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Author Topic: swing mill ??  (Read 4480 times)

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Offline wannabeonetoo

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swing mill ??
« on: November 25, 2007, 12:41:23 AM »
Could someone explain to a newbe (me!!),what a swing mill is and how they work/differ from a bandmill? ???
 What are their pros & cons ?Are they as popular as a bandmill?
Thanks
           Steve

Offline beenthere

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2007, 01:25:14 AM »
Welcome to the Forum.
The swing mills have a circular saw blade mounted on a bridge suspended on a track, that can move the length of a log. After one pass with the saw blade horizontal, it is flipped vertical for a return pass. The blade will saw flush with the surface of the kerf, so will allow cutting across the face of the log in incremental passes. 

That is brief, and maybe not so clear. ;D

 Go to the Peterson sight and download a video. Also see the Lucas at the Bailey's site. There are others like the MD that I believe are similar.

A good question, that I also had early in my FF days...even tho I knew about the saw rigs, I'd not heard of them referred to as swing mills.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Firebass

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2007, 03:17:10 AM »
I was in the same boat a couple of years ago. I wasn't in the market to buy a mill rather I was looking to build one.  So as for a brand or circle vs. band,  I don't support one over the other.  But I did end up building a swing blade from what I learned from seeing with my own eyes.  Every time I try to explain a swing blade mill with out seeing it at work I can see the look of  ??? :-\ ??.    To be fair to both types of mills.   I suggest getting all the video's you can collect about all mills.  Seeing it at work explains so much....  The Peterson sight online is a good start for swing blade video.  But there is much more information out there.  You might also Google Brand x sawmills.  And Lucas will send CD to you.   Don't forget to look up D&L Double Cut 180 Degree Swing Blade.  Mobile Dimension now has video,  Is not a swing mill but is a Very worthy opponent to the circle vs band first buyer.

Firebass

Offline Ianab

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2007, 03:25:19 AM »
Quote
What are their pros & cons ?Are they as popular as a bandmill?

Pros of the swingblades - They can cut BIG logs, they are very portable, relatively cheap and you can get very high production in the right situation.

Cons - you are limited in the width of the boads you can cut due to the small size of the blade and the circle blade has a bit bigger kerf.

They are much more popular than bandsaws in NZ and Australia because of the bigger logs we often get. 3-5 foot diameter logs are where they really shine  ;D You can cut smaller logs just fine, but so can a bandmill

Cheers

Ian
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline crtreedude

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2007, 05:33:47 AM »
I think Ianab really hit it. Swing blades will work with smaller stock, but that is where the bandsaws shine. The other thing I noticed is that Swingblades tend to like harder wood (carbined tipped, etc). One of the big markets here for wood is 1x12x 10 foot form wood for concrete. We tried to do it with a swingblade, it was quicker and better with an Alaskan. But I bet you the bandsaw we just got will do just fine!

One advantage of the swingblade is dimension lumber. On every pass, you cut a board. No need for resawing, etc. If my primary market was sawing up 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, 4x4, 4x6, etc. I would seriously look at a swingblade.

But, if you are needing wider pieces - a swingblade and just both sides so go to 16 to 20 inches, but it is a lot slower than a bandmill in this.

We use a bandmill, but Harold is nearby with a swingblade if the need arises.
So, how did I end up here anyway?

Offline thecfarm

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2007, 06:47:01 AM »
Have you ever seen a swing blade in action?If not you have to go to a show and see one.First time I saw one,I bugged the poor guy with all sorts of question.I have tried to expalin them to guys that have worked at sawmills.They can not understand how it works.They are really something to watch.I feel with a swing blade you have to plan ahead more.Takes a few more smarts to run one than a bandsaw.That's why I bought a bandsaw.  :) The cut is wider too.Don't forget there are models that you take the swinger to the log.You can load it on to a 4 wheeler and bring out the lumber on the wheeler.You do realize you set the swinger up around the log,instead of putting the log on the mill like you would with a bandsaw mill?
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Nate Surveyor

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2007, 11:57:44 AM »
I think ianab "nailed" it (no pun intended..!)

I would strongly recommend that you run a MANUAL band, and a Hydraulic Band, and a Swinger, and a 3 blade circle mill (like Mobile Dimensions) before you buy. Run one that is working good,  on the kind of trees ou intend to mill. kid is helping me type...

N
I know less than I used to.

Offline solodan

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2007, 01:19:23 PM »
Ianab's post was very accurate. Look at where the swingmills are popular. NZ, West Coast, and some of the areas in the south where there are lots of big trees.  Logs over 36" are very common for us, first log I ever sawed was a 42"sugar pine. smaller logs are more common, for most parts, and are actually even quite abundant  in areas with big wood. I will eventually run both swing and band. I need the Lucas for the big logs, especially when we need to bring the mill to the log.  Brand X makes an interesting saw. The carraige runs on a track system similar to a band saw. This gives the ability to turn the log or cant on the tracks still keeping everything square, but this comprimises the portability factor of the swinger. Setting up over the top of a huge log has it's advantages. ??? You may get a lower yeild in this situation, but it may also be the only way to mill certain logs other than an Alaskan. Swing mills can also be equiped with slabbers, enableing you to cut very wide slabs. ??? 8) :) Specialty cuts can also be made on swingers, like corner notches and dados on logs and large timbers.  I think that I will eventually build a ground track system for my Lucas, that will be equiped with toe boards and a turner like a band mill, double cutting would be faster, large cants would be easy, + demesional lumber is faster, and I know some will argue this, ::) but much more acurate on a swinger. :) I would still be able to take the Lucas in its original configuration on site when needed,  but would be much more productive at the mill yard. I would run the band when resawing large cants or filling orders for 1x12's. :) And I would also be happier to show up to someones front yard and saw their three 16" logs with a band saw.

Offline StorminN

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2007, 08:00:13 PM »
One thing I don't see many people mentioning up front is the difference in labor it takes to efficiently run the different types of mills... bandmills, swingmills, dimension mills, etc.

It seems most bandmills take at least a couple of people to keep them moving at good production speeds... an operator, an offbearer, etc. From what I've seen, swingmills work well with two people (operator and offbearer), and the operator is going to be walking back and forth all day long. Finally, there are the single-person, multi-blade mills like the Mobile Dimension, where the operator stands in one place and the mill returns the cut lumber to the operator.

Of course, most of these mills can be operated alone, but production numbers suffer. So it really depends on what sort of operation you want to have, what sort of logs you have to work with, and what sort lumber you're trying to make. If you're not planning on doing this professionally, your options are greater (ie., you don't care as much if your production suffers).

I don't do this professionally, and I usually cut alone... so I opted for a Mobile Dimension mill... I like the fact that it can cut the big logs that we have here in the NW, and I like the efficiency of the setup, how it makes square lumber in one pass, and how it returns the milled lumber to the operator... no walking back or forth, no walking around the mill. Oh yeah... I also found a used MD mill that fit my budget... it all depends on what you're looking for...

Of course the down side of any circle mill is the blade kerf... on the MD it's 1/4" to 5/16"... but if you're willing to trade that sawdust for the freedom of not needing to have anyone help you mill, then you're OK. There's a local pro guy here that runs an MD, and he loves it... he doesn't have to hire any help, therefore he can keep his own flexible hours, (ie. go fishing when the fishing's good) and he can mill most anything people here want...

Like some of the other guys said... if you can get a chance to see some of these mills in action, or even better... operate some of these mills, you will get a much better idea of how much labor is involved.

-Norm.
Happiness... is a sharp saw.

Offline Part_Timer

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2007, 09:00:57 PM »
I don't find it that much slower to make 12-16" wide on the swinger.  It's a bit slower but you don't have to handle cants.  If you are doing smaller logs where you can just square them up and go then yes but if you have a 20" or bigger and have to handle cants I don't know.  ???  I sure don't see how it would be faster on an alaskan but I've never run one of them before. 
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Offline solodan

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2007, 11:24:46 PM »

  I sure don't see how it would be faster on an alaskan but I've never run one of them before. 


I know that it would only be faster with an Alaskan if it were one log with just a few cuts. I still use my Alaskan sometimes if I need one slab or so out of a log while I am cutting a bunch of dimensional stuff on the outsides. It is just easier to start up the 3120 and make a few cuts, than changing to the slabber. I need to cut a couple 12" x 12" this week out of some 18"- 20" cedar logs that are not at my mill yard. I will just cut them on site with the Alaskan. I will loose some lumber from what would be the jacket boards, but I will do it in less time. Two passes with the Alaskan, and two passes edging with the mini mill, and no turning. Just as band mills, swingers, and dimension mills all have their place so do chainsaw mills.  8)

Offline woodbowl

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2007, 09:32:14 PM »
Mobile Dimension mill... I like the fact that it can cut the big logs that we have here in the NW, and I like the efficiency of the setup, how it makes square lumber in one pass, and how it returns the milled lumber to the operator... no walking back or forth, no walking around the mill.

My bandmill has worked me to a pulp for years. My thoughts are a swinger on an MD frame with a full hydraulic deck.
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Offline solodan

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2007, 11:18:29 PM »
That would be interesting. 8)  I'd like to see it done. :) Sorta what I was talking about earlier, but I want to just run the swinger on a ground track and hydraulic deck, maybe even add hydrostatic drive to the carriage.  :)  I love the portability of my Lucas, but I would really like to have a good solid stationary swingmill set up as well. I would like to be able to remove the carraige off of the stationary mill truck when going portable.  I think that Peterson was on their way there with the WPF , but left out the deck, I guess that was to keep it portable. ??? I also think Brand X was on this track, but left out portability, and large logs.  For those of us that work by ourselves, having a mill that can be reconfigured to different setups makes sense. ??? 

Offline Firebass

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2007, 01:04:21 AM »
I found it's very easy to transport the Gantry/Head by just cranking it up then back a trailer or  truck under it and let it down continue cranking as it lifts the gantry wheels up, and your off. Works Good.  I do this when I have to do maint or work on it.   

Firebass

Offline woodsteach

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2007, 04:30:35 PM »
SoloDan,

I agree with what you said about the Brand X not being portable!  30' tracks made out of 4" sq. tubeing = heavy and awkward.  I plan on making a short track to cut 10' logs on that will more easily load onto my trailer, of course that track will have to be 18' also.

Since the Brand X is more stationary I do get to move sawdust but because of the frame, I walk on wood flooring all the time, no mud, concrete, etc... My wood flooring is part hemlock (If I remember correctly), cottonwood, a couple of cherry boards, and a couple walnuts (just for color!)

Woodsteach
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Offline HSV

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2007, 04:55:19 PM »
Hey wannabeonetoo,

Looks like everyone's helped you out pretty well with your original question.  I'm just posting because we've just uploaded a revamped page to our website that shows how our swingblades work.  Here's the link: http://www.petersonsawmills.com/mill_ops_how_swingblades_work.htm
There is also a page on our site that compares our mill to other mills, including bandsaws... I don't know if it will help you much, it's in the 'Our Advantage' section.
Hope those help.

 :)

Offline solodan

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2007, 12:43:08 AM »
Hey Woodsteach, how big a log can you mill with that Brand X? If I remember correctly it was 36". I was real interested in them, but I did need the portability that the Lucas offered, Plus 36" is just too small in my neck of the woods. :) The very first log I milled was a 42" Sugar pine. 8) However, now that I have a mill yard, I would like to set er  up like the way the Brand X is,  and just build a small shed at one end to roll it on a ground track. I like sawing outside. Even in the snow. ;D  I need to design a mill truck that would alow me to remove the carriage and use the original Lucas set up if I need to go portable to saw some of those mavericks that come my way every so often. :)  How do you deal with taper? do you have toe boards? I think I would need some, cause I saw alot of incense cedar, lots of taper in a 16'er.  :)

Offline woodsteach

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Re: swing mill ??
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2007, 07:12:32 PM »
Solodan,

Yep, I believe 36" is close to max on the vertical it might go to 40" but I just never worry about it, b/c I just don't work with too many that big.  I'll check today to make certain.  


75% of all I cut is  8'cottonwood for pallet cants so taper is not an issue, but for a couple of cedar posts 22' tall I just used some blocks on the small end to wedge it up.


woodsteach
Brand X Swing Mill, JD 317 Skidloader, MS460 & 290, the best family a guy could ever dream of...all provided by God up above.  (with help from our banker ; ) )


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