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  1. #11
    Veteran Member Mike476's Avatar
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    Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
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    MF 135 Z134 Continental, MF 1660 Cab

    Default Re: Logistics of small sawmill operation

    Quote Originally Posted by rmorey View Post
    Our mill has a 5 gal. jug for water to drip on the blade. We add a jug of windshield washer to it. Keeps the blade clear of sap and sticky sawdust. (pine/spruce/hemlock)
    I heard that works as well.
    Mike

    1969 MF 135 Z134 Continental
    2013 MF 1660 Cab Dyna QPS with FEL

  2. #12
    Veteran Member
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    S. W. Virginia
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    Kubota B3200, Ford NAA, IH 454D, Case 1845C

    Default Re: Logistics of small sawmill operation

    I've been using windshield washer fluid with about 1oz of dish soap per gallon, seems to be working well.

    I've been contemplating building a little log trailer like this one below, except tractor size:

    -atv-tandem-log-dump-trailer_l

    I could pull it in the woods and load it with my B3200, then hook it to the truck to take it back to the mill. For big loads I could use it behind my IH 454 and load it with the skid steer.


    For barn grade lumber that is going to be used within a few months, how important are the specifics of stickering? IE, if I just sawed some green 1x1 stacking sticks for my pine would that be acceptable? If guess if I really need to use dry stacking sticks I could rip some kiln dried lumber from the store.
    Kubota B3200
    Ford NAA Jubilee
    International 454D
    Case 1845C skid steer
    JD 265

  3. #13
    Veteran Member Mike476's Avatar
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    Default Re: Logistics of small sawmill operation

    Lumber to build a barn out of I wouldn't worry about ripping new stickers, unless you are concerned with the appearance of the lumber, the sticker marks will appear on the lumber if wet. More of a concern for lumber you plan to use for finish work, the stains left from the stickers won't come out.

    For your oak I would leave it in log for a year and then mill it, learn about 1/4 sawing if you aren't already familiar with it but make sure you have good stickers when drying that lumber for anything other than the fence boards I believe you mentioned earlier in the post.
    Mike

    1969 MF 135 Z134 Continental
    2013 MF 1660 Cab Dyna QPS with FEL

  4. #14
    Elite Member Piston's Avatar
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    Central MA, Lakes Region NH
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    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410

    Default Re: Logistics of small sawmill operation

    First off, Congratulations on the new mill! It is just as exciting to saw that first board off a new mill as it is to scoop that first pile of dirt with a new tractor! Like you, I started out with an Alaskan Mill, only, you had much more patience than me, I upgraded shortly after milling that very first (and only) log.
    -dsc05103-jpg

    After a short period, I ended up with a Woodmizer LT15. I only mill for myself and for the most part, the mill is always stationary, I rarely move it other places. I'll post some of my comments to your questions and try to add a few tips that I've learned over the years of milling off and on.


    As mentioned, I built some additional track and will be setting the whole unit up on some nice straight 20' long 6x6 posts. I'll probably set some more 6x6 at a right angle to the mill as a place to set logs to bet rolled on the mill.
    I would normally never point this out as it seems "nit picky", but since you now have a sawmill, I figure you should know... A horizontal timber is never referred to as a "post".


    So, my questions for those will sawmills (stationary or portable, circular or band):

    -What kind of equipment do you use to get your logs from the stump to the mill?
    I almost always use my grapple. Usually I can carry the logs in the grapple and place them directly onto my "log bunks". If they are too heavy (mostly to do with length) or they are too long to carry out of the woods without running into trees, I'll use my log arch, although this is rare. The few times I've had to carry numerous logs longer distances, I've used my tractor and grapple to load the logs on a full size trailer, and then the same method to offload them at the mill. I've also used a dump trailer once which wasn't mine. That was a really slick setup but only good for logs less than 14' or so.

    I would not have a sawmill without a FEL grapple. (I chose the specific grapple I have based on uses for the mill, let me know if you want "reasons why".)
    Here is what I used prior to my new tractor and grapple...
    -p1000614-jpg -p1000627-jpg -p1000894-jpg -p1000901-jpg

    It is 10 times faster with the grapple, and I never have to leave my seat
    -dog-house-004-jpg -dog-house-007-jpg -dog-house-041-jpg -img_0988-jpg


    -What kind of method or layout do you use to efficiently separate/stack/move lumber, slab wood, sawdust etc away from the mill?
    Here is what works pretty well for me. These are not my pictures, but I find them useful, and they were posted with permission to use elsewhere. I based my mill setup on these suggestions.
    -mill_yard_set_up_for_ff-jpg -sawmill-layout-jpg
    Depending on how your site is laid out, or if you have a helper, you may find this works well for you. Otherwise, it's a good start if nothing else.

    Milling efficiently is similar to splitting firewood efficiently, material handling (onloading and offbearing/stacking) has more to do with efficiency than the ability of the mill. No matter how nice of a log splitter I have, I still have to load the rounds, move the splits, and stack them properly. Same with milling.

    -I'll be stacking and stickering the lumber outside for now, what do you use as a good flat base for your lumber? To cover your lumber stacks?
    Outside is fine, that is where most of us stack our lumber. If I'm storing some timbers or lumber outside and I don't want them to be discolored by sunlight, then I'll cover them with a tarp, elevated off the timbers, and allowing airflow on all 4 sides. A tarp isn't ideal but it works for short periods. Otherwise though, I really don't cover my lumber, however I always sticker it. Stickering is much more important than covering. Always sticker your lumber, especially pine in really hot/humid weather. Pine will start to "bluestain" within a matter of days if it is not stickered.
    I use green stickers when sawing pine, and saw my stickers from the "waste" or when edging boards. Be sure all your stickers are the same thickness in one dimension and always use that dimension for your stickers (within the same row).
    You will get stains when using green stickers, and if your using it for framing lumber that will be covered up it is fine. It doesn't affect your lumber structurally but keep in mind, even if you plane the wood, it may not come out. I use dry stickers for timbers or wood that will be used and seen, like flooring.
    I built quite a few "pallets" for my longer wood, mostly so I could move it around if needed. If your not worried about moving it around, then a flat base of any sort, elevated off the ground will work well. Try to elevate the base of the stack about a foot or more. You'll want to be able to get either a push mower or weed wacker under there if the grass starts growing high around the edges.
    -p1000694-jpg -p1000899-jpg -dog-house-055-jpg


    -Any other advice for a first time sawyer?
    This really is an entire forum all on it's own. Spend some time on forestryforum.com, go to google, and search things like "first time sawyer site:forestryforum.com" or "manual mill site:forestryforum.com" and so on.
    Check out Sawmill and Woodlot Magazine. There are lot of good articles on their website as well.



    When your skidding your logs, keep them off the ground if possible, you'll dull the blade much quicker with dirty logs. This is the one reason I don't own a skidding winch.

    When you pile your logs near the mill, always pile them so the small end is towards the front of the mill.

    You'll want some sort of log bunks, weather it is a permanent set of bunks set in the ground, or something more temporary like 2 sides sawn off of larger logs. This is what I use. If you have some older logs, or ones that won't produce good lumber, saw off one side on the mill, flip the log 180, saw the other side down, and use this as your log bunks. I used my chainsaw to cut an angle at the beginning of them to help roll logs on, although I never use it since I place them on the bunks with the grapple.

    If you don't have a level site, put the sawmill "downhill" and perpendicular to the hill.

    Keep your log bunks a good 6' apart from each other, so you can drive the tractor between them to place logs on the bunks. Before I had my grapple I used a set of 3 point forks to move around my logs. It worked, but I'll never go back to it.



    Your going to want a level site if you have one. All 4 sides of the mill can be used. I have a pile of sawdust at the "end" of the mill. I use a snow shovel to push the sawdust into the pile. After sawing your first few logs, and getting a good little pile of sawdust built up at your feet, don't remove that sawdust, instead spread it around a little to create a "walking path" built of sawdust, your feet with thank you. It's like walking back and forth on one GIANT dr. Scholls insert.





    If you dont' already have one, get a cant hook or log peavey


    -Matt
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410 - WR Long 64" Grapple (best attachment ever!) QA front forks, rear forks, Brown 472 HD Rotary Mower, Land Pride RBT4096 hydro blade, Woods 7200 Power Rake, homemade 3 pt log splitter, Land Pride rake/blade combo, Land Pride HRL 3578 box blade (Hydro scarifiers), Shaver SC50 3 pt. Stumpgrinder, FitRiteHydraulics TnT, 6" Vermeer PTO Chipper (Hydro feed), Disc Plow, Ratchet Rake, LP HD25 Hydraulic PHD, Woodmizer LT15 portable sawmill
    Rear Remotes Install

  5. #15
    Platinum Member deezler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Logistics of small sawmill operation

    ^ wow, great post! Thanks. I hope to get a mill someday.

  6. #16
    Elite Member Piston's Avatar
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    Default Re: Logistics of small sawmill operation

    Here are a couple more pics for ya...

    Another one of the lumber/timber stickered...
    -p1020002-jpg

    ....and a little inspiration for ya...

    -dog-house-008-jpg -dog-house-011-jpg -dog-house-014-jpg -dog-house-016-jpg
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410 - WR Long 64" Grapple (best attachment ever!) QA front forks, rear forks, Brown 472 HD Rotary Mower, Land Pride RBT4096 hydro blade, Woods 7200 Power Rake, homemade 3 pt log splitter, Land Pride rake/blade combo, Land Pride HRL 3578 box blade (Hydro scarifiers), Shaver SC50 3 pt. Stumpgrinder, FitRiteHydraulics TnT, 6" Vermeer PTO Chipper (Hydro feed), Disc Plow, Ratchet Rake, LP HD25 Hydraulic PHD, Woodmizer LT15 portable sawmill
    Rear Remotes Install

  7. #17
    Platinum Member deezler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Logistics of small sawmill operation

    How does the mill fare being out in the weather and elements? No issues?

  8. #18
    Elite Member Piston's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by deezler View Post
    How does the mill fare being out in the weather and elements? No issues?

    I'm mine, the paint is faded and there is some surface rust along the track where the paint gets worn away from use, but a quick rubdown with ATF on the rails and a couple "back and forths" of the saw carriage and it's back to new.

    There are no issues with leaving them out in the weather, however I do plan to build a mill shed someday to keep it under.....Well, once I decide where I want it to "live" permanently.

    I do always put a tarp over the saw carriage assembly though, and that keeps all moving parts under cover. In winter, I take the water tank in. Also, always bring your blades back inside, they will flash rust instantly if you don't.
    Kubota L4610 and John Deere 410 - WR Long 64" Grapple (best attachment ever!) QA front forks, rear forks, Brown 472 HD Rotary Mower, Land Pride RBT4096 hydro blade, Woods 7200 Power Rake, homemade 3 pt log splitter, Land Pride rake/blade combo, Land Pride HRL 3578 box blade (Hydro scarifiers), Shaver SC50 3 pt. Stumpgrinder, FitRiteHydraulics TnT, 6" Vermeer PTO Chipper (Hydro feed), Disc Plow, Ratchet Rake, LP HD25 Hydraulic PHD, Woodmizer LT15 portable sawmill
    Rear Remotes Install

  9. #19
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Logistics of small sawmill operation

    Thanks for all the great info and pics, lots of good stuff in there.

    I got a couple hours in today and finally got some worthwhile lumber made. I took the morning to set up the mill on the new timbers along with the new track section. I also installed an hour meter so I can keep track of maintenance. Below are some pics along with observations:

    New setup is better leveled and more solid, I can also mill 16' logs now:
    -p1020082sm-jpg

    Hour meter installed:
    -p1020081sm-jpg

    Log on the mill. There are little triangles provided for logs that are too big to be dogged down. They nail on the ends with double headed nails to stabilize the logs. It sounds like a hassle, but it's actually pretty quick to setup, and after the first two cuts you don't need them (didn't get a pic of them on the log):
    -p1020083-jpg

    Loading logs with the boom on the back of the International. Not as good as forks or a grapple, but the skid steer is at the other farm for loading logs, this worked OK:
    -p1020086sm-jpg

    Logs ready to be milled, I had to roll them back as the mill carriage wouldn't clear with them all pushed up that far:
    -p1020087sm-jpg

    Sawing some full dimension 2x6's out of a cant:
    -p1020084sm-jpg


    I can definitely see the need for lots of room (and flat ground) around the mill. I'm making 2x6's in 8, 10, and 12' lengths, 1" boards in various widths and lengths (for siding) and I also have a pile of 1" boards that need to be edged. Trying to find enough room to keep everything separated and stacked flat is a challenge.

    Piston, what motor is that on your mill, looks like a little diesel? Also, what are your recommendations on a grapple that's ideal for sawmill work?
    Kubota B3200
    Ford NAA Jubilee
    International 454D
    Case 1845C skid steer
    JD 265

  10. #20
    Member
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    Menard, TX
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    JD 2240; 2011 Bobcat S650

    Default Re: Logistics of small sawmill operation

    Verticaltrx, what made you settle on this brand of mill? What other options/brands did you consider if I may ask. Also regarding the hour meter, is that an option from the manufactorer or after market?

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