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Author Topic: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH  (Read 4312 times)

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Offline GHOSTSHRIMP

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HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« on: March 31, 2014, 01:04:22 pm »
hey gang. i've seen some topics on here about these saw mills, but i was wondering specifically about people's opinions about which one would be a better investment, cause these are all i could afford.

my wife, son (soon to be 3), and myself are homesteading on our 25 acre property in the northeast kingdom of vermont. over the past 2 years we've been building/living in our 16x20 cabin. when the snow melts we'll be building a 20x20 addition on a minimal budget. as i'm doing my materials list here, i'm wondering if buying one of these low cost mills might be the more economical way to go. we have plenty of trees, and plenty of help with labor, so it's really just about using our limited money wisely. we plan on making more additions to the house over the next few years, as our family grows, and i also run a camp in our forest here, where we do small scale building projects every summer.

the LUMBER SMITH is pretty affordable, and has a HONDA motor. but it looks more fragile, will it last me at least for the 3 years it will take to finish my house?

the HFE-21 is the absolute limit of our budget. is it worth the extra 6 hundred dollars? i like the rail set up it comes with. it seems like that would make the work go faster. is the BRIGGS engine inferior to the HONDA?

eventually i plan to get a larger mill, but i'm wondering if getting one of these now would be better than just spending that money at the local sawmill. any thoughts?
daniel bandit

Offline Magicman

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 01:15:29 pm »
GHOSTSHRIMP, Since I have no experience with either, I have no suggestion to make, but Welcome to the Forestry Forum.   :)
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Offline GHOSTSHRIMP

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 01:27:43 pm »
THANKS! i just noticed the WOODLAND MILLS link in the margin here too, and the HM 126 looks interesting. i guess i should say i'd be interested in any suggestions for mills under 3G.
daniel bandit

Offline m wood

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 03:24:58 pm »
welcome ghostshrimp to the forum.  You will surely get some positive feedback on both the hfe21 and the woodland mills from other members here.  They are often topics of discussion. 

according to your mentioned needs, it sounds that either would be worth considering.  But, I have serious doubts about the lumber smith accomplishing what you need, sorry.  It just wouldnt be in the same category as the others.

if 3k is your budget, please dont rule out a used mill.  I purchased used just over a year ago and was well under 3k for a whole lotta mill, allbeit manual, but still a good older Norwood. 

Check back on your thread frequently, because we are an opinionated group :D, and there are many others here that can help guide your decision.  BTW, what type and size trees will you be milling from, there on your homestead?
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Offline 4speed

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 03:38:57 pm »
Welcome to the forum, GHOSTSHRIMP. I don't know if you looked at the comparison chart on Woodland's site, but they offer a comparison of many of the available hobby/entry level mills.
http://www.woodlandmills.ca/pages/portable-sawmill-comparison
We are in the same boat, as we outgrew our shack 4 kids ago. I have pretty much decided on the Woodland Mill, with the EZ Boardwalk a close second if the budget allows when purchase time comes.

Offline justallan1

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 03:45:52 pm »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum, Ghostshrimp.
I have the HFE-21 and like it a lot. It's billed as a hobby mill and does absolutely great at that. I saw a lot of power poles, pine, juniper and box elder with mine and it's easily paid for itself in just over a year that I've had it and I have a full time job ranching that I have to work around. Hud-son claims it can saw a 21" log, it CANNOT, it can saw about an 18-19" log if it's pretty straight. I'm not complaining, just pointing out the facts. I accidently found that out before I bought mine and was okay with it for what I have to work with.
I had researched the heck out of the Lumber Smith also, but just thought it was too light weight and although I never heard of this problem with them, I was worried about an aluminum housing getting vibration fractures. Again, I had heard nothing saying that, it was just my opinion.
There are a couple people on here with Harbor Freight mills you may ask about and if I were to do it again, I would look at some used mills. You may find a good used one that can do a lot more.
Please note that my mill is the only one that I have ever used.

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Offline MattJ

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 04:42:24 pm »
I also have the HFE-21 and have liked it and as was previously mentioned the 21" is overly optimistic (I've done slightly larger but had to trim the sides for the first cut).  It is a good solid saw and the engine has been great.  The one difference that will make a big difference is the height adjust and dogs will be much faster than the lumbersmith.  I would argue these two features alone will make sawing 2X faster for the HFE or any other comparable mill.  I can switch from one height to the next and be sawing again in probably 5 sec max. 

Offline 21incher

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 05:01:08 pm »
I also have the HFE-21 and am extremely happy with it. I have squeezed some 24" walnuts on it with the help of a chainsaw. But as mentioned before you have to cut it into a 19 inch cant. Mine came with a 7 hp Subaru engine and it has plenty of power to get the job done. The dogs are very easy to operate and the people at Hudson are great.
 

 
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Offline GHOSTSHRIMP

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 05:12:34 pm »
thanks for the feedback everybody! i did see the comparison chart on the WOODLAND site, and that was very helpful. i think i'm probably leaning towards the HUDSON or the WOODLAND mill. somebody asked me what size logs i'm working with. we have all sorts and sizes throughout our 25 acres, but i have my eye on about 20 eastern white pines right near the building site that vary from 12 to 26 inches in diameter. we've taken some down already, and sent them to my neighbors large mill. so if we get a mill we'd be doing the smaller pines and the upper portions of the larger ones, and he would do the bigger stuff. seems like everyone had their own mill here in VT and i want to get in on the fun!
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Offline Ocklawahaboy

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 06:11:56 pm »
Danger Will Robinson.... once you get the mill there is no going back!  I was looking at the HFE mills and ended up finding a used WMLT40 for 4K.  It is VERY used but has been a superb hobby mill. HFE almost got my money though.  Don't forget to keep a couple hundred set aside for a logrite or two. 

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2014, 06:33:11 pm »
I have a Lumbersmith mill & can tell you without a doubt it is not the mill for what you need. I love mine, have no complaints. Service & guidance from the manufacturer is top notch as well. It's a great mill to take in to the woods & mill a log in a remote setting, or to toss into the bed of your truck & haul to your buddy's house to mill a log or two for him. It cuts nice & the Honda motor is very strong with the gear drive, but it can be cumbersome and slow raising/lowering the mill. It's also time consuming to secure the log for cutting. A stationary manual mill would be best for what you have in mind. Hope this helps.
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Offline hunterbuild

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2014, 11:11:30 pm »
 

  I've been happy with my Harbor Freight. You can get it for under $1700.00 with a coupon. I can saw 20" with no problem. See other posts on this saw.

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2014, 12:07:25 am »
You may want to consider hiring someone to come in and saw your logs for you.  Get your logs ready and a cut list of what you need for your addition.  It will cost less, take less time and give you a taste of milling.  Just a thought.
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2014, 06:08:06 am »
Victorh makes a very good point.Their are several custom sawyer's in your area that would saw logs for you and you could get on with your building process.There is a lot to this sawing business and you might enjoy it more if you could ease in to it.
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Offline GHOSTSHRIMP

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2014, 12:06:08 pm »
yeah my friend who lives up the road has a big mill. he sells us cheap lumber, and mills our wood for us even cheaper!
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2014, 05:20:32 pm »
GHOSTSHRIMP,welcome to the forum.How close are to Essex Junction? There will be sawmills there,in action for you to look at.
Check out this thread.
http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,74139.0.html
It's a free show,if you register on line. There is a place to check on vendors at the website. I have been to 4 shows here in Maine and I always have a great time. Even worth a 3 hour drive
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2014, 05:32:24 pm »
Ghostshrimp, I can't help you with your mill choice but I'd just like to welcome another fellow Vermonter to the forum! I'm in Danville.

I'm wanting to get an alaskan type chainsaw mill. I don't have a need to do alot of milling, plus the chainsaw is multipurpose for me. But I'd say a chainsaw mill would be a bit too slow for what you want to do.
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Offline GHOSTSHRIMP

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2014, 06:44:29 pm »
hey we're neighbors! our homestead is in Hardwick! we should get together once this snow melts. do you have acreage as well?
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2014, 06:57:06 pm »
Yup, Hardwick isn't too far away.
I don't currently own any property. I recently graduated from college and am looking for a full time job in the forestry field. Still getting on my feet and out in the world  :)
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2014, 06:58:33 pm »
We might have enough Vermont members to have a forestry forum get-together somewhere sometime. Beginning to see more and more of us Vermon'ers on here  8)
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2014, 08:35:20 pm »
Welcome to the forum, and I probably agree with qbilder. I also have a Lumbersmith and really like it, have had no problems and the motor runs great, The saws are a bit different though, as with the lumbersmith you make your own frame to roll it on. The big difference may be if you want to saw long boards, you can make the rails as long as you want with the Lumbersmith. Its also totally portable. I like it but will eventually get one with the metal rails and is more "Fixed"

Offline Britbike2001

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2014, 07:36:41 pm »
Greetings all,

I'll have to say hello properly one of these days, but till then:  I just purchased a Lumber Smith myself and am assembling it.  Initial gut feeling from my interaction with Lumber Smith people and the design/build of the thing, is good.   

I have acreage and need to do a lot of thinning for long term forest health and figure that i can pull lumber from some stuff and the rest is firewood.  For this limited "hobby" type of work the Lumber Smith seemed to be the way to go.  I also like all the aluminum and stainless it's made of as well as the fact that I can take it to the tree or leave it at the yard.  Whatever is most convenient.  Steel tracks are in process right now though, as I see no need to limit cut length.

We'll see, proofs in the pudding as I have not milled anything with it yet.

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2014, 07:39:05 pm »
Britbike2001,welcome to the forum. Good luck with the mill. I have never seen a Lumber Smith being used.
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2014, 09:58:05 pm »
I too used to have the Lumbersmith. Great guys to work with. I agree with qbilder and OH boy. Might be too small for your needs but VERY portable. I used it to cut birch. You can see me on you tube if you search Lumbersmith. Good mill, but not for daily use. Swamp
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2017, 01:48:56 am »
 Waking up an old thread with a question:
Here are three pictures of used Lumber Smith mill offered to me for sale:

 

 

 

 



 

Has anyone bought or sold one of these?  It's about a year old, and I like the fact that it's made of aluminum and stainless steel like my Peterson. But the comments above from 2014 make it sound like almost a toy.   It's a distressed situation so the price probably won't be high, but I'm wondering what the market is on it so I can be fair.  According to the lumber Smith website, they aren't making any of these right now, currently called the Bantam.

Photos are from the owner, I have not seen the mill.

The Case backhoe in the background needs a new transmission I'm told.
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2017, 01:02:47 pm »
I've been checking out some video's on entry level band mills and noticed the engine often surges off the govenor causing the carriage to rock slightly which should affect the quality of the cut.



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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2017, 03:51:38 pm »
I kinda thought this was the lumbersmith sawmill they were talking about.


Could be the same company?

PC
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2017, 05:07:01 pm »
My Lumber Smith looks like the one Paul posted. That other one looks like a typical small band mill. I have no experience with it.
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Offline MbfVA

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2017, 05:42:11 pm »
They certainly do look like two different machines, except for the color;  I'll post again when I go see the local one.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2017, 06:10:59 pm »
Looks like they make 2 models.

The DIY wooden tracks one like Paul's video, and a more upmarket one with steel tracks
Some specs on it here.
http://lumbersmith.com/Mobile/bantam.html
Looks like a pretty standard design small manual band mill with a little Briggs or Honda engine. Web page say's they don't have any mills for sale at the moment, but you can order parts if needed. I imagine most of the parts would be pretty standard belts / bearings etc that you could buy locally anyway.
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #30 on: July 26, 2017, 01:11:56 am »
 I couldn't find the price on the Bantam, which appears to be the one that I'm being shown. It's not clear  what's going on from the website, and I did note there are no parts showing as available for the bathroom. The website has a copyright date of 2009, which makes me wonder if it's being updated.

On the Elite, keeping the example wooden tracks parallel, level, and square could prove to be a challenge. Metal tracks would definitely be preferable.

 I found myself curious about their log holding equipment for $75. I think I just spent too much on my custom-made ones.
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and a few more...
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Offline paul case

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #31 on: July 26, 2017, 05:06:05 am »
I couldn't find the price on the Bantam, which appears to be the one that I'm being shown. It's not clear  what's going on from the website, and I did note there are no parts showing as available for the bathroom.

That durn spellcheck again?

I needed to laugh. May have woke the family up with that one.

PC
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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2017, 09:14:38 am »
Spellcheck? Spellcheck? I don have no spellcheck.   I don't need no stinking spellcheck.

Why, I've got Siri to keep me in line.  Oh boy, does that remind me of an old joke.

 I'll look up & post a YouTube link for the movie reference I "paraphrased".
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Did I mention, a very small bank account?

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2017, 03:43:14 am »
OK, now I have seen and started up the Lumber Smith mill.  That was successful, and I was happy until I found out that Elizabeth only had one blade for it.  Her soon to be ex apparently broke all the rest that came with it. I tried to reach Lumber Smith by email, telephone and by text, with no response, in fact the phone number always rings busy.

I'm guessing they're either out of business or going out of business.   Or perhaps they don't care?

Does anyone know the story, or at least have the spec on their blades?  I would hate to start test sawing and hit a nail or something and be out of business right away.  A bunch of logs that need to be sawed are piled up.  They will soon turn into dust like the log that I had for too long that I have struggled to saw on my Peterson.

This one is the Bantam, or the 21/26 depending on what you go by.  The band wheels and most of the other parts look pretty unexceptional, so I am hoping for local availability when necessary.

Thanks forum members for anything you can do to help.   And if Roundhouse has not yet bought a mill, I'll be able to give him a review.
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Always learning & questioning authority
Peterson WPF 10" Hi-Lo w/ 5' slabber
Dougherty RS3000 Tree Saw
Liebherr 621C, Bobcat A300, 430
NH TN90F, Kubota B3000
Polaris 4 seater, JD old gator
Ford/Chevy/Porsche
and a few more...
Did I mention, a very small bank account?

Offline MbfVA

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Re: HFE-21 vs LUMBER SMITH
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2017, 04:00:41 pm »
Didn't get a response, so let me try adding something. Does anyone know whether or not 1.25 inch blades will work in that machine? It's specd for 1 1/8 inch blades, which no one seems to have.  Help help 🙃
www.ordinary.com (really)
Always learning & questioning authority
Peterson WPF 10" Hi-Lo w/ 5' slabber
Dougherty RS3000 Tree Saw
Liebherr 621C, Bobcat A300, 430
NH TN90F, Kubota B3000
Polaris 4 seater, JD old gator
Ford/Chevy/Porsche
and a few more...
Did I mention, a very small bank account?