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Author Topic: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills  (Read 2451 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.

Offline 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.
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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.
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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.

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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.   
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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
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.

Offline TKehl

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2017, 11:01:30 am »
As the happy owner of a swing mill, I can say bandsaws have a place.  I'd like to eventually add one to complement (not replace) my swinger.  They are much faster cutting live edge slabs and have better recovery from curved logs as long as it fits through the throat.  I think they can be faster on short and small stuff as well.  I also have plans to set the bandmill up as a resaw with some add ons.
Lucas 6-13, a blue cant hook, a few orange chainsaws, and a bunch of trees.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2017, 03:46:56 pm »
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.

I'd suggest thats a perfect scenario for a swingmill or a twinsaw such as a Mahoe or Mobile Dimension. Much depends on the kind of volume you're looking to do in a day: theres a lot of difference in output range between the likes of say the little Turbosaw and a Peterson ASM. There are also portability issues - as with all mills the bigger it gets and the more it can produce in a day the less portable the mill is.

Would you be taking the mill to the logs or taking the logs to the mill?


Second, the swingblade mills don't require the logs to be turned like on a bandsaw mill which adds considerable cost to the operation.

Yeah well - thats what they say. I'd suggest I've got more real world tonnage through a swingmill then every one of the mill manufacturers involved combined and I turn the log 95% of the time when cutting because I obviously think its worth the trouble. But you don't have to, particularly with large logs in stable species.
Smaller logs turning the log can really push your recovery up and definately push the quality of your recovery up a long way. D&L do one thats trailer mounted on like a bandmil style deck with turners and clamping - I dont know the mill but it looks like a good thing to me. Problem is you come back to size limitations in the logs again. Turbosaw have also done a fixed deck for the gladiator model and most of the twinsaw manufacturers have a fixed or trailer mounted deck option as well.


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.

Definate plus. Hard to beat a Lucas in that situation

Fourth. the rigid nature of a circular saw blade prevents it from wanting to deflect over or under grain patterns in the wood.

oh they'll deflect alright. Maybe not often and it takes something ridiculously hard to make it happen but it can happen. On the bright side you kinda know that a bandmill would have probably broken before it got that far but seeing a circular saw rise over a knot and jamb is both weirdly fascinating and a major PITA. Sometimes you just got to slow the feed rate down.

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.

Another definate plus for circles is blade maintenance for sure. I'd suggest if you logs are sourced from tree service comapnies then circles are the way to go. For forest grown logs where theres not much chance of nails etc etc its still the way to go in most cases. Yah you loose a bit to kerf but if you take the blade savings per day and buy more logs you still win unless you're cutting stuff thats very valuable

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.

yup. and beat the pants off them at backsawing too But a bandmill has advantages when you're chasing width.

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. 

yah but you've still got to resaw some for grade, fix up the occasional missawn board, recut them straight if they spring (not required if you roll the log during cutting which is why I do it). Aint no avoiding a certain amount of rehandling if you saw timber.
But the volume of timber you need to rehandle will be a lot less then a band. And its not the cost of an edger thats the issue - its the cost of the man to operate it.


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.

I can. Theres a lot of them out there for a reason - its about horses for courses. When you're sitting all day in logs 18" round the hydraulic turning and clamping functions standard on a midrange bandmill are advantage bandmill
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2017, 05:58:23 pm »
I use both band mill and swing mill in portable milling.   I use the band mill if it can do the job.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT   2001 WM LT40SHDD (42HP Kubota, Accuset2, FAO's, Lubemizer, debarker, hydraulics everywhere), Peterson WPF 10-30 with chain slabber. LogRite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2017, 07:26:59 pm »
i think one of the things with swingmills is there is a lot more variation in capacity then there is with an equivalent bandmill. Some are more portable, some more flexible, some have higher output.

I started with a Lewisaw. D&L's mills are all based on that design but the original Lewis with the parallelogram frame is the grandfather of them. It was very portable, as in hump it up a mountain and helilift the lumber out portable. Limited production and takes two people to operate one but yeah... you can hump it up a mountain on your back and cut a board when you get there. The little turbosaw with the chainsaw powerhead is probably the most portable option now for real remote work like that but I havent seen/used one to know: if I was young enough to do it all again I'd look real hard at that one.

The automatic mills like the Peterson ASM and the Turbosaw gladiator are way out there in production above the rest of the swingers. Both are relocatable rather then portable, but both make up for that with increased production once set up. The double cut feature they both have is a selling point - the ability to remove a couple boards from the back side of a log to help balance stresses while sawing can be a decided advantage in some timbers. And never underestimate the ability to cut a wide board with ease quickly and repetitively. At that production point though you also need to start to look at the twinsaws, and much will depend on what product your trying to get out as to which is the better mill. The swingers both offer more flexibility then the twinsaws, at the cost of lower throughput. You want to see a big log reduced to dimension lumber and sawdust in short order there aint much in the world will keep up with a Duncan beam saw or a 1212 Mighty Mite.

D&L I have not seen their mills except tube videos so cant speak for real world functionality and build integrity. But I do like the look of the trailer mounted D&L with the hydraulic log handling package. I think in the right logs it might take a bit of beating compared with anything else on the market - bandmill log handling without the band is how I look at it. If the logs can fit onto the trailer, and you can get the trailer to the log its hard to see how you could go wrong with it. Other then that the "ground rail" type design I personally think is limiting.

Lucas sit kind of in the middle. Portable enough to get them into a tight spot but not ultra lightweight portable for humping up hills. More production then the lightweights though. Less production then the bigger automatics but far more portable then them. Real good for big logs in backyards and the like. Accurate. And dammed near indestructible with regular servicing and wear part replacement as required. I've worked with an ATS Peterson which is the equivalent mill and far prefer the Lucas - personally I think they're about the best bang for your buck mill out there, but its all relative. (I own one but dont think Im biased - I'd probably not buy another based on where my business is at now)

Whole thing in this is that you as a purchaser have got to make choices around what features you need most. Theres a lot of nuanced difference in the offerings from the manufacturers and what features you need is determined by your log supply and product mix. The mill that you want to carry on your shoulders isnt the mill you want in an urban backyard isnt the mill you want breaking down oversize logs in a production sawmill operation isnt the mill you want to tackle a pile of 12" diameter logs with. And swingers cover the whole range of these scenarios.

The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline plantman

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2017, 10:06:01 pm »
I've only watched a few videos on the lucas so perhaps you could fill me in. That frame work they supply looks kind of flimsy and as though it would wobble around quite a bit. Am I wrong ? Is it required that they be set up on dirt where they can be staked in ? Or do they set up on pavement just the same ?

Offline plantman

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2017, 10:22:39 pm »
One of the tree services I work with recently gave me logs from a typical large white oak they were removing. The stalk wood was about 3.5' in diameter and a 12' log probably weighed about 7000 lbs. They were too big for me to lift with my skidsteer so I thought that I could use an Alaskan mill to cut them up but ideally I would like to have a swing blade mill that I could simply set up around them.
While I also got the branches which were about 12 - 18" in diameter they tended to be bent and therefore I imaging that the usable lumber I obtain from them will be limited. I foresee that large logs will ultimately yield me the most wood for my time and effort. They are also the logs that the small tree services have the most difficulty getting rid of. From a loggers perspective I feel like I'm sitting on a gold mine of free wood here. So I'm just trying to imagine which mill will do the job. I am imagining that 1/2 the time I might be going to where the log is and 1/2 the time I might be taking the logs back to my location.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2017, 01:51:39 am »
A Lucas will wobble and shake a bit: pretty much all portable mills will move around somewhat. If they're rigid enough to be solid they basicly arent portable.
They can wobble and shake real bad if overfed, same as all the swingmills do. Its an operator error thing and I think we all learn to take 2 x 5 inch passes rather then a single 10 inch cut in the horizontal plane. its part of the tradeoffs involved: they dont have the weight to carry the power to feed the number of teeth it takes to make a clean cut that deep. So you take a smaller bite at it which you can do. Twinsaws dont have that option which is one of the advantages swingmills have over them.

But regardless of movement they'll cut a board thats as accurate and straight as the operator makes them. Amazes me sometimes to watch mine working with a newb on it yet it still does okay. With me on there is no difference between the accuracy of the boards off it and the accuracy of the boards off my large and expensive circlular resaw : I'm a professional sawmiller and thats the result I should achieve. Albeit its a lot slower with the swingmill.

Mine pretty much lives bolted atop a permanant log deck on a concrete pad - its a rare thing for me to play portable sawmills. I've set up on concrete before with the support arms pegs out in the dirt, or on asphalt with the pegs driven in. Or dirt on slopes only a madman would play on. Or over a hole when the logs been that big that I had to dig it in to get the mill over it. Or atop 40 gallon drums on the side of a mountain in the jungle where we airlifted the mill in and the mill and lumber out: thats the beauty of the things, when the logs too big to drag home you can take the mill to the log.

The one thing I would say for sure is that theres no gold mines much left in this sawmilling caper.
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 #27 on: March 20, 2017, 09:19:14 am »
Again strictly a beginner here but as LL stated the light weight equates to some shake but if the log isnt moving around the swinger still cuts very accurate lumber by my standards. It takes very little handle time to figure out how hard you can push the envelope, the mill will complain loudly when pushed too hard. My JP is set up on concrete and just sitting on it. I have no troubles with it moving around,  it operates nicely on it.  I am debating if I would be better off sawing out in the pasture? I believe that I can string the logs out and move the mill from log to log with less effort than it takes to keep the mess shoveled off the slab?
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Offline MbfVA

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2017, 12:59:03 am »
It's very interesting to see the comments about the swing blade nails like Peterson and Lucas, and now turbo saw. I had been looking  at bandsaw Mills.  I do wonder about one thing: with all the gizmos put on by Wood miser and Norwood, et als, to make sure the log doesn't move on the band Saw Mills, log dogs and all that, what keeps the log that's being sawed by a swing blade mill from moving?

Offline dgdrls

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2017, 07:58:06 am »
Gravity mostly,  after that log dogs or notched bunks help.   I started with notched bunks.

D



  

 

Offline mad murdock

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2017, 11:22:19 am »
LtL, the Turbosawmill M6 that I have is definitely the "Swiss army knife" of portable mills. I put a Husky 395XP on it with a dual port muffler and it seems to pull real good even through a deeper cut. I posted a few pics of my latest milling foray in "cooking with gas" now!  I will be getting some more pics and hopefully a vid or 2 in over the next little while. Band mills have their place as you and others have stated, but for me, I like the portability and ease of the swing blade with the slabber option I have with my mill setup.
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Offline MbfVA

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2017, 01:25:23 am »
Sure looks like home built will rule for swing blade mill log dogs.  $800 on the Turbosaw site seems almost like a wave-off, to encourage self made, especially given all the detail they offer in the photos.  Even the $204 USD price from Peterson seems high; I bet the function, if not the device, will not be that hard to match.

Thinking of the portability comment: sandbags or lead shot bags could provide more weight to the bunks (bearers, per Peterson) in a way that retains portability.  Break a load of any size into reasonable parts....

Thanks for the help thus far, and for allowing me to tag along on this thread.

Offline Ianab

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2017, 03:23:38 am »
You certainly can fabricate your own.

One thing to consider, the commercial ones use a hard aluminium. If you accidentally graze them, you don't de-tip your blade. Because the mill has no "deck" as such, it's possible to have your bearers high enough for the blade to hit them. Skim a wooden bunk? No problem. Skim an alloy dog? No big deal. Hit steel? You are swapping out a blade.

If you are setting up semi stationary on a firm surface, you can always rig up a "stop" that keeps the blade 1/4" off the dogs.  But if you are mobile, the sawdust tends to build up, and you reset the bunks for different length or taper of log. By the end of the day you are sawing on a bed of sawdust and the bunks are a few inches higher. Yeah I know, I could shovel the sawdust away... but that's hard work  :D
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Offline MbfVA

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2017, 05:00:28 pm »
I'm buying a Kobalt battery powered blower just to keep near the mill (the new 80v batteries are stupendous)!  Hey I really appreciate the advice you're giving me.  Talked to Left coast for a hour today about the Peterson.  Dither dither!

Offline NZJake

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2017, 05:53:07 am »
Hi there,

Jake here. I'm in Europe on holiday with the wife right now. If you message me your phone number I'd love to have a chat.

Just attended the Ligna Expo in Germany with the diesel Auto. Sawed up 20 ton of Poplar alone and at the stand. Sawing was the easy part. Filling the container on the final day with slabs and sawdust not so fun on your own lol...

Here is a link to some footage.

Just did some figures:
Sawing alone...
28 seconds a board
27mm x 150mm x 5.5m
.022 cube per board
45 boards per cube
21 min per cube/422bf
2.85 cube per hour
1202bf per hour
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 Savannahdan

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2017, 11:49:27 am »
I have the Luca 10-30 mill and love it.  That being said you might want to find out what mills folks have in your area or in a distance you'd be willing to travel.  Most folks are more than willing to demonstrate and maybe let you run their mill.  It would help to have an idea of what you want to do with the mill and what you might grow into.  I started out with a Granberg Alaskan chainsaw mill (still have it), went to a bandsaw mill and sold it due to a health reason that seemed to solve itself, and now have the Lucas mill.  I see another bandsaw mill in my future.  I like running all of them.  I also see me getting the slabbing system, planer attachment and sanding attachment for the Lucas mill.  I have 2 logrite peavys and 1 Chinese-made cant hook.  For my current work the Lucas is handy in that I can roll them into the mill or set the mill around them.  As you can tell from my rambling there is the factor of getting hooked.
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Offline MbfVA

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #36 on: May 27, 2017, 02:26:59 pm »
Again, Mr Peterson, a nice video of a nice looking mill going back n forth for 10 minutes, but no commentary, captions, explanations, nothing.  Production figures in the post, great but as the the site owner Jeff has so succinctly posted, somewhat meaningless since actual results are dependent on so many factors.  Yes, impressive machinery, but a very very very very very very repetitious video.  And the "drill winch", when will TS offer a permanent motor drive?  It makes the mill look like it's some sort of prototype or experiment.

Norwood videos are slick n polished and their site leaves questions that should not go unanswered, but they do narrate the videos helpfully and informatively though of course with a strong marketing undertone (nothing wrong with that as long as the information content is high).

Woodmizer, a bit like TS, kinda like: here it is, isn't it impressive, been here forever so we undoubtedly do it best, got the resale thing down (and they do appear to), and I have my order pad in hand.  Their web site needs attention.

Peterson & Lucas, better in some ways.

I'm not from Missouri or NZ, but please, show me...more.  You're asking for a lot of money from us, sawmill & accessory makers!  Rant mode off.

PS--how about a well edited video showing a pro sales/tech person orienting a prospective or new sawmill owner either being shown a machine at a sales site or one being picked up, with questions and answers as the mill operates?  Is that a seed of an idea for one or more of these companies?  I'd love to see it!

What we really need is for the PBS Motorweek folks to review sawmills!  What a great job they do!  Host John can sneak in more inoffensively presented but still informative facts during his reviews than anyone I have ever seen.  He zaps things for the careful listener but avoids offending the companies that provide the cars, masterfully.  It's been a while since we shopped for a new car/truck (too much spending on other toys) so he may have retired.  Hope not.

Offline Savannahdan

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #37 on: May 27, 2017, 05:37:50 pm »
Take a look at the Woodland Mills and Cook's company videos.  They cover the technical and feature aspects of their mills and then they demonstrate the mill by cutting a log.
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Offline dgdrls

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #38 on: May 27, 2017, 09:53:47 pm »
You'll only get so much from a video
Test drives are the only way you'll know for certain.
Get out and make some visits to folks who have
the style mill your interested in,

If you're not in a rush, go to the 2017 Paul Bunyan show in Ohio
it's the Sawmill Shootout this year you should see plenty of mills
and have staff right there to help.

D

Offline NZJake

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #39 on: May 28, 2017, 02:33:26 am »
Hi again,

One thing I've learned in business you can't please everyone. I've accepted that. If you are truly interested in learning about our sawmills check out our YouTube channel that holds almost 100 videos (some with commentary). You can also check our website out and even download our phone app. There is a lot of information available to you if it's needed.

Mill comes standard with handcranks. We do have the electric option but just seems extremely expensive and over engineered compared to a simple rechargeable drill. It's accurate and practical. For that reason I will always recommend them to owner's.

See us at the shootout!! I'll be operating the mill by myself there too.




Thanks.
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 Ianab

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2017, 04:22:49 am »
Videos and "specs" are all very well. But you really want to see and even better, use the mills.

All the main swingblade mills work much like the videos show. You set up the mill / log and move the sawhead up and down the rails. Adjust the carriage position each time.  If it's not working like the video shows, then you stop and work out why. Something mechanical and usually quite basic will be wrong, you fix it, and carry on.

Now there are pluses and minuses with the various designs. Some are lighter and more portable, some have power feeds and adjustments (good for production, not so good for cost and portability).

So go and see some mills running, even if it's just at a show. See how the ergonomics work. How will it fit in with your planned operation? Engines, blades, bearings are all pretty much known items.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2017, 04:24:06 pm »
[quote author=NZJake link=topic=95085.msg1486884#msg1486884 date=149587878

Just did some figures:
Sawing alone...
28 seconds a board
27mm x 150mm x 5.5m
.022 cube per board
45 boards per cube
21 min per cube/422bf
2.85 cube per hour
1202bf per hour
[/quote]

x a sawmillers day of 10 hours = 12020 BF / 28.5 m3
5 days in a week  = 60,100 BF / 142.5 m3
working 50 weeks a year = 3,005,000 BF / 7125 m3

which I think we all agree is pretty danG good for a lightweight portable sawmill and one guy working alone.

No offense meant to Jake in this because pretty much every manufacturers production numbers are the same bovine fecal matter "got no grounding in the real world" extrapolations of quick cutting bursts in good logs.

Go look at mills, talk to owners etc etc etc.

The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline MbfVA

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2017, 12:46:42 am »
I did see the Cooks & Woodland Mills videos.  Agreed, best presentations out there (with Woodland the winner by far; love the ATV trailer story), but those mills don't fit our perceived needs at this time; we're focusing on Band mills for now.

I don't expect to buy based only on a video, but to me the more you know about a product before seeing it (esp considering how far we have to travel for most demos), the better.  Knowledge enables a better demo and more information from it.  You go in knowing what to look for and what to ask about, at least to start with.

Woodland borders on one stop shopping since they are really doing everything but putting the customer's hands on the mill, almost as good as virtual reality.  It's the kind of setup and operations demo video that to me truly & clearly tells the buyer what to expect.  I like that over a video that just sells, the case with so many.

Jake, no offense intended by me either.  I take my job as a muckraking & questioning curmudgeon seriously.  Here's hoping you enjoy the rest of your trip.  Have any TS mills near us in VA (zip codes 22963 for the farm, 23102 home), might take a look?  I do have the money on hand to buy the right mill.  We just ordered a tree saw from Dougherty Forestry Mfg so we'll have raw material soon.



Offline NZJake

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2017, 10:46:16 am »
Hi Long time Lurker,

I am totally with you on production rates. How many times I was asked how much can this machine cut in a day? I kind of look at them and ask back how long is a piece of string. Big logs big boards = high production. Small logs, small boards = low production.

Typically narrow 1" boards take the most time. This show at least allowed me to look back at the stack and say to the customer, well I cut that over the last few days running the machine 10-20 minutes every hour. That kind of helped.
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 JustinW_NZ

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #44 on: May 30, 2017, 04:57:36 am »
 :D - so agree   ;D

[quote author=NZJake link=topic=95085.msg1486884#msg1486884 date=149587878

Just did some figures:
Sawing alone...
28 seconds a board
27mm x 150mm x 5.5m
.022 cube per board
45 boards per cube
21 min per cube/422bf
2.85 cube per hour
1202bf per hour

x a sawmillers day of 10 hours = 12020 BF / 28.5 m3
5 days in a week  = 60,100 BF / 142.5 m3
working 50 weeks a year = 3,005,000 BF / 7125 m3

which I think we all agree is pretty danG good for a lightweight portable sawmill and one guy working alone.

No offense meant to Jake in this because pretty much every manufacturers production numbers are the same bovine fecal matter "got no grounding in the real world" extrapolations of quick cutting bursts in good logs.

Go look at mills, talk to owners etc etc etc.
[/quote]
Gear I run;
Woodmizer LT40 Super, Treefarmer C4D, CAT 528 swinging grapple, 10ton wheel loader.

Offline MbfVA

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #45 on: May 30, 2017, 12:20:14 pm »
Wishing the swing blades and/or the more economical band mills did 24" boards (boards, not logs) without using a slabber since that is usual countertop depth in USA.  Several do 23", falling just short.

We are considering wood countertops, and I am no joiner.

Our old farmhouse has some very wide wainscoting approaching 3 ft, from ca.1787, back when trees that big were on the property.

Offline TKehl

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #46 on: May 30, 2017, 01:21:05 pm »
EZ Boardwalk 40 will do a 36" wide cut. 
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #47 on: May 30, 2017, 01:26:21 pm »
The LT15WIDE will saw 36".    LINK
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Offline MbfVA

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #48 on: May 30, 2017, 01:56:06 pm »
Little knowledge of boardwalk but commenting on LT15 wide, its $10K price is outside of economical for me, but obviously that's only my OPINION 🤑💲.

My main point was that the more sharply priced units like Woodland just missed countertop width by 1".   Could be a mm vs inches thing for Woodland, and I suppose it depends on where they perceive their main market is.  I sure like the information they supply--about the best I have seen, docs and videos.  Some mfrs as I have commented are downright cryptic or even secretive.

Offline MbfVA

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Re: Looking for opinions on swingblade mills
« Reply #49 on: June 13, 2017, 12:00:14 am »
Well, Plantman, I just voted for your views.  I bought a Peterson WPF from an OH seller along with accessories, just arrived back with it today.  I posted about it under another thread I started, about D&L mills, so I won't duplicate here.  I'll start a new thread when I get it set up and going since there seems to be interest & questions about swing blade mills on this list.

Ditto on your above comments, based on what I have seen & learned.

The Peterson folks have a rep for good workmanship and materials, and for good support for their owner community, borne out by my experience--again, so far.  Ezra Newick just sent me a nice emailed response and some information including an owners manual download within a couple of hours of my email telling him of my purchase.

I'll try to upload a few photos to my "gallery" but there may be a learning curve based on prior comments on it.