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  #1  
Old 08/17/09, 09:47 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Arkansas
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small band sawmills

I'd love to buy a band sawmill, but can't afford much of one, and I'm wondering if the small ones are even worth it. For example, the woodmizer LT10, $3900, what can I expect from that?

My intention is to clear a couple of acres on our property for a horse, and use the lumber around our house. I haven't yet estimated how many bf are out there, but we have lots of needs: floors, kitchen countertops, exterior siding, rabbit hutches. Afterwards, I'd like to use the sawmill part time with my woodworking hobby; hoping to find a tree service that will use my property as a dump site occassionally, and I'll use that wood for firewood/primitive cabinets.

Let me mention that I am a female, though a very hard-headed type that doesn't seem to know my own limitations. So could someone recommend a sawmill that won't break the budget too much, or could I get by with a logosol chainsaw type for my needs? If I hired a portable sawmill, what kind of cost am I looking at that way? I may get the chainsaw mill for my hobby use, and hire out the other part, if it's not too much.

Thanks,
Shae

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  #2  
Old 08/17/09, 10:15 AM
 
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Location: Florida
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The small Wood Mizer or the Logosol mill is fine for personal use. The production is going to be a little slow to really make any money with them.

The hardest part with either mill will be handling the logs as that all has to be done by hand. One advantage of the Wood Mizer is that it sits much lower than the Logosol, so it's a lot easier to load the logs.

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  #3  
Old 08/17/09, 10:17 AM
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I think it would work well for you. I see 2 downsides to that size mill(any manufacture). 1st is the engine size. It is way to small. The second is log size. A lt10 can only cut 19.5"s The log size should be a small problem. A 18.5" log will give you a 12x12" cant for 1x12 or 2x12s.
I run a 30" saw with a 21 hp briggs and it will run out of power on a big log.

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  #4  
Old 08/17/09, 10:22 AM
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I've got a local guy with a bandsaw mill. You bring your logs to him or he'll provide. You tell him exactly what you want. Last time I checked he was getting 22c/board foot (might be 25c now). He'll also work by the hour, which is cheaper if you need massive beams cut.

Kicker is he'll cut on halves. Bring in a tree, he cuts it, you get half the wood for free.

Folks that bring sawmills out to your place charge set up fees and an hourly fee, which can get expensive.

Unless you like hard back grinding work, I'd splurge for the bandsaw instead of the chainsaw mill. The only negative I have on the small bandsaw mill is the size of the logs you can cut. I use lots of 20' lengths, and the smaller mills are only good for ~12' or so.

I figure if you have lots of tall straight timber and your building a home and a barn, you could make it work. Just make sure you plan on extra time for the wood to dry out in stacks.

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  #5  
Old 08/17/09, 11:13 AM
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Two ways to go for cheep.
1 buy a used band saw , use it till you are way ahead in your lumber pile then sell it.
2 The really chheep cheep way;
Cut big beams freehand with a chain saw. For smaller stuff buy a regular electric band saw and run some of your freehand beams through it.

I SAID CHEEPNOT EASY!

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  #6  
Old 08/17/09, 04:13 PM
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I have a Norwood LL24 it will handle a 24" log and will saw as long as your track is, you can buy or build more track .
I like it alot I went with the min. you can buy and its alot to assemble but worth it .
I have just started mounting it on a trailer so it will be portable.
farmerjack

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  #7  
Old 08/17/09, 04:34 PM
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have you looked into a co-op? we are members of the MN Forestry Association Small Woodland owners and we attended a field day not too long ago that spotlighted cooperative partnerships where a portable mill is purchased and you buy a "share" -then transport the mill to your property where you mill your lumber. In some situations you can share your share or sell your share or use your share to mill someone else's lumber. This saves you from owning and storing something you only use once. Just a thought...

here's a link to the thread

http://homesteadingtoday.com/showthr...s+in+the+woods

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Last edited by Wind in Her Hair; 08/17/09 at 04:39 PM.
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  #8  
Old 08/17/09, 04:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmerjack68 View Post
I have a Norwood LL24 it will handle a 24" log and will saw as long as your track is, you can buy or build more track .
I like it alot I went with the min. you can buy and its alot to assemble but worth it .
I have just started mounting it on a trailer so it will be portable.
farmerjack
How much was it. The norwood is another I've been eyeing. I don't like the log diameter restrictions of the smaller woodmizer. Though I don't plan to use a lot of long logs.
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  #9  
Old 08/17/09, 04:59 PM
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If I remember right it was about 3000 delivered to my driveway
I picked it up at the end of my drive ,they couldnt get the truck back to my house so I just backed up to the trailer and unloaded the boxes into the back of my pu it worked out ok .
I also ordered 10 extra blades from cooks saw I got the super sharp blades I think they are a better deal than norwoods blades. They seem to last awhile.
They have a fourm at the norwood web site it has lots of good info on the saws and sawing with them.
farmerjack68

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  #10  
Old 08/17/09, 05:20 PM
 
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I'd urge you to find a small local sawmill. Go talk to the sawyer about what he does and how much he charges. My sawyer charges about 60cents a board foot for southen yellow pine, and about 20% more for oak. That's means your $3000 investment instead could have bought about 5000 board feet. You can also save money by taking your logs to him to cut up. It takes some learning to use a bandsaw correctly, and you'll probably also need a tractor with a front end loader to lift the logs up onto the mill. So, I guess, my thinking is that you won't save that much unless you cut an awfull lot of lumber.

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  #11  
Old 08/17/09, 08:15 PM
 
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I can't speak on the smaller Woodmizers, but my brother has a bigger, hydraulic model that cuts some great lumber. The siding and floor joists of my house were cut on a Woodmizer mill.

The last I paid for some 1"x12" material for barn siding was 22 cents per BF.

Best wishes.

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  #12  
Old 08/17/09, 08:36 PM
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If you can find a used Woodmizer, most of the depriciation is gone and if you take care of it you should be able to resell without much cost. That might be less than buying a new smaller mill.

Cutting beams with a chainsaw and then resawing with a bandsaw won't produce much usable lumber.

You might check around for a local saw mill. Let them spend the fuel, labor, investment and upkeep. Overall might be cheaper than doing it yourself.

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  #13  
Old 08/17/09, 08:37 PM
 
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I have a Hud-Son Oscar 26 (I think...) Was around 3K and will saw stuff that is too big for me to handle. Length is only limited by the amount of track you have. Love it. Can't wait to get back to Mississippi and put it to use again.

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  #14  
Old 08/17/09, 08:39 PM
 
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http://www.hud-son.com/Oscar28.htm

They have gone up in the last 4 years!
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  #15  
Old 08/17/09, 08:52 PM
 
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I bought the lt15 about 3 yrs ago for around $6000 new and I wouldn't want to go any smaller. I use it for blow downs on my property and a little side business for others. You won't get rich sawing with a small manual mill, but they're alot of fun and you'll get alot of useful lumber.

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  #16  
Old 08/17/09, 10:14 PM
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I had a lot of lumber cut by a couple of guys here with woodmizers, they charged me very little for the amount of lumber they have milled. When I began getting them to come out they were charging 16¢ per board ft an last year when I had some cut they had gone up to 20¢ Very very cheap lumber in my estimation. When I have enough logs for a days work, they dont charge me a setup fee, but if I have just a log or two, I take it to one of them and they mill it up when they get a chance, usually within a week and still just charge me the footage price.

this feller runs a 16' wood mizer, and does an excellent job.

These "planks" are the center core of the logs and are 6" thick, width will vary down the length of the logs as we did not square them.


There were a lot of board ft of inch planks taken off the sides of the logs, along with all the 2x6 rafters, and 3x8 floor joists for our cabin.



This is what we wound up with out of about 100 logs being milled.

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  #17  
Old 08/18/09, 07:13 AM
 
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Over the course of about 18 years, I've hired a guy with a portable Woodmizer, LT-40 i think. The current rate in theses parts is about 20 cents per board ft.
Had him over on three different occasions and have probably sawed about 20,000 board feet in all. Currently have about 5,000 board feet on hand for future projects.
The bigger mills do a nice job in the right hands. Good straight and even thickness lumber is worth the extra $$$ for hiring it out.
Like others have said, some of the smaller mills may be more trouble than they are worth.

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  #18  
Old 08/18/09, 08:24 AM
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I have been custom Sawing for 16 years. I now run a LT70 which is on the large size.
Your idea is sound. The problem you have is can you stand up to the work. It isn't being female but over the years I have helped many people start sawing for them to find out the it is hard work to cut and move the logs hard work to saw the logs and even harder to handle the lumber many times keeping it from warping rotting and staying useful
What I suggest is find some local sawyers and hire your self out on the week ends. It will be an education. If they woun't hire you just hang around as much as possible.
There are people like me who set up at fairs and demostrate, (If your in driving of Middle TN I will be at the Wilson County fair for 9 days doing just that 21=29 August Lebenon TN.

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  #19  
Old 08/18/09, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by haypoint View Post

Cutting beams with a chainsaw and then resawing with a bandsaw won't produce much usable lumber.
.
Why not?
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  #20  
Old 08/18/09, 07:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by just_sawing View Post
The problem you have is can you stand up to the work. (If your in driving of Middle TN I will be at the Wilson County fair for 9 days doing just that 21=29 August Lebenon TN.
I am actually driving through TN Aug 21, and 29. Can you send me a Private message with the whereabouts of this fair. An address will do, and I'll mapquest it...if you have it.

I do see what you are saying. I am concerned about the level of work and my lack of experience, but I want to learn. We have bought rough sawn lumber before for our cabin, had to handle it several times while it dried. I installed the floor myself. I cut our trees for firewood, though they are usually small ones, 18" or less.

I think I can do the work, not because I think it'll be easy, but because I'm so determined. I love wood. I don't know what it is about it. I love the feel, the look, I love to work with it. And I'd love to have stacks of it around for my many projects. See I don't just want a sawmill for this one project; I've been wanting one for awhile. I want to saw my own lumber for small woodworking projects. I know it's more work, but it's also potentially free lumber if I can keep a look out it. Today I passed by two places where some land had been cleared and the trees were just piled up. If I had a portable sawmill, I'd never run out of lumber for my projects. Isn't that true?

I will seriously give some thought to your idea of hanging out at the sawmill. Things like that are harder, being a woman though. Men usually scoff at the idea of my doing this. Plus, not sure what my husband will think. I already asked him if I could work with a tree service, at least volunteer, so I could learn some things about felling the bigger trees that are really intimidating. That was a "no". He doesn't trust tree guys. (my cousin is one and gives them a bad rep)

BTW, now I'm thinking of getting the Norwood Lumbermate 2000.
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  #21  
Old 08/18/09, 07:42 PM
 
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Wink

Yvonne's Hubby, I love the pics. I don't know which I love more, the house or the lumber.

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  #22  
Old 08/18/09, 07:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Witterbound View Post
It takes some learning to use a bandsaw correctly, and you'll probably also need a tractor with a front end loader to lift the logs up onto the mill.
what are some common things people do incorrectly? How can I learn to use it? I was hoping to avoid needing heavy loading equipment by getting a portable saw. Also, the norwood mills are lower.
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  #23  
Old 08/18/09, 08:59 PM
 
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I am not a sawyer. I know one well, though. His job is like many others. It seems like "hey, I could do that," but it takes some time to learn. Others here would be better at telling you about common mistakes. You're going to need something to handle the trees you're going to cut. If you find them somewhere else, you'll have to have a big trailer to haul them home, and a way to get those one ton (or more) trees onto the trailer. Then when you get to your mill, you'll have to take them off the trailer and get them up on the mill. It can be very dangerous, because of the weight and irregular shape of the tree.

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  #24  
Old 08/18/09, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outofmire View Post
what are some common things people do incorrectly? How can I learn to use it? I was hoping to avoid needing heavy loading equipment by getting a portable saw. Also, the norwood mills are lower.
My Dad runs a sawmill; he built it himself. It's portable but he usually has it housed in the bottom of a barn type structure that has a slope to the side of it. In the picture below, the sawmill is in the right-hand bay and the hill slopes up to the right away from the building.



To load the logs onto his sawmill, he drags them with a tractor over onto the hill to the right of the building. Then he uses a peavy or cant hook to roll them down a series of "stairs" and onto the mill. He uses scrap wood (chunks of stump etc.) to stop the logs periodically so they don't go careening down the "stairs" too quickly.



I visited him and took a bunch of pics while we ran his mill. They are at
http://gardenplotter.com/rospo/blog/...ing-tools.html
http://gardenplotter.com/rospo/blog/...s-sawmill.html
http://gardenplotter.com/rospo/blog/...er-part-i.html
http://gardenplotter.com/rospo/blog/...e-up-view.html
http://gardenplotter.com/rospo/blog/...r-part-ii.html
http://gardenplotter.com/rospo/blog/...rt-iii_12.html

You sound like him when you talk about loving the wood. He never tires of seeing the logs go in and the lumber come out. Folks in the area have learned he has a sawmill and they bring him logs when they clear land. Sometimes they want the wood out of it, sometimes they just give him the logs. His wood has built a bathroom addition at a friend's house, a shop for another friend (who makes his living working out of said shop), my Dad's barn that houses the sawmill, my Dad's garage (huge, with mechanical shop area in it), and I don't know what else. His lumber has been used all over the county.
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Last edited by turtlehead; 08/18/09 at 09:27 PM.
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  #25  
Old 08/18/09, 09:37 PM
 
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My DH and I had a woodmizer for a while. It was hard work, but we had TONS of fun with it, not to mention all of the wonderful lumber. We didn't have a great set-up though. Here are some things for you to think about. We didn't have a loader/tractor at the time so loading was time consuming and hard work that required both of us. We didn't have a chipper at the time either, so we had a lot of "scrap" that we had to deal with. Have a plan to get rid of or use all of the wood that isn't usable lumber. The lumber that you make needs a good place to sit and dry. Ours was under pine trees... yea, lots of sap there so not such a good plan.

We bought a used mill for ourselves, but we did have some luck selling some wide boards for trailer planking and truck sides. I think that it would be pretty easy to sell some wide oak boards now for raised beds-I would buy them now that I don't have access to a mill.

As for getting tree felling experience from a tree company, you may have a hard time working with a tree crew even if it is for free due to fear of your getting hurt without being on their insurance. This is true for a man also, but being a woman always makes it harder. Try looking around for a company that is run by women, or has women working on the crew. We are few and far between, but we are out there. Check if your state has an arborist or tree protection organization and get their directory to see what is out there-ours is called the Connecticut Tree Protection Association. Another option is to see if the State University or extension service have any classes or helpful information for you.

If you do get a mill and try to get tree companies involved be proactive in letting them know what you will or will not accept. Depending on where you live it can be expensive to get rid of junk wood. I don't think that you want to be a dumping ground, and you shouldn't have to be in order to get usable wood dropped off to you.

Good luck! Cathryn

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  #26  
Old 08/18/09, 09:40 PM
 
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as an option, you might watch craigslist. Things do appear on there from time to time.
Heres the only listing on the LR page -
http://littlerock.craigslist.org/grd/1319982111.html

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  #27  
Old 08/18/09, 10:39 PM
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I'll chime in & say buy a Wood-Mizer because 2 of my brothers & a nephew work there. My dad & 2 other brothers own 2 of the larger ones. I can't remember which ones. They have always been pleased with the performance & customer service. Dad started out about 20 years ago with a smaller one & they have just gotten bigger with the business & continue to upgrade to bigger & better mills.

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  #28  
Old 08/19/09, 08:19 AM
 
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[QUOTE=outofmire;3982724]I am actually driving through TN Aug 21, and 29. Can you send me a Private message with the whereabouts of this fair. An address will do, and I'll mapquest it...if you have it.

I think I can do the work, not because I think it'll be easy, but because I'm so determined. I love wood. I don't know what it is about it. I love the feel, the look, I love to work with it. And I'd love to have stacks of it around for my many projects. See I don't just want a sawmill for this one project; I've been wanting one for awhile. I want to saw my own lumber for small woodworking projects. I know it's more work, but it's also potentially free lumber if I can keep a look out it. Today I passed by two places where some land had been cleared and the trees were just piled up. If I had a portable sawmill, I'd never run out of lumber for my projects. Isn't that true?

QUOTE]

If nothing else I like your attitude. Good luck with whatever choice you make.

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  #29  
Old 08/19/09, 11:11 AM
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I'm seriously thinking about building a mill to use on my property in SC. Believe it or not, there's actually a forum for building your own mill! I'm a tool maker by trade, and have all of the equipment at my disposal, so I have an advantage. It will cost me less than $1000 in materials, and I love building stuff anyway. I don't really need enough lumber to justify it, but I may cut what I need, and then take in some mill work to help pay the bills, or just sell the saw when I'm done with it. I have a friend with a small Hudson, and it will cut good lumber as long as you're patient, and keep a sharp blade on it.

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  #30  
Old 08/19/09, 01:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_sawing View Post
I have been custom Sawing for 16 years. I now run a LT70 which is on the large size.
Your idea is sound. The problem you have is can you stand up to the work. It isn't being female but over the years I have helped many people start sawing for them to find out the it is hard work to cut and move the logs hard work to saw the logs and even harder to handle the lumber many times keeping it from warping rotting and staying useful
What I suggest is find some local sawyers and hire your self out on the week ends. It will be an education. If they woun't hire you just hang around as much as possible.
There are people like me who set up at fairs and demostrate, (If your in driving of Middle TN I will be at the Wilson County fair for 9 days doing just that 21=29 August Lebenon TN.
This is excellent advice.

Small mills are slow, but the primary stated aims are not to make a living with a mill, but to use one's own trees as needed, either for home and outbuilding construction or for wodworking projects.

I know several woodworkers who have small mills for the purpose of custom cutting their own stock...one guy in particular has some property with some nice ash and cypress...he cuts only what he needs, as he thinks he needs it, offering custom cabinets and wood paneling to local homebuilders...seems to work for him.

But a small mill is hard, hard work...
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