What mill should I be looking at? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-03-2011, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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What mill should I be looking at?

Hello everyone!

I'm wanting to do some research on what brand and type of bandsaw mill I should be looking at, and figured this was the best place to start!
I would just be milling mainly for personal use in order to produce my own lumber for high end custom cabinetry (once I reach that state in the future.. haha) I would also be milling the odd log for people here and there.

Now, I also live in Canada.. in Saskatchewan, AKA in the pararies. Where there are not many trees.. haha Therefore.. not many mills, unlike the states.
what's the deal on if I were to buy a mill from the states to get it up here? Pretty much have to go pick it up eh?
Now what brand of saw is highly suggested? and how does the automatic feeds work?

Sorry for so many questions! I'm a noob when it comes to mills.. But REALLY wanting one. :)

Levi

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post #2 of 15 Old 12-03-2011, 07:53 PM
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Hud-son BSM's are sold in Canada . That's what I personally use (Farmboss 36)and sale.

First order of "business" lol is :
1) know your budget... this starts and stops most deals period. This just needs to be realistic....YOU don't buy cadilacs at volkswagon prices AND IF your not willing to spend enough to get past the front wheels .....it just don't happen. I think the lowest any brand entry mill is approx. $2,500 BUT don't expect much....same with ours...IT'S ENTRY LEVEL NOT PRODUCTION!!!!
2) How large of dia log do you WANT to cut????? It doesn't matter if you have 50 -16"ers , if 24" is the big one your cutting that's the size BSM your gonna need.
3) How long of a log???? Most mills come with X# of ft and can be added to. Each company has different base priced ftge. extensions can get expensive.
4) ARE you going to be moving much....consider trailer option/pkg
5) Are you expecting PRODUCTION SPEEDS???? More $$$$$$
6) Is this going to be set up permenantly at one place or set up everytime needed using???
7) Is it for personal use or public cutting????

Most of these you already stated. This will give you a good base to start with, then you can see if budget and sizes are going to match.
I don't push a certian brand.....They all make good mills at the price range you define......Some just have more to offer and ALL have PROS AND CONS!!!!. I chose Hud-son...IT FIT MY NEEDS and Usage. I can cut for a living with it BUT not as a high production but I didn't spend for production. I have clients that use their Oscar 328's in large parttime businesses.

The next war in BSM's is monorail(Woodmiser) vs 4 post heads ( most of the rest brands)....as above they both have PROS and CONS....AND BIG arguments, it's a decision on what you like and willing to keep maintained.

This will help you get started BUT won't clear the headaches of MULTIPLE BSM's in the same category. A great starter all around mill in Hud-son is the 328 but limited to width. On their website is a Canadian Company that saws on a older 236 cutting log home packages.

Have a Blessed day in Jesus's Awesome Love,
Tim
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-04-2011, 09:12 AM
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I have a Linn & love it. I considered all the common BSM's before buying, and haven't looked back. One thing TJ brings up is portability. Mine has an axle but it's not so simple. I have to remove the mill from the axle & assemble it on the ground, which is tough because it's very heavy. I plan to have some tube steel welded under it so I can saw with the axle in place, or else solid mount it to a double axle flat bed trailer. Stuff I should have considered before the purchase but no biggie. I paid $5G's for it with an axle & it cuts straight through a 30" log, supposedly can whittle down a 36 incher. Uses standard 158" blades so nothing weird or tough to find. Cuts great. I love it.

Here it is ready to tow. The front extension bolts on top of the back, making it about 12' total length. 20' when assembled.


This is assembled ready to mill. I have it resting on a series of RR ties.


Here's a cherry slab from a HUGE tree I milled up over Thanksgiving. This slab is from one of the upper logs. I slabbed it because it was crooked & had a couple knots. There were 5 10' logs before branching. Butt log was 30" & top log was 18". All other 4 logs were dimension cut to 5/4 & 8/4 & some 4x4 posts. Gonna make a couple gun cabinets & a kitchen table, and still have several hundred bf left over!!!


Again, my only gripe is that I have to remove it from the axle. But for the money, i'm happy.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-04-2011, 11:25 AM
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tt brings up good points, norwood is another brand sold in canada. one advantage to a mill that sits on the ground is you don't need heavy equipment or a winch to load logs. logs are easier to load at ground level with cant hooks a a friend or two. also google easy boardwalk mills, large capacity for not alot of money, but I don't know if he ships to canada? you have lots of research to do, go back through the post in this section, you can learn alot from the guys that use bandmills. daren didn't spend alot on his mill and he mills alot of lumber and he mills at ground level.

clinton township, mi. without wood their is no woodworking, mill it.
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-04-2011, 11:41 AM
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It's hard to buy a shoddy-built band saw mill. I'm not aware of a manufacturer that has a bad reputation for quality. Some mills will have features & options than others in the same price range & class than others. Some will be fairly priced some will be over priced.

Some companies will take longer to deliver than others - especially true with some of the smaller mom & pop operations because some do not keep much inventory. But also because a lot of the smaller companies stay busy and are legitimately backed up. So are many of the larger mill makers though.

Norwood makes great mills and for new mills I believe they are reasonably priced. My first mill was a LM2000 with a 23HP B&S gas engine. It was a great little mill but I needed more. I forget how long I used it, nearly 2 years maybe more, and I sold it for ~ $600 or $700 less than what I paid. They hold their resale value in other words, as does Woodmizer.

I always advise prospective mill buyers to be patient and look at the used market. Especially with the current state of the economy. I also advise not to go into debt to get a mill, especially thinking you'll make the payments with the mill. While this is possible, it almost never happens in reality.

That's not personal advice, it's part of the whole equation that many new owners don't consider seriously enough and end up losing their dream of milling their own wood, and making a little extra coin on the side.

If you cannot pay for the mill outright save your money until you can, because you're going to have to buy a LOT of other items you can't even imagine right now.

If you do buy new, Norwood does business inside Canada. Their mills are assembled in Canada & also in the USA. But don't get hung up on purchasing a mill by brand only. But I do say this to every prospective mill buyer also:

If you buy used, try to find a good deal on a used WM. When you buy a used WM you also get free support, including phone support with your mill. There may be other companies that do this but I'm not aware of any. Free support with a used piece of machinery. Buy a used Chevy then call and ask them to put a tech on the phone to help you troubleshoot the engine. Better not hold your breath. With WM they'll say "Okay you bought one of our mills great. Let's get your mill information first & then we'll get down to fixing it for you. . . " .

In a few days you'll receive a welcome folder from them with your account number, mill info, and some marketing materials yes, but it's all free. they know you'll need parts after all! Still a great deal. Having said all that WM isn't the only great company, and WM's aren't for everyone. Manual mills especially are quite simple machines and you can maintain them 100% yourself - and most of us sawyer types you included I'm sure, are able to do any repairs.

Also don't get hung up on the whole "4-poster vs cantilever" issue. Both designs are valid and both have strengths & weaknesses. One company which shall remain nameless markets their mills by showing a cantilever design in their brochures and suggesting since they wobble (they do wobble on dragback etc. but they stop quickly) they cannot cut accurately.

This is preposterous. WM mills have cut more lumber than all other mills combined. literally. they wouldn't have been in business for 12 months if the design cut less than perfect lumber when properly adjusted. Nuff of that debate.

So even with the WM promo I just typed don't get tunnel vision for any single brand - just something to consider if you run into a good deal.


You apologized for asking "so many questions" but I believe I answered more than you asked. So my apologies for that!
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-04-2011, 11:45 AM
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Posted at 10:25
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodtick greg View Post
tt brings up good points, norwood is another brand sold in canada. ...
Posted at 10:41
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Originally Posted by TexasTimbers View Post
...
Norwood makes great mills and for new mills I believe they are reasonably priced. ... Norwood does business inside Canada. ...


I was still typing when you posted, and I had not seen your post until I submitted mine. You said I made good points before I even posted them . . . HTH did you do THAT!



.
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-04-2011, 07:07 PM
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TT,
I was wondering the same thing and what reply I'd missed that you wrote until I realized our initials are the same...BUT when I see TT I always think it's you. TT for Texas Timber and TenTim for me....I got us straight NOW

Have a Blessed day in Jesus's Awesome Love,
Tim
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-04-2011, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennessee Tim View Post
TT,
I was wondering the same thing and what reply I'd missed that you wrote until I realized our initials are the same...BUT when I see TT I always think it's you. TT for Texas Timber and TenTim for me....I got us straight NOW

Have a Blessed day in Jesus's Awesome Love,
Tim



I am SO glad you explained that to me. It's been bugging me all day wondering how the heck he knew what I was gonna say. I never think of TT as anyone but me!

But only because I'm used to be called that long before you got here, not because you don't deserve the same title.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-05-2011, 04:25 AM
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Hey gbilder, how does that 8N Ford work for hauling logs around? I have one and just got a draw bar for it and I'm about to try mine out with a chain and a log. My 8N is serial #2250, first couple of months production, original and still going strong. Gary
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-05-2011, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasTimbers View Post
Posted at 10:25

Posted at 10:41



I was still typing when you posted, and I had not seen your post until I submitted mine. You said I made good points before I even posted them . . . HTH did you do THAT!



.
It's the force, the wood force.....ok the polish force 2 tt's

clinton township, mi. without wood their is no woodworking, mill it.
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post #11 of 15 Old 12-05-2011, 07:14 AM
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, , , , .....ok the polish force 2 tt's






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post #12 of 15 Old 12-05-2011, 10:16 AM
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Hey gbilder, how does that 8N Ford work for hauling logs around? I have one and just got a draw bar for it and I'm about to try mine out with a chain and a log. My 8N is serial #2250, first couple of months production, original and still going strong. Gary
It does ok for most stuff. Had it almost flip backwards on a large maple log once, so experiment around to learn your limits. Does best on level ground. In the woods with hills it's a bit cumbersome, slides easily on wet leaves.
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post #13 of 15 Old 12-05-2011, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all! :D

Well, God has sure provided in amazing ways! My uncle's a welder and VERY successful man. He also makes incredible knives and is always looking for high figured woods for handles.. He was quite interested when I mentioned wanting to buy a mill in the future; SO enthused he talked with my Grandpa and they've decided to buy a mill for me in order to get me going and give me a boost. They then said you can pay us back whenever, don't worry about that. Just little by little. He said to not go cheap, but to find something I want and buy the next best model. :) haha
I've really done a lot of looking tonight, at Norwood and espcially Wood-Mizer. The wood-Mizer REALLY caught my eye.. the Manual LT40 I love that I would be able to then, in the future have the option to buy upgrades such as a hydraulic log loader and so on.

Any thoughts on this particular BSM or Wood-Mizer in general?

I am more than excited and feel God has given me a HUGE opportunity before I get married and have bills to pay.. to really be self-reliant with wood.. Especially because I want to get into high-end Custom cabinetry.

What's your thoughts on this saw? :)

Levi
P.s. Thanks for all the input already!

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post #14 of 15 Old 12-06-2011, 09:08 AM
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I'm going to REJOICE with you ...Glory to His Name how awesome the Lord can work. That is such a Blessing!!!!

I think over the years when I had EXTRA money, the opportunities I offered to help a young person start up and they wouldn't even take a step of faith to start (including my daughter). So many talents and artists that won't even use their skills. You'll be Blessed!!!!

IF I had the true opening to get the best, I'd first, let them (Uncle) be semi involved in choosing mill...... pick a plain one you like and show them the option packages that improve your work and theirs (most are excited to help and will offer to do some upgrades also). Show the wisdom you've gained in choosing X brand of mill over others. DON"T RUSH IT!!!! TOUCH AND SAW with the ones you have interests in. Saw lumber the type and size/width you'll saw. Alot will demo with pine (quicker to saw) but hardwoods (especially wide) are a different animal/beast. If you can get the option also look at some older mills of same brand and see how they've held up or not. Hydraulics are a GREAT option...head up and down...feed along track...turners and loaders....log levelers .

As TT and I have stated MOST produce a good mill, NOT ALL fit our NEEDS!!!

AGAIN CONGRATES!!! Have a Blessed day in Jesus's Awesome Love,
Tim
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post #15 of 15 Old 12-07-2011, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
The wood-Mizer REALLY caught my eye.. the Manual LT40
I have a 1992 LT40 HD (hydraulic) that runs great. There are lots of used mills that have more hydraulics. I was looking at a new manual LT40 when I found this older mill with hydraulics. I never regretted the decision. Woodmizer is a great company with excellent customer service & great employees. They have a list of used mills on their web site. http://www.woodmizer.com/us/
Good luck & congratulations, no matter what mill you decide on.
Jim

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