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Author Topic: Long time visitor, first time poster! Need advice regarding low budget milling.  (Read 19742 times)

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Offline Ozarkian

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Hello,
I have been browsing these forums for quite some time now.  I must say of all the different site's I frequently read on, this has some of the most helpful and experienced members.  Thank you for that, I feel all of your advice and topics have helped me understand the pro's and con's regarding my future milling and woodworking endeavors.  I apologize in advance for the long first post, but I don't want to leave any information out so any of you with experience can understand my needs. 

To start - I have been interested in log barns, timber framing, rustic furniture, and so forth for basically my entire life.  Growing up on a farm in the Ozark Mountains (hills) with all of the old barns, rustic buildings, and so forth is to blame for my passion.  As I have become older,  I became particularly fond of Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus Virginiana as i've seen others refer to it).  Many of you I assume are well aware of it's characteristics that many people find attractive; such as the smell, color, diversity in uses, and abundance.  And I am sure there are several of you who enjoy it as well.

I recently relocated to some property from the city and almost immediately began acquiring ERC logs.  Approximately 200 give or take, along with a few Black Walnut logs and one long Persimmon as well.  This is just my current accumulation, much more to come.  Here's the good part... I have been given the green light from my wife to purchase a sawmill  8) - but there's a catch...  My budget needs to be $2,000 or less.  :o

Now, I have done quite a bit of research and have seen several different Chainsaw/Bandsaw Portable Sawmills, DIY Plans, among others on the market by reading on this forum as well as some others.  But have yet to decide where my money would be best spent.

What I would like to know from you all is considering my primary sawing will be ERC logs; which of the portable mills should I invest in?  I will not be using the sawmill for this project alone, but plan to continue using it to aide in making furniture, small sheds/playhouses, and among other small projects with the hopes of making a small business for myself.

My first objective right away be to build a timber frame or post and beam type barn/workshop.  Then saw siding to cover it and our house.  Then on from there...  Most all of my work will be done by myself alone with the exception of a helping hand in certain situations. 

The majority of my timber is approx. 16' in length with diameters from 6" to 14" inches diameter at 8'.

My chainsaw, in case it is of any importance is only a Husqvarna 445 with 18" bar.

Thank you!
Ozarkian
13h.p. EZ Boardwalk JR.

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Welcome to the Forum Ozarkian.  I'm may be familiar with the area you mentioned, I'm originally from Ozark County, Mo.  Can't help you with a mill recommendation in that price range but you may find something reasonable by looking at used equipment.  That's how I found mine.  When you have a chance, update your profile.  When members can see where you are from they may be able to offer more appropriate suggestions.

Tom
07 Timberking B-20, Custom-made log arch, 20' trailer w/ log loading arch, F350 SD flatbed dump.  Princeton piggy-back forklift.  Bobcat S250, Stihl 025C 16" and a Husqvarna 372XP 24/30" bars, Grizzly 20" planer, Nyle L200M DH kiln.
If you call and my wife says "He's sawin logs", I ain't snorin'.

Offline Buck

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Welcome Ozarkian
Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned.

Live....like someone left the gate open

Offline mikeb1079

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welcome mr ozarkian.  :)

my advice to a fella in your situation is always the same:  get a bandsaw mill, not a chainsaw mill.  this is coming from a guy who was done his share of chainsaw milling and thoroughly enjoys it.  chainsaw milling is great, it's just not practical for what you want to do.  a bandsaw (or circular saw) will be far far more efficient to produce lumber for building and siding.  i would certainly keep an eye on craigslists (allofcraigs can search multiple craigslists'), forum classifieds, ebay, sawmill exchange etc and look for a used entry level mill in the 2k range.  be patient, they do come up from time to time.
good luck!
that's why you must play di drum...to blow the big guys mind!
homebuilt 16hp mill
99 wm superhydraulic w/42hp kubota

Offline Ozarkian

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Well thank you for the quick responses, and the welcoming.  Glad to be hear! 
Mikeb: I definitely would prefer a Bandsaw mill, the only NEW one I have been able to locate is the Ripsaw - but have seen mixed reviews on that, most recommended using that along side a CSM.  I have already started eyeballing craigslist for a couple of days but have not heard of allofcraigs, thanks for that pointer!  I am trying to be patient... but don't want the wife to change her mind!!  ;D

Tom: I went ahead and updated my location in my profile, thanks!
13h.p. EZ Boardwalk JR.

Offline paul case

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Welcome Ozarkian,
My mill sugestion is double your budget and go ez boardwalk jr.
Used is a good option, but I havent seen any used bandsaw mills in the $2000 price range. PC
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.
pc

Offline Ernie

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Welcome Ozarkian

As mikeb1079 said

my advice to a fella in your situation is always the same:  get a bandsaw mill, not a chainsaw mill.  this is coming from a guy who was done his share of chainsaw milling.

Your profile gives no indication of your age But I was about 45 when I got the sawdust bug and started with a c'saw mill  two powerheads on a double ended bar.  Milled lots.  Now, at 70 I really appreciate my Rimu twinsaw which I have had for a while now and wish I had started out with it instead.
A very wise man once told me . Grand children are great, we should have had them first

Offline Bill Gaiche

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Ozarkian welcome. Sounds like you are in for some great fun in building a bunch of projects. Is great that your wife is supporting you in buying a mill. She may not be aware that a bandmill is a little more than the $2000. she has mentioned. Keep looking and you may run across one at that price. I havent seen any at all for that price. You may have to explain to her that you cant find one at that price and would she up your budget say to $4000. If she knew what all you can do with a bandmill she may well understand. Take her and let her see one and what it will do. I would recommend a bandsaw mill for all that you have plans for. Good luck, bg

Offline Magicman

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Welcome to the Forestry Forum Ozarkian. 

I have no experience with the smaller sawmills, and as expected, a quick check did not find anything for $2,000. 
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline losttheplot

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I started building a small shop using an Alaskan and a 395xp.
The timbers come out close enough using a guide board balanced on the log.

Half way through I purchased  a used lumbermate 2000.
Whilst cutting the timbers with the chain saw is do able, I would not like to cut 1inch boards for siding etc.. with it.
Its surprising how much 1x gets used up for strapping, siding, window trim, interior cladding, shelves, doors etc....


I also found I use the band saw just like another shop tool.
Yesterday, I took all my worst cupped siding boards and cut them into batons, 10 at a time on the sawmill. Much quicker than managing 16ft 1x8's on a table saw.

If I was doing it over I would buy a band saw mill and skip the Alaskan, but that's easy to say now. ;)

I would hold out for a deal such as odouls100 just found, and get a used LT15 or similar.
Spend the money once and get something that will work well for you, for a long time.

If your going to use it for any type of business venture you will save a large amount of wages with a band saw over chain sawmill.
 

Don't  forget log handling equipment.
I get along well with a home built log arch and 4x4 pick up.


DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK !

Offline smanning

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Hi Ozarkian, I'm pretty new here myself but, it is possible to buy a used bandmill and stay within your budget. I recently bought a woodmizer LT25 in decent shape for $1800 . It had not been run in the ground but had been in the weather for a while. It will handle a 16 foot log but is all manual. You may have to dig a little deeper, look in your local classified ads, the state farmers bulletin, etc. I found mine in one of those for sale bulletins that are by the register in convience stores. Steve m

Offline WDH

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It is going to tough to get a band mill for that price.  Realistically, you need to increase your budget like Paul said and get something that will do the job and not kill you doing it.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline 5quarter

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Welcome aboard...How handy are you when it comes to welding and fabricating? $2K can get you alot of mill if you're willing to build it. Many here have built their own mills and produce alot of fine lumber with them. If you have to buy, you're in a bit of a pickle. Any mill selling for $2K is probably not worth buying, especially with the amount of lumber you plan to cut. Maybe you can find a deal like Smanning did, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Run the #s on all the things you plan to build and what the lumber would cost if had to buy it all. The savings would be significantly more than 2K. Perhaps you can explain to your wife that you guys might be $$ ahead by just spending the 4-5k up front. Maybe she would be willing help you research what mill would work best for you guys. The more she is involved in the process, the more likely she will appreciate the wisdom of buying the best mill you two can reasonably afford.
What is this leisure time of which you speak?
Blue Harbor Refinishing

Offline captain_crunch

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Welcome
You anywhere near the Grist mills in Ozarks ?? Great x2 grandfather Alva Hodgson built Dawt and Hodgson mills Bandsaws seem to be the easiest route to go Love my circle mill but setting one up to work takes lots of time and fab work
M-14 Belsaw circle mill,HD-11 Log Loader,TD-14 Crawler,TD-9 Crawler and Ford 2910 Loader Tractor

Offline Ianab

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There was a recent post a member that had picked a LT15 of in good condition for $3,000 I think.  That's a useful mill for a part time hobby sort of thing, especially with smaller logs where the lower power and manual log handling don't matter so much.

I you can pick up a deal like that you should jump on it. Otherwise you are probably looking a $4,000 for something like an EZ Boardwalk Jr with similar capabilities. All new, shiny and ready to saw.  :)

Or else you are in the DIY / Fixer upper area. Can still be done. A home built mill with a lawn tractor engine and trailer tyres for band wheels can be set up to cut pretty well and wont bust the budget if you have a source of cheap parts and some DIY skills

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

Offline hackberry jake

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I second Paul, I purchased the boardwalk Jr and have been very pleased with it. Everything from cedar to bodark, not a problem.
https://www.facebook.com/TripleTreeWoodworks

EZ Boardwalk Jr. With 20hp Honda, 25' of track, and homemade setworks. 32x18 sawshed. 24x40 insulated shop. 30hp kubota with fel. 1978 Massey ferguson 230.

Offline Ozarkian

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Wow, ya'll are exceeding my expectations with the feedback! 
I am starting to agree that my budget will most likely need to be increased, but I will be posting some wanted ad's proposing my current "allowance"...  Who knows, I may get lucky as Steve M. did!  That's awesome you picked up the LT25 for that price, how's it been working out for ya so far?  Any pictures you would like to share?

Losttheplot, that picture looks great.  Very nice building you have there!  My log handling equipment so far has also consisted of my 4x4, tow straps, chains, rope, 4 wheeler, and a cant hook. 

Thanks for the welcome Magicman, thus far I haven't been able to find anything either.  But I will keep looking and gathering logs, when my wife gets tired of seeing so many stacking up she may just up my budget!!  Better start felling some tree's eh? :)

Bill, I am very excited to begin my projects.  I can't wait to get my children involved in creating ideas and giving them little projects of their own.   They are a bit young to work a sawmill yet...  Being the oldest is 6 then a 5 year old and a 11 month.   
I read something on a thread off of another website that somebody had written, it was in regards to I believe his "favorite tool".  He was speaking about his wife and her support, I found it to be very well written and I would like to share it.  I had copied it to show my wife, but failed to save the authors name so unfortunately I am unable to give him the credit deserved.  It was on a log home forum: 
My favorite tool The Spouse. If you have a spouse, your success or failure in your venture depends on her. A spouse who shares your vision is your most valuable asset. If you are not 100% on the same page, the stresses involved in this type of commitment can work their way into the fabric of a relationship and begin chewing at the threads that form the most important bond in life.

Ernie, I am 27 years old.  I did not notice a field in the profile section to indicate age, it may had been the birthday section?  I reckon I will go through and update my profile a bit more tomorrow.  I plan to stick around for a while, so guess it be best to make myself comfortable! Now in regards to the "Rimu Twinsaw", I don't believe I've heard of that type before.  I will have to look it up, I don't mind the labor much now and actually enjoy the pain and sweat (may be my ADHD :) 8) ), but I won't be disappointed with a manual bandsaw... still requires some grunt work right? ???

Paul, I had never heard of the EZ Boardwalk Jr. prior to your post, after a quick Google search...  It appears to be almost exactly what I had in mind and it's locally made!  After a nice dinner, foot massage, and some smooth talking (lots of alcohol 8)) my Wife might just agree to let me buy one of those!...  Hey, it's worked before - she married me! ;)
13h.p. EZ Boardwalk JR.

Offline Ozarkian

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Hackberry, yea the boardwalk is looking mighty tempting.  Have any pics of ya using it?  What are the pro's and con's you've discovered since you purchased it?  And how long have ya had it?

Ianab, I have thought little about actually building my own due to lack of actual welding and mechanical experience.  BUT, usually once I really put my mind into something I  :P research alot and tend to pull it off.  That and my neighbor has a HUGE welding shop, I approached him and asked if he'd be interesting in putting together a mill for me...  nope.  However, if I did most the work and paid him to weld a couple of spots... could be a whole 'nother store.  I'll look into it a bit more.

Captain, I can't say I am familiar with Grist Mills to be honest.  I am near Branson, Mo. close to the Arkansas border.  Circle mills would be nice, but I haven't seen anything at all for one of those nowhere near my range!  Now I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one of those Brand X style mills!
13h.p. EZ Boardwalk JR.

Offline customsawyer

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Here is another thought for you. Hire a portable mill to come in and cut up some of your logs, build and sell some furniture and such stuff. This will allow you to create some income from your logs and thus increase your budget.
P.S. Welcome to the forum.
Two LT70s and to much other support equipment to mention.
www.thecustomsawyer.com

Offline Ozarkian

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Great Idea CustomSawyer, however, the land we purchased has just our house on it.  No outbuildings, or workshops.  So the mill will be for building my Barn/Workshop THEN I can start the furniture and other projects.  I am fairly confident we'll be able to swing the $$$ once I show her some of the video's and reviews for the EZ Boardwalk JR., they sell themselves. 
I actually have considered and even spoke with a couple of very nice sawyers locally about coming to saw up some of the lumber, may still do so, just not quite as much as originally anticipated.
13h.p. EZ Boardwalk JR.


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