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Author Topic: Identifying bottlenecks  (Read 5467 times)

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Offline Brad_bb

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Identifying bottlenecks
« on: May 17, 2016, 06:58:29 pm »
Been using my LT15 for about 2 years now.  I've come to realize that I have 2 significant bottlenecks - edging flitches/boards, and leveling the log on the mill before making the first cut.  It's good to identify areas that you struggle and try to come up with solutions and improvements.

It just seems so slow edging flitches on the band mill.  You can pretty much do one board at a time if you want to preserve the most good wood, then you have to flip it and do the other side.   It seems slow to me.  Since I'm cutting mostly timbers for timberframing(6 to 16ft for now until I can find longer logs), the boards are a by product as I'm sawing to my timber size.  My off bearer and I decided to try edging on my table saw using a 10ft sled I made to clamp boards to get a straight edge.  I don't think it was any improvement.  It took too long and made a mess in my wood shop.  So I just started looking into edgers.  I stopped and WM and looked at their single blade.  Someone told me that it's really a big table saw.  I was surprised it was so simple and you just had to eyeball/guess your position as you fed the board in. 

My expectation for an edger was that it was going to have a projected laser line to show you where the cut would occur before you engaged your board.  That doesn't seem to be a common feature, surprisingly.  I think it's an option on Cook's edgers.  I was thinking I'd find a stationary, electric edger with laser line, self feeding.   I believe the WM single was not even self feeding.  The real shock was the cost of edgers.  Despite not having those features, it looks like most of the edgers start at $8K!  That is nearly as much as my mill! 

For leveling logs from one end to the other, I've been marking the points on each end I want to use to level.  Then I use a wood 3x3 by the mill to put under the end of the log with the center of the board against the mill rail to act as the fulcrum and lever the end of the log up so my off bearer can set a piece of 2x and a wedge on the nearest bed cross beam.  I could put a mechanical lever on the forward end for lifting(I don't have any hydraulics on the mill) but with varying lengths of logs, there isn't one fixed position to locate one on the other end.  Have to stick with the board method on the far end.  If I can come up with a mechanical mechanism, like a gear drive that won't reverse under load, that would allow me to let go and measure.  Another aid I think would be a projected, level,  laser line on the log and boards for edging so you can see where your band is going to cut.

Just some things I've been thinking about lately.  Any suggestions welcome (besides buying a $20K edger). 
 

 
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
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Offline bkaimwood

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2016, 08:05:41 pm »
Hey Brad...your second bottleneck is one of my big ones...I'm sure there are better ideas, but here are two...first, spend the loot on a double edger...the best solution, and the most productive. I have not added one for the same reasons you haven't. Instead, option 1... Depending on the log, you could get anywhere from 4-12 flitches to be edged, sometimes more....I am tight, and want to squeak what I can out of a log, but have come to the realization that chasing that extra inch costs more time and aggravation than its worth without an edger, so I do one of 3 things..first, if I only have 4-6, I take the narrowest, and that's what they all get, one pass, the rest firewood. Option 2... I get 7-12....same method, 2 stacks... Most narrow in one stack, wider in the other.. Option 3...stack flitches from 2 logs, or more, and do the same thing on 2 sets. As for leveling logs? I spend too much time doing that, and I have hydraulic toe boards!!! But it shows in the quality of the end product. Get lazy there and it shows in many species... Some are more forgiving. You could use the average method commonly used as mentioned in other threads, but not as accurate as a tape measure or actual measurement... Or you could mount a laser, but that required marking the pith on the end with the log indexed properly, so there's time spent there anyway. If you want to be close, its fine. If you want to be perfect, not so much...
bk

Offline 4x4American

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2016, 08:09:30 pm »
Following... I severely dislike edging on the mill...
Boy, back in my day..

Online Kbeitz

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2016, 08:21:07 pm »
I save all the boards that need edging to the end of the day.
Then i add this attachment to my mill. It's not for everyone but it works for me.
It speeded up thing a lot for me.

 

 

 

 
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2016, 08:24:43 pm »
I like edging on the mill as much as the black fly season we are having this year :)
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Offline WDH

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2016, 08:27:44 pm »
Life is short.  Get the edger.  You deserve it.  It is an essential piece of equipment if you are someone who saws seriously :)
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Offline red

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2016, 08:49:05 pm »
To be productive with an edger you need 3 people . Other wise sort and organize . The money spent on an edger can be spent on Labor / Helpers . You dont need to edge every board every day .
We have a lot of good boys and girls in harms way
lets all support them and their familys.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2016, 08:59:17 pm »
Unfortunately, the quantity of boards that get produced, don't justify the investment in my opinion.  I'm sawing for timbers, that I'll use.  The boards may end up as flooring or misc projects down the road  If I get so much that I can't handle it, maybe I'll sell some, but that hasn't been an  issue yet.  I have my off bearer for 6 hours a day, 3-4 days a week (he's 63 and physically doesn't want to go longer than 6 hours).  He is always on time though....   So we will mill for 4 hours setting flitches aside and putting cants or timbers in the shed, eat a quick sandwich, and spend 1:45 edging, cutting stickers, putting the boards in the drying stack, and cleaning up a little. One day a week we'll take that 1:45 cutting slabs to firewood length and loading them in his trailer and doing a better cleanup and burning sawdust and bark in the vortex burn barrel.  I'll often then work by myself for 2 or 3 or 4 more hours.

Oh...WDH, can I borrow $10K for a Cook's edger with stationary laser?
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Online WV Sawmiller

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2016, 09:04:12 pm »
Brad,

   I'm not fond of edging either but I am mobile and hard to justify the extra effort and expense of the edger. If I were stationary I would likely get the small single blade edger WM makes. I have watched them in demos and was pleased with what I saw, even if only single blade and manual feed. I see them on WM site for around $3K.

    In the mean time I keep getting better at edging next to a cant and using my cheat sheet to end on the mark without an extra trim cut (another FF tip I picked up along the way).

   Another FF tip/step I am working on for my home sawing is building and putting a couple of sawhorses by my mill and staging flitches by width to gang edge them faster and more efficiently. If this works well I may build fold up sawhorses to take with me to customer sites.
Howard Green
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Offline paul case

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2016, 09:12:21 pm »
I don't know if you can do this but it really helped me. You need to clamp the log a little so it don't roll. Paul's manual hydraulic toe board. The jack sits on a 8x8 support that the mill was sitting on. You can make multiple places for it wherever needed.
 

 

I Think you would be surprised how quickly and easily a wm single blade would edge out your boards. Experience will make you faster and better with it. My helper could keep up with the edges coming off my old LT40 and was usually waiting on me.
Yeah I know it is no frills but that works. Mine had a 5 hp electric motor on it and it worked real well. It is very important to set your boards up so you don't have to pick them up off the ground and make it so everything is real close to you. Less steps will save you many sore muscles.
PC
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Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.
pc

Offline btulloh

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2016, 09:30:22 pm »
Brad, X2 on the jack at the small end which is quick and easy.  I used a scissor jack for a while, then went to this:
 

 

Just a 25$ hf fllor jack.  Bottle jack, scissor jack, any jack.  I have a couple little cross pieces that sit on the bottom of  the track to measure to the pith at each end.  Once you know how much to raise the small end you can look at the bunk and estimate when you're up enough then check it and fine tune once and you're done.  Goes pretty quick. 

Edging always takes more time than I want.  Gang edging sounds good with like size flitches but I usually edge before I have that many.  Recently I tried a new method where I stacked different sizes on and then edged down and removed the taller boards as they got a finished edge and then kept moving down on the narrower boards.  Seemed to work ok.  I try different ways depending on the flitches and I do think it helps to vary the method depending on the flitches.  Sometimes I cut them short if the tail is all bark anyway.

I'm not sure any of those methods work any better, but the variety makes me think I'm being more efficient at least.  The only thing I really know is that edging is a pain but worth it.
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2016, 09:32:32 pm »
WV Sawmiller, good tip.  I'll try it with a cant tomorrow.  As I understand you are using the cant as 1) a clamping spacer and 2) as a visual aid to alight your cut near the top of the cant.  You either cut at the same level as the top of the cant, or 1/16 or so above, correct?

Paul Case, I just don't see how the WM single blade edger is any better than my table saw?  If you have a flitch that is 12 inches at one end and varies as you go long to 7 inches at the other end....you'd have to try to align what you think might be the correct alignment by eye.  Then, because you have to feed the board by hand, what is to stop you from moving off of a straight line as you push the board in, and then you end up binding the blade at worst and at best coming out the other side with a cut that really isn't straight?  That is my issue.  The WM sales rep couldn't give me a good answer.  On my table saw I was using a clamping sled to make sure I got a straight edge on the board.  If my assessment is not correct, please tell me.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline paul case

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2016, 09:49:20 pm »
Brad,
The wm single blade edger I had was equipped (I think the new ones are the same) with a T bar past the blade. It went in the cut and kept you sawing straight on the first edge. You can easily eyeball where you want to cut down that first side by knowing how far over your blade is from the side of the edger's table. It took almost no effort to push the board through my edger. The second cut has a fence that is adjustable to set the width of the board and it keeps you straight as well.
There isn't any reason you can't do the same thing with a table saw. It wont push as easy as the edger since it has rollers and most table saws are less hp.
PC
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.
pc

Offline red

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2016, 10:46:24 pm »
I think it is more the feed rate that makes it seem slow . . So if you are looking for production you need a bigger sawmill . Also not trying to get something out of the log that is not there. . There is only a small amount of sawyers using portable sawmills that have edgers . . Even if the cost of an edger is no problem you need three people to make it productive . You can not edge one board at a time faster than many boards on a bandsaw .
We have a lot of good boys and girls in harms way
lets all support them and their familys.

Offline Mt406

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2016, 12:34:14 am »
Keep looking for a edger. you never know what you mite find one day.
I have only had my Lt 35 a month now and I hate edging already.
Today I was sawing some big DF and ended up with some 22" side wood 16 ft long to edge.
Found out I am not as tuff as I used to be.
As I was seeing all blurry eyed trying to load them back on the mill.
I was thinking of my score of 2 weeks ago a EDGER a 3 blade 10 hp single phase 24 inch wide for 600.00
It need some work and new belts I just don't have the time to work on it.
The mill down the  road was selling off  old stuff it been setting in the brush for 8 years.
So keep looking you never know what you may find   

Offline Hiway40frank

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2016, 07:18:10 am »
Im biased because I own one, but have you ever considered a lucas mill for timbers? You can plane right on it and its the same cost if not less than an edger. Just a thought.

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2016, 08:46:33 am »
Brad,

   I use the cant to help me keep my flitches vertical and cut squarer lumber. My cheat sheet works out if cutting 4/4 to start for example on the 10" mark, will land on the 5.5" mark. If cutting 1"X6" when I get to 5.5" for example, I unclamp the cant, put the flitches in, cut bark off one edge, flip, cut to 6", remove the finished boards, reset to 5.5" and saw to the bed.

    Another option is to reset to 10" and edge the flitches 1" at a time generating my stickers or tomato stakes. Every time I get a clean edge I flip or remove that board. This only works when cutting random widths for me.

   Of course I have hydraulics and clamping is faster and easier than if I were manual. Principle is the same but effort is a little different.

   Storing and sizing flitches is my next procedure so 2 cuts per flitch size will yield finished boards.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2016, 12:39:02 pm »
Hiway40Frank, I have the Woodmizer MP100 beam planer.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2016, 04:06:34 pm »
I edge as many flitches at once as I can as long as I can keep them square to the side supports.  I often use a small cant as a back stop and stack them against it, clamp down and mill to flat, flip and do again.

Remove as you produce finished products and flip some or all as needed.

It aint fun but it ups the production.
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Offline schmism

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Re: Identifying bottlenecks
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2016, 05:19:15 pm »
couple of options

to create a quick straight edge.

a track saw


The tracks sit on the wood surface without sliding around enabling a guided cut that doesn't require clamping.   They come with various extensions so doing 12-16' material should be doable with enough extensions.

if thats to expensive,  (~600 for that dewalt shown)   You could rig an overhead line laser to shine down at  some location.   Then line up your flitch as needed and cut with a regular circular saw.   A worm drive with a ripping blade is likely as quick as pushing your LT-15.

Once you have one straight edge you an set up a powerfeeder on a table saw to do the other edge.

Last option is a straight line rip saw.  They have a overhead and under table track like feed that moves the material through a saw in a straight line with no fence required.   I used one in a millwork,  it was setup to edge flitchs with a laser line.
youtube.com/watch?v=xPF8B3yTiw8

You should be able to find one on a used equipment trader site someplace.   
 


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