Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 40

Thread: Sawmill Purchase

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Elmodel, Ga.
    Posts
    326

    Sawmill Purchase

    I am on the verge of buying myself a small mill. I have narrowed it down to a couple of companies and was wondering if the added cost of mobility is worth it. I don't want this to become a business, but I do want to take advantage of helping pay for the mill with some added milling. I keep telling myself this is just a hobby and my better half says if you do this, you might as well make some money off it. I'm retired and don't want a job that ends up not being enjoyable in the long run.

    The added cost would be approximately $1600 more for the trailer kit. Another thing to consider is the shipping is not that much more by buying as a package from the beginning rather than buying later if I decide that route and having to pay shipping cost again.
    I figured if someone wants something milled, they can bring it to me, if they want it bad enough. Going to someone else's place and having to possibly leave equipment on site doesn't thrill me too much. Besides the fact that if it's on my property, I can quit and go inside when ever I desire. Not being on a time clock appeals to me.

    I've been told by a few folks that said if they had someone to come to their place they would have this or that milled because they had no way to get the log to the mill. But to me it would start to feel like a job. Sorta sounds like I've already talked myself out of it. But I do have a triler that I can transport small logs on and have a way to load smaller logs up to 12'.

    So for those who have experience with both stationary and portable (mobile) mills, can you give me some guidance and advice?

    Thanks,
    Steve
    SWE

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,544
    Mine is stationary, on the ground behind my barn in the same spot for 15 years. Mine is a manual Woodmizer LT-15 with no hydraulics for personal use. I have big trailers to haul logs. If I couldn't bring logs home a portable mill might be useful to go where the logs are. If a friend wants a log sawn I might do it for fun or "shares" (50/50) if he hauls the log then helps (and buys a new blade if we hit steel). I won't saw for money. If I made it a business I'd have to consider insurance, taxes, and business issues like permits, license, whatever.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Eure View Post
    I am on the verge of buying myself a small mill. I have narrowed it down to a couple of companies and was wondering if the added cost of mobility is worth it. I don't want this to become a business, but I do want to take advantage of helping pay for the mill with some added milling. I keep telling myself this is just a hobby and my better half says if you do this, you might as well make some money off it. I'm retired and don't want a job that ends up not being enjoyable in the long run.

    The added cost would be approximately $1600 more for the trailer kit. Another thing to consider is the shipping is not that much more by buying as a package from the beginning rather than buying later if I decide that route and having to pay shipping cost again.
    I figured if someone wants something milled, they can bring it to me, if they want it bad enough. Going to someone else's place and having to possibly leave equipment on site doesn't thrill me too much. Besides the fact that if it's on my property, I can quit and go inside when ever I desire. Not being on a time clock appeals to me.

    I've been told by a few folks that said if they had someone to come to their place they would have this or that milled because they had no way to get the log to the mill. But to me it would start to feel like a job. Sorta sounds like I've already talked myself out of it. But I do have a triler that I can transport small logs on and have a way to load smaller logs up to 12'.

    So for those who have experience with both stationary and portable (mobile) mills, can you give me some guidance and advice?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
    Posts
    385
    If you were going to do it to make money.... first the trailer/mobility is the least of your concerns... it would be making the mill completely hydraulic...
    Any manual mill is in my opinion (and only in my opinion) simply too much work to provide a profit unless you want to work for $5 or less per hour...

    Buy the mill, set it up at your house/farm/field/etc.
    If someone wants a log sawn, let them bring it to you and help with the labor... if they really want it, they will do it... else they will be taking advantage of your generosity..

    Also, if you can, make it an ELECTRIC mill.... when you retire, you do NOT need another gasoline/diesel engine that is only used occasionally to be maintained... plus it starts when you turn it on and is very quiet... (experience talking)...
    A 5hp electric is equal to a 10hp gas, etc for home use a 5hp is sufficient in my opinion... (experience talking again)

    Being retired.... I refuse to do anything that can turn into a job.... otherwise I would go back to work and make a decent wage rather than working for pennies doing favors... it takes ALL the enjoyment out of something when you HAVE to get it done instead of just playing...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
    Posts
    385
    Totally agree with what John said...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Elmodel, Ga.
    Posts
    326
    Thanks for the reply John.
    There is a lot to think about if I was to do this as a "part time" business. As I stated earlier, I don't really want to go into this with a business approach. Mainly just as a hobby for myself in order to mill my own logs. I have 4 friends in the arborist business and my wife is the county clerk and has access to all the logs that the county has to pay to dumped. They love it when I tell them I can take it because it saves the county money for dump fees. Unfortunately they cannot burn anymore because of environmental laws so it's a win-win for me. They will even cut them into the lengths I specify. Only thing I've got to do is pick them up. They will even help load them if I can go when they are doing the work. Being retired has its perks.
    Thanks again for te input.
    Steve
    SWE

  6. #6
    I have a stationary mill. I guess I will be the "odd man out" here because mine is manual and gas too. Maybe I just haven't witnessed the "fast" version of a hydraulic machine, but I don't see mine as any slower. More fatiguing for sure, but I need the exercise. I don't think I would bother with a smaller mill on a trailer...I think you will find that many logs you can now take it to will probably end up being too big. The one I have will mill a 36 inch log 21 feet long. More track will get me longer easy enough. Seemed huge when I first got it and I wasn't long wondering why I didn't get one bigger!!
    As to gas power, keep Startron in the fuel and run Seafoam thru it every 100 hours. Haven't had an issue with mine starting at all. In all fairness, mine is not out in the weather either.
    I have had a blast sawing logs and making my own very cost effective lumber. I definitely suggest you somehow get some kind of a sawmill, there is zero chance you will ever regret it!!! The biggest problem once you have whatever one you get is not the size or how it's powered or whether or not it's manual...it what to do with all the boards until they are dry!!!

    Edit: one good thing about having a stationary machine...if someone with big dreams brings you logs and then don't pay...at least you have the lumber in your possession. Friend of mine that has a trailer quit because he said one out of four wanted to "pay later". What are you going to do, load the boards up and take them home....no, you just did that work for free.
    Last edited by Martin Siebert; 01-20-2019 at 11:45 PM.

  7. #7
    I have the mobile kit on my Cooks MP32. Only thing I use it for is to run it into the shed. Refuse to buy the insurance to be able to cut on someone else property. I have a skidsteer at home, and can unload logs and put them on the mill. So what kind of mill are you looking at?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Elmodel, Ga.
    Posts
    326
    Jim, I was looking hard at the Woodland HM126. I don't want or need anything too large or out of my price range. Sure, larger would be nice, but as a hobbyist I want it mainly to mill wood for my own use in my shop. I have access to larger trees, but not the equipment to handle them.
    As stated earlier, a bigger investment would mean me having to "go to work" to help pay for it and that's not my intention. Along with the other added cost associated with milling on others property.
    I've research several mills in that size range and that one fits the bill for my budget and needs. I looked hard at the WoodMaxx 126e, but they are having some supply issues right now and although they are a large company with other products, I would be a little leery about buying and not having CS to support the machine. Not bashing them in any way. The sales rep admitted to me that was an issue and did say they are working on it.
    Any more companies out there too fill my head with indecision?
    SWE

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    New Hill, NC
    Posts
    2,223
    Steve, I would not want to take a mill that small mobile (or any mill w/o hydraulics). The main reason why is log handling. Itís one thing to use a small garden tractor to roll a 700 lb log onto the deck of a ground based mill; itís something else to need to lift a 700 lb log up onto a mill deck 24Ē above grade at a remote customerís location.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    9,224
    Steve, you've received some great advice here.

    I built a portable mill and mainly use it for personal use. I get my logs from local arborists, they'll normally drop them off for free as it saves them disposal costs.

    The few times I did mill for people as a job, it really felt like a job, I'm not interested in that. Now when I mill it's for me, or for friends if they will do most of the grunt work and give me some wood, those are fun days and very satisfying.............Regards, Rod.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Crystal Lake, IL
    Posts
    555
    I own a LT40 hydraulic. It is fully portable. Since bringing it home, and setting it up, the only time I have moved it is to bring it closer to the house (and the hose) to wash it. I only saw for myself to support my wood needs for my woodworking business. Up to this point, I have resisted many opportunities to saw off site for other people. I don't want the headache, and besides, all my support equipment, like my skidloader, chain saws, etc....are all here. I know there are a lot of people who make a decent living doing mobile sawing, but I don't want to be one of them.

    Homeowners have almost zero capability of bringing a log to you. I have had at least 40 or 50 people, in the past 5 years, stop by and ask about having me saw for them. I tell them if they can get the log to me on a trailer, I can handle unloading, sawing, and loading at this end. It has never happened once. People talk a good game, but when they realize how much work it is to get a log on a trailer without the right equipment......well, we all know the rest of that story. The woodstove or backyard firepit wins the day.

    Enjoy your retirement, and your hobby. You already stated you don't want to turn it into a business. It will if you let it, I guarantee. I am always shocked when I see how many people will just stop by when they hear you have a sawmill. Without hydraulics, you have almost ZERO chance of making any money on site sawing for someone else. Don't ruin your retirement, unless you need the additional source of income. If that becomes the case, you will want to invest in a fully hydraulic mill. 25 years ago, I started with a fully manual LT28. I was in my late 20's, fit as a fiddle, and strong as an ox. It was backbreaking work carrying wet, heavy timbers. I'm 54 now, and while I can still work hard, I choose to work smart. I set my forklift (skidsteer) right next to the mill, and offload right on to the forks. Drive the loader to the drying shed, and I still have to move that stack manually to stack and sticker it. I am working on a better way for that, too.
    Jeff

  12. #12
    I am comfortably retired (don't need the money) and operate a mobile sawmill business because I love the work. It is a profitable business, not a hobby. I mill for clients here at my home or at their location. You are correct that many homeowners have no idea how to move a log, much less load and transport it to the mill. The convenience of on-site milling is my niche in the market, I am the only, active, portable bandsaw mill in the KC Metro area.

    Even those with the equipment may prefer on-site milling, especially if they 30-40 logs to mill. But I still have 40-50 appointments here each year. They find a way to get logs here, employing friends, relatives, rentals, etc. Some may have the tree service bring their logs here, rather than taking them to the landfill. I have asked a couple of tree guys if they would be interested in using their grapple truck to transport logs for someone else but it usually isn't worth their time.

    One way they might consider has happened here, twice in 2018. The client hired a tow truck to move their logs. Those roll back tow trucks can tip the bed and winch logs on pretty easily. From what they told me, the rates seemed pretty reasonable if they can do it during their slack time. I used a friendly tow driver to haul logs for me back in the early 90s, long before I had a mill. Although they don't slide off very well, I have equipment to unload them once they get the logs here.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    cleveland,tn.
    Posts
    319
    I see that you are in Ga. I bought a new mill from a guy in Fairmount ,Ga. It is called a Lumberjack Phone #770-772-0691, It has been around three years since I bought it so I assume they are still around. Any way I had him build the portable mill with ramps and a 12 volt electric winch to put logs on the mill without a tractor loader, just in case I had to cut without.( I normally use a backhoe with a thumb) He put in a group 24 car battery and the engine alt. keeps it charged, works well, so there are methods you can do to get around some issues.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    1,127
    I had a manual Baker/Enercraft many years ago. I'd recommend you get the mobility kit. When someone with a 30" diameter white oak log calls you and asks if you want it for free, you'll be glad you can take the mill to that monster. Resale will also be better. I bought mine as a demo, cut everything in site for a couple of years, and sold it for more than I paid for it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Dripping Springs, TX
    Posts
    13
    If you are hoping to do this as a part-time job, I would absolutely recommend a portable mill. It will greatly increase your client base as you can come to them versus forcing them to come to you. You can also charge a premium for this service.

    110% agree that having full hydraulic controls is a near must have. If not, you'll need a skid steer or some sort of tractor for loading the log & arranging it on the mill. Unless you want a serious back breaking effort or only plan on milling very small logs.

    We operate the Texas Urban Sawmill. We originally purchased and operate the massive, stationary Woodmizer WM1000 (up to ~6 ft diameter logs). It is a mill designed to slab huge, historical trees. No hydraulics for log turning, positioning, etc. However, I designed and build the track system 20" off the ground to add full hydraulic controls in the future. But after running the mill for the last 18 months, we decided to purchase the Baker 3665D Blue Streak which is the work horse of all portable mills build in N. America (one of the more expensive portables too). Has every option. The WM1000 will only be used for 36"+ logs as it simply isn't as versatile. When it comes to productivity, I'd invest extra in a hydraulic setup. Most I know without one, usually seriously regret it. If I had to do it all over again, I'd have purchased the Baker portable 1st. Then the WM1000 second to that.

    I am coming from a business perspective. If you are cutting mainly for yourself, productivity becomes less an issue. And no hydraulics means you are going to be greatly limited in terms of milling options. For example, cutting quarter sawn is going to be a royal PITA, especially on bigger logs. If you are just slabbing out logs, not as much of an issue but I'd want the ability to cut dimensional lumber quickly and easily.

    Good luck!
    Devin Ginther
    Dripping Springs, TX 78620
    Refined Elements LLC, Owner
    TX Urban Sawmill LLC, Owner

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •