personally, I thought I had boiled it down to 3 or 4 different mills, until I opened the question to this forum.  With the open input and the private input, I found I didn't have anything boiled down as much as I thought.  ;)
What I was able to do, was emphatically cross some off the list for good.  Kaput.

Be realistic about your time and finances.  
From what you have stated, you have been doing the research.  You have a pretty good idea what's out there, what this will do, what that will do.

As far as what do you "need", well, get the most that you can reasonably afford.  Now, I don't necessarily know that (in your stated circumstance) that you would find any notable benefit in the computer programmed units, but then, being a CNC tech, well, who knows.

I was/am fortunate enough to have a bandsaw mill manufacturer reasonably close.  I intentionally left them as my last in depth research with a personal trip to their facilities.
Being fortunate enough to get the complete tour and attention by the founder and CEO, I was able to make, what I think, is a well informed decision.  I got a manual unit capable of 30" X 19' logs with a workable trailer package (as opposed to transport only).  I also got the full backing and support of the company and guarantee that anytime I get ready to make a change, all I have to do is mention it.  From what I researched, I hold their product and company right up there at the top and very reasonable.

I primarily need a mobile unit because I do not have the setup for drying/processing/storage as of yet, and intend to supply the materials from some of the first trees I take to clear the area to do such processing.
I am thinking that, in time, to possibly/probably keep the manual unit, make it stationary for certain work, and get a more complete mobile rig for production work.

But, like some feller (canoe motor) here said, ain't going to get none of it done 'til you start. ;D
\\\"In the end, it is a moral question as to whether man applies what he has learned or not.\\\" - C. Jung

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2006, 05:11:59 PM »
I have very little to offer on sawmills, since I run a circle mill, which isn't portable.

However, I would advise to have a forester either walk over your property with you or mark the timber that should be cut.  That will help assure that you are doing some good forest management. 
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Online thecfarm

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2006, 08:33:26 PM »
I want to welcome you to the forum.Not much to offer here.I have a manual bandsaw mill.Read my 2 cents on the left hand side,that says it all.It's ALOT of work to have a manual mill.If you're not going to saw much it's fine,but don't think you may want to make money with it down the road,unless you have a few people that will work for free.  :D  Hyd makes things so much easier,if you have the money.In my case it would not pay to have them.I only saw for me.I have no time to saw for others.My mill is REAL slow,but it does a great job.I did get a 20hp motor and can cut a 20 foot log.If you have time,keep looking and go to the fairs and watch the paper for any demos.I've been to one that had a bandsaw,swingblade,and circle.Was very interesting.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline car

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2006, 08:56:58 PM »
Hello ,
 First of all I would like to thank all of you for yor help. To answer a few questions. I am thinking about a mill that I could expand upon, such as a mill that is sold in base form but hydraulics or other options could be add after the fact. Some of my timber is approaching 20 inch diameter at chest height. As for the length of boards I would say 16 foot max for softwoods and probably 12 foot max for hardwoods. As for price I am thinking about $15,000 ballpark for a mill. As far as the amount of board feet I would cut per year I am thinking that I would want to sell about $15,000 worth of boards per year. Combination of plainsawn softwoods and quartersawn hardwoods. Is this realistic as a weekend warrior? Cut the trees one weekend and mill them the next. Keeping in mind that I want to be able to mill all of the previous weeks sawn logs. I am guessing working  16-20 weekends out of the year.Probably I will purchase the NYS DEC videos that instruct you on grading,sawing,drying.

                                                         Thanks Again!
                                                         Charlie


Offline treecyclers

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2006, 09:53:19 PM »
You can get a loaded B1600 mill with all the bells and whistles for just over $16K I believe.
It's the same mill that I have, and I love it to death.
It's easy to maintain, easy to fix when I break something (I get a little gung ho sometimes and get carried away), and parts are pretty cheap.
All the greasable fittings are easy to access, and the manual is pretty "Barney Style" and easy for even a novice to understand.
Blades are reasonable too, as I found a place to get them in lots of 12 for $18.50 each, plus shipping, which usually runs about $25 or so to AZ from NJ.
It weighs about 3800 pounds, is very simple to operate, and with a fresh blade in pine, I have less than 1/8" variance in my cut on a 16' board.
The downside is the log turner, which is manual, and even as big as I am, I have trouble turning a 34" log sometimes. I usually use cant hooks to turn logs, as it's more convenient for me, as I typically work alone.
I can put out 2K boardfoot a day in about 10 hours, cutting 2" stock, when the logs are decked, and that's in pine and really hogging wood.
For your needs, I believe that it will serve you well for many years, and you'll be quite pleased with it.
Superdave
I wake up in the morning, and hear the trees calling for me...come make us into lumber!

Offline customsawyer

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2006, 09:57:34 PM »
Welcome to the forum. Can't add much as most of it has been said.
Two LT70s and to much other support equipment to mention.
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2006, 11:50:10 PM »
The only comment I would add is that theoretically you can cut more quartersawn lumber from a log, faster, with a swing-blade mill.
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Offline mometal77

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2006, 04:01:17 AM »
Welcome to the forum Charlie.  Ron you make a very good point one that gets over looked.  For me I want too get rid of all the cotton wood and leave all fir and cedar standing.  ;D  I am glade I waited and looked around for a mill.  Well it was waiting for me for a long time and within that time the price went down.  :D :D    I still think I got a great deal on my md127 mill.  Depending on if you want a new mill or a used one.   Can be advantages and disadvantages.  ::)   Welcome..
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Offline twoodward15

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2006, 07:23:10 AM »
Charlie, you have to remember that you have some BIG competition with the Amish being so close!   Soft woods at 47 cents a bdft green and hardwoods still well under a buck is hard to beat.  I don't think there is much room for competition on the softwood side of the house.  I also think that you'll make your money in poplar, cherry, and maple, although oak is getting expensive up there as well.  I also notice that walnut and butternut aren't moving well there at this time, but I'd start cutting butternut to put away if it is starting to die off from blight.  I think it is really going to start coming around at some point when it starts to disappear.  I notice a lot of the small towns there are having financial problems and cutting workforces and jacking up taxes, which also affects the money people will spend, but as a whole I don't think woodworkers are affected too much by it as wood prices are low.  There are a lot of sawyers up there, but I definately think there is room for quite a few more.  I know there has been quite a bit of logging going on in the western new york area.  A lot of big logs still standing in the woods as most of the farmers aren't using their woodlots for income.  At this point with a lot of the grapes in major decline from overseas juices I think a lot of the farmers are looking for income elsewhere.  Farmers are looking at their wood now and thinking they might be better off using it to feed their family.  This might lead to a BIG part time job sawing for others in the area (within an hour drive) of frewsburg. 
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder

Offline twoodward15

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2006, 08:18:26 PM »
I hope I didn't push you away from buying a mill.  There should be a lot of room to work up there.  Start sawing up all of those hickory "weeds" and load up your truck.  Sell them further south.  I've got a huge market for cherry here in South Jersey if you can find some to mill and bring them down.  You just can't get good local cherry here and especially at a good price.  Log run is close to $3 a bdft.  Way out of line I'm thinking compared to prices inthe "south towns".  You get a fish fry tonight (friday)??
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2006, 10:56:29 PM »
Better grade cherry logs are running close to $2/bf, with veneer much higher.  Dependent on grade and quantity that you're buying, $3/bf might not be that far out of line.
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Offline twoodward15

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2006, 10:31:02 AM »
I agree Ron, The logs he is getting are free (I know, that's his business) and Jersey Cherry isn't very nice.  He's got some sitting around but he doesn't sell too much.  These are all yard trees and log run air dried or green lumber. I think his asking price is just a bit too high.  He has another sawyer friend that said he'd sell his airdried log run  short stock for a buck and half or less depending on how much you wanted to buy. 
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2006, 03:09:44 PM »
IF some of your cherry is like ours, then you're running into gum streak, and some of the cherry is sweet cherry and not black cherry.  I always thought the sweet cherry wasn't quite as nice as the black cherry.
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Offline twoodward15

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2006, 05:04:04 PM »
It's much much worse down here, but fortunately for me I actually like the gum streak sometimes.  I have a piece of cherry that is the brightest cleanest cherry I have ever seen in my life.  It came from my Uncles woods and is just beautiful.  I wish I had the rest of the tree.  it is almost orange and has no gum streaks.  It is 5/4 by 13 and that's only half of the width I think.  I should take a picture.  it's western new york cherry.
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder

Offline Sawyerfortyish

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2006, 10:54:50 AM »
Jersey cherry is horrible. In 25 years of milling and logging I sold 3 veneer cherry logs :o.  If it's a straight log (few and far between) it'll have ants in it or steel or something else. I've been getting 2.00 a foot for the lower grade lumber.  Anything that would bring around a buck or more in the log I sell.

Offline twoodward15

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Re: Size Of Mill Needed
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2006, 11:57:29 AM »
well, he wants $3 or $3.50 a bdft for "log run #1 and #2 common lumber".  I think it's pretty high.
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder


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