Harbour Freight lumber mill
Purchased the $1699 mill for hobby use, was expecting something that would need beefing up, seems to be more than expected. Assembled unit and cut 3 logs yesterday (16" to 20" X 12' max)...preliminary judgments:
Good things: 1.The $75 buck shipping actually brought a Central freight semi truck to our very rural front door (Bad? you better be home though, truck did not have a lift unloader, had to unload the 668# angle iron encased shipping box with my tractor forks).
2. It came 90% assembled, 1 hr bolting tracks together (surprise, good heavy angle iron, not the light channel pictured) and another 6 mere bolts for installing the upright guides (different from pic too.. they upgraded to 1 round and 1 square uprights pair), the cutting assembly head was totally ready with blade in place and tracking adjusted. 1 hr leveling, lining, and securing, and was testing on logs same day. The mill was very different from the one pictured in the online owners manual. "Addendum" owner assembly sheets showed new angle iron tracks, new heavier roller assembly, water cooler, motor mounting, guides, and bearing pulley's for the horizontal screw type head lift cable system (another improvement from cable twisting type shown in original online pics)...Bad? That pre-assembled unit was heavy (need lift or two friends with weak minds to get it on the tracks). Spent 10 minutes using an angle grinder to touch up close clearances between the improved heavier roller bearing wheels and the track angle iron cross-braces (a more patient assembler without an impact gun might do better lining up those pre-drilled holes).
3. Subaru Robin 7 hp steel jug engine. Not a commercial zipping production unit, but cut steady enough for hobby folks on green hard wood, centrifugal clutch seems strong enough. Bad? cheap plastic kill switch, added a heavier one closer to operator.
4. Cut 3 logs into various thickness (1 soft, 2 hard, debarked with Hudson chainsaw attachment), blade tracked true, roughcut 6'-12' boards uniform. Bad? found a 58 cal roundball in the wood my detector missed, wrecked the cheaper original longtooth blade, installed a better .042, 1.3t, 12 footer, re-adjusted blade tracking, guides for thicker blade (10 min) and was going again..
5. Was expecting much less, but so far no beefing up to lift assembly or tracking looks needed. We'll see how long the smooth starting Subaru lasts...(another nice thing was the flat plate engine mount...plenty of room all sides to add any engine you might want to upgrade to.) Bad? Now the wife wants her new carpet.