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Band saw mill questions

Discussion in 'Milling' started by Johnmn, May 30, 2017.

  1. Johnmn

    Johnmn Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Been looking at band saw mills. What brand do you have and would you buy it again? I have a hud-son dealer half close any word on them? Thanks
     
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  2. thedude74

    thedude74 Bonafide & Stuff !!!

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    Have never run one...building one with a honda trx 250 engine though. Youtube has a lot of different brand and model demo videos too. I think youll get more replies at the "Forestry Forum". Lots of bandmill talk.

    Dude
     
  3. Ryan Browne

    Ryan Browne Pinnacle OPE Member GoldMember

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    Hey Johnmn,

    I bought a band mill a few years ago. I wouldn't do it again, though my circumstances may be different than yours. I bought a timberking b20. I still own it, but hopefully not for much longer. It's a great machine, but I talked myself into the larger and more expensive model by thinking that I'd do a bunch of custom milling. Well, in short, no one wants to pay what it costs to come to their location and mill lumber. That was my experience anyway. People want you to come look at what they have which takes your time, then they'll tell you that they think it should only cost $25/hr to have it milled.


    Maybe I would have been happier if I had just bought a manual mill for personal use, but that brings up another point: insurance. Our farm bureau insurance agent came out for a meeting and spied that sawmill sitting there. He was ready to cancel our entire policy that day, no questions asked. He didn't care if it was only for custom milling on other people's property or even if it was not in use at all. If it was parked on the property, we were uninsurable. Definitely something to look into before buying!

    I don't know where you are in Minnesota, but you'd be welcome to come by and see mine if you want. I'm gonna get it fired up in the next few weeks. It's a good machine, but I don't care much for running it. It's loud, dusty, requires lots of mental math, and generally just not my cup of tea. I had seen band saw mills run before I bought mine, but I'd never spent a day at the controls. I wish I had done that before I bought mine.
     
  4. thedude74

    thedude74 Bonafide & Stuff !!!

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    $25 an hour! What a joke! Probably wouldnt cover the gas for the truck and mill, blades much less maintanance and profit. Seams most guys are $100-$150 setup and $100-$125 an hour plus any blades damage by metal, wire, nails etc...

    As for that ins. agent.... 150 grain Core Lokt would send him back to hell real quick! :D

    Anyway, very cool you offered to show John your rig.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
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  5. Ryan Browne

    Ryan Browne Pinnacle OPE Member GoldMember

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    You got it. $25/hour might cover operating costs, but not insurance or depreciation. There's another guy in my area who mills for $50/hr, with a diesel woodmizer, and even that sounds like a lot of work for the money. When you tally up the cost of the mill, the truck, a couple saws, cant hooks, blades, tools to make adjustments and repairs on site it gets crazy, plus you have to load that stuff every time you go out and put it away every time you get back.

    Once I realized that I could make more money running a bush hog on a tractor I gave up custom milling. I just don't get why someone will happily pay $40-60/hr for me to show up on a $6000 tractor with a $500 mower, but $50/hr for $20,000 of equipment seems unreasonable. Not that I want to get into commercial mowing or anything, but as a side gig, I'd way rather sit down listening to a diesel while smelling grass clippings and even enjoy a beer than keep walking in circles around a sawmill getting covered in dust and lifting and stacking slabs and boards.

    Again, though, my circumstances may be dramatically different than the OP's, and this has just been my personal experience in custom milling.
     
  6. thedude74

    thedude74 Bonafide & Stuff !!!

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    Dont blame you one bit. A guy would have to really love milling for charity. Heck, Im at $105 hr running hvac service calls....Thats about middle the road price wise here. Most any plumbers, mechanics, electricians, crane service etc are all gonna be around $100 an hour give or take a few bucks.
    Milling poplar or pine might not be a big difference over home depot prices etc....But when it comes to hardwood youd think people would see the advantage.
    Mostly building my mill for personal use. Would need some hours on it before id even consider taking other work.
    Hey Ryan. How many board feet to you get out of a band blade before sharpening/replacing? I realize hard and soft wood will be differant. Ive also read some woods dont mill well, that is the blade tends to dip or rise because of tension, warpage knots. Have you run into that before? Just trying to get an idea what to
    expect. Any insite is appreciated.
     
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  7. Ryan Browne

    Ryan Browne Pinnacle OPE Member GoldMember

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    I've never mathed out how many feet per blade I averaged. I think the biggest factor by far is his clean your logs are. Even logs that look clean can have sand and grit embedded in the bark. I had the best results by taking one thick slab off the top then rolling the log until the blade was entering into clean wood instead of bark. It's a little tougher to square up that way, but it's doable if everything is level and you use a level to find straight up and down.

    I would say that most of the time a blade would last a solid hour of cutting. Sometimes more. That's probably 2-3 hours of run time given time to load logs, remove boards, roll logs etc. They hold an edge fairly well. That said, you sure notice when you swap a fresh blade onto the mill. All the sudden it really cuts great. Also a sharp blade is much less likely to dip around knots. I've had a couple of logs that really wanted to pull blades around because of tension in the grain. I was still able to get boards out of them, but not always the way that you're planning on. And sometimes they do look like a rainbow when you stand them on edge.
     
  8. Johnmn

    Johnmn Pinnacle OPE Member

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    @Ryan Browne this would just be for my own use. Wood working projects mainly would you recommend maybe a chainsaw mill instead?
     
  9. Ryan Browne

    Ryan Browne Pinnacle OPE Member GoldMember

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    Between the two, I think a band mill is probably the way to go, but make sure you enjoy it before you take the plunge. It's cool to make you own lumber, no question about it, but unless you have easy access to logs, a good way to dry and store boards, and a way to sell your projects, you probably won't be saving any money versus buying wood. AND there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you enjoy the process.
     
  10. thedude74

    thedude74 Bonafide & Stuff !!!

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    Thanks for the info Ryan. Very helpful.
     
  11. Iron.and.bark

    Iron.and.bark Eats trees & drinks dinosaur juice

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    Haven't used my bandsaw mill in a while. From personal experience. Bandsaw for traditional style wood working projects, chainsaw mill for craft wood style projects.

    Another tip, get yourself a seriously heavy duty pressure washer. Clean down the logs and either your blade or chain will thank you :)
     
  12. thedude74

    thedude74 Bonafide & Stuff !!!

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    Great idea! Thanks Iron and bark.
     
  13. cease232

    cease232 Pinnacle OPE Member

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    I've got one made by linn lumber in Oregon. Bought it used and I love it but It's only for personal use to support my wood shop. I could never imagine making money with one.
    A guy up the road from me runs 3 bandmills and a slabbing mill. He appears to be doing very well. His property looks like a lumber yard and trucks are coming and going constantly.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  14. mountainlake

    mountainlake Well-Known OPE Member

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    If I was buying a push along manual mill it would be a EZ Boardwalk, seems like the best bang for the buck. Over here in MN I run a B20 Timberking and make a real good living charging $60 a hour for custom work plus selling lumber on the side which pays better but is a lot more work for me. If you own a mill you better know how to fix a mill any brand. If you have to hire fixing one don't get one. Also if doing a lot of sawing GET a sharpener. Steve
     
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  15. Ryan Browne

    Ryan Browne Pinnacle OPE Member GoldMember

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    Want a good deal on a spare B20?...
     
  16. mountainlake

    mountainlake Well-Known OPE Member

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    Don't really need a spare mill as breakdowns are few but have over 13000 hours on mine. Send me a PM with price and hours. Steve
     
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