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Author Topic: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?  (Read 5909 times)

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Offline Doug_D

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The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« on: April 29, 2010, 02:27:50 PM »
Looking to purchase a small bandmill, but I have some concerns regarding the ongoing operating cost with regards to bands.  The class of mill I have been looking at is around the LT15\Lumbermate 2k size.  I have read anywhere from 200 bdft per band on up to 500-700 bdft.  I know there are many factors that come into play with this equation, but I want to go into this with a REASONABLE understanding of cost. 

I will be cutting mostly red\white oak, poplar, cherry, maple and walnut.  I may do a few white pine too.  No debarker, reasonably clean logs.  I will be cutting mostly 4/4 stuff.

Does a swing mill have lower cost?
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Offline Tom

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2010, 03:53:38 PM »
From the generally accepted costs, I'd have to say that swingmills are cheaper.   Swingmills are also good for extra large logs while not being so good for small logs. (thought techniques are developed to handle them)

If you are going to cut 4/4 in widths to eight inches, a smaller swing mill will do it.  If you want to cut twelve inches wide, you must double cut and/or buy a larger mill.

If you anticipate cutting wider than twelve inches on a regular basis, a swing mill will not  hold a candle to a bandmill which generally has a capacity of twenty to thirty-six inches.

Most swing mills are used for construction, dimensional lumber, like 2x4's and 2x6's. 

You can put a lot of lumber on the ground with a swing mill.  It has its benefits.  I've always considered them a secondary mill to a bandmill because I think that bandmills are more appropriate for a varied material production.

Most of the arguements you will run into will be like chevy/ford arguments since they both do a fine job in breaking up a log. 

Circle blades are known to require less maintenance per board foot of production while bands require require more maintenance, and possibly more intimate knowledge of their workings.  The numbers you hear of 200 or 800 board feet for a band are numbers between sharpenings.  The band itself should last longer than 2000 board feet and may approach six or even ten thousand board feet before breaking.  A lot depends on the sawmill, guides, band-wheels and size of the engine.

Don't be so concerned about he species of trees you will saw as much as the product you want to produce.  Both styles of mills will saw these species with little problems that could be blamed on the mill.

An LT15 or Lumbermate 2000 with a 20+ horse engine should do an admirable job of breaking down logs in the 22" or less sizes and will saw some that are larger.  You're pocket would hold more money if you bought a used sharpener and did your own sharpening though that takes some education.  If you are sending your bands out, I would budget for their sharpness lasting 400 boardfeet, or three a day.  That is not a definite productivity because you will get more from some bands and less from others.

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Offline ladylake

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 04:51:29 PM »
Also the kerf should be considered, for sure if your cutting a lot of 1".  Cutting beams the kerf won't matter much.    Steve
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 08:47:55 PM »
Doug,anouther thing to consider is damage from hitting tramp metal ,its tough on carbide tipped circular blades,also tough on bands but they limit the damage by their cost.Cutting of tree service backyard trees is worth the risk with a bandmill.Frank C.
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Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2010, 09:17:01 PM »
  If you average 400 bdft per blade use and sharpen it 4 times the cost in the blade will be $69.00 and you will saw 2,000 bdft of lumber for a cost of $0.0345 bdft.   Get two more sharpenings and it drops to $0.0328 bdft.  Get a good clean pine and saw over 1 mbdft on a blade and your cost will really drop.  Hit a nail and it goes up.
  It was a slow year last year and I spent just $3,455.00 on blades.

  Also you can not get a swing mill in the price range of the two mills offered.  If you spend the same money on a large band mill and get a debarker you blade cost will be around $0.012 bdft like mine.
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Online Brian_Rhoad

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2010, 09:23:12 PM »
My blade cost is 1-2 cents per board foot with my band mill. More towards the 1 cent per foot.

Offline Doug_D

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2010, 09:50:10 AM »
Thanks everyone for the input.

I dont think I am willing to spend over what an LT15 cost just yet or buy the equipment to sharpen my own bands.  Will be more of a hobby mill than anything else until I can development a market channel.  As Tom and Arkansawyer both pointed out there are definitely economies of scale at play here.   With a larger mill I could get a debarker and extend band life.

Good point about the swing mill being x2 the cost of a small band mill.

For now, I think its reasonable to account for .02 per bdft  in my forecast.

I am often amazed at what the actual cost is of owning and operating certain machines.   Several years back I tracked what it cost to run my simple farm tractor (bush hogging, loader work, etc.).  I was in awe when at the end of the year it was around $8 an hour BEFORE fuel cost.  And its even paid for!  Pretty easy to blow $50 jacking around on a Sunday afternoon.
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Offline Meadows Miller

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2010, 03:13:25 AM »
Gday

the swinger will have a slightly lower cost per bft on saws and maint time but have about the same productin as a hyd band in average logs 8to10" min upto 26" on oversize logs they ill out preform anything  for the money invested you get good bang for your buck with them  ;)  ;D 8) im very happy with my lucas's  ;) ;D ;D 8) 8)  
but like the boys said and is also true with circ maint it takes time to learn  ;)  itll cost you about $75 for a full retip at a saw shop @ $15 a tooth  ;) Ive just started retiping my own with the lucas retiping jig and the first saw took me about an hour but like my uncle said you will get quicker with time tips are $2.20 au and $11 a saw for a full retip plus time @ $25 an hr cost inc gas is $38 a saw  i get about 20 to 25m3 8500bft to 10625bft out of a saw if i dont hit anything too hard that destroys a tip alltogether  :o ;)   :D but the beauty is that you can run with down to three if need be aslong as they arnt successive teeth  ;) so $75 / 8500 = $0.008 cents per bft but thats a varyble aint it  ;) :D ;D ;D

as far as kerf im running 6.7 mm on the lucas 10-30 and 6mm on the 8-20 which is only about double that of a band with Consistant Strait Cuts  ;) ;D ;D 8) 8) 8)

Doug the small bands are good as i had one a Jonsered 6000+ when i was about 16yo and they  do a bloody good job for what they are a small hobby sawmill  ;) ;D ;D 8) 8) 8) But that being said i should have gone for a Lucas back then  ;)

Regards Chris
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Offline ladylake

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2010, 05:12:44 AM »
 My math might not be right but it looks like I'd get one extra board out of a 8" x 8" cant which even at 50 cent a bf would be $3.33 extra on a 10' cant. So if I saw 5 cants my $15 blades is paid for.    Steve
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Offline Meadows Miller

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2010, 09:37:47 AM »
Gday

your math is spoton Steve  ;) ;D 8) but howmany of us aim to saw all inch boards out of every cant i know i dont  ;) :D  i hate sawing inch for alot of reasons it slows production down somthing cronic and gives you a high piece count and more rejects on any mill  Mate  ;) I target as large a section size as i can in my markets from 4" by 1&1/2 and up i realy love sawing 8x2& 3s in "8s,9' and 10's and 8x8s and 10x10s like im doing atm  im geting paid for what you blokes are taking out in sawdust on inch production so im 1 8x1"x10 atm  ;) ;D ;D 8) 8) 8)

Kerfs always been a no brainer for me because recovery starts in the opening cuts and knowing what grade your chasing and whats allowable in wane on any mill  ;) Im not having a crack at bands either  ;) as i still might get one one of these days  ;D as in production mills they consume less power while maintainig higher feedspeeds which gives you lower running costs per bft  ;)

Regards Chris
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Offline sigidi

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2010, 07:47:16 PM »
From a swing mill perspective my figures are similar to MM's my experience to date has been with my Lucas 6-18 (one day to be overshadowed by more experience with my 10-30, Bo Derek!!! ;D) anyway in 6 years the best I got from one blade was 30m3 (12,720bft) of log processed into sizes ranging from 4x1 to 10x2 the worst I got from one blade was 0.3m3 (127 bft) of log. With this in mind I've only worn out 3 blades in my 6 years with the 6-18, the rest have all gone to the saw doctor from hitting trash, also down here we typically talk of log volume rather than boards produced volume. My re-tips are around $35 as compared to MM's $75 and my worst day has seen me cutting on 1 full tooth and one badly chipped tooth, so 1.5 teeth and still cutting. Funny thing it didn't seem to make the huge difference I would expect, horizontal cuts where ok, but deeper than 2" vertical cuts was very slow. For me at $35 for a re-tip it isn't worth me doing the tipping myself.

As for kerf size and small logs.... where do I start....?  :(::)

Look there is now doubt on 4/4 timber a bandmill will out perform a swinger in recovery stats, but on larger cross sections - anything thicker, (from 2" up wards) there is no difference, none! and I'd go so far as to say it is better than most bandmills...

Small logs can be cut just as easy as big logs, my personal minimum log size is 10" diameter - I don't prefer cutting them, but I do. I'd prefer to cut 40" logs all day with the odd 56" log thrown in there every few weeks for a bit of variation, but as others have said here on the forum "I cut what the customer has when I turn up"

ok rant over - back to normal viewing... ;D
Always willing to help - Allan

Offline Meadows Miller

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2010, 10:24:39 PM »
Gday

Allan i was waitn for you to chime in Mate  ;)  :D ;D ;D 8) 8) With kerf i got it wrong the swingers are alittle better that what id stated  ;) a 6" mill runs a 5 mm 0.200" kerf an 8" runs a 5.7 mm 0.230" kerf and the 10" runs a 6.1 mm 0.240"  ;) ;D

im running a V groove tip blade on the 10" atm thats got a 5.7mm 0.230 kerf thats giving as good a finnish in Hardwood and Pine as a Bandmill  atm They are a nice saw to run ;) ;D ;D 8) 8)


Refgards Chris
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Offline ErikC

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2010, 11:48:17 AM »
 My best blade cut almost 30,000 bdft on the Peterson. They were all big (over 30") long fir logs, and I was cutting a lot of dimensions, but mostly beams 4x6" or 4x8". That was about double my next best blade, and a lot of them have been way worse than that. I would guess an average of about 8,000 though, even figuring in the occasional 100 bdft disaster blade. :D I agree that the kerf argument is kind of a waste of time unless you're cutting all 1" stock it just isn't a valid point. I personally dislike the all 1" jobs anyway, but when you have to do them with a swing mill, recovery is still usually over 100% of log scale. Small logs are a pain in some ways but a lot of nice lumber can be cut from them, I have done a few good size jobs where that is all there was, and it came out good.
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Offline ladylake

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2010, 06:49:52 AM »
 Kerf sure isn't a issue sawing large beams, I do a lot of cutstom jobs and even at home I'd guess 80% of what I saw is 1". As I mentioned 5   8 x8 cants sawn down to 1" will pay for a $15 band with the extra boards at 50 cents a bf, what about when I'm sawing $3.75 a bf QS  white oak.  Don't discount the extra lumber that comes out of a thin kerf blades.    Steve
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2010, 07:08:56 AM »
Kerf becomes an issue when your cutting real expensive logs and you have no use for the sawdust.I started milling 30 yrs ago and have yet to spend one red cent to buy logs,most of mine are tree service logs that are too large to be chipped or logs I've cut myself.Many times the sawdust sold for bedding is worth as much as the lost boards.Frank C.
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Offline ladylake

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2010, 07:34:36 AM »
Log cost doesn't matter much, you still get extra boards out of the same logs that will pay for the cost of bands in a hurry.  Maybe sawdust is worth just as much as  boards, it's hard to collect out on a custom job and I don't make enough of it at home to even think of selling it.     Steve
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Offline sparks

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2010, 09:10:12 AM »
A box of 15 blades .045x158"x10 degree sells for $330.00. That is $22.00 per blade. If you sharpen your blades yourself, and you get 6 sharpenings, then your blade  cost is really $3.00.

If you use Resharp, and you get 4 sharpenings, your blade cost is really $15.00

The formula is blade price and shipping + the cost of sharpening and shipping by how many times you've used the blade. This is what the blade really costs you.

Thanks
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Offline Part_Timer

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2010, 07:43:46 PM »
Hi Doug

All the post above are true.  There are a few other advantages to a swinger but the cost differance  of purchase is pretty steep. 

I've owned both types (LT15 and ATS) and my preferance is a swinger but I'd not feel bad owning a band mill. While it is true that you loose about 1 board in 8 on a swinger due to kerf it is worth it to me.  On an LT15 I got tired of restacking flitches on the mill and debarking them all the time. 

There is A LOT of double handling of boards on a manual band mill.  If you take 3 boards off opening a log then flip it and take 4 off the bottom before you turn it and start sawing through you have at least 6 to 7 boards stack back on the mill, saw the top off then flip them and saw the bark off again then stack. 

ON the swinger you don't have to handle the flitches multiple times to get the boards your looking for nor do you have to keep flipping the logs.  You can also take a small cut to remove knots off before you cut a board and increase your grade if the log will allow it.

I find my cost of blade maintenance to be less on the swinger but that depends on wether or not you purchase a metal detector .  If you don't purchase a metal detector at least buy stock in your saw doctors operation to help reduce your cost.
Just my .02 foor what it is worth.
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Offline sigidi

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2010, 05:03:58 AM »
Doug, I'm with you on circular blades versus what I've read here on the forum concerning bands. My impression of bands is they are steel (not tungsten or biz-alloy etc.) and due to the nature of the machine, need to stay very sharp to cut well, so it would be nothing for a band miller to go through 6-10 blades in a full day (8 hours) milling? - is that right guys?

From my Lucas experience, in the same time, accepting the band miller and I don't hit any metal, I'll sharpen the same blade around 3-4 times for a 3-4 tonne (6,600lb-8,800lb of log processed) full day - while it is on the machine and at the end of the day I have no blades/bands to sharpen when I get home or send off to get resharpened by others - my day finishes when I drive home. If I push the blade a bit too long I don't produce un-usable/un-sell able timber with a blunt blade, it just makes the gear work a bit harder and leaves 'different' sawmarks in the face of the timber. I then keep this blade on the mill for another 8-10 full days (30-32 tonne or 66,000- 70,000lb of log) milling with 3-4 sharpens per day before I pay between $35-$50 for a re-tip, or do it myself - although I don't have the oxy gear to do it myself or the desire to do more work when I come home at the end of the day and am much happier to let the saw doctor do it.
Always willing to help - Allan

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Re: The real cost of bands? Swing mill have lower cost?
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2010, 09:16:25 AM »
Gday

My thoughts exactly Allan  ;) ;D ;D 8) 8)  with retiping get a jig and give it a go its pretty bloody easy Mate  ;) ;D ;D 8) 8) 8) the only thing i would change with mine is i should have got the adjustable jig as i have the set 10" jig so i could retip the 8" mills saws aswell Mate  ;) ;D ;D 8) 8)

ill do a thread on retiping saws in the next week or so for everyone  ;) ;D

Regards Chris

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