Anyone own a portable band saw?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ross, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Can you make some part time money sawing logs? I know there are a few running around here very part time and I wouldn't do anything more than that. I looked into many brands but some fresh comments would be appreciated, I should be coming into some money I can buy a medium sized mill with soon.
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    *sigh* ....If the Shop talk moderator can't get this on the shop board nobody else is expected to categorize either! :eek: :rolleyes:
     

  3. SRSLADE

    SRSLADE Well-Known Member

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    I had the biggest wood mizer for several years. I think you can make money at it. It would be best if you also need the wood yourself. I mean you are a builder that can use the lumber directly. Dont forget you end up with lots of slabs. Try to cut the highest quality of wood when you plan to sell it. I feel it would be hard to make money when you cut by the hour or board foot. Just my feelings good luck.
     
  4. TedH71

    TedH71 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    www.logmaster.com/ Based in E. Texas. I sorta know the guy and might be able to get a job working for him but have heard good things about his portable saws. Very popular in E. Texas due to the fact that you can sell pine trees pretty easily there.

    Ted
     
  5. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    When I had my auto repair shop I had a customer that had a band mill. He had lost his job in a factory and took his savings and bought the mill. He said he's never looked back since. He has stayed busy doing custom work at the customers site.
     
  6. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I do use alot of wood so even sawing on shares would work for me. Thanks for the link I havn't heard of that one, I'll check it out.
     
  7. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    I happen to think its difficult making a buck with a portable sawmill. Not impossible....but difficult. Essentially, when you purchase a portable sawmill....you are buying a job.
    The good part is you are your own boss. If you're a hard worker and energetic, you can make a few bucks.
    The bad part is.....the initial cost of the mill. The cost of blades/sharpenings, maintenance, fuel costs, transportation costs, competition, etc.

    In Wisconsin, rough cut lumber is no longer acceptable for use in framing situations for housing units....UNLESS it has a grade stamp. In reality, this further diminishes the demand for rough cut lumber.

    My experience with a portable sawmill is thus. I was on the "paying" end of someone that came to my property to saw my wood. The fellow charged me $25/hour to saw log cabin logs and miscellaneous boards. His wife helped him sticker the sawn lumber and was included in the fee.
    I'd estimate I spent perhaps $5000 over a 3 year period.

    I don't believe the portable sawmill owner "got fat" off of me. He told me the initial cost of his sawmill was $23,000 and change. It had 2 motors (fuel $$$) on it that ran all the time. He stated bandsaw blades usually lasted about 5 - 6 hours before they needed resharpening ($$$) and his usually lasted through 2 or 3 resharpenings. I think the blades were $16 a pop. Then throw in the sawmill owners transportation costs (he drove approx 26 miles one way).

    Split $200 between 2 people for an 8 hour work day, minus expenses......and see where you're at.
     
  8. GW

    GW Member

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    I have a Norwood Lumbermate 2000. I bought it 4 yrs ago. It's the best $4500 I ever spent. It's paid for itself at least twice already just in savings. I have it set up stationary powered w/an electric motor. Elec is cheaper then gas and there's no maintanence. Blades are about $20 each and I also bought a blade sharpener/setter @ an additional $700. I sometimes can sharpen a blade 15 times before they break, the average being 10. In the 4 yrs I've owned it, it's paid for itself again by custom sawing for others. People bring thier logs to me via log truck, dump truck, trailer, ect. Sometimes I'll haul customers logs on my trailer.

    We just moved to this place 2 yrs ago. Have saved alot of money on out buildings by sawing my own lumber. It's also nice to be able to saw any size lumber you want.

    Greg W
     
  9. Nancy in Maine

    Nancy in Maine Well-Known Member

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    Try this forum:

    http://www.forestryforum.com/cgi-bin/board/YaBB.pl

    I think you could make money off your sawmill. We have one and all we have to do is park it on the front lawn and business comes to us! If we ever wanted to make money custom sawing, I don't think we'd have a very hard time finding customers.
     
  10. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Typical sawmill rate would be closer to $50 per hour here. $20k would be a far fancier mill than I was thinking about, 4-7000 being much more common for a fairly basic band saw mill.. Norwood sawmills are made about 2 and a half hours west of me and I did like them very much. Linn mills was another option, even building it partially. I do have access to a couple of different types for comparison/design and I like building things like this. I doubt it would end up being cheaper though. I was thinking of powering the blade hydraulically and using my tractor to run the motor either off a PTO pump or if there's enough flow and preasure from the internal pump. Its a 6710 Ford and it runs my hay windrow inverter which is totally hydraulic so the tractor is capable of powering about 25 hp from the remotes at a guess. I'd have to work it out more precisly. Thanks for the replies!
     
  11. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    Hoop has excellent advice. The only bit I would change is "you are your own boss" should be "you have a new boss every day."

    I'm buying a mill. Not a bandsaw, but a swing blade. Peterson. I'm learning more than I ever wanted to know about buying something overseas - but that's a different story for a different day.

    At this moment I have a job. And I have a lot of trees that need thinning. And I have a lot of needs for farm lumber. By purchasing a mill, I'm not only going to have something I can do for my farm during the colder months, but if I'm in a position where I cannot get a job, this has good potential for some winter income.
     
  12. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .................Has anybody had any experience with the Lucas Portable Sawmill ?? I've visited their website several times but have never talked with anyone who "had" one or knew someone who had one.....fordy... :eek: :)
     
  13. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well I'm alerady self employed so the mill isn't going to make that better or worse and if all it did was lumber for myself so be it. What's a Swing Blade?
     
  14. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    I bought my Mobile Dimension Circle mill February of 1986, I still have it, and am just getting ready to move to a fellas placeto cutfor a month or so before the heaviest of snow gets here. I operated it 14 months straight in a mill yard with my dad and sawed over 300 Mbdft at $90 over $27,000 just for one school project near Bonners Ferry Idaho, It was all dead white pine, and nearly all of that was 1x10x20 and 1x12x20. Thatvwas mixed in with a whole lot of other sawing in those 14 months for other people as well. My dad and I bought that mill for $6500 used, put in another $500 in parts pieces and labor for the volkswagon engine and proceeded to learn a new trade, the mill does exactly what its person tells it to do, therefor the mistakes are few and are mine.

    I have sawn in yards side by side with Woodmizer mills, and literally saw circles around them, both in quality of lumber and production.... and these folks were not just newly purchased mill owners and were also full time millers.

    Production just doesnt happen overnite, it took me awhile to get there, and i can "see" what a particular log will produce as it is placed on the mill. A person has to be an artist with the mill and visualize what is in there to get the maximun out of the logs at hand..... while still making a profit for the day...... and probably is something that cannot be taught.

    A person can make a living full time with a mill, the process is like anything else and goes in cycles, and once a peson makes a purchase of a mill they find that there are more mills in the area of operation than they knew of......"ole so-in-so over by the river on the left side of that other town has had one o them thar mills for 7 years and never did get it to make him any money... you couda pick it up for half what you paid for that one" is a common comment a person hears. Do not get discouraged, the cycle is about 6 years, maybe 8, ive seen 3 up turns in mill cycles for custom sawing since buying mine [dad is retired and buteven at 70 is gonna be helping out on this job too to stay busy nad he gets paid too].

    And as the parts wear out on mills like mine they get replaced with new parts otherwise the mill wont cut good lumber, so virtually i have a new mill, with old paint [AC tractor Orange] but i sold some cedar yesterday that i had cut for my house, and the fella said that mill sure does a fine job...... now i gotta buy some more logs and cut more boards for siding.... to sell or nail up.

    I made a couple sheep feeders from the side lumber that no one will buy [1x3] which was a perfect spacing for the sheep not to get stuck in and only get the nose into the hay flakes.... entertianment centers, sheds, and a whole lot more from boards that are not quite good enough to sell but at my house the animals didnt care.... and once cut into short pieces the cedar sure looked a million bux.

    got more questions on the business just ask...... I charge $150-200 per Mbfdt and can cut about 1-2 Mbdft per day depending upon the logs. The specs say i can cut up to 6Mbdft but ive only come close to that once when cutting with an electric mill 10 years ago at another fellas mill.... I cut 4700 feet in 6 hours.

    William