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Author Topic: What features would you want on a new mill?  (Read 465 times)

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Offline Crusarius

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What features would you want on a new mill?
« on: May 15, 2017, 01:01:03 pm »
I found a thread from 2014 that was very similar to what I am asking. Only reason I start this new thread is because I am sure a lot has changed in 3 years.

I have been shopping for a band saw mill for probably 6 months now. I played with a Hud-son. Wasn't a bad unit for the price. This past weekend I got to play with a Norwood LM29. That wasn't bad either.

After playing with the Norwood, I started noticing features that were missing or just did not feel right to me.

I have once again started thinking about building my own mill.

I have a 10 acre parcel half hardwoods and half pines. I need to remove a ton of pines in order to have a place to build my shop. Currently I am just planning on this for hobby setup but am hoping to have some future income from it.

What features would you guys have to have?
What features would be nice?
What features would be unnecessary?

If I do build a sawmill I am seriously thinking about starting with the Linn Lumber basic sawframe kit. I am a very capable fabricator so none of that is an issue.

Any help is appreciated.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 09:22:16 am »
hmmm? how bout what features you love and what you hate?
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Offline PineHill4488

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2017, 09:45:09 am »
Crusarius,
This isn't a hijacking but I am wrestling with a similar issue.

I became addicted to sawdust with a Granberg CSM, then wanted to increase my dosage by building a Procut, recently had some red oak sawn using a WM, now am curious if a Linn sawhead can be adapted to my Procut mill. If it can be I'm into a BSM for about $2500. A winding road, I know, I'm using my occasional mad money to do this piecemeal. Hopefully, someday my addiction will pay for itself. Along the way a therapeutic hobby has developed that I truly enjoy.

Any advice or commentary appreciated,
Greg
Fall 2013 purchased Stihl MS 660 and an Alaskan 36" mill, am happy with the setup, hobbyist not a volume producer, have milled oak, hickory, yellow pine, and power poles.

Offline Darrel

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 10:35:49 am »
I have a list of what I want on my next mill here. http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,96155.0.html

But understand that this my wish list. Yours will be different I'm sure as sawmill needs are as varied as the sawyers that run them.
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 12:21:48 pm »
Pinehill, I never even heard of them. I just checked them out. Pretty sweet setup. If you have any fab skills at all I am sure you can adapt Linn lumber head to that.

Darrel thanx for posting, I know my needs may be different. Just looking for thoughts of what ppl like and don't like. I started a spreadsheet with cost of mills and am getting more and more depressed looking at my price range disappearing in the sawdust.

I really think at this point I may end up building so I am trying to think of what I want to build into it. Hopefully do it right the first time and not have to redo it right away.
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Offline Darrel

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 10:40:10 pm »
Crusarius, building a mill of your own is certainly a viable option. There's a good number of folks here on the forum that have done just that and with a very good outcome. I built my own duel tooth setter for my band saw blades.   My mill was 22 years old when I bought it and I only paid about 1/3 the price of a new one. So, there's another option. The mill I have isn't my dream mill but it does what I need it to do.  The mill I now have is going to buy my new one and when it does, I'll get all the bells and whistles I now wish I had.

So good luck to you as procure you mill by whatever method you choose. :)
1992 LT40HD

The winds of change are blowing at hurricane force and I don't like it but good shall come even though I see not how.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2017, 07:24:16 am »
The used mill market in this area is pretty slim. I hardly ever see them. When I do see them they are usually the full hydro units well over my price range.

Currently I think the plan is to build but if I do find the right deal I will jump on it.
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Offline PineHill4488

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2017, 09:50:30 pm »
Thanks Crusarius,

I do and what I lack a friend definitely does.

Thanks for the vote of confidence.
Fall 2013 purchased Stihl MS 660 and an Alaskan 36" mill, am happy with the setup, hobbyist not a volume producer, have milled oak, hickory, yellow pine, and power poles.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2017, 12:35:52 pm »
If I were to start building a mill using the Linn Lumber 36" kit what engine would you guys recommend?
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Offline Pife

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2017, 04:03:00 pm »
I picked up a DuroMax 18 Hp 1'' Shaft, Electric Start Engine from here, I figure it should work for what I will need it to do.  Price was good, shipping was not (but where I'm at - I am used to that, it was taken into consideration)

http://www.generatorfactoryoutlet.com/accessories/gas-powered-engines/

Offline Crusarius

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2017, 06:36:37 pm »
Wow those are cheap. Have you been using it? hows it working?

I was just on ebay looking at the 23-25 hp range. Figure more is better especially since I am thinking 36" bandsaw.
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Offline dgdrls

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 06:53:18 pm »
Hi Crusarius,

nice spot down there in Canadice,

Mills in the range you're talking about will be manual for sure,
I think the Linn mill is a dandy machine and nice option for a person who can fab and build.
If I went that way I would go with Honda power
or electric if you can.

You'll probably have to travel a bit to find your mill or order one

Best
D





Offline esteadle

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2017, 07:53:29 pm »
I have a Timber Harvester 30HT25. It has hydraulics, log loader, trailer package, along with debarker, and some extras. Here's what I would advise.

First, consider your width of cut and figure out your maximum. Buy a mill that can cut that width. You can cut smaller, but you can't cut bigger. 30" mills are OK for most of the stuff I get around here in PA. But once in a while, I find a 30+" log that I can't handle on this mill and it has to be split or quartered. If you want 36" wide slabs, you need a mill with 30+ HP and nice, sharp blades.

Next think about log handling. How do you load and turn your logs? Turning logs during the sawing process helps get you better lumber quality. And remote hydraulics help you produce more in a given time. But if you're only sawing for yourself, you may not need that. I have a hydraulic turner on my mill, and that saves me a lot of time and walking back and forth. But once in a while I still have to grab a cant hook and turn the log by hand. So it's not a perfect solution.

Next, think about accuracy. How accurate does your lumber need to be? Manual height adjustments are cheap, but there is some variance in the thickness of the lumber produced. You'll learn to minimize that over time as you work with it. But setworks don't need any learning time: they just "work" and give you nice, consistent thickness lumber right away. If that's not important to you, then skip it.

Next, think about how old you are. If you're like the rest of us, you aren't getting younger. If you have a strong back, you can push your mill through logs. But if you want to save some sweat and effort, consider a drive motor to move the mill through the log for you. If you get a drive motor, investigate the speed controls and make sure they are fine enough to slow the mill enough through wide cuts with a dull blade. I get annoyed sometimes when I ruin a beautiful 25" wide flitch because I set the drive motor advance rate too fast and the blade dived into the cant.

And think about blades. What kind and how much will they cost. Blades are something you will buy for the life of the mill. Find a mill that uses a common width (1.25" or 1.5" or 2") and a common length (usually determined by the band-wheel diameter). Extra long or extra short bands will cost extra money. if you choose a common size, you can get your blades from different sources and shop around to save some money.

Now that I mentioned bandwheels... the larger the bandwheels, the less blade breakage. Small bandwheels mean small radiuses and extra blade bending. That fatigues the blades sooner, and they break more often. Big bandwheels (26"+) result in less breakage, and so your bands can last longer. So get the biggest bandwheels you can find if you plan to do a lot of sawing.

There you go... good luck to you!
Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).

Offline esteadle

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2017, 08:30:40 pm »
Hey, so... I took a look at the Linn Lumber 1900 that I think for the width of cuts you are talking about, you want the more powerful engine option.

Here is the 1900:
http://www.linnlumber.com/page4.html

With:
Optional Kohler 25 HP engine for $650.

I like Kohler. I have one, and though it's given me some trouble, it's a reliable, strong engine. I should take better care of it ;-)
Their service is good. You can get parts in most places. They have service manuals on their website.
Some folks have had trouble with the recent EFI versions that are largely the result of bad throttle position sensors.
Check online here for some other threads that go into that and the software, and etc that can help with it.
Here is the current (EFI) version of the CH730 which is a horizontal shaft ~25hp machine.
https://power.kohler.com/na-en/engines/troubleshooting-command-pro-efi-gasoline


I looked at the DuroMax engine and it looks good enough. Sawmills make a lot of dust, and pine especially. If there is an option on this engine for an upgraded air filter, (2 stage maybe), it will last longer.

Also, it has a : 1.7 gallon Fuel Tank. If you're sawing thru big wide pieces, it's gonna suck down fuel, as you'll be running WOT most of the time. I'd estimate runtime is going to be 90 minutes or less on a tank of fuel.

Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).

Offline Crusarius

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Re: What features would you want on a new mill?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 07:57:48 am »
dgdrls, I would LOVE electric. Unfortunately, I want to keep it portable since my dad has 50 acres of pines and hardwoods. Between my land and his just with the trees that have fallen I am sure this mill will be busy for the next few years.

esteadle, Thank you so much for the very in depth info. Everything you mentioned is stuff I have already been considering. Especially hydraulics. Your right, I am not getting any younger. My plan for this was to build purely manual mill then adapt and improve from there. One of my thoughts for log turner was to set up a piece of threaded rod with 3/4" socket welded to the end so I can use my M18 cordless tools to turn it.

I could get away with the Linn Lumber 190-a but I really think I am going to go with the 1900. Either way I would like to do the 25hp engine. I never thought about a full 30" slab using that much more power. It is not likely I will be doing 30" slabs, at least not right away. But I have found more horsepower is not usually a bad thing.

I have slowly been putting together a spreadsheet with all my options. When I get that done I will post it.

Thanks for everyones help. I may have to actually start a build thread to go through all the details?
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