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Hiring a Sawyer for Walnut Log - Novice Seeking Advice

43North

43North

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Novice here. I have zero experience with bandsaw mill or swing blade mill operation. I'm seeking advice about hiring a sawyer to mill a 20" diameter walnut log about 20' long.

It was felled a year ago. I covered the ends with anchorseal and put it up on cement blocks. I've done a fair amount of chainsaw milling in cedar, spruce, pine, and ash up to 16". I've been happy with the results, but it is slow going. I had planned to use the Alaskan on this log, but I am having second thoughts because of time constraints.

I don't have a way to get it to a sawmill. Its in an open area and should be pretty accessible for a portable mill.

Some sawyers offer hourly rates. Others charge by the board foot. I've heard of some others who will take a percentage of the boards milled as payment if the log is of premium quality. I'm not flush with cash, so the "boards as payment" intrigues me.

Assuming that the client (me) will be assisting with moving the boards/cants, what percentage of the board footage does the sawyer typically take? Is there a going rate depending on species and grade of log?

Thanks for the advice.
 

Bmac

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I hired a sawyer with a portable bandsaw mill last winter. He charged $80 per hr which is pretty much in the range of going rates. He milled 11 logs, quarter sawing 4 of them. I made sure I had plenty of help moving the logs and plenty of help taking the lumber off the mill as it was sawn. The sawyer didn't leave the controls all day and was there for 7 hrs.
If you plan it right and have everything ready and extra hands to help, paying per hr is the way to go in my opinion. Only issue with you may be that having a mill come for just one 20' log may mean he will charge a minimum amount for coming out.

Here's the setup I had waiting for him, logs lined up and equipment there to move the logs;

 
43North

43North

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We only handle logs that are brought in.

$135/hr, plus blades if there's anything in the logs.
Hmm. I suppose I could research the cost of hiring someone to take the log to a mill. Assuming that you don't hit any metal, what is the typical yield in board feet from an hour of sawing using your set up? Is there a range depending on the species? The type of wood seems to make a huge difference with chainsaw milling, but I have no idea if that makes a difference with actual sawmills.
 

Duce

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Hmm. I suppose I could research the cost of hiring someone to take the log to a mill. Assuming that you don't hit any metal, what is the typical yield in board feet from an hour of sawing using your set up? Is there a range depending on the species? The type of wood seems to make a huge difference with chainsaw milling, but I have no idea if that makes a difference with actual sawmills.
Where in Michigan are you? Friend has a band saw mill and I could check with him. He is located in Grayling.
 
Capitalist

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Novice here. I have zero experience with bandsaw mill or swing blade mill operation. I'm seeking advice about hiring a sawyer to mill a 20" diameter walnut log about 20' long.

It was felled a year ago. I covered the ends with anchorseal and put it up on cement blocks. I've done a fair amount of chainsaw milling in cedar, spruce, pine, and ash up to 16". I've been happy with the results, but it is slow going. I had planned to use the Alaskan on this log, but I am having second thoughts because of time constraints.

I don't have a way to get it to a sawmill. Its in an open area and should be pretty accessible for a portable mill.

Some sawyers offer hourly rates. Others charge by the board foot. I've heard of some others who will take a percentage of the boards milled as payment if the log is of premium quality. I'm not flush with cash, so the "boards as payment" intrigues me.

Assuming that the client (me) will be assisting with moving the boards/cants, what percentage of the board footage does the sawyer typically take? Is there a going rate depending on species and grade of log?

Thanks for the advice.
All the walnut buyers we sold to were looking for sawyers to mill for them bit wouldnt allow anyone with a woodmizer or similar touch them. We tried to find a miller for one buyer in particular and told the miller "he won't let you do it with a woodmizer. If thats what you have dont waste his time."

So the buyer drove four hours and lo and behold he had a woodmizer.
Buyer was furious. We were too.

Last time we sold logs to either of them.
 
ChoppyChoppy

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Roughly 400-500 bd/ft an hour, depending on log size and lumber size.

It's an LT40 Super with the diesel. I suppose it is mobile, but the insurance would be different and it's just not worth if for the odd person or two a year, especially when we have more business than we can handle already.

Hmm. I suppose I could research the cost of hiring someone to take the log to a mill. Assuming that you don't hit any metal, what is the typical yield in board feet from an hour of sawing using your set up? Is there a range depending on the species? The type of wood seems to make a huge difference with chainsaw milling, but I have no idea if that makes a difference with actual sawmills.
Why would someone not want a band mill? A circle mill is usually quicker, but a band mill has much less waste.
We used to have a Jackson Lumber Harvester. Would make the logs into cants with it and then saw the cants on the LT40.
 
Capitalist

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Roughly 400-500 bd/ft an hour, depending on log size and lumber size.

It's an LT40 Super with the diesel. I suppose it is mobile, but the insurance would be different and it's just not worth if for the odd person or two a year, especially when we have more business than we can handle already.



Why would someone not want a band mill? A circle mill is usually quicker, but a band mill has much less waste.
We used to have a Jackson Lumber Harvester. Would make the logs into cants with it and then saw the cants on the LT40.
Usually the band mills used for walnut are huuuuge.

The buyer said that small band mills moved too much. I have no hands on experience but circle mills he would allow. They just had to have a ton of output to make up for the waste.
 
43North

43North

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Where in Michigan are you? Friend has a band saw mill and I could check with him. He is located in Grayling.
Thanks for the response. The log is at a relative's farm near Owosso. It's probably a 100 miles plus from Grayling. I imagine that the mileage fees alone would make it cost prohibitive from there for a single log.
 
43North

43North

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Roughly 400-500 bd/ft an hour, depending on log size and lumber size.

It's an LT40 Super with the diesel. I suppose it is mobile, but the insurance would be different and it's just not worth if for the odd person or two a year, especially when we have more business than we can handle already.



Why would someone not want a band mill? A circle mill is usually quicker, but a band mill has much less waste.
We used to have a Jackson Lumber Harvester. Would make the logs into cants with it and then saw the cants on the LT40.
400-500 bd/ft and hour seems really efficient. Is this rate of cutting possible because of the hydraulics on that model?
 
Natster

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Suggestions. Talk to a couple of local sawyers. Some that are non portable, and some that are.
I'm thinking, cut in half, and moved to a really good band mill, is going to be a good option. Some mills have access to loggers. Who have loaders, on their trucks. I think walnut is hard. Slow feed rate, and narrow kerf.
Also, discuss what you want to do with the lumber. There are many schemes for log dis-assembly. Quarter saw. Learn about push-pull, leaning trees, geographic center, vs growth center.
To be happy in the end, there is a lot to consider.
What dimension of walnut lumber do you want/need?
Thanks.
Nate
 
43North

43North

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Suggestions. Talk to a couple of local sawyers. Some that are non portable, and some that are.
I'm thinking, cut in half, and moved to a really good band mill, is going to be a good option. Some mills have access to loggers. Who have loaders, on their trucks. I think walnut is hard. Slow feed rate, and narrow kerf.
Also, discuss what you want to do with the lumber. There are many schemes for log dis-assembly. Quarter saw. Learn about push-pull, leaning trees, geographic center, vs growth center.
To be happy in the end, there is a lot to consider.
What dimension of walnut lumber do you want/need?
Thanks.
Nate
Some good things to consider. With the Alaskan mill I have just gone straight through with live edges on both sides. Hiring a professional sawyer does open up a range of possibilities.

I want a few slabs for some furniture. I wonder if 5/4 might be the most versatile for fine wood working? I have not done any fine woodworking, but I would like to explore that. I have been experimenting with building using the white pine and white spruce live edge boards that I have milled. The reactions have been very positive thus far. No problems with warping or movement, but I've been told that those species are easy to dry. Actually, the spruce where standing dead so that may have further reduced the chance of movement.

Is there a reason to avoid cutting through the log, leaving the two live edges and further cutting on the table saw as needed? I just don't have much experience with walnut.

Thanks!
 
43North

43North

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Consider what you are doing with the finished boards or slabs. I doubt you will have a use for 20' boards or slabs. Cut it to the length you need and haul it to a mill.
Join this group and find a local to you guy. Portable Sawmills- Swing Blade Mills and Band Saw Mills
Yeah. For what I'm doing I won't need 20'. Shorter will be a lot easier to handle.
 

Bmac

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I milled this black cherry log at 20' 6", because I wanted some long trim,



That's as long of a log that my mill will cut,



and it made some fantastic lumber!!



and LOT'S of it!



SR
I milled this black cherry log at 20' 6", because I wanted some long trim,



That's as long of a log that my mill will cut,



and it made some fantastic lumber!!



and LOT'S of it!



SR
SR, what kiln do you run? 20 foot long pieces would need a big kiln or do you air dry that?
 
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