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Small Sawmills


acem
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I'm looking at buying a small sawmill and would like y'all's experience.

Some friends have sawmills and I've helped them quite a bit. They have sawed some logs for me but it difficult to transport logs and work out all the details.

I need to build some barns and sheds, have access to timber, and want my own sawmill.

I realize it's bad timing... 

I have run a woodmizer that is the cat's meow but pretty expensive. I've run some basic home made bandsaw mills that were functional but crude. I've helped run a circle saw mill. My uncle owned a small commercial sawmill/pallet/crate mill when I was a kid.

So I know a bit about sawmills but I'm unsure.

My brother in law has a nice little woodland mills band mill. He has barely used it, less than a dozen logs.the head looks well built. It's not for sale but would sell it at a reasonable price if I would let him use it (which is OK with me). I like it but it will only cut a 21" log...that seems small to me.

A home built mill is at an estate auction Saturday I plan to attend. He was a machinist and woodworker.

I've watched some sell recently for high prices at auctions.

Any opinions on sawmills in general and the woodland mills saw specifically?

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21" is fairly small in my opinion also. I have a Hudson Oscar 428 mill that cuts 28" max log diameter 24" max board width. I made track to get a 38-39' log cut . I have cut 32' so far

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 we have the same need but $$$$

hundreds of BTO have closed across the country in last 10 yrs ,,ask F 666 what fun it was.

defiantly not the time. maybe in 18 months when all the pre orders are delivered.

and it hits the fan

 

everyone has a mill..."home" lumber is worthless...not your case

they cant pay..even the low pre financing .

the shine has worn off...this is REAL work....

ALL brands, excepting several  top 3 models, are weekender toss it J U N K.

ANYTHING with a '17 > engine is junk expect (25hp minimum )< 2K hr of life. < 4k hr for $25K diesel etc.

< $20K units overall have a life of < 3K hrs ,service will be 75% > of new

Wm 25-40 and TK 12-14  are the top of the low end, for what you want  baker is WAy over $$

IIRC '19 $ it was   $.32> bf to own ,+ COG + $ .06-.12 to operate one.

watch some vids etc do some leg work.

this guy does ok for/on a $5K unit

have not found any others consistently using ANY weekender model

Josaljo Won

15.3K subscribers

https://www.lumbermenonline.com/find-for-sale/Wood-Mizer?manufacturer=Wood-Mizer&makeid=1072

https://www.forestrytrader.com/listings/auction-results/wood-mizer/forestry-equipment

 

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As with every thing else, cheap stuff isn't good, and good stuff isn't cheap.

 best advise in descending order:

1 Be born rich

2 Marry rich

3 Go into a co-op with a few others , buy the best mill you can .

4 Look for estate sales, bankruptcy sales, an so on.

5 Take it on the chin, man-up and buy a mill that will actually do more than make sawdust and steal your time.

  If you choose option 3, define in writing how the co-op will be dissolved, and assets redistributed.

 DISCLAIMER;

 I have a mill, it is a major investment, in time, space, and money.

 there are other hobbies that will give great satisfaction, with much less investment, if the mill you choose has money draining from your wallet, instead of filling it, then this is a hobby.

 

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2 hours ago, bitty said:

21" is fairly small in my opinion also. I have a Hudson Oscar 428 mill that cuts 28" max log diameter 24" max board width. I made track to get a 38-39' log cut . I have cut 32' so far

I will add my mill is a hobby as much as anything. I have made a few things that I wouldn't have bought the lumber for. Local guy here that bought a woodmizer in the 90's or late 80's ended up running his saw head by pushing it. He thought it was better than the power feed he had on the mill maybe because he could be more responsive to different conditions. His family had a sawmill for 50+ years . 

An ash burl I sawed up. Wish I had found it in the woods a few years earlier

IMG_20220325_175801667_HDR.jpg

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IMG_20211212_144209276_HDR.jpg

IMG_20220325_174404285_HDR.jpg

IMG_20220325_174410719.jpg

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25 minutes ago, bitty said:

 

I will add my mill is a hobby as much as anything. I have made a few things that I wouldn't have bought the lumber for. Local guy here that bought a woodmizer in the 90's or late 80's ended up running his saw head by pushing it. He thought it was better than the power feed he had on the mill maybe because he could be more responsive to different conditions. His family had a sawmill for 50+ years . 

An ash burl I sawed up. Wish I had found it in the woods a few years earlier

IMG_20220325_175801667_HDR.jpg

IMG_20220325_175804728_HDR.jpg

IMG_20211212_144209276_HDR.jpg

IMG_20220325_174404285_HDR.jpg

IMG_20220325_174410719.jpg

Looks like you have your very own osha inspectors🤯😱🥸

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1 minute ago, Ihfan4life said:

Looks like you have your very own osha inspectors🤯😱🥸

They were there to learn about a burl for a homeschool project

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Woodmizer, Hudson imo are about the best. I have a Linn and am happy with it for the most part.

One thing ive noticed is proprietary parts.... u break ur woodmizer or most other brand name and ull have to get parts thru them...as well as their convoluted, expensive track extensions. My Linn is a hardware store friendly mill...not to mention my track is totally built from the steel yard.

My mill is totally manual but will handle a 36" x 27' log as of now....which is about the biggest log i can find around my area anyways.

 

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Check out the linn website. If u can weld ud save a lot of money by buying the head and putting together ur own track. 

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54 minutes ago, Twolines said:

Woodmizer, Hudson imo are about the best. I have a Linn and am happy with it for the most part.

One thing ive noticed is proprietary parts.... u break ur woodmizer or most other brand name and ull have to get parts thru them...as well as their convoluted, expensive track extensions. My Linn is a hardware store friendly mill...not to mention my track is totally built from the steel yard.

My mill is totally manual but will handle a 36" x 27' log as of now....which is about the biggest log i can find around my area anyways.

 

I'd love to have that diameter capability for live edge tinkering

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How useful is having a mill capable of cutting big logs if you rarely use it?

It seems there could be some advantages of a smaller head when you don't have a big log. It would seem a smaller Lighter head would be easier to push and might use less fuel.

I would rarely cut logs bigger than 20"

I'm just thinking out loud.

Thx-Ace 

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Well i hear u there ace but what happens when u do find a big ole specimen...as mentioned above "live edge tinkering".

If i were to do it all over again id probly go hudson. We have a dealer here but way south of me. We also have woodmizer but they are just soo expensive. That said if someone gave me the cash, that lt15 wide is a sweet machine...just hate the convoluted track system.

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35 minutes ago, acem said:

How useful is having a mill capable of cutting big logs if you rarely use it?

It seems there could be some advantages of a smaller head when you don't have a big log. It would seem a smaller Lighter head would be easier to push and might use less fuel.

I would rarely cut logs bigger than 20"

I'm just thinking out loud.

Thx-Ace 

Imo there are a couple considerations. A hand powered WM is reasonable, expandable and supported. For your described needs it would be ideal, if you get a giant log, rough it out with a chainsaw to fit and carry on with life. If i were looking for a smaller mill it would be a name brand with good support, if you have a chance at a mill for the right price, right now, rock on and make due with whar you got. A bird in the hand beats a whole family of bird in the birdhouse that  will be built as soon as the chips get sent From china and the backlog gets caught up and your LT40 arrives. 

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Per the Woodmizer dealer where I picked up Dad's LT15Wide a month ago, if you put in an order today, it should arrive in about.... 2 yrs. It took 16 months to get this one, there are a few people suggesting they'd give $5k above list to take this one off his hands. Not for sale of course!

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Wish we had any kind of dealer "support" up here...lol. 

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Dave shepard, holy crap! Lol thats the longest mizer ive seen yet!

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I never thought i would say this Dave.....but thats some impressive wood! Lol

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From what I gathered a Woodlands mill is an entry level Norwood. I know of some people that ran Norwood and had no complaints. I don't know anyone personally that has a Woodlands but I don't think it would be much different quality. 

When we were looking for a mill there were a few different brands of mills being run in the area but I'd say 75% of them were WoodMizer. Talked to guys buying the lumber and everyone had zero complaints about boards off a WM. We wanted a used mill, mainly because we never used one before and only planned to cut a bit of lumber. Well used were scarce to find at that time yet, and any that were around were within a few thousand of a new mill. We pretty much settled on a Norwood HD36 with the hydraulic kit. We happened to come across the WoodMizer booth at a farm show in the city and they had one to run for display. We ended up buying a new LT35 loaded up. They pretty much told us we would get what we paid for it back if we wanted to sell it down the road. Our plan was to cut what we had to that year and then send it off, but the mill is still here and we're still making lumber lol. No complaints with it except that some parts you have to get direct through WM, but they haven't been outrageous on prices. Actually they had the cheapest priced blades out of any we could find. Ours has the 25hp Kohler on it and I do wish we would've went with the next step up and got efi. In the cold weather it likes to give some fits, although so do I so we kinda go together good lol

WoodMizer has some entry level mills with similar specs to the woodlands for about the same pricing from what I seen not too long ago up here. Honestly I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the more common brands. Dealer support would be a factor and the kinds of options you may want on it. If you're sawing for a hobby or sawing for production will determine that. One option that I will always tell people to get is the de-barker. We are running about 3 times as long on a blade because of it

 

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I agree on WM blades... a lot because i can get them easier and cheaper than lennox. 

This leads me in another direction. I sharpen my own blades. While i wish i could afford a belsaw sharpener and setter, i settled for the Linn units. The sharpener is a rejigged oregon chain grinder and the setter works well but oh how i wish the setter was a dual tooth model.

I get about ten give or take sharps out of a blade...maybe more. I have a few blades im not sure how old they really are?? I check for cracks before i sharpen...havnt had one explode yet!🤞

However...most of the wood up here is soft. Consider that.

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