Welcome to ArboristSite.com! Log in or Sign up to interact with the ArboristSite community.

ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


  1. Please see this post Click Here Please ask questions if you have them!! I hope this is going to be great for us all.
    Dismiss Notice

Mill suggestions

Discussion in 'Milling & Saw Mills' started by ACPequipmentservices, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. ACPequipmentservices

    ACPequipmentservices ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    hey guys I'm new to the forum and looking for some suggestions on mills. I own a land clearing/ excavation company in the Houston area, so I have access to some fairly nice trees that we take down from time to time and have the equipment to move them. Only thing I'm basically lacking is a mill, which I'm pretty stumped on!

    After the researching I have done I'm considering either a lt35 manual or a lt40 but can't come to a conclusion as to what is a must have for a mill and what's a waste of money. Is it truly worth the extra cost going hydraulic? Is there a board foot per hour minimum that you'd wanna stay above and what hp is too small? Also what accessories are a must for you to have to get started?

    Thanks for any help guys!
     
    SeMoTony likes this.
  2. Franny K

    Franny K xyz

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    404
    Location:
    North eastern Ct USA
    Electric is quieter and less vibration than a piston engine. Easier to think for me, probably everyone else too. 10 horsepower electric is not a bad trade off for peace at least for me. That seems to be about as far as one can go with single phase. Can barely be started with a 25 kw generator.
    Turning the log basically gets impossible by hand especially when one or two adjacent sides have been trimmed at some point is size. Is the log turner hydraulic on those models. Some have electric winch and cable to turn, Tractor and boom pole will do it fine using the same sort of technique.
    If you are removing the pieces by hand from the sides the loading arms get in the way. I guess a log deck would be worse but if you can load each log with a machine I would think could be skipped. Might not want to skip the hydraulic lever itself perhaps you will think of something to use that for.
    The board feet an hour to me is pretty meaningless. If you do not have an edger for the stuff before you have a cant, (slabs, flitches I think are the terms for that stuff) how those are dealt with and what you are making will have a tremendous effect.
    Do those models have the wireless remote option? That would be an advantage of wood-meizer.
    A small cant hook is a good accessory, a large one too but the small one will be used more than you expect at this point most likely.
     
  3. blkcloud

    blkcloud ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    312
    Location:
    tn
    I built a mill years ago, turned the lights logs by hand.. never again.. sold it and bought a lt40.. loved it!!! Sold it when I got done with it.. hydraulics is a MUST...
     
  4. ACPequipmentservices

    ACPequipmentservices ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    thanks for the input guys! As much as I'd love to have an electric motor I think I'm going to have to go Deisel. While at my yard and some places will have power I know there will be times I won't and not having to tote a generator would be nice.

    Sounds like the lt40 would be the ideal mill but is there any reason to go bigger than that? What about other brands to consider?
     
  5. blkcloud

    blkcloud ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    312
    Location:
    tn
    I have been self employed for 35 years.. ran a machine shop the whole time, have dealt with many many different companies and NONE hold a candle to Woodmizer.. not even close.. I would not consider any others.. plus when you get ready to sell it.. someone will want it!
     
  6. Franny K

    Franny K xyz

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2013
    Messages:
    1,357
    Likes Received:
    404
    Location:
    North eastern Ct USA
    Of course there are reasons to consider something else. Belted wheels vs crowned steel wheels. Single sided support for the carriage vs support on both sides/4 post. Amount of electric controls vs strictly hydraulic. Blade enters the log on the stop side vs the other side. How the stops perhaps called squaring arms also are configured. There are lots of videos on the internet, when one gets done another pops up or you can choose from a list. Timberking and Cooks have videos made by the owner(s). Baker is another I could mention. There is plenty of stuff out there to search up. Most all the main ones except Timberking and Cooks go to the paul bunyan show, there may be other shows near you. Wood-meizer has some program where owners get credit for demonstrating to potential customers. I only have a mower made by Wood-Meizer's sister company not sure if my opinions are valid.
     
  7. Ryan'smilling

    Ryan'smilling ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    883
    Location:
    United States
    I own a timberking b20. It's similar to an lt40 hydraulic. It's a very nice machine. It's also for sale. PM me if you want details, by the way.

    I can say this. I like the hydraulic functions of my mill. When I bought it I didn't have a good tractor with a loader. If you've got that, or a skid steer, the hydraulic features may not be as important.

    I can also say this, in my area, no one wants to pay for custom milling. Maybe that's not an issue for you. If you're planning on milling logs and selling lumber that's a different plan. Of course, in that case you'll need a kiln or a yard for air drying and a large area to store lumber. You'll also need an industrial planer.

    On custom milling, though here's my experience: the mill is cool, and does good work. It's also dangerous (mostly because logs are dangerous), noisy, and costs money to run. They require occasional fine adjustment and there is no mill immune from breakdowns. They require skill to operate. In my area, folks are VERY reluctant to pay over $40/hour to have the mill operate on their land. To do a job, you have to hitch up your mill, load up your tools and equipment, drive to the job, and then undo all this afterwards. All this takes time, which needs to be figured into your price. Also, you need to account for fuel, lubricants, blades, maintenance and INSURANCE. Insurance is huge. Before you do ANYTHING else, call your insurance agent. When our agent got wind of a sawmill he basically said he needed to cancel our entire policy, farm, home, business everything. I'm sure you have insurance already, but try calling your agent and saying "sawmill", I dare you.

    So, total up these costs, figure in depreciation (if you dare), and then add your wage. If you think you deserve make more than $2/hour to work all day on a noisy, stinky, dangerous machine, you may want to reconsider your plans. If people would pay $75-100/hour it might work out. At $40 it don't.

    Honestly, in my area anyway, a tractor and a bush hog would make way more money. Less insurance cost, less fixed costs, more potential customers, more relaxing to do. Way way less thinking and no math. No take measures either.

    I'm not trying to crush your dreams. Mills are cool. I like mine. Honestly, though I wish that someone has grabbed me by the collar and told me what I just told you before I bought my mill. The companies that sell them do a great job of showing you some successful mill owners. That's not the only side of the story, though.
     
    KiwiBro and SeMoTony like this.
  8. SeMoTony

    SeMoTony ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Messages:
    534
    Likes Received:
    511
    Location:
    S E Mo
    One of my fave neighbors Bought woodmiser before I met him. His succes was in milling most all the boards from trees on his new property to build his home.More than paid for mill still has after all these years.Uses now for custom cuts for family wood working. Figure what u'll do with wood that comes off. my $.02
     
  9. blkcloud

    blkcloud ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    312
    Location:
    tn
    I made more than $2 a hour with mine, but I sold lumber.. not milling for other people on a per foot basic.. the logs came from my farm and fetched way more than if I had sold them to a sawmill
     
  10. Ryan'smilling

    Ryan'smilling ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    883
    Location:
    United States
    Yep, selling lumber is a whole different set of numbers. If you've got the logs I'm sure it's much much more profitable to mill then than sell them as logs.
     
  11. ACPequipmentservices

    ACPequipmentservices ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    Thank y'all for yalls input! I do have some more research to do and numbers to crunch before jumping in head first! Sounds like the lt40 is a popular unit, just if its worth justifying the cost!

    As far as making money on the unit my thoughts are to being able to sell the larger rare cuts, I don't care to get into selling plain 2x4s and such. I do have some nice pine laying around but that maybe just for personal use. I don't plan to make this a daily job but for something to complement what I already do and something to fill in any down time, mostly when we are rained out.

    Are there any good reads on wood drying? This is one thing I'm going to need to educate myself on and will determine a lot on storage of the wood and such.

    Thanks again for all the help guys!
     
  12. ACPequipmentservices

    ACPequipmentservices ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    One of my customers has a logosol m7 cs mill that her husband had bought new but I don't believe ever used and has been sitting outside for a few years. I'm contemplating trading her some work for it. Any idea what this unit would be worth used? Sounds like the new m8 models are about $2500.
     
  13. ACPequipmentservices

    ACPequipmentservices ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    Hope everyone had a merry christmas! My father ended up getting me a 36" granberg CSmill which I'm pretty excited about! Needless to say I've been reading up on here since last night!

    My first question is what chain/ ripping chain is highly recommended? The saw I will be using to start with is my 391 with a 25" bar, which I've also been looking at doing the muffler mod and tune on. (any advice specifically on this would be great!).

    My second concern is I need to purchase a bigger saw to run a 36" bar, I'm between the 661 or 880. Would the 661 be enough for running the 36" bar and plentiful for oiling? or would it be of my best interest to just go with the 880? I mostly like the idea of the 661 since it is lighter and I love my 362 with the mtronic motor, super easy to start and always runs great!
     
  14. Grande Dog

    Grande Dog ArboristSite.com Sponsor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,584
    Likes Received:
    1,142
    Location:
    Laytonville CA
    Howdy,
    I would suggest trying the 391 set up on some smaller logs to see what you think of the mill operation. It'll give you an idea if that's the way you want to move forward. From what you're describing that you want to do, it would be like using a backhoe when you should have used an excavator. The job will get done but, you and the hoe will be tired.
    As far as the chain goes, ripping chain tends to cut slower, and leaves a smoother surface. Standard chain tends to do the opposite.
    If you think you might end up looking for a more versatile mill, there are swingblade mills that will also slab, plane, and sand besides cutting very accurate dimensional lumber.
    Let me know if you're interested.
    Regards
    Gregg
     
  15. ACPequipmentservices

    ACPequipmentservices ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas

    Thanks Gregg! I completely agree! My dad figured this would be a fairly cheap route to get our feet wet in. But that makes alot of sense on the ripping chain, I've got quite a few mid size pine logs that ill be using as guinea pigs to get a feel for the mill with the 391 and 25" bar. For dimensional lumber on the pine I see the ripping chain being beneficial. But my main goal is to do more live edge stuff with some character to it, so maybe the ripping chain wouldnt be best for the hardwoods I've got stacked up.

    I got it all put together today just waiting on the rails to get in later this week!

    Also going to pull muffler off the 391 when it gets back in this evening.
     
  16. BobL

    BobL No longer addicted to AS

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Messages:
    7,066
    Likes Received:
    1,783
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    My recommendation is also not to try to do too much all at once.
    As GD says just try using the mill with the 391 as is.

    You might like to try a variety of chains to start with but eventually I found it's better to settle on as few types of chain (preferably try to settle on one) as possible i.e. pitch, gauge, skip or no skip, chisel or semi chisel and spend the time optimising the chain
    That way you;
    - won't want to be messing around changing chains specific to what you are cutting
    - can have multiple sharp loops of the same chain on hand ready to rock and roll
    - can buy rolls and economically roll your own.

    There's nothing worse than rattling around amongst piles of chains looking for the one you want and invariable finding its blunt.

    As far as the 661 v 880 goes a 661 will handle up to a 42" bar (36" cut) especially bear in mind that on a 36" log only a few cuts are near 36" wide.
    I'd recommend an Aux oiler on any CSM so oil is not a issue
     
    SeMoTony likes this.
  17. ACPequipmentservices

    ACPequipmentservices ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    I agree, I am going to try and do what I can with what I have on hand now. About a 1/4 of the logs I have stockpiled I will be able to mill with my 25" bar, should give me a 20" cut maybe 21" if I take the dogs off the saw. I run the stihl yellow chains my dealer carries, not sure what the exact specs are on them but I need to see what they are and pay more attention to what I am running.

    Would you suggest even running an aux oiler with the 391 and 25" bar? I really like the idea of the 661 and I'm sure would be a great saw for me and I would put good use to it from time to time not only for milling. I just don't wanna get the 661 and have wished I would have just gotten the 880.
     
  18. steve easy

    steve easy ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    278
    Location:
    NZ
    880 over 661, but I'd take any saw over a 661. Aux oiler a must for any milling.
     
    KiwiBro likes this.
  19. BobL

    BobL No longer addicted to AS

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Messages:
    7,066
    Likes Received:
    1,783
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    Even taking the dogs off the saw, on a conventional alaskan mill ~6" is lost due to the mounting clamps. To get at most a couple of inches more than this the outboard clamp is modified and attached to the bar by drilling and bolting through the centre of the nose bearing.

    To get more, a completely different way of mounting the mill to the saw is used hereby the mill is attached to the bar bolts.
    880five.jpg

    Yes I would.
     
  20. leechlightning

    leechlightning New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Il
    I have a 661 for milling and I love it, I don't baby it, but strictly maintain it and run a 42" bar no problems yet. I get 39" of cut without drilling my Oregon bar with the dawgs removed, my 36" Stihl bar only could get 31" so depends on the brand.

    2ndly I quickly found the 661 will not be big enough, as I have 5 logs ranging from 45" to 60" already and I just started milling and collecting logs in may, so I will be getting an 880 soon.
     

Share This Page