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Author Topic: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills  (Read 3537 times)

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Offline plantman

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Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« on: March 10, 2017, 08:51:24 pm »
I was looking that Peterson, Lucas, D&L Timber technologies, and Turbosaw. I was wondering it anyone  has had experience with any of these mills and what they thought.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2017, 07:41:14 am »
Welcome Plantguy, I don't own a swingblade but if I was going to buy one I would give the D&L a serious look. They all work good and are a well thought out machines. In my mind the only thing you give up with a swinger is ease of milling wide boards. I like the D&L design because everything is in the carriage meaning height adjustment. You could buy the carriage and make as long a bed as you want. It would also be easy to make a power feed. Just one old guys opinion. Frank C.
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Offline Don P

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2017, 08:20:52 am »
I've been playing on a friends Lucas recently. Yesterday I bombed in with a load of beams and planed them. The beauty of planing on one of these is that it is jointing the timbers dead straight where my planer simply makes parallel sides and follows any bow in the timber... that is huge. Instead of square rule joinery or scribing to fit, it just became simple mill rule layout. Plus I planed some 12" timbers, which aren't going through my 6" deep machine. When I got out of the way the next thing going on was the slabbing bar to make some large ash tabletops, it has about a 5' wide capacity. We're looking at the sanding head as well. I can't say what options the other mills have but I do like that machine.

Offline dgdrls

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2017, 09:00:32 am »
Welcome,

I run a Lucas  8/27 on the side, Great mill, excels with large logs but will saw them all with little to no log lifting, is very mobile and its
easier to access lone logs or tight spots, stores easily.
It saws consistent lumber and blade sharpening is a 5 minute affair with the supplied sharpener.
A slabber bar is available for wider cuts if you want,

Always best to test drive before you purchase if you can
What are you looking to saw??

D

Offline plantman

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2017, 09:37:46 am »
The D&L mill looks a little sturdier because it rides on a track resting on the ground as opposed to one suspended in the air. However, I can imagine that it wouldn't be good if I were trying to transport off road and set it up on uneven ground which I don't plan on doing. It appears that mills like the lucas are spiked into the ground like pitching a circus tent which means they wouldn't be appropriate for paved surfaces. And it appears like they would wobble quite a bit. Perhaps you could give me your take on this and whether it causes them to be constantly out of adjustment.

Online Mt406

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2017, 09:47:45 am »
I have a D&L 10/20 if you would like to give me a call I would give you my opinion.
I will be away form the place this morning I should be back around 2.
406-660-1940

Scott

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2017, 01:02:44 pm »
I was looking that Peterson, Lucas, D&L Timber technologies, and Turbosaw. I was wondering it anyone  has had experience with any of these mills and what they thought.

I've owned a Peterson WPF for over ten years.  The first question is what species, diameters and lengths of logs are you planning to mill, and what type of lumber do you want to make?

Different mills are better suited for different tasks.  We have a hydraulic band mill, dedicated slabber and a swing blade mill, and each has it's one strengths and weaknesses.
Peterson 10" WPF with 65' of track
Smith - Gallagher dedicated slabber
Tom's 3638D Baker band mill
and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2017, 03:48:56 pm »
What scsmith42 said!

Every sawmill is a series of compromises, and even looking at just  swingmills the different manufacturers have got inherent strengths and weaknesses that make some better then others in different logs or cutting different product mixes.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline Grandedog

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2017, 02:58:12 pm »
Howdy,
   I know you were asking for opinions. We sell Peterson Mills so a grain of salt might be in order but, on the other hand I've got over 22 years experience with the swing blade evolution. The concept hasn't changed but, the machines have. Probably one of the biggest things everybody can agree on no matter if it's a band, or swing mill, is the materials used in the manufacturing. Let's face it, most portable mills live a rough life outdoors. At best, usually just the power-head gets covered. It's really no fun having to put WD on everything even if it's a short time between uses. Stainless steel, and aluminum are the are the best options. The features, and upgradable options are probably the next most important. Most people have engine brand, and performance preferences along with manual to automatic option choices. The versatility of the swing blade mills have changed over the years with the advent of siding, slabbing, planning, and sanding capabilities. If you're going to be making large timbers, the double cut feature without having to pick up and turn the power head around is a big advantage. One slabbing feature that I really like is where the bar and chain are adjusted separately., This allows you to adjust the tension on the bar only to where it is perfectly straight, and then put the chain on and adjust it separately. Now for the grain of salt part, there's only one brand with all of these options, features, and advantages. The icing on the cake is that from now on the mills will be assembled in the US with as many components as we can source here. We will be testing, and adjusting every machine so, right out of the box performance can be expected.
Regards
Gregg
Gregg Grande
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Offline ButchC

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2017, 04:51:58 pm »
I have shopped 1-2 man mills of various types  for years and decided long ago that a swinger best met my needs but I have to be honest and say that the tariff held me back from purchasing. I am just sawing my own logs for my own use. 90% for repaIrs and new builds around the farm and 10% for my woodworking hobby.  I bought a Junior Peterson from LCS and it has met or exceeded all expectations.  I can saw by myself with minimal handling of both logs and finished lumber or when help is available I simply reverse my cutting sequence and finished lumber is on the other side of the saw for handling.  One point vertical adjustment saves may steps at the end of the day and that means board feet sawn. Ease of double cutting is importat when you only own one mill like me.
 Had a couple small issues and LCS took care if them Pronto.

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Offline TKehl

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2017, 08:22:58 pm »
What size logs are you after?  Support equipment?

A big plus for the Lucas/Peterson/Turbo group is they are quick and easy to take to the log.  Which is great for the oversize logs that I look for (too big for most commercial mills or band mills).  I like that with my Lucas, I can carry individual components into someone's backyard and mill there.  Tree cutters charge quite a bit more when there is no truck access.  30" plus diameter, it's easier to move the mill than the log, and I have some OK support equipment. 

On smaller logs, that's no longer an advantage, but also not a strike against them.

Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline qbilder

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2017, 11:08:10 am »
I have been thinking of getting one for a while now, too. I have a band mill and love it, but it gets cumbersome with certain jobs. I quarter saw hard maple into one inch thick boards, dry them, then resaw into 1"x1"x30" turning squares. A swing blade would allow me to cut accurate & consistent 1"x1" right off the log, which would save a lot of time for me both in drying speed and extra steps. I just haven't been able to justify the cost. I don't even need a big one, just something to cut 1"sq. from 15"-20" diameter maple logs.   
God bless our troops

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2017, 03:21:16 pm »
Actually you'd do better with a cabinetmakers sliding table saw or a straight line rip... Cut random 1" on your bandmill then rip them out. Doing inch by inch on a swingmill would drive you insane
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline ButchC

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2017, 04:14:02 am »
Just a goofy old guy with a new hobby here but trying to wrap my mind  around the need to quarter saw  when the end need is 1x1 and going in a lathe? Also a  swingmill is going to have a very large pile of dust beside it after and entire log is reduced to 1x1
Peterson JP swing mill
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Offline NZJake

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2017, 04:51:25 am »
Actually, sawing 1"X1" stickers  is pretty quick on one of our swingsaws. The Model 6 could run a narrower kerf (around 3.8-4mm kerf).

We quite often drive forward (using the power feed, climb sawing) then back (standard cuts) up to 4 boards at a time, then saw them horizontally all at once revealing a handful ready to stack.

You get pealings that resemble straw not dust like a bandsaw.
Wife says I woke up one morning half asleep uttering thin kerf and high production, I think I need a hobby other than milling?

Offline ButchC

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2017, 06:43:42 am »
Thanks for that Jake, I have been sawing stickers just as you mentioned, 4-5 vertical cuts then one horizontal and viola! a handful of stickers.  I usually do this when just starting out on a log and use  what would mostly end up in the top  waste slab anyway. I have also made them  when sawing my way past tension figuring the stickers were worth more than crescent shaped lumber?
Peterson JP swing mill
Morbark chipper
Shop built firewood processor
Case W11B
Many chainsaws, axes, hatchets,mauls,
Antique tractors and engines, machine shop,wife, dog,,,,,that's about it.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2017, 07:15:07 am »
Swing, band and circular they all cut good lumber each has a nitch. Solution get one of each and have the sawmill trinity. If you cut trees for hire a swinger is worthwhile for big yard trees, no heavy equipment digging up the lawn, stuff you can haul, take it back, to the yard for the band or circular. A swing mill is much cheaper than the truck and loader that will handle huge butt logs. I have a band and circular now and you can bet if I scooped a deal on a swinger I'd grab it. Swingers can be compactly tucked away in a shed. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline WIwoodworker

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2017, 10:52:10 pm »
I've owned a Peterson for several years and love it. It's a 1993 9" WPF model I bought used and still runs strong. I bought the mill for flexibility and ease of transport. It handles anything I throw at it but at the end onthe day it boils down to what you think you'll be sawing.
Peterson 9" WPF

Offline qbilder

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2017, 09:35:50 am »
Just a goofy old guy with a new hobby here but trying to wrap my mind  around the need to quarter saw  when the end need is 1x1 and going in a lathe? Also a  swingmill is going to have a very large pile of dust beside it after and entire log is reduced to 1x1

Quarter sawing the lumber all but eliminates drying stress, so the wood is much more stable in the end product. If I could cut them 1"sq before drying, it wouldn't matter how they were cut. But so long as I'm drying boards, quarter sawn dries with significantly less stress.   
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Offline plantman

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2017, 10:33:23 am »
I am intrigued by the swing blade mill for a number of reasons. The first is that these mills typically can handle much larger logs than bandsaw mills. In my area I have a large supply of large logs free of charge from tree services who are too far away from the large woodmills to make transporting them a realistic option. Second, the swingblade mills don't require the logs to be turned like on a bandsaw mill which adds considerable cost to the operation. Third the swingblade mill can be set up around a large log eliminating the need to even lift the log off the ground until it is whittled down to a manageable size. Fourth. the rigid nature of a circular saw blade prevents it from wanting to deflect over or under grain patterns in the wood. Fifth, the circular saw blades are extremely easy and inexpensive to sharpen which could save approximately $100 per day in expense. And if you want an occasional slab they offer chainsaw blade slabbing attachments. Next, the swingblade mill can much more easily quartersaw wood with less waste than a bandsaw mill so there goes your argument that swingblade mills produce more waste because their blades are wider. And finally, wood produced on a swingblade mill doesn't require a second process of edging which saves a huge amount of time and expense.  I can't see any reason someone would want a bandsaw mill other than the fact that small bandsaw mills can be had for a few thousand dollars which satisfies the hobby mill market.