Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,184 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am not big on Chinese stuff at all, BUT. I have bought some tools through the years from Harbor Freight and they have been fine for the jobs I had. I normally buy from U.S. companies any time I can. However, this is a case of the price difference being such that I would not be buying a mill at all, at the prices I have seen for U.S. made mills. I am looking at cutting mostly ERC and pine, with the occasional oak. From the reviews I have read online, most are happy with the little mill and all agree it is not something you would start a business with, but is a good home use mill. Normal price is $2499.00, it is on sale now for $1999.00 and I have a 25% off coupon so that puts the price around $1500.00 with tax and shipping we are in the $1700.00 range it looks like. I have run the numbers on materials and can not see where I can build one for this, even if I do all of the fabrication, which I do have the tools to do. So somebody talk me out of this? Or tell me about your experience if you have one of these or have seen one. I am having a hard time now seeing where I could get something similar any where near this price?

http://www.harborfreight.com/saw-mill-with-280cc-gas-engine-61714.html
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,554 Posts
Aw man.,,, I wish you wouldn't have shown me this... For what I need, it would do fine... The reviews sure seem pretty decent considering...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,950 Posts
Interesting..A mill for the homestead. It might be worth it for occasional use around the homestead..

But then again at this time I can't afford it, even at this price.. Yet!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,612 Posts
I wouldn't expect it to be anything like a mill such as "Woodmizer". You get what you pay for. This would be fun as long as you don't expect too much out of it. It doesn't say what length log,looks like the max might be 12'. I wouldn't trust the frame from bending. Keep it on a solid surface.7hp isn't much.20" isn't very wide comparably.800 lbs. is very lite.3300 psi is much higher than others.It's not something you can compare to others.
Woodmizer-lt30= ctu 16' logs,very solid frame,24hp,32" wide cut,weights 3700 lbs.,operates at 2300-2500 psi.
As you can see they are two different animals. If it can be squared up and will stay in square,I don't think you can beat the price as long as you don't expect too much of it.It will be much slower than woodmizer etc. and running at that pressure,you will go thru blades.I'm sure there is a lot of things that have not been addressed but for that price,Woodmizer=$25,000,does not compare.

Wade
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,184 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have actually seen the woodmizers and they are nice mills, but not even in the ball park as far as pricing. My neighbor has a nice band mill and edger, but he spent $60,000.00 on his setup. What I am looking at with this is cedar house logs mainly. As far as the length, from the factory I think about 10' max, but a longer track is fairly easy to fabricate, so I do not see a big issue in expanding length as needed. I guess I am just trying to be practical as far as what most people can actually afford. Even a small U.S. made mill is in the $5000,00 range. That is a lot to spend for the occasional project. Most people can not afford to have that much tied up in a asset they may only use occasionally. here is what I am looking at.
Pros.
- plain and simple low initial cost. I can find no other mill withing $1000 of this price period!
- The bed length can be expanded later pretty easily.
- the motor can be replaced later if needed.
- the bearings can all be replaced.
- no part I can see that if it breaks can not be replaced with a U.S. part.
- simple made machine, should be able to be repaired without specialty parts.
- compared to making a home made unit, 1/2 day setup and you are sawing, compared to possibly weeks fabricating from scratch?

Cons,
- small motor so slower cutting
- all manual, so slower adjustments etc.
- light frame (track) may need extra support structure.
- Chinese made, I hate supporting the Chinese, but I know some parts at least for other mills are also imported?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,372 Posts
My B-I-L has 2 of these. One at the farm and 1 at his cabin property. He built a frame for them and anchored it down to 2 concrete cross curbs. The frames were made from old mobile home frames. He found that they would get out of adjustment almost every time he put a new log on and he used a front end loader to set the logs. A good anchored frame took care of the problem. He also has a Alaska Mill to cut down big logs so they will go though the mill. Cut in 1/4s or slab off both sides to make 20". He likes them, enough to buy the second one. I have cut a lot with it, it is slow but makes good lumber. We use a small table top planer and 2 passes makes good smooth boards. Just don't get in a hurry and keep setup within spec....James
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,907 Posts
This mill fits the niche between a chainsaw mounted Alaskan, and a larger, more automated mill like the Woodmizer type.

The Alaskan is SLOW, noisey, slow (did I mention that ?) and a lot of work. That was my first mill. The real advantage of them is you can saw up a log where it fell, and you can cut a beam 20-40' long if you have enough tree. I put an 8x10 x 36' main girder in my first barn, and built the whole barn using an Alaskan. (I was a lot younger then....ahahahaa)

I now own a Woodmizer LT40, (non-hydro) since 1991. You can buy this mill, used, in the 7-9K range if you hunt a bit. I gave 15k for it in 1991 with a sharpening package. It has paid for itself a dozen times over. I can cut 800-1,000bd feet in a day with it (depending on thickness)....done it many times. An edger is nice, but you can edge your lumber easily on a bandmill by simply turning it up on edge and rip it.

A small mill is one of the most valuable tools you'll have on a homestead IF you have timber, or can get somebody to bring/sell/give it to you (done all 3 also).

The HF mill will probably cut in the 300-500bdft range per day, more due to everything on it being manual (blade up/down, carriage drive, etc) That ain't bad. When you consider even crappy framing lumber the big box stores sell will run 50-60 cents/bdft or more (and you can cut SO much better stuff yourself with just a little effort), all you'd need to cut is 3-4,000 bdft, maybe a week or two's work, and you've paid for the mill. One decent building. Everything after that is gravy ! Cut some good grade hardwoods for cabinets, doors, etc, and you could pay it off in a few days.

The 20" diameter limit is no big deal. Mine will cut 34", and I NEVER,EVER do it if I can help it....the effort required to handle logs that big, turn them on the mill, and so on, just isn't worth it to me. I can cut twice the footage on smaller logs in the same time. Did cut a BIG red oak once....40"....had to chop some off with a chainsaw. Took me 2 days to saw, but I got 1,000bdft of the nicest, clear, red oak lumber I ever saw. And it was a 'free' (minus the Chiropractor bill....ahahahaa) log that fell out of a guy's yard that was going to the firewood pile.

Also, we simply don't have that much large diameter timber around anymore. Most of the stuff on my place is 20" or less....and the timber is at least 40-50years old (I've owned it 32, and it showed no sign of logging in decades, or more when I bought it in 1982.

And with a bandmill, you can make GREAT use out of really small stuff....7-10".....stuff most commercial mills don't want on their yard because they CAN'T get enough out of them to justify the time in handling.

SO, don't let the 20" even be a factor in your thinking. The PERFECT log to me is 15-16" in diameter, I'd take them all day long. I can still turn them easily by hand, my tractor will lift them, and I don't get too much waste (which you do on smaller stuff ) for the amount produced.

If you have a mill, you'll find all kinds of uses for cheap lumber ! Shed, barns, your house, rental houses, you name it....the world is your oyster if you own one of these pearls ! I could take you on an all day (literally) tour around here of the stuff I've built because I had a source of cheap lumber.

The one thing I'd probably do right off is extend the bed. 10-12' just isn't long enough.....you need 16' at a minimum, and 20' is quite handy if you saw rafter material for much of a building in width (I can build a 28' wide house using a 10/12 pitch roof with 16" overhang with a 20' mill bed....and it takes it all).

Yep....I'd BUY IT. Even if you have to go into debt. I financed my Woodmizer mill thru Woodmizer, and don't regret it one lick. I'd do it again if I had too. Any tool that makes you that much money simply doesn't cost anything in the long run.

Floor joists for a rental house: 120--2x8x14' 18.66bdft/ea = 2240'bdft Two days work to log out, two days to saw. HomeDepot price at that time was about $14 ea (w/tax). That pile is worth 120x14 = $1680 + about 30% more you'd have to EARN to pay the govt taxes (income, SS, etc) to have 1680 AFTER TAX bucks in your pocket. So that pile is REALLY worth about $2200 (you'd have to earn to go to Home Depot to buy it). Do you MAKE $550/day working a job ?

That one pile paid for your mill. How many times can you repeat the process ?



Fire wood sheds, coming out of my shop, with my house in the background. ALL OF THEM built with the timber off my land......and honestly, in 30 years, I ain't put much of a dent in my timber ! ( I don't sell lumber though....just my own projects)



Need a chicken house ? Gather up a little cheap lumber, and build it ! One of the best things about a bandmill is you can cut a REAL NICE tapered lap siding on it real easy.






Need some extra SOCIAL SECURITY FREE income or a GREAT retirement plan ? Build ya a few rental houses. That pile of floor joists (above), and the rest of the framing, along with all the trim (red oak) and the cabinets (red oak) came off my mill. All told, I had $38sqft in that house (2004)(did most all the labor)(took me a year, part time)

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,569 Posts
Check the fine print on the coupon...a lot of those 25% off HF coupons exclude more expensive items like air compressors and generators, so I'm guessing saw mills might be excluded too.

No experience with that sawmill, but the reviews are usually a pretty good indicator...4-1/2 stars is very good for something like that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,551 Posts
Check the fine print on the coupon...a lot of those 25% off HF coupons exclude more expensive items like air compressors and generators, so I'm guessing saw mills might be excluded too.

No experience with that sawmill, but the reviews are usually a pretty good indicator...4-1/2 stars is very good for something like that.
Yep, I have one of those 20% off coupons that says it does not include this particular sawmill #61712:mad:
Hope your coupon is better than mine MM. Looks like a good deal.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,184 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
PB, After spending all day looking up info. on this one, it looks like you are correct. I looked at the fine print on the bottom of the coupon and it does specifically name the sawmill as an item it can not be used for. I know I have read post in other places from numerous people who say they used the 25% off coupon for the purchase in the past?? Maybe it was a glitch and they caught it and fixed it, or maybe it was just a different coupon? Either way, looks like the 25% coupon they are offering now does not work for the mill?? Bummer!!! I am not sure at $1999.00, plus shipping it is worth it??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,333 Posts
Back when I was 'debating', I looked at this one, as well as several others. As long as they work, and are capable of doing what you want, it's a good deal. I looked and upgraded a bit to a WM LT-15... smallest that could use a diesel engine (I store diesel for my truck and tractor already)... and unlimited expansion capacity. Got two extensions so I can cut 32.5' beams...

With the well known brands, such as WM... if you take care of it, you can sell it easily on Craiglist. The breaking point (depreciation) is about the 70 to 75% range.... if you can find a used one, they'll be about 75% of new.... can use them several years, and sell for the same....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
759 Posts
I recently sold my woodmizer Lt28. I will be buying a Hudson they can be bought for about 2500 just do a search on craigslist I believe they we're listed in independence ks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,612 Posts
At this point I just have to give a BIG shout out for wooodmizer. When we bought our LT30 we took it to Woodmizer-Indianapolis and had it checked out. Wanted to make sure it was in square etc.
These people treat you like you run the company! Every employee down to the guy mopping the floor makes you feel like you are very important to them. Someone takes you around to any place you need to go. If it's around meal time they feed you,no charge. Even the old scruffy "biker" looking guys pray over their food before eating.You're just in shock being there. It's like a family reunion.
Even the engineers stop the project they are working on to assist you in anything they can.If the person you are talking to can not answer your question,everything stops and a person that can answer it comes in.They went over every inch of the mill and made sure it was exactly as it was when they sold it,excluding paint etc.They spent 4 hours going over everything including adjusting the carb and replacing spark plugs and changing oil. And all for $250.

Some years back woodmizer sold out to another outfit. After a short time things went downhill so the employees got together and bought the company back.This is what happens when every employee has a vested interest in the company.I think everyone should experience this once in their life. It changes your view of American manufacturing and what is possible if everyone cares!

As was stated before,if a used woodmizer can be had for under $10,000 I'd be all over it if for nothing else than knowing the kind of service you will receive from woodmizer!


Wade
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,907 Posts
Plus one for what Wade said. I went to the factory in 1991 and picked mine up. Great folks to deal with. Gave us 8 hrs of training on the mill and how to sharpen blades (if you were getting the sharpening package). Fed us lunch to boot.

And anytime I've ordered blades/parts, they are top notch to deal with.

As for used mills, I've seen them pretty regular at 50% of new. Buddy of mine bought an LT40 a bit later than mine for 8k a year or two ago off Craig's List.

Couple of places to watch:

TMS machinery sales. Search under 'bandmills' http://www.tms-sales.com/

Sawmill exchange: This is a listing for an LT30 in North Carolina for $7,000

http://sawmillexchange.com/view_product/16324/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
Muleman, the fact that you are interested in a sawmill at all tells me that you are pretty mechanically inclined, and while what TnAndy said about an Alaskan Sawmill is pretty much on spot, the Standard Alaskan Sawmill is a great start on a fairly nice, yet still being a fairly inexpensive sawmill when a added to it right.
Several years ago, after I fell I helped a buddy set one up that he swears by.
He bought the mill for the 36" bar and a large Stihl chainsaw and we used 1" x 1" and 1" x 2" aluminum box tubing and build a frame/track for it, etc., and we made a small winch using a bunch of parts he already had along with a 115 volt motor to pull the mill up the track.
He is big on using small electric motors on things out on the land he has and has a really small generator, (500/700 watts I think it is) and uses that to power the winch. It seems like he had something less than $1,300 in that one but the saw and aluminum both has went up since so I don't know if it could even be done for $1,500 now, but that thing works great. But if he had it to do again, we'd have just built a jig instead of buying the Alaskan Sawmill to start with now, and it's like Jerry said, if we had done that he could have designed it and bought a 12 HP, 4 cycle engine and geared the chain speed up about 3:1 or 4:1 a lot cheaper than the chainsaw cost him.
We screwed the frame together at first but he finally took it to the welding shop, lined it all back up and had them TIG weld it for him because the screws kept coming loose. That was about a year after we finished it and he hasn't had any trouble out of it since then.

Godspeed

Ranger
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
207 Posts
Wood-Mizer never sold out to anybody. They just became employee owned. If your budget won't handle a small Wood-Mizer, then look at a Hud-Son or Woodland Mills.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top