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Author Topic: Small scale sawmill business  (Read 2004 times)

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Offline dirthawger

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Small scale sawmill business
« on: November 12, 2017, 04:43:43 pm »
So Ive been trying to decide where i wanted to focus my attention.  Firewood or sawmill business.  I do enjoy cutting my own firewood but im not passionate enough to make it a business.  So im going for a small scale sawmill business. I do mean sawmill as my financial goal is just to make the payment which for the LT15 is around $140. I know the lt15 isn't a commercial unit but itd give me a way to ease into and see if i could actually bring in business.  So what's yalls opinios?

Offline Percy

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2017, 05:07:07 pm »
Not sure which power plant you have on your LT15 but the ones with a 15 hp electric or the 28 FI Kohlers have feed rates same as an equivelent LT40. Just more physical. Making a 140.00 a month with that mill is an easy thing to do IMO.
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Online ladylake

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2017, 05:10:45 pm »

 Should be able to clear $140 a day easy.  Steve
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Offline irvi00

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2017, 05:57:37 pm »

 Should be able to clear $140 a day easy.  Steve

Agreed. Once you get your name out there and people know about you, you'll be swamped with work. It aint easy but its a good way to spend your time.

Online Peter Drouin

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2017, 06:02:41 pm »
Are you going to sell lumber, or just custom sawing??
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2017, 06:06:16 pm »
A all manual mill is a hard way to make money. But it can be done. I would not want to be sawing steady 5 days a week,even weekends would get to me. I have a manual sawmill,I cut down the trees,mill them,and than build. Breaks up the work part. Well meaning doing the same thing all day.  :)
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2017, 07:33:26 pm »
DH,

   Way short on details for advice on my part. What is your experience and what kind of support equipment do you have to work with? Where are your logs coming from? Are you sawing lumber for others or selling it? If selling, where will you sell it? Are you transporting  lumber for others and if so back to the support equipment. Where are you sawing? On your site or customers? If your site how well is your site laid out for access, storage, etc? If at home what are you doing with the by-products like sawdust and slabwood?

   I don't want to be negative and will be glad to comment on specific questions and details. Good luck.
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Offline dirthawger

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 07:45:45 pm »
I figured i would do both if that's an option,  didn't know if maybe i need to decide on one or the other.  And i don't plan on doing it 5 days a week, id love to be swamped with work but right now my goal is just pay the monthly and supplemental income for my fulltime job and stump grinding business.  I guess it's just going to come down to just suck it up and buy it. Just a little concerned about finding customers but that's with everything you do i suppose. So do y'all recommend not getting an LT15?

One other question is I've talked to a guy before that cautioned me against woodmizer mills cause he said they're designed to make you a slave to woodmizer. He recommends lucas. Did this guy just have a bad experience?

Offline firefighterontheside

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2017, 08:01:31 pm »
I recently acquired an LT15 from my buddy, a former member here(gfadvm).  He has been sick and couldn’t use it anymore.  He sawed mostly by himself and only with free logs that he got here and there.  He would cut, air dry and sell anything he could get.  While still working as a fulltime horse veterinarian he made over 30,000 in about 2 years.  He was very meticulous in his cutting and stacking.  He cut everything live edge and stacked in perfect stacks keeping mirrored edges together.  I believe he appealed to people who wanted live edge and who wanted book matched slabs.  He priced his wood by the slab and not the board foot.  That may be a good model for a small business.  Myself, I will mostly be cutting for myself and friends and will also make it known that I will cut for a fee.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 08:32:23 pm »
One other question is I've talked to a guy before that cautioned me against woodmizer mills cause he said they're designed to make you a slave to woodmizer. He recommends lucas. Did this guy just have a bad experience?

    Did he ever actually own and operate a WM mill? I have just under 500 operating hours on my mill and a little over 72K bf plus other specialty cuts and my experience with WM has been totally positive. IMHO the WM prices are competitive when compared to the same or similar items in the local market or on line purchases, their on-line advice and troubleshooting, when needed,has been spot-on and their responsiveness with advice and sending critical spares has been above reproach.
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 4x4American

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2017, 08:41:57 pm »

I had a friend message me a picture today of a pine log (more like firewood block) that he cut in half and then squared the top up and got paid $150 to do that...if you could find markets like that you would have the best of both worlds, firewood and sawmill lol

If all else fails you could make $140/month collecting cans lol


No but seriously that lt15 will make those payments easily, you could probably make double payments on it each month and pay for it in half the time.
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2017, 08:47:24 pm »
 dirthawger,

As mentioned before, a bit more information would get you more pertinent answers.  Please add your location to your profile.  If you are considering firewood vs. milling, I would assume that you have a source for logs.  Are they 'firewood' or saw logs.  Your location, market, and competition will have a lot to do with your potential success.  If your concern is making enough to cover the payment then I would assume that you have a full-time job.  That may make it easier to get started, sometimes it can be slow until you get your name out there, and a good reputation.
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Offline dgdrls

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2017, 08:55:03 pm »
I figured i would do both if that's an option,  didn't know if maybe i need to decide on one or the other.  And i don't plan on doing it 5 days a week, id love to be swamped with work but right now my goal is just pay the monthly and supplemental income for my fulltime job and stump grinding business.  I guess it's just going to come down to just suck it up and buy it. Just a little concerned about finding customers but that's with everything you do i suppose. So do y'all recommend not getting an LT15?

One other question is I've talked to a guy before that cautioned me against woodmizer mills cause he said they're designed to make you a slave to woodmizer. He recommends lucas. Did this guy just have a bad experience?

Lucas and LT-15 are worlds apart.  Either manufacturer builds a dandy mill.  IMHO unless you're really sold on a circle style mill or plan on big logs go with the band. (I prefer the circle blade and no one around me has a Lucas so bigger logs are easy for me)
With that said if you go with a Woodmizer get one with the Monorail, at least an LT 28, that's what sets a WM apart from the others.
In a smaller mill I would test drive some of the others manufacturers first, used is also a great route,

You will have to build the service up as others have indicated,
I believe with a bit of effort you should clear the mill easily in a 2-3 years (or sooner) with regular part time milling

D

Offline dirthawger

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2017, 09:01:27 pm »
No i don't have a source of logs which is an issue. As far as competition goes there is one other guy that does custom sawing, builds furniture and flooring with the lt35.  And sorry about my profile i thought i added it but I'm in shreveport, la

Offline Magicman

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2017, 09:41:07 pm »
I am finishing 15 years of sawing with my Wood-Mizer and I have never felt like a "slave".  Their technical support is at your finger tip and the technicians will spend whatever time is necessary to keep you sawing.  Actually it could be that they are our slaves.  :D
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Offline dirthawger

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2017, 10:04:04 pm »
I am finishing 15 years of sawing with my Wood-Mizer and I have never felt like a "slave".  Their technical support is at your finger tip and the technicians will spend whatever time is necessary to keep you sawing.  Actually it could be that they are our slaves.  :D

I can't remember exactly what he said but something about they design the blades so they wear out quick and are very expensive. From what I'm reading sounds like he just had a bad experience or just a big fan of lucas.

Offline Magicman

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2017, 10:37:22 pm »
I would put him on my list of guys to "not listen to".   :P

There is no blade or sawmill manufacturer that would intentionally sabotage any part of the sawing operation.  It would also be a very rare occasion if you could find one that would discredit another manufacturer.  Let each stand on their own merits and the sawyers/users will make their own decisions and make their own choice.
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Offline dirthawger

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2017, 10:48:01 pm »
I figured i would do both if that's an option,  didn't know if maybe i need to decide on one or the other.  And i don't plan on doing it 5 days a week, id love to be swamped with work but right now my goal is just pay the monthly and supplemental income for my fulltime job and stump grinding business.  I guess it's just going to come down to just suck it up and buy it. Just a little concerned about finding customers but that's with everything you do i suppose. So do y'all recommend not getting an LT15?

One other question is I've talked to a guy before that cautioned me against woodmizer mills cause he said they're designed to make you a slave to woodmizer. He recommends lucas. Did this guy just have a bad experience?

Lucas and LT-15 are worlds apart.  Either manufacturer builds a dandy mill.  IMHO unless you're really sold on a circle style mill or plan on big logs go with the band. (I prefer the circle blade and no one around me has a Lucas so bigger logs are easy for me)
With that said if you go with a Woodmizer get one with the Monorail, at least an LT 28, that's what sets a WM apart from the others.
In a smaller mill I would test drive some of the others manufacturers first, used is also a great route,

You will have to build the service up as others have indicated,
I believe with a bit of effort you should clear the mill easily in a 2-3 years (or sooner) with regular part time milling

D
Yea Im leaning towards the lt28 as the minimum i would need to be somewhat profitable. The lt15 would be a pain to have to load it each time i need to move. I could get the next model lt15 but for a little bit more id get a better machine

Offline Ianab

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2017, 11:37:11 pm »
Quote
One other question is I've talked to a guy before that cautioned me against woodmizer mills cause he said they're designed to make you a slave to woodmizer. He recommends lucas. Did this guy just have a bad experience?

I suspect he's just had a bad experience, or someone else has told him some horror story. Woodmizer technical backup and parts seems to be one of the better in the industry, although because some of their parts are specific to their machines (not generic engineering supply store parts) it does mean you may need to get some parts via them. You don't HAVE to use their blades, but they are competitive with those.

Blades on a bandmill (in general) DO wear out faster than a swingblade, so there is some truth in that. But they are a "consumable" and you just have to factor the sharpening and replacement into the sawing cost. It's a few cents per bd/ft. The Lucas blade can be resharpened on the mill, and retipped by a local saw Doc when the carbide cutters have worn out (or you hit metal ) So blade costs should be less on the swingblade, but the difference to the overall cost isn't huge

Having said that. I'd still consider the Lucas or other swingblade mill in your situation. If you have a stump grinding business I would imagine the "add-on" to that business would be being able to saw up the log that came off the stump. You would have contacts with arborists and homeowners, so you make it known you have the sawmill service as well. This means you need to be portable, and that's one of the swingblade's strong points. You can carry and wheel it into someone's back yard and set up around a log where it's laying. No heavy machinery, no dug up lawn etc. Large logs are also no problem. You can of course cut small logs as well, but so can any other mill. You roll in, set up the mill, cut up the log, load up again, put ~$140 in your pocket and be on your way again.

The Lucas and LT15 are of course very different mill, and have their own strengths and weaknesses. But production wise, the Lucas would be more comparable to a LT35 style mill. As in, something you could run a business with. The human factor is usually the limiting thing with swingblade mills. The mill can saw a LOT of wood in a day, can you keep up moving it all day?  ??? :D
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Offline Darrel

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Re: Small scale sawmill business
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2017, 11:58:17 pm »
If I really wanted to make money with my mill, I'd be rich for two reasons. First, when I do saw for some one else, I make pretty good money. Second, there is so much work out there that if I did it all, I wouldn't have time to spend the money so it would just accumulate.  :D

Seriously though, there is plenty of work out there and I really think you'd be happier with rhe LT28 over the LT15, especially if you plan to be mobile.
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