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Author Topic: will a portable plainer work?  (Read 1494 times)

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Offline skinnyest

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will a portable plainer work?
« on: June 21, 2013, 02:03:15 PM »
Hi, Im working on starting a sawmill/lumber sales business from the ground up.I am getting logs for free from local tree services( I have 40 lined up with 100 more to call after I get some bugs worked out.I have a neighbor who will cut my logs with a woodmizer mill until I buy my own.I have somebody to dry the wood for the customers that want it dried,also until I can build my own.I have 50 potential customers with 50 more to call.Some that I called want there wood finished.As you can probally tell im trying to invest as little as possible to get this off the ground until im sure its going to work.My question is can I get away with quality homeowner plainers,saws,and jointers until I can get more industrial tools.A few potential customers want there wood finished.Even with free logs im not sure if I will make anything after paying for drying and milling.Off the bat im not concerned about making a lot of money,My real job is a towboat capt. and it pays well.However I am getting tired of beaing away from home all the time.Im figuring on reinvesting every penny I make back into the business until I have enough equipment.then retire off the river.My biggest concern over the homeowner tools is quality.I want to start out with top quality so I don't chase away the few customers ill have in the begining

Offline sawmillhand

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 02:26:08 PM »
Skinnyest

   looks like you have the lumber bug like we all do. I understand what you mean about being gone, i to work offshore and i am gone 28 days at a time. I have a dewalt  planer 13 inch it does fine for little hobby things and stuff around the house. I don't think a portable planer would hold up to 1000's of board ft at a time. If all possible look around for something heavy duty because the less time you fool with the product the more money you make. Being able to dry your own lumber and milling it will increase your profits a lot once your able to cut out the middle man sorta say. Have you thought about the operation while your gone, are you planning on having some help or you think the customers could wait till you get home. I hope your plans come together for you. i know i wished i had free logs  ;D. look forward to continue reading about your progress.
1990 woodmizer LT40 Hyd  2004 Ford F350 Flatbed. Plenty of tractors.

Offline skinnyest

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 02:46:34 PM »
Im gone for 14 days then off 7.Im hopeing to theach the ole lady to get logs while im gone.The tree services will give them to me as long as I go get them.Im in the process of building a small cart to pull with our atv to pick them up.She can handle sales while im gone.I have explained to our potential customers that sometimes I wont have what they need,beaing im at the mercy of what the tree services are cutting.All the ones I spoke with all ready have a supplier ( im 20 miles north of Pittsburgh) the nearest large supplier is 2 hrs from Pittsburgh there quality is exclent but there prices are high.some local cabinet makers are going as far as Cleveland to get hardwood.I feel I can beet the big guys prices by remaining small and keeping overhead low.Im figuring on the local guys checking with me before they contact the big guy.A couple cabinet guys say the big guys stuff is so good they don't have to sand that's why they use them.I was thinking on ridged tools to start off with (lifetime guarantee) and they are 5 min from home. Maby start off with ridged and eventually get a drum sander for the picky guys if I get enough calls for it.I don't figire on millions of bf in the beginning ,some cabinet guys said a homeowners probally wont give me the quality I need.I don't want to buy expencive equipment to make 1 customer happy but at the same time I don't want to start off with a bad reputation.
  I realize that I have a huge learning curve here( probally pretty obvious) I don't know much about lumber/logging industry.Me and the ole lady did work in a veneer mill for a few years and I do most of my own work around the house with mixed results.however 15 years ago I stepped foot on the head of my first towboat and though WOW the back of these things are ugly,And now ive been a capt for 9 years.I feel I can learn anything I need to if I set my mind to it

Offline grweldon

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 03:13:11 PM »
I have a dewalt 12.5" planer.  It will not work for what you have in mind.  You need a cast-iron, stationary base planer...
Timberking 1400, Ford 3910 Tractor, John Deere 350B Crawler/Loader

Offline sawmillhand

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2013, 04:50:21 PM »
I actually had a guy email me wanting to cut up oak lumber and sell it. I told him i would cut it on halves or he could pay by the bd ft because i am in bad need of lumber myself. I have ran ads wanting logs from pine to hardwood and even would pay for them but i have no way of hauling them so you getting the logs free is a big plus just have to watch for the metal in them.
1990 woodmizer LT40 Hyd  2004 Ford F350 Flatbed. Plenty of tractors.

Offline Ianab

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 05:09:52 PM »
I have a dewalt 12.5" planer.  It will not work for what you have in mind.  You need a cast-iron, stationary base planer...

This ^

The portable planers do a good job for what they are designed to do. Hobby scale wood working. They are not designed for production work, too slow and can't take enough wood of in one pass. On a wide board you end up needing to do multiple small passes to bring the board to the final thickness.  Takes too long, and you quickly kill the machine.

A bigger "industrial" machine with an induction motor is what you need, and if you can find one with a shaper head as well it opens up all sorts of other options for making T&G boards etc.

Look around as they often come up on the 2nd hand market.

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

Offline redprospector

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 10:01:47 PM »
I grew up in a pretty good sized wood shop (10,000 sq ft).
My Dad supplied Home Interiors & Gifts with a lot of their picture frames, and plaques. I remember well the old Baxter Whitney 36" two sided planer.
That being said... In 91 I tried to go back to my roots (somewhat), and started a small furniture shop. I was on a tight budget and knew that one of the 12" portables wouldn't hold up. So I bought one of the imported 20" 5 HP planers, similar to the one Grizzley sells. I tried to plane about 1000 bd ft at a time. Depending on how your neighbor does with the Woodmizer, getting all the boards to the same thickness so you can really start planing can take forever (these planers just won't take a big enough bite).
In my experience, you will be way better off to shop around and spend a few thousand on an old industrial planer. With this "hobby" stuff, you will wind up loosing work because it takes too long.

Andy
1996 Timber King B-20 with 14' extension, Morgan Mini Scragg Mill, Fastline Band Scragg Mill (project), 1973 JD 440-b skidder, 2008 Bobcat T-320 with buckets, grapple, auger, Tushogg mulching head, etc., 2006 Fecon FTX-90L with Bull Hog 74SS head, 1994 Vermeer 1250 BC Chipper. A bunch of chainsaws.

Offline Leigh Family Farm

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2013, 09:52:52 AM »
Here's my two cents:

Industrial planer (Powermatic, Grizzly, etc.)
Heavy duty table saw (Grizzly, ShopFox, etc.)
Industrial shaper
Industrial joiner

These are the machines I would get to start a venture like yours. It will cost you $10,000 for brand new equipment but like Ian said, get used stuff. They last a long time so I would think that $5,000 would get you set up. Also, to help with the bottom line sell your waster product (shavings and sawdust to farmers, scrap pieces to camp grounds as kindling, etc.). If the wife doesn't want to go pick up logs, have her focus on marketing and sales. Craigslist can be a powerful free tool. Start small and grow as needed. Maybe only provide for one customer at first until you work all the bugs out. Then once you have the correct system down, add more customers.

Good luck and keep us updated!
There are no problems; only solutions we haven't found yet.

Offline skinnyest

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2013, 01:46:43 PM »
thanks for all the replies and advice.When I was younger if somebody told me something wouldn't work Id have to try it just to prove em wrong(most of the time I was proven wrong LOL) Guess that's one good thing about getting older.Hopefully this fall Ill be looking to start rounding up that kind of equipment.I will probally go with new,with the way I work on the boat going used dosnt work well.Good deals come up the day I leave and are sold by the time I get home.
  Like I said before I know very little about all this I have been reading about spiral head plainers im assuming they are similar to a mechanical pencile sharpener? are they worth it?Also with a large plainer will I need a dust collection system right away.Im sure I will want one eventually,im just really trying to keep my start up costs down

Offline beenthere

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2013, 02:07:43 PM »
Yes to a "good" dust collection system to get the planer shavings away from the planer. Without this, the shavings can come back around and get hammered into the surface of the wood. That makes for a headache that a woodworker doesn't need. When applying a finish, that hammered wood will swell and end up being a bump in the surface of the wood. Classic example of insufficient dust collection system.

Several good reports posted on the FF in favor of the spiral planer heads (note.. not plainer  ;)  )
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline skinnyest

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2013, 03:20:43 PM »
thank god I run a boat better than I spell ;D

Offline Brad_S.

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2013, 11:11:49 AM »
I bypassed a dust collector and just got a blower. Emptying those bags every 10 minutes is a pain. I now blow it into a covered wagon. You will need to have somewhere to get rid of all those shavings... they pile up fast. I compost mine.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." J. Lennon

Offline WoodenHead

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2013, 08:37:43 PM »
You will need to have somewhere to get rid of all those shavings... they pile up fast.

+1    ;)

Whether it is a dust collector or blower the idea is to move the shavings out.  I get a plugged hose (nose too, but that's a different story  :D) every now and then.  It doesn't take long for things to heat up to the point where it can become a real concern.  I'm not sure if they would catch fire, but I don't want to find out!

Offline jim blodgett

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2013, 09:55:33 AM »
It's exciting to plan a new business venture, no question.

But if you're thinking you can provide a comparable product at a cheaper price than a large company that specializes in producing that product, I have to question that.

Now if you are thinking you can compete based on the fact your potential customers will pay more for your product for one reason or another..."organic"..."local"..."renewable"...maybe buying from you is more convenient, saves them time and/or gas money for example...then maybe you could make a go of it.  Maybe.

But to price compete on comparable products for cabinet shops because your overhead is low?  And by the way you don't have any equipment, trees, or much woodworking experience?

Like I said, fun to think about, but questionable as a realistic plan.


Offline GeorgeK

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Re: will a portable plainer work?
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2013, 03:34:54 PM »
There is someone North of Pittsburgh that has a large planner you might be able to get him to plan wood for you. I will have to find out where he is. My friend uses him that lives up there.

I have a good Delta planner but if upgrading any model numbers you would look at for the following items on the used market?

Industrial planer (Powermatic, Grizzly, etc.)
Heavy duty table saw (Grizzly, ShopFox, etc.)
Industrial shaper
Industrial joiner

My plan next is to build a solar Kiln. I have an LT40 and twin blade edger. Working on a location to run full time instead of being mobile. Although we will still do mobile work as well. I worked at a local business lot for a month and the drive by traffic was an awesome ad. I can keep working there but want to be closer to my house.

George Kalbfleisch
Woodmizer LT40, twin blade edger, Bobcat A300, Kubota L48 and yes several logrites!


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