Author Topic: Wood nut looking for advice  (Read 12707 times)

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Offline colinw

  • Posts: 111
  • Bourbonnais IL 60914
Wood nut looking for advice
« on: April 10, 2008, 10:59 AM »
I am a Festool junkie, but too be precise really I am a wood junkie, I earn my living working with wood, spend my free time playing with wood, I heat my home with wood using a hearthstone woodburning stove made from soapstone ( They are really cool and attractive check them out http://www.hearthstonestoves.com/stove-guide/select ) which brings me to my quest for advice. While getting logs for my winter fuel I frequently come across a good tree that would make good lumber for free the people just want rid of it. cherry oak hickory and walnut I have seen many times cut into firewood size chunks and burned.
1. Has anyone got any experience with small portable bandsaw lumbermills I have seen them new for around 3 grand are they any good easy to use ?
2. has anyone got any lumber drying experience, I have been looking at a solar powered design http://www.woodscience.vt.edu/about/extension/vtsolar_kiln/ I know its a long shot but anyone experimented with this type of Kiln

Lumber is very expensive and if this all came together I could see an endless supply of cheap hardwood for projects etc. I have the time and storage space ( my Father in law is a farmer with various lager machine sheds )

So please guys what do you know about this all I know is from what I have read. It would be fantastic to hear from someone who has allready got their feet wet .

Colin.

PS Sorry that most of my posts are non festool related, but all of my Festool questions have been answered somewhere allready and well i consider this place a one stop information destination on wood. ;D
 

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Offline Steve-CO

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Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2008, 12:07 PM »
Have you ever been to John Heberts web site.  He moved to Maine a few years ago, bought a "portable" sawmill, pretty much cut all his own lumber, built his house, etc.  The link below shows his mill in use.  If you go to his main web site he has hundreds of photos showing the construction of just about everything at his new place, page down to the bottom of his web site.  And yes he is big into Festool.

http://www.cjohnhebert.com/myplace6.htm

Offline colinw

  • Posts: 111
  • Bourbonnais IL 60914
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2008, 12:52 PM »
Thanks Steve I will take a look but I would really like to hear from someone who has some first hand experience. Thanks for the link though appreciate it .

Colin

Offline Peter Teubel

  • Posts: 148
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2008, 11:36 PM »
I have two sawmills. An Oscar 18 bandmill and a Lucasmill 613 swing blade. Each has their advantages. The swing blade is my favorite, but it can only cut up to 6" wide/deep. However, it can handle logs up to 8ft in diameter. The bandmill can only handle an 16" wide log, but it can cut 16" wide boards. The bandmill goes thru a number of blades before the swingmill even needs sharpening. I send the bands to Woodmizer for sharpening (I have 30 on hand and 10 out for sharpening at a time). Sharpening the swingmill is super easy. A small grinder with a diamond wheel attaches to the mill (no need to remove the blade) and is takes a few minutes to do. 17" blade with only *5* teeth.

I've been cutting mostly pine for construction wood (my friend is building a barn), but I've cut some hardwoods (oak, maple, beech, walnut, ash). I generally scour Craig's List for free logs. Load them in my dump trailer (roll them up ramps with a winch) and dump them at the mill site (my friend's property in NH).

The swingmill is VERY portable. It takes about 30 minutes to unload and setup the mill by myself. The last pic shows me cutting a 48" diameter oak. Since I couldn't move it once it was dumped, I just setup the mill over it where it lay (which is what the mill is actually designed to do).

All the wood is just air dried (a year or more) which brings the EMC to 12-15%. Fine for outdoor projects. Once moved into my shop, EMC drops to 9% after a few weeks. Dry enough for my projects. I plan to build a DH kiln next year.








Offline colinw

  • Posts: 111
  • Bourbonnais IL 60914
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2008, 12:05 AM »
Peter, thanks for the reply the bandsaw I was looking at was like your first pic and cost about 3 grand, how do they preform on hardwood do you know?  love the swing mill what would an entry level unit cost me? I would be fine with 6 in boards, any idea how these perform on hard wood? Did you check out the link for the solar kiln? sounds really good it says it will dry 2000bf in 30 days down to 8 or 9%. I appreciate your response to my questions because I seriously think i may go this way simply because two or three trees would give me a lot of expensive lumber over the a few years the thing would pay for its self, and for an added bonus my father in law is a farmer big flat bed trailers and big tractors a couple with bucket loaders a big bonus to move the trunks around with and plenty of storage

Colin.

Offline Dan Clermont

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Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2008, 12:14 AM »
I'll forewarn you milling is hard, hard work!!! It is very gratifying and taking a tree which you then turn into furniture is pretty cool!

Dan Clermont (Did I mention it is hard work) ;D
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Offline Peter Teubel

  • Posts: 148
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2008, 09:26 AM »
Peter, thanks for the reply the bandsaw I was looking at was like your first pic and cost about 3 grand, how do they preform on hardwood do you know?  love the swing mill what would an entry level unit cost me? I would be fine with 6 in boards, any idea how these perform on hard wood? Did you check out the link for the solar kiln? sounds really good it says it will dry 2000bf in 30 days down to 8 or 9%. I appreciate your response to my questions because I seriously think i may go this way simply because two or three trees would give me a lot of expensive lumber over the a few years the thing would pay for its self, and for an added bonus my father in law is a farmer big flat bed trailers and big tractors a couple with bucket loaders a big bonus to move the trunks around with and plenty of storage

Colin.

Lucasmill prices start at $8250.  I notice VERY little difference between softwood and hardwood on the Lucasmill. Cuts anything like butter. The bandmill is much slower on hardwoods. Of course, the Oscar 18 is only 5.5hp and the Lucasmill is 13hp. Both are considered entry-level units.  I also have the slabbing attachment for the Lucasmill. It's basically a 50" chainsaw bar that allows slabbing wide logs up to 50" wide and 6" thick. As with any chainsaw ripping equipment, it's slow, but a heck of alot easier to operate than an Alaskan mill attachment.

A manual bandmill like mine is fine for the hobbyist, but you can't get any real production out of it. Keep in mind the capacity, though. While it can handle a 16" log, that's assuming it's a ruler-straight 16" log. Any crook or bend will reduce the size of log that fits on the mill. If you go with a bandmill, I would suggest something bigger (i.e. Oscar 28).

Yes, I have done some research on solar kilns. I prefer automating the whole process with a DH unit. More control over the final product and alot faster. Drying hardwoods can get very tricky if one wants to reduce drying defects.

Concerning Dan's comment on milling be hard work: The actual milling process is easy. It's all the pre- and post- production work that's a bear. Hauling/moving the logs, turning the logs on the mill, tailing the boards, stickering, moving, drying, moving again, dealing with the scabs, cleaning up the MOUNDS of sawdust, etc.

Check out the video on the Lucasmill:  http://youtube.com/watch?v=KuxVre4WJeU

Offline colinw

  • Posts: 111
  • Bourbonnais IL 60914
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2008, 10:51 AM »
Dan,
       thanks for the warning but I usually find anything worth doing is hard work!

Peter,
         I can't thank you enough for the info, it looks at first glance having both machines is ideal answer but I don't think I will be jumping in and buying both to start with, I am going to look at the swing mill video as this is the one that appeals to me straight off even if it is a little more than I wanted to spend. If I can ask questions after watching the video that would be great. Thanks

Colin

Offline Peter Teubel

  • Posts: 148
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2008, 07:47 PM »
Colin,
Ask away. One thing I would suggest you consider is your log supply. If you are planning on milling BIG logs, the swinger can handle those easily. If you have small logs, the bandmill might be a better choice. FWIW, I wouldn't get the Oscar 18 again. I'd get the next larger size. More powerful motor and greater capacity. There are plenty of bandmill manufactures and in the manual category they are very simple machines. They all use "off the shelf" parts.

FYI, I bought the swinger first. Found it on eBay in CT (about 75 miles from me). The mill had 20 hours on it and included the slabbing attachment. All for $6000.

- Pete

PS...Check the Sawmill Exchange for used mills of all sizes from all over the USA:  www.sawmillexchange.com

Offline colinw

  • Posts: 111
  • Bourbonnais IL 60914
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2008, 09:51 PM »
Peter,
         I just got done watching the video that little thing is amazing. From what I saw the mill set up was very easy, is it that simple? The other thing I like is being able to put it into a pick up truck, the bandsaw I was looking at needed a little trailer which cost a few bucks but was swinging the price up towards the swinger. As far as my log supply goes I know several people who let me cut trees on their land as I said before for fire wood, they also tell others that I will fell a tree and take it away for free as long as 1. I get too keep the wood 2. the tree is in a area where I am able to drop it without risk of damaging any thing. One guy in particular rings me and tells me he has 5 0r 6 trees he wants taking down, he has a large wooded parcel of land last year he asked me to cut down 3 large Cherry trees 6 Hickories and two oaks all would have made good lumber in fact the hickories were tall sraight with very few branches and the trunks were 27-29 inches needless to say they all ended up as firewood, Its a case of if I dont take them he will call someone else and maybe nextime he wont call me. Anyhow it looks like I could easiley put the mill on the pick up hook up my flatbed trailer and set up on site and stack planks on the trailer instead of logs, It seems that if I drop the trees and limb them and say cut them into 12 foot sections you could mill them up pretty quickly on site. what do you think?  also while I was watching the video I seem to remember he said you could cut 12in lumber on the 6 inch mill by doing something with the blade ? any idea what that was about ........thanks Colin

Offline Peter Teubel

  • Posts: 148
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2008, 01:46 AM »
Anyhow it looks like I could easiley put the mill on the pick up hook up my flatbed trailer and set up on site and stack planks on the trailer instead of logs, It seems that if I drop the trees and limb them and say cut them into 12 foot sections you could mill them up pretty quickly on site. what do you think?  also while I was watching the video I seem to remember he said you could cut 12in lumber on the 6 inch mill by doing something with the blade ? any idea what that was about ........thanks Colin

Yes, it really is that easy to setup/breakdown. As long as you can leave a mess on site (LOTS of sawdust), you're golden. That's the best way to do it.

Concerning the 12" cut....it's called double-cutting. You make one 6" horizontal cut, physically pickup the saw carriage, rotate it 180 degrees and proceed to cut another 6" horizontal cut. This can yield a 6x12 (you can only go 6" deep). Two people can do the lifting or by attaching the wheels, one can do it.  I've done it a couple times, but unless your log bunk is dialed in level with the saw carriage, the cuts won't line up exactly. The reason for moving the carriage is due frame members under the carriage. Peterson swing blade mills (the originator of the swing blade system) have a different frame system so you can cut from either side of the log.



- Pete

PS...Here's a site that sells very ingenious swing mill accessories: http://www.fabrik.us/sawmillsupportequipment.html

Offline colinw

  • Posts: 111
  • Bourbonnais IL 60914
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2008, 11:34 AM »
Pete,
        Again thanks for the answers. Saw dust left on site is not usually a problem being as I'm usually in a wooded lot where it will break down and rot quickly if needed I guess I could clean up after me if needed. the swingmill really does seem ideal to me dropping the tree and limbing it and sectioning it where it fell and then milling it sounds ideal and also would cut down on moving those heavy logs, also normally 6 inch wide timber would be fine for me but having the option for 12 inch  and slabbing sweetens the deal. coupled with just taking a couple of blades with you and being able to sharpen them quickly by yourself makes it a lot simpler. I am going to try and find one used and in good condition first like you did. I'm sold on the idea. ANYTHING  I should be checking in particular if I look at a used mill? 

Thanks Colin.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4311
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2008, 12:23 PM »
Did you guys notice this bit of history from the inside cove of the catalog?
"In 1929 ... Albert FEzer and Gottlieb STOll developed the first portable chainsaw,"

Offline Peter Teubel

  • Posts: 148
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2008, 12:56 PM »
Pete,
         ANYTHING  I should be checking in particular if I look at a used mill? 

Thanks Colin.

As long as the motor runs and the swing gear box doesn't make any funny noises, everything else it hardware\automotive store materials. It's really a very simple machine. Beyond basic small engine maintenance, the only other maintenance needed is greasing the saw arbor bearing at the end of each sawing day (just to drive out any possible moisture) using a grease gun on a zerk fitting. Maybe lubing the lift chains every so often if it's left outside.

- Pete

Offline colinw

  • Posts: 111
  • Bourbonnais IL 60914
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2008, 02:57 PM »
Thanks Pete,
                  Engine and small engine maintenance are not a problem as in another life thats how I used to earn a living, and now I may have a use for that pneumatic grease gun that gets used twice a year LOL. By the way I meant to comment on the canopy you had over your swing mill smart move keeping the rain off you and also shade from the sun.
Can you give me a link to the DH kilns would like to look them over even if I probably will not buy one but its wise to at least reveiw your options before dismissing them.

Colin 


Offline Bill Wyko

  • Posts: 821
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2008, 11:05 AM »
I've seen adds in the back of several magazines saying they start at a few hundred bucks. I don't think something that cheap would tackle a big log but they should have different sizes available. Good luck. That is a lucrative business to get into.
The bitterness of poor quality, lingers long after the cheap price is forgotten.

Offline Dovetail65

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Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2008, 07:52 PM »
I would love to have my own kiln! I always wanted to do a project from felling the tree all the way to making the project.

My in laws have land in southern IL that the family has owned since the 1830's and there are some huge Walnut and Oak trees there. Someday I hope to use one of  them in a project.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2008, 07:54 PM by nickao »
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline permont

  • Posts: 11
Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2008, 03:45 PM »
Hi Colin,

Since I'm Swedish and this is a Swedish company with representation in the US you might take a look at them.
http://www.logosol.com/ 



I have read favourable reviews about their portable sawmills.
(I'm in no way connected to them...)

/Per M 


Offline woodshopdemos

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Re: Wood nut looking for advice
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2009, 12:04 AM »
Have you ever been to John Heberts web site.  He moved to Maine a few years ago, bought a "portable" sawmill, pretty much cut all his own lumber, built his house, etc.  The link below shows his mill in use.  If you go to his main web site he has hundreds of photos showing the construction of just about everything at his new place, page down to the bottom of his web site.  And yes he is big into Festool.

http://www.cjohnhebert.com/myplace6.htm

You sidestepped Steves early reply to you. Now go t  o the site and be educated. John and his first hand experiences are well worth the trip.
In memory of John Lucas (1937 - 2010)