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Author Topic: Bandsawing question  (Read 7859 times)

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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Bandsawing question
« on: November 27, 2001, 04:07:34 am »
There was a thread on another board (yes, I read other boards), that was talking about overruns with bandmills.

One bandsawyer comes up with this data.  He says he is getting about a 20% overrun.  His example was a 14" by 12' log.  Log costs are $18.75.  Lumber income is $54.00.  Sawing time is 30 minutes.  Species was not stated, but I'm assuming oak.

Is that a realistic sawing time for that size log?  

If I can take that a step further, his lumber income amounts to $450/Mbf.  His extra lumber over log scale is worth $9.

On my circle mill, I can mill that log is 2-3 minutes.  On a hand mill with no automation, I can mill it in 5 minutes.  Assuming I get no overrun from International scale, that leaves a net operating 36  cents per minute versus the hand mill.  No log costs were deducted since this is "free" wood.  I can't run any mill at that price.

Looking at it another way, his per minute income is $1.18 while the hand mill is $5.25 and the automated mill is $8.75.  That is net, after log costs, and assuming a 20% overrun on the bandmill.

What am I not seeing?  Where are the savings? Or is that sawing time way off?
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Offline Tom

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2001, 09:06:43 am »
Ron,

I read that post as well and stayed out of it because I think that we are listening to folks who have accumulated their vast amount of knowledge over a short career.

I dreaded the period when my youngest reached 14 because it had been proved by my oldest that I became very stupid when he reached that age.  There is a correlation, it seems, to some millers as well.

I see no way a small portable bandsaw can produce the quantity in the time that a circle mill can. They are relatively, much slower.  Yes, I think his sawing time is slow.  But I don't know what size machine he is using nor his experience.  I used to take 30 minutes sawing a log like that because I didn't know what "fast" was supposed to be. I can cut it in 10 minutes now, and I have been in the presence of sawmillers who call me slow.

I can easily cut 20% over Doyle. When I am producing the right product on the right log I have cut 50% over......never ever have I reached 100% or greater.

I am forever tickled at the bandsawyers who compare their 15 to 25 horse machines to 300 horse circle mills with diesel or electric and big teeth that eat anything that gets in their way.

We have our place but it isn't in a race for Board feet per minute.

I consistantly cut 1300 to 2000 feet per day.  I take the mill to the log and I don't mess with slabs or sawdust.  I have cut as little as 300 feet in a day  only once did I cut 4000.  Other than those gross measurements, I find it difficult to compare my production on a per log or per day basis

If you have no lack of logs, or time is of the essence, then you can't beat a circle mill for clearing the log deck.

If the logs are at a premium and you have the time to process them then a bandmill does an admirable job.

I have noticed that the first question I am asked by the older circle mill operators is How many logs did you cut today?  I never quite understood that question.  It sounded to me like they were trying to get rid of logs rather than make boards.

What are the savings?  The savings are in less waste from the log, fewer transportation costs, less labor costs (generally) and the production of lumber from trees that would never have been taken to a stationary mill but rather buried in a landfill or burned for a fee.

Of course there is the other side of the bandsaw coin where you find 12" bands 3 stories tall driven by huge engines that treat a log the same as a circle mill but are less affected by log size.

Working with numbers makes my head hurt.  I guess I need to put pencil to paper to see what this is really all about.
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Offline CHARLIE

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2001, 09:29:25 am »
Of course you have to remember. If you only cut a log into 2" X whatever" boards you can do it in less time than cutting it into 1" X whatever" boards.   And I quote....."more board feet, less cuts"  ;D Also, you have to remember that because a circular blade mill is taking a lot wider kerf, it doesn't have to cut as many boards out of a log as a bandmill with a very narrow kerf. So the circular blade mill is faster but produces more sawdust but less board feet per log.::)
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2001, 12:45:07 pm »
I would have to say that the difference in kerf is not an issue on 1 log. Kerf savings only amounts to a hill of beans over the long haul.  On a log like ron is talking, the difference in kerf would be maybe one line. (Pass, cut, etc).

As for sawing over on Doyle, if your sawing logs less then around 34 to 36 inches, everybody saws over doyle. The smaller the log, the higher your overrun. Thats why I prefer international.
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2001, 01:58:01 pm »
just for my two cents worth  :D toms numbers sound a lot like mine on my HD-40 for max ever 4000 ft/day once with lotsa helpers.  most days 1-2000 by myself pulling slabs and boards along with scanning and loading.  lowest around 500 cutting tiny pine into one by and edging at half inch drops.  usually cut even to 50% over scale.  and i love numbers :)
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Offline Tom

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2001, 02:47:58 pm »
Amid his humor, I think Charlie is right.

Putting sawing techniques aside let's look at what each device requires to make a cut.

A circle mill requires that it take a quarter of an inch for its kerf.  A nominal tooth being 1/4" wide.

A thin kerf "portable" type bandsaw blade nominally set at .021 requires .042 or slightly less than 3/64ths of an inch.

If a board is rough cut at 1  1/8 inches thick then:

the circle blade requires 1.375 of an inch to accomplish the cut.  A 12 inch cant will produce 8 boards and a trim board of about 1/4 inch.

The band blade requires 1.167 of an inch to accomplish the cut.  A 12 inch cant will produce 10 boards and a trim board of about 9/32nds which is a shade over 1/4 inch.

Most Bandmills will cut within an inch of the bed so the last board will be a 1 inch board.

Most circle mills require that a 2" board be left as the dog board (some can cut a little closer) which means that they are actually getting 7 boards from the cant or 8 with one that requires another piece of machinery to size it.

The finesse of most bandmills allows a conscientious mill operator and finisher to produce a finished 3/4 board from a 1" rough cut board.  Many in some applications can get a 3/4 finish board from a 7/8 rough cut board.

Most circle mills produce a finish too rough to accomplish this  require the extra 1/8th or better to get a finished 3/4 "  board.

If this were to hold true in a production atmosphere then the bandmill would produce 11 boards with a 1/2 trim board from the 12 inch cant.

In speed, the bandmill doesn't hold a candle to the circle mill.  If you are looking at the number of board feet each can produce in an hour and the log inventory is of no question then the bandmill may as well stay at home.

If you only have 5 logs and are going to work until the logs are gone, then you should get more production from the bandmill.

If the value of the log is high then a band mill makes even more sense.

Put those values together with the transportation charges and other things mentioned earlier and bandmills make "dollar" sense.

I like them both.  They both have their place as do swing blades and chainsaw mills.  In their own world each is valuable.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2001, 03:03:03 pm »
I can't compare apples to oranges here.  I was talking production mills, which is out of place on this thread. A large headrig bandsaw does not have such a thin kerf. I know it is less then a circle mill, but as I said the difference is seen over the long haul, not on 1 12 inch cant. Besides that, most large mills use thinsaw resaws as we do.

As I said apples and oranges. My mill cuts 30,000 feet a day. I lose count on logs after 15 minutes.
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Offline Tom

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2001, 04:09:32 pm »
As slow as I am, I lose count of logs about the same time I run out of fingers on one hand.  I count with the left one because the right one is busy with the flow control.

In a way it is apples and oranges and in a way it isn't.  Without the ability to produce large volumes of boards our building economy would be in a mess.  That's why it is justifiable to overlook the "waste" of the thicker kerf.  The economics of the volume allows for it.

To service homeowners who only have 2 logs or farmers who have 100, it is convenient to be able to produce those extra boards and to save him the transportation.

Part of what Ron's confusion is about has to do with the portable sawmill industry.  Portable sawyers are everywhere now and are coming out of all types of occupations.  Many don't allow themselves the luxury of getting very far up the learning curve before they deem themselves experts.   You can spot these guys at a glance because of the misuse of terminology and the idea that they can do more with less than anybody else can.

Most experienced folks in any field have learned that they are susceptible to ignorance.  It's not necessarily a fault.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2001, 04:32:40 pm »
A thicker kerf in my book is not waste. Its the result of using the right tool to do the job. If your going to split wood, you don't use a meat cleaver. The "waste" of the extra kerf at our mill is called "by product".  It is apples and oranges when talking about the difference between how a portable band mill makes its money versus how a mill like ours stays afloat.

Where does saved lumber due to kerf thiness fit in when you are quarter sawing? Thats one thing I figure bandmills have over us is the luxury of time to cut a more specialized product.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2001, 04:51:37 pm »
Here is where I was coming from.  A lot of these little bandmills are trying to compete with the larger mills.  They keep on talking about overruns that is supposed to support their economics.  Their overrun reduces their log costs, but it doesn't reduce their operational costs.  Both are part of the equation.

I was just curious about the sawing time.  I know of one guy who used a Woodmizer in a stationary setting and tried to compete with the larger mills.  I timed a 14" log at 20 minutes and he pulled a tie out of the heart.  He still had to edge the boards.  This guy eventually went bankrupt by believing what the bandmill people told him.

Portable bandmills have their place when it comes to custom sawing and niche sawing.  They won't work in an industrial atmosphere where time is money.

Tom is so right about learning curves.  I have seen guys in the business for a long time and still can't figure out how to make a mill work right.  Most are good equipment operators and good labor managers.  When it comes to numbers, they are lost.

Then you have the guy who has pulled the levers for 3 months, made a few bucks, and is suddenly an expert.  It took me years before I got the filing right.  When the economy is good, anyone can make money.  Those that are good survive the bad times.

On board thicknesses, I believe a hardwood board is to be planed to 15/16 after drying. (I have planed 4/4 pine down to a 1" board after air drying).  I don't know of any buyer who will make an exception for small bandmill lumber.  I do know buyers who complain about the quality of lumber from bandmills.  I believe it is more the operator of those mills than the milling operation itself.

Most hardwood logs are cut down to a cant.  I can get down to a 4/4 board on my carriage, but I don't like to do it.  After you get to a certain point, it is better to get rid of the cant then to saw into lumber.  I saw a low percentage of 2 Common lumber.  With the value of some 2 Common being less than pallet stock, it doesn't make sense to cut it.

There is a point where a bandmill is more profitable than a circle saw.  It definitely isn't in low grade logs.  Someday I'll have to come up with a formula that defines that breakeven point.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2001, 05:07:48 pm »
The learning curve is more like a crroked line when it comes to sawing. I have a guy right now that I am training. He has been doing pretty well but he is now at the point where when we have a conversation I hear alot of "I already knew that" answers.

I have been telling him he is now a hazard. He is at that point where he thinks he knows enough to turn on the radio while sawing. I said he wasnt, he said he was. (5 months versus 22 years).

While I was gone last week, instead of hitting the back button he meant to hit after completing a cut, he hit forward, which meant that the log hit the splitter on the return back breaking the 4 mounting bolts and driving it into the saw.  

He got to see something new. A sparkshow.
He never did get the saw to cut right after that, but was to proud to call my cell cause he knew so much before I left.
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Offline Gordon

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2001, 05:39:52 pm »
Fruit is really flying here, my point being that looking from the outside in you really can't compare two totally different styles of cutting. ----Well then again maybe you can.

With any mill you have your investment $ cost of mill
With any mill you have operating costs  $ labor/breakdowns/upkeep/expendables/buildings/land/insurance
With any mill you have your $ profit or loss at the end of the day/week/year.

Every business has to know what it takes to open the doors in the morning. Guess what I'm getting at is the break even point before profit. How much wood has to be sawn to be profitable. Or on the other hand how much money does it cost to pay all the bills if no wood is sawn. That will all boil down to percentages and what money goes to what piece of the pie.

So I think all things have to be considered when comparing the different mills and the different styles of cutting.

Sort of like comparing a firewood processor to a hydraulic log splitter.

Please correct me if I'm wrong
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2001, 05:33:31 am »
Hay!  Let me in on this dogfight!

Ron, you knock out a 14"x12' log in two minutes.  Then what happens to the output?  Do you stop and dispose of the slabs, shovel the sawdust,  edge the flitches,  stack the lumber and load the skid block with the next log?  I suspect not.  You probably have a lot of support equipment and people to take care of that.

I've worked around a number of small circle sawmills set up under shade trees that didn't have edgers, power log decks, dust blowers, or power conveyors, etc. and I don't remember them ever knocking out 20,000 BF a day.  Or for that mater, 5, 4, 3 or even 2,000 BF a day unless there were quite a number of people involved and the worked more then 8 hours.

Here is another way to look at it:

We have a Wood-Mizer LT40HDG35 Super Hydraulic mill and WM two blade edger.  Sunday afternoon I cleaned up around the mill,  changed the oil, etc.  I loaded the skidblocks with the next custom sawing order - an assortment of water oak logs and red cedar to build a pole barn.   One log was rather large and ugly. Took me about an hour to get everything set up and ready to saw.

Monday, I get home from my day job at 3:30 and found the lumber - some 1200 BF stacked ready for the customer.  Mary was in the house puttering around taking a pie out of the oven.  She gave me my orders for the evening - go out and edge about 100 BF of flitches left over,  move the slab pile and load her skid blocks with the next custom sawing order.  

This order had one super nice 24"x8' walnut log,  three rough 8' walnut logs,  and several big, ugly chunks 3'and 4' long that were nothing but knots and forks.  It took me about an hour to get this done and went in to find Mary cooking supper. At bedtime,  I found that she had also done the laundry that day and had my socks and stuff folded on my side of the bed (can't teach her to put them away).

I got home yesterday evening at 3:30 and Mary was still sawing.  She had one ugly chunk to finish and some edging.  I jumped in to help her and we had the 600 BF of 4/4 walnut loaded on the customer's trailer and in the house by 4:40.  I knew she had gone to town that morning to run errands and get groceries, etc. so I asked her when she got started sawing.  She said it was around 11:00.  

In the two days,  she had dulled two blades and just started on a third.  It probably took 10 gallons of gas.  So we probably had say - $30.00 in direct costs and maybe $5.00 in incidentals such as phone calls, electricity, etc.  She billed one $240.00 and the other $150.00.  So she pretty much pocked $355.00 in two days.  I estimate her time and my time was around a total of 15 hours on these two projects so our hourly rate would be something over $23.00/hr.

I think I'll keep her and our Wood-Mizer.  (I'm still working on getting her to put my socks in the drawer.)
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Offline Tom

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2001, 06:25:13 am »
Ron,

There is a point of confusion to me that may have to do with the end customer.  

I know of requirements (rules) to sell a planed 15/16ths board, but my customers who are dabbling in cabinets after a career in cabinetry are looking for finished boards in thicknesses of 3/8", 3/4", 1", 1 1/4" and 2" after planing.  I am asked religiously to get as close to those measurements as I can and still leave enough for drying and planing.  It's a crap shoot at best because if I liberally cut a board they frown("wasting wood").  If  I am too conservative they tend to like it until the dried board is too thin("useless boards").

After dealing with them for a job or two, we arrive at thicknesses that suit them.  What it boils down to is their learning what it takes to get the board they want.

All this talk about "how accurate a bandmill is" and "how smooth a finish they produce" makes the end user of the wood think you are operating a piece of shop equipment. They expect too much out of it.  A band mill isn't a planer, it's a sawmill.  As good a job as it can do in making pretty boards, it's real job is to break down logs.  Straight lining, joining, planing, sanding and other shop oriented jobs are best left to machines that were designed to do that function.

I have new customers who will call it to my attention if there are saw marks on the board, as if something is wrong.  I have some who stand behind me with a tape measure and call it to my attention that one end of the board is a 32nd thicker than the other."Maybe you need to adjust something" or "What's wrong with your saw". I am told to split 2x12's into 2x6's then chastised because they bend from the stress.  I have to learn what will work and then teach my customer because he is looking over my shoulder.  If he is very contrary, I hand him a tape rule and let him tell me where to put the blade.

In a production atmosphere I would guess that your customer is a broker or a lumber company that deals with the end user.

Custom Sawyers, especially in the portable bandsaw market, are at a disadvantage in that they are not in the main stream of the industry and education is hard to come by. They are mostly self taught and their level of expertise depends on where they can find their information.

It makes things more difficult when band sawmill manufacturers market their equipment as "producing finished boards" etc.  

It also makes things difficult when there are so many who are experts only because they own the saw.

I saw differently for most every customer on my list.  Some want it one way and some want it another.  I am not a grader nor experienced in grade sawing but I must satisfy the "grade" that my customer expects.  He is the expert.

It would be so much easier if I could say, "that 1.125" board is a 3/4 and a 7/8 and a 1" inch board"  or "That pitch pocket was in your log, tha's why it's in your board."

In this industry there is no culling before the customer gets it.  A miscut is an embarrassing moment that waste wood.  It lays around all day visible to the whole world and talked about at the restaurant for a week.

Sawyers are following instructions likened to "turn right 3 miles before you get to the last bridge". because they have little control in the end product.

Critics who define the end product are "monday morning quarterbacks" in that they can't tell you how to cut every board so that it "doesn't waste wood" or make "useless boards".

It doesn't matter which end of the production pipe you look into, the other end could have done it better.  

Ripping logs apart for profit is a very complicated issue.

.......And Ron....and Jeff, your right.  A 2000 Board Foot per day operation doesn't compare with a 30,000 Board Foot per day operation nor should they try to be in competition with one another.  They are different animals living in different worlds with different goals.

Gordon, lots of truth there.  If you can't "bust the nut" you'll go out of business.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2001, 04:15:11 pm »
Bibbyman

I've run handmills that consistently produced 5 Mbf/day.  3 men, one edger, 8 hours.  Slabs were stacked and banded.  Logs were rolled in on hickory poles.  Sawdust was taken out by a drag.  Logs were turned by hand.  Very low tech.  No hydraulics.  But, we did very little custom sawing.

I also worked at a mill that produced 20 Mbf/day with 10 hour days.  Mill was a handmill, with a debarker, chipper, dust blower and edger.  7 man operation.

I'm just trying to figure where all the savings are coming from with the thin kerf.  And, there is a point where those savings kick in and it is in higher end value logs.

I know there is a formula.  I believe the breakeven point is as follows:  

Avg $/Mbf=(PCB-PCC)/(overrun/100)

PCB=band mill production costs in $/Mbf
PCC=circle mill production costs in $/Mbf
overrun=the percentage of extra lumber produced by thin kerf.  Not over log scale, but over circle mill scale.

For example:  If a bandmill is producing 20% more lumber from the same amount of logs as a circle mill, and bandmill costs are $250/Mbf and circle mill costs are $130/Mbf you would come up with this answer.

Avg $/Mbf = (250-130)/.2 = $600/Mbf log run

That means that logs that average less would be better processed on a circle mill, while logs that average more than that would be better processed on a band mill.  

I know of one operation that was using 2 Woodmizers to break down logs and sent them to a Baker resaw.  They were dealing in cherry.  But, they were very labor intensive.  13 workers.  They became a victim of their own mismangement.

As I pointed out before, this is from an industrial standpoint.  Custom sawing is quite different.  
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2001, 06:59:44 pm »
there is one standard that will make all mills apples.  that would be bd ft per worker per day, if we can agree on a standard day.  so lets just say that in 8 hours, by my self, i cut 1400 ft get it stacked, clean up the sawdust and take care of slabs and maintainence.  that would be 1400 bd ft per worker per day.  in the production atmosphere of the larger mills these are the numbers that accountants look at.  and i know different workers are paid at different rates,but i bet there is some industry standard of profitability. :P
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2001, 07:07:45 pm »
Yea Ron,

I think I’m on the same page with you.  I’ve seen people try to use a portable bandmill to produce high volume/low value pallet stock.  I’d think you’d have to work pretty hard or learn to live simple to make a go of it that way.  Then the trade papers are full of auctions of circle mills that couldn’t make it in that business either.

Mary and I try to saw as much grade lumber we can.  We are quite happy with the return on this effort and the extra 20% overrun is real dollars on top.  And we get a lot of complements from the grade broker on the appearance and consistency of our lumber.  I hope that relates to a little better grading.  Availability of good logs and constant requests for custom sawing prevents us from sawing our own logs into grade lumber as we would like to.

The bandmill allows us to custom saw a lot of stuff that would be difficult or not possible for the local circle mills to saw.  Long beam and post and trailer decking for example.  Another is short stuff – like the 3’ and 4’ stuff Mary sawed on Tuesday.  We’ve even stood things on end and sawed across bolts to make clock faces, etc.

All this custom sawing stuff is a real killer of time.  Not so much in the sawing as it is in dealing with the customers.  In my story above,  I didn’t mention that the walnut customer visited last spring and talked about the project for about an hour.  He called back a couple of times to make arrangements, etc. Then he’s been coming over every couple of days to check to see if we had it sawn yet even though he has he’s waited all summer to bring the logs and said he isn’t in any hurry and has no real use for the lumber he’s having sawn – and we told him we’d call when we had it done.  The other customer was one of my many first cousins so that took a couple of hours of visiting over several trips.  But that’s part of it.

We’ve had a number of people tell us we should expand and hire people, etc.  Our answer is: “Hell no!”  While we have some facility and machinery upgrades planed,  we want to stay just Mom and Pop.  We’d rather make a little and keep most of it than to make a lot and divide most of it with a bunch of other people and the bank.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2001, 02:52:21 am »
woodsmill

Rule-of-thumb for mills is 1 Mbf/manday will make you profitable.  If it goes any lower than that, you won't make any money.  Again, industrial settings.
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Offline swampwhiteoak

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2001, 06:24:55 am »
I like your mathematical answer, Ron.  This interests me so I'm going to ask some questions, Jeff or anybody else that knows a lot about mills, feel free to answer as well.

You separated costs in terms of cost/Mbf.  This would be derived from fixed costs and variable costs.  Fixed costs being paying off that loan for the saw, depreciation, ect, all that stuff you're going to pay whether you saw or not.  I assume production bandsaws (not portable millls) have a higher purchase price (is this right?) than circle mills.

Next would be variable costs - labor, maintenance, ect, things that depend on production.  In comparing two production saws - band and circle of the same relative quality, what's the difference in production?  How about kerf?  Is maintance higher for one or the other?

I ask because from my observation the size of the mill seems to be related to "circle or bandsaw" question.  I see very small operations (like Tom) using portable mills.  Middle end producers of grade or below grade use circle mills, and high grade or large producers (especially new mills) seem to use bandsaws.  

This seems to indicate to me that log price is not the only factor in the band/circle choice.  Or have I got something wrong?


Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2001, 02:27:03 pm »
I figure production costs as all costs - variable and fixed - and divide that by the production.  If you are using annual costs, use annual lumber production.  Any mill should be trying to get that cost down.  

A large bandmill is used in some mills instead of a circle mill for primary breakdown.  I'm not sure how much more expensive those models are.  These can have a band up to 10" wide and are usually 1/8" thick.  So, kerf savings are the 1/8" per cut.  

Support equipment would include a filing equipment, and a full-time band filer.  So, the increased production would have to pay for the increase labor and equipment.  

On headrigs, the savings come in by being able to saw in 2 directions - coming and going.  There are no vertical edgers.

But, more mills are going the band resaw route.  They are still using the circle saw to break them down into cants.  A mill in my area is using a circle headrig and 2 band resaws.  They talk about production in the 1 million bf/week range.  That's for 3 shifts.  I'm not sure if I believe it or not.

Band resaws also need a filing shop.  But, by using a resaw, it is like adding another carriage.  All the extra cuts are done on the resaw, and the headrig justs squares up.

Most hardwood mills still use circle saws at the headrig.  Softwood mills mainly use bandmills.  I don't know if timber type is the reason.  

Low grade mills are starting to go more towards scragg mills.  Two saws and end dogging.  They are used mainly to make cants and ties.  The slabs are often resawn into boards.  I've seen boasts of 30 Mbf/day on small timber.

I saw a mill in the Midwest that was sawing walnut and white oak.  They were using all circle mills with no resaws.  I would consider them an upper end operation.  Some of the newer operations in cherry country have used bandmills.  Seems to be a regional thing.

Log prices aren't the only factor.  I have often used this formula.  Profit=market value - log price - operating cost.  Other factors include sawing time and  grade recovery.  

But, when comparing two operations, your log costs would be the same.  You are using the same logs, but will come up with different results.
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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2001, 04:19:15 am »
I thought I'd throw my 2 1/2 cents into this.  I do on-site custom sawing with a WM mill.  I've only been doing this for a year, so I'm still learning.  I consider my business a service oriented business where I'm much more concerned about satisfying my customers than on how many BF I produce a day. Most of the time I do charge by the BF, but do charge by the hour for my service as well.  It all depends on what the customer wants & is willing to pay.  With my mill I can saw anything out of a log that a customer is willing to pay for, from low grade 5/8" pallet stock to 5/4 "grade" walnut to 12 x 12 x 20 bridge timbers.  The great think about a small portable bandsaw mill is its flexiability & portability, not it's production capabilities.  I think a larger circle or band mill is much more production oriented, they have to be in order to make a profit.  The savings a larger mill has is in economy of scale, produce lots of whatever & do it quickly, but don't ask them to cut low grade stuff one log then cut 20' 2 x 6's the next log, then cut figured boards out of short walnut crotchs the next, they can't do it & stay in business.  That's why one of my best customers is the man that owns a tie mill in town.  When he wants or needs something sawn out of the ordinary he calls me.  Now his operation can saw 20 MBF in a day without hardly breaking a sweat, but it won't ever saw 20' cypress 2 x 12's or even 16' switch ties, that's where the flexiability of my mill makes me a living.

Trying to compare these operations is impossible in my opinion as they were designed to do different things.  I know that I can saw ties on my mill, but I also know that if I try to do this I will never be able to compete with man who has the tie mill, but I also know that there is a place for an operation like mine & that it can be profitable--that is providing a service to customers that larger mills won't deal with.

Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2001, 05:10:09 am »
   Oho, now that's the post I'd been waiting for, tho I didn't know it. You know how you are chewing on something and you don't even know what direction you're going til something puts you over the edge- well, now I'm over the edge (and that's not always a great thing for me..)

  My point (I'm getting to it!)- the only sawyer I know of right in town does indeed have a BIG (stationary) mill in comparison to the portables- I'm not even sure what type of bladage he has tho I know he updated recently. When I approached them about sawing some problematic cherry, it wasn't anything like $20 for a replacement blade if there was a problem- it was hundreds- and I've gotten to where I don't want to bother them for wood- they're too busy for little orders, already set up for their regular customers, I feel like I have to kiss butt to get anything, and that doesn't go down too well with me. Last order- for my bullpen project- I called out of town and got some wood delivered.

  My brother in law had some type of little mill but wasn't real interested in the cherry- dubious about breaking a blade (like it's a capital crime)- I was very encouraged by the estimate recently of $20 for replacements. So really I don't know anyone around here offering the portable services you guys are talking about. I don't yet have enough trees on my woodlot to justify jumping right into this as a tool dedicated to production on my land- BUT-.

  I think it's time for me to get serious and ransack the woods for someone who is in the portable mill business who offers just what you describe- and is user friendly. If they aren't here, I think there may be a market. When they timbered this place before I bought it, they cut and loaded up and took it off to the bigger stationary mills- even one up in Fryeburg where they do furniture grade. It's small and flexible that I'm looking for.

  Thanks for the nudge. Just what I need- to go off the deep end yet again.. :D             lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2001, 07:55:50 am »
TxLogger,

Well, put. ;)

LW,

Here are a couple of general suggestions:  

If your brother-in-law has a bandmill,  and his only hang-up is possible blade damage,  then there is nothing stopping you from buying a few blades so the risk would be all yours.  

If you think you going to repeat having logs that may have tramp metal in them, you may want to invest in a metal detector.  

If you take the plunge and get your own mill,  I'd suspect you could find logs from all kinds of sources.  Like; tree trimming services,  county road crews,  power line and other construction sites, etc.  And don't discount going to the local mill and approaching them on buying a few select logs from them.  Just keep in mind they are out to make money.  But if they can make profit out of a log without sawing it,  they may take it.
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2001, 12:14:22 pm »
LW contact woodmizer and they will give you a list of cutters near your area.   www.woodmizer.com    i traveled 30 miles to my farthest cut so far, and i talk to a cutter in central NH who will travel and stay overnight for jobs ;D
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline Bud Man

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2002, 01:43:20 am »
The variation in the responce to this topic makes me either want to become an accountant or go count grains of sand on the beach.     "Youse guys are from different planets"
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2002, 01:25:47 pm »
Bud, I get the feeling many of us here are very different in our approach.  I lost money, or didn't make much, on some early jobs, i think i was just too eager to get them.  I still cut only part time and teach as my day job, so I have become sort of selective in what I will take on, and how much I keep on hand, or cut on spec.  I will go full time in June of 2003 and will probably take any job offers at first, so as to insure a constant flow of cash.  There are many variables to this independent small sawmill show.  I have had a few jobs that paid quite well, here are two.  Quartered white oak ordered by a customer, I cut true quartered and bought the logs at 40 cents per bd ft.  I never cut more than 350 bd ft on any of the winter days of the job but at $2.00   that gave $560 dollar days.  two curly maple logs gave 450 bd ft and took about 5 hrs.  after a year of drying i sold them for $1350 great income and both fun jobs.  I have also worked my tukus off for $350 a day cutting oak 2 by with a log truck to feed the mill and three of the customers helpers.  4200 bd ft, but all i did was go back and forth as fast as i could.  so yes we are all a different can o peas.  but we are all cutters.
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline Bud Man

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2002, 05:34:22 pm »
James==                                                                            Our differences are what makes us originals.  I was born to walk on dirt and beneath trees , but from 23 - to - 53  pounded the pavement.  Whatever time's left, I intend to do just that.  I enjoy breaking a sweat and making $'s to spend in worthwhile endeavours, but mostly enjoy people and especially ones who have a passion and pursue it.  MY passion has always been the biological earth==Everything thats within it and Everything upon it.                                    God Willing, It'll only get better and better.
The groves were God's first temples.. " A Forest Hymn"  by.. William Cullen Bryant

Offline fencerowphil (Phil L.)

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2002, 01:44:23 pm »
Gentlemen, GENTLEMEN!
I have been amazed at the various perspectives, also
at the depth of discussion which has been presented,
but come on... :

The most amazing detail of the entire thread has been
Bibbyman's "Mary".  She is truly a last-chapter-of-Proverbs
kind 'o woman!
Phil L.
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             supply, end product(s) and market(s) = profit !
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2002, 05:01:08 pm »
Now that Mary’s reputation has reach biblical proportions,  what’s next?  Sainthood?

You ought to see her this evening.  From the shoulders down she is progressively dirty.  We picked up our (her) new Wood-Mizer LT40HDE25-RA Super mill Wednesday and we’ve been working get it all installed.  Lot more to installing a stationary electric mill than a portable fuel model.  Knocked off  the first couple of boards with it this evening.

Looks like we are going to have a long learning curve on the Accuset setworks!  Standing behind the Command console sure is difficult to get used to – we keep wanting to run along with the sawhead like a dog chasing a car.  The two plane clamping system is new to us too.  Too many new things for us to absorb at one time. :P




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Offline Bud Man

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2002, 02:51:53 pm »
Great picture but why the wheels//
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2002, 05:55:34 pm »
An old buddy of mine once said “All babies are born with tails but they pop off before they are born.”  I don’t know how he figured that out either. ::)

Anyway,  WM build and transports their stationary mills with temporary axle and hitch assemblies.  They are removed and returned to the factory.  But the mill has full wiring harness and lights, etc. for mobile transport built right in.  I guess that’s good as who know if someday a new owner may change it back to a mobile mill.  It’s happened before. ;)
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2003, 07:19:50 am »
Here is a very good discussion on circle mill vs. band mill and kerf that was buried down about page 33.

Best to start at the beginning on page one.  8)
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Offline dail_h

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2003, 05:48:45 pm »
   SHOOOEEEEE !!!!!!
Talk about knowlege and wisdom, man I didn't know you guys were so smart.I'm durned near afraid to get in on this,but for what it's worth here goes.
  1. Ron the circle mill with two resaws behind it cutting a million bdft a week is very doable,if all they are doing is making cants.100,000bdft per shift is not unrealistic,but good productionnone the less.
  2.Bibbyman,in my humble opinion,things being as they are in your operation,I think that i'de a-keep Mary tou aint likely to find a suitable replacement and b-learn to put your own socks away.
  3.High value speciaitycuts a portable bandmill can't be beat,high productionlow value/comidityproducts takes large stationarymills.
                TO EACH HIS OWN
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2003, 07:08:01 pm »
You’ll be glad to know we worked out the sock storage deal.  I just quit wearing socks and underwear.  

More'n you wanted to know I bet. ;D
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Offline dail_h

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2003, 04:55:38 pm »
As my kids say OVERSHARE!!!!!!
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Offline Rick Schmalzried

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2003, 07:40:37 pm »
Bibby,
I am going to have to print this out and leave it for my wife  :D  She has been after me to get me to put mine up rather than waiting for her.  After this, I don't think she will complain as much  :D  :D
_         
|_| .  _ |
| \ | |_ |<

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2003, 06:35:18 am »
Band mills have another advantage, overall safer,  less complicated blade,   dogging and dogging system can be easier, and they can be run by one person. A circle mill can be run solo, but it’s not fun running the head, walking around the log deck or power shaft side, then dragging lumber near an 80” blade.
Even though a circle mill can be allot cheaper initial cost.  
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Bandsawing question
« Reply #37 on: April 14, 2003, 06:54:08 pm »
This topic got somewhat derailed from its original post and that was basically questioning the overrun prospect of a thin kerf bandmill vs. the production level of a circle mill.

The last Timberline had an article about Royce Smith in Success, MO. that had chronicled his migration from circle mill to bandmill.  

If you don’t get Timberline,  here is the link to the article on their web site.

Big Thin Kerf Sawmills Win Over Even A Die-Hard Circle Saw Owner
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