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Author Topic: Buick-Powered Sawmills  (Read 1917 times)

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Offline wascator

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Buick-Powered Sawmills
« on: November 28, 2017, 08:55:09 pm »
Hi, I have owned a Buick (auto) with the straight eight engine for years, and older folks who remember small sawmills in rural Louisiana have told me many times the Buick straight eight engine was the best sawmill engine when that was all people could afford. Anyone ever seen or run one?

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2017, 09:12:42 pm »
You got one that still runs?
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline starmac

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2017, 09:29:19 pm »
Not a sawmill, but I rode lots of miles in a car that had one, some of them at a pretty high rate of fuel consumption.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline Gearbox

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2017, 09:42:07 pm »
Our family started our mill with a McCormick Dearing 15 30 until it broke then a 22 36 until it put a rod through the block . Then dad bought a 40 Buick cut the body off at the windshield locked the rear end welded a flat pulley to the wheel ran a throttle cable to the stick and sawed for years . I helped on the green end when he sawed 32 foot 8X8 Red pine for exposed beams .
A bunch of chainsaws a BT6870 processer and not near enough time

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2017, 08:45:21 pm »
The old timers had high regard for straight 8 buick  engines on sawmills. When I started in 1980 I couldn't find one. I remember an old junk yard owner saying they had a pile of them, $20  each, take your pick, they are all good. That was in the '50 s.  The man who came around selling mill supplys  ran his no. 1 American with a Pontiac straight 8.

Offline Bosco

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2017, 10:44:34 am »
I actually found an old Chrysler P.U. made into a sawmill out in the woods/Mts. on some property I was thinking about buying. Had alot of old buildings and equipment around an old homestead.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2017, 07:56:56 pm »
I have also heard the Dodge slant six is a decent mill engine. Any gasoline auto engine is just a poor substitute for a proper diesel. I don't mean to insult anyone on their power choice but a diesel power unit or large diesel tractor is the best unless your just dubbing around. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Online Darrel

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2017, 10:22:39 pm »
My dad said that when it came to gas engines for sawmills never get a v8 because they didn't have the torque of a straight 6. He also said that it would take a big diesel to out do a Buick straight 8. But you have to understand that the diesels my dad was talking about were built during the same time period as the Buick straight 8.
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 wascator

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2017, 09:43:41 am »
Thanks for the replies; all interesting.
Back before the automatic transmission, engines with torque were the thing; they would pull smoothly from low RPM so you didn't have to shift much, and the Buick engines were designed to move heavy cars around smoothly. There were two: the smaller engine in the lower line cars and the big bore about 320 cu in for Century, Limited, and after WWII when the Limited became the Roadmaster.
Using an auto engine on a mill: it is true they are not designed to run heavily loaded, as moving a car down the highway doesn't require all that much power. They need to be able to provide higher out put for short periods of acceleration of course and that feeling of effortless motion from a low speed,  high torque engine is the luxury the manufacturers were charging the big money for.
I think they will live if they are not too heavily loaded and if they are run at 1200-1500 RPM. Of course some of them were probably close to being worn out when they found themselves powering a mill rather than this year's newest Buick, too.
Would love to see photos of a setup or even better; a video of one running a mill with a big hardwood log in the carriage.

Online Kbeitz

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2017, 10:25:27 am »

Would love to see photos of a setup or even better; a video of one running a mill with a big hardwood log in the carriage.

How about just a hardwood log in the wheels. My 1937 Buick...

 

 
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2017, 04:33:37 pm »
 8) That is a beauty.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2017, 07:25:33 pm »
Wascator, look on you tube under circular saw mills there are many vids with different mill engines gas, diesel and steam some very under powered. Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline barbender

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2017, 10:13:02 pm »
Kbeitz, that is sharp! My dad has a 37 Dodge pickup, it looks very similar to your Buick.
Too many irons in the fire

Online Darrel

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2017, 10:44:15 pm »
I just had one of those flashback memories.  In about 1974, I was given a 1954 Packard Super Clipper.  That old car had a straight 8 flathead and on the top of the head it said "Thunderbolt 350". I only drove the car 1 time because it had no breaks other than the parking brake that didn't work very well either.  I drove it home and backed it into the landloed's fishpond.  No damage to pond or car.  I put it up for sale and two buyers showed up at the same time.  One guy was a poor sawyer with a broken down mill that wanted the engine to power his sawmill. The other was a rich guy that needed a '54 Super Clipper to complete his Packard collection. Guess which guy won the bidding contest.

Anyway, there is only one way that I can describe the way that car accelerated. Smooth. Nothing that would plaster you to the back of the seat, but at the same time, the next thing I knew was that the old cluncker was going down highway 101 in California's wine country at 70 mph with no brakes.
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 wascator

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2017, 03:21:15 pm »
I've watched every Utube video I can find with a mill in it, haven't found a Buick-powered mill though.
Straight eight = smooth torque. That's the idea. When the HP race started the straights were too long and heavy, and the crank is not stiff enough to take the high firing pressures without being overly heavy and expensive, hence the rise of the V-8.

Offline Resonator

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2017, 04:11:11 pm »
Sounds like the old EMD (General Motors) diesel locomotive engines. The railroad found it was more cost effective to de-tune (reduce horsepower) than to keep having crankshafts twist apart under high torque load. Any drive line is only as strong as its weakest link.
"Chasing the sawdust dream..."

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2017, 05:01:54 pm »
In my shop I have a 1950 Buick sedan that my great grandfather bought new  and paid cash for .I think it's 248 cubic inches and 125 HP .Keep in mind a 1950 Ford V8 8BA engine was 95 HP .The car has 24,000 miles on it with the original tires which are of course no good .
That thing has enough low end torque to pull away from a stop sign in high gear at idle if you slip the clutch a little .Try that with a Ford flat head V8 .
To the topic I've seen one Buick powered sawmill ,old as the hills .I never saw it under power. That conglomeration was ran off of line shafts with belt driven swing saws and gang rip saws plus the big head saw .The engine was up in the rafters of the shed .That thing looked kind of dangerous to me .

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2017, 05:14:59 pm »
Oh one more thing,my old Buick which was last licensed in 1974 would average about 18 MPG .My great aunt had inherited that car and decided she need a new one at about  80 years old and gave it to me .Then seeings the old Buick had an 8 cylinder she bought a 1974 Olds Cutlass,rally wheels 350 cubic inch V8 engine with a 4 barrel carb ,talk about hot rod mama .When she passed in 1990 that Olds had a tad over 5000 miles on it .

Offline starmac

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2017, 05:21:35 pm »
Does anybody know, if the buick and Pontiac straight 8's were the same engine??
My wifes granddad had a halftrack at the ranch, if I am not mistaken it had a straight 8. I want to say it was a white.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Buick-Powered Sawmills
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2017, 05:31:50 pm »
The Pontiac was a flat head while the Buick was over head valve .Different displacements also