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Thread: Lt40

  1. #1

    Lt40

    Good afternoon everyone,
    I'm assuming this is a good deal, but wanted to get some opinions before I pull the trigger. A guy in town has a woodmizer LT40. He wants 12k for it. Diesel engine, fully hydraulic. Knowing Jim and looking at it I'm sure it has spent the majority of it's life sitting....
    Is it a good saw? I have never done any milling, however I have have access to somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 feet of standing timber. I have the equipment to down it and skid it and this seems like the next logical step in this hobby that has spiraled out of control...
    What are people's experience with this mill?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan Meier View Post
    Good afternoon everyone,
    I'm assuming this is a good deal, but wanted to get some opinions before I pull the trigger. A guy in town has a woodmizer LT40. He wants 12k for it. Diesel engine, fully hydraulic. Knowing Jim and looking at it I'm sure it has spent the majority of it's life sitting....
    Is it a good saw? I have never done any milling, however I have have access to somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 feet of standing timber. I have the equipment to down it and skid it and this seems like the next logical step in this hobby that has spiraled out of control...
    What are people's experience with this mill?
    No personal experience with that mill, but I know it's a well respected brand and model. $12K for an LT40 with full hydraulics is a smoking good deal unless it's been run into the ground. A mill of that capability seems like a good match to your potential needs with that much standing timber.

    I hope you have a plan for what to do with all that lumber. Milling it is less than half the process. You need to be able to either air and/or kiln dry it and have a place to store it after it's dry, unless you plan to sell green lumber.

    John

  3. #3
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    That's a good deal as stated before. Another consideration to think about is what will you do with all of the waste that is milled. Waste material adds up fast and may be a problem to dispose unless you are fortunate enough to have land that you can either pile in on or burn.
    SWE

  4. #4
    Thank you for confirming what my gut told me... I am fortunate enough to have a father in law with a 40x60 that only has a Ford 8N and a fishing boat in it. Said I'm welcome to fill the whole thing if I want... I am taking that as a challenge. As for the slab wood I have a buddy who burns and claims he wants it all... So when he gets sick of it I'll pile it for our winter bonfires. We plan on building a house in 10 years or so and my goal is to not buy a single piece of hardwood, the rest i will sell here and there over time. And if I don't get it sold then my kids can deal with it when I'm dead... Maybe they will have a big fire and cremate me..

  5. #5
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    Don't wait. It won't last long at that price.

  6. #6
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    My only advice to you based on my personal experience with a much smaller mill but being around a lot of mills in that caliber and personally owning 115 acres of timber and the equipment to get it down and to the mill as well, is to not make the mistake of thinking you will ever be able to be profitable processing or selling commodity lumber. I dont care what access you have to logs whether they are standing or dropped at your yard, you will NEVER compete in the commodity lumber market. This means standard 4/4 lumber, all the way through to thicker stuff. Your cost and time from felling, skidding, hauling, sawing, processing slabs and sawdust, stickering/stacking, drying, storing, surfacing, will be astronomical compared to a commercial operation.

    I dont know what kind of equipment you have but things like a large tractor, something with some forks on it, etc are a joke as compared to a logger in the woods skidding out 3-4 whole trees when your skidding out a sawlog or two at a time. Same with felling. Then you add up the cost of sawing as compared to a large mill and its game over.

    Where these mills (even the large band mills) shine is custom sawing of high dollar high quality, odd ball, stuff that the large mills wont fool with. Thick, ultra wide, gnarly nasty trees that have tons of figure but no value on the mass market.

    Then at that point you are pretty much sunk without time (for air drying) or an investment in an RF vacuum kiln.

    The mill our material comes from has 3-5 million board feet on the yard at any moment in time. About 1.8 million dry and under roof and the remainder in the process of getting to that same location. The bulk of it goes out of the US.

    They are super handy to have and you can cut some juicy stuff with them but if you are at all looking at this as even a slight profit potential, unless you market has a massive demand for fresh cut green, the small mill thing (and an LT40 is small) is very limited.

    Its very easy to quickly spread sheet out your cost per thousand in blades, machine, sharpening, cut/skid/haul, saw, sticker, stack, clean up slabs and dust, then on to dry. Pick the material to saw that leaves you a living wage from that spread sheet and stick with it. My guess is it will be some of the rattiest trees you have access to, and the big straight tall ones? Youd make more selling them on the stump and letting someone else saw them.

    This is a photo of my suppliers log yard when they were backed up in the spring lol.

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    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan Meier View Post
    my goal is to not buy a single piece of hardwood, the rest i will sell here and there over time
    I read this after my post above, but this speaks to what I was getting at. If you are looking at this as fun, and an adventure, thats wonderful. But be clear in your conviction that the lumber you didnt buy a single piece of,... will have likely cost you five to ten times what it would have cost you to simply pick up at the mill processed. You will saw 20x the material you need to cull out crap/low grade (which you paid to saw) and will sell or try to sell for $0.01 on the dollar. You will have the expense of the mill, the amortization costs, the operational costs, and the major doozy the labor (even if its your own). All to wind up with a mile of boards that you have to handle 93 times, sort through, dry, surface, sort again, on and on.

    Not trying in anyway to be negative because its a rewarding process if you truly enjoy the process. But dont in any way con yourself into the notion that your saving one tenth of a cent in real dollars because the reward of the journey will result in a board that you could have bought for $1.10 a board foot graded, dried, surfaced, and landed to your jobsite where every board comes straight out of the pack and goes right to work, into the same board costing you perhaps $10 a board foot but you have the enjoyment and reward of having processed it.

    It is in no way, shape, or form, a means of cost savings.

    The place you will shine is if you have access to a bunch of odd trees that you can saw and market for uber high dollar (like a dog poop massive nasty bushy walnut tree that would just be burned but you saw the gnarly top into 1500 dried and waxed turning blanks that you can sell for $30 bucks a pop). Thats where small mill money is. Uber wide, uber odd, uber thick, and dead green.
    Last edited by Mark Bolton; 08-06-2020 at 12:28 PM.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  8. #8
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    I know several sawyers in my area who use a saw similar to the one you are contemplating and they make a good living at it. They all mill locally available hardwoods such as cherry, white oak and walnut and kiln dry it. A couple of these guys cut thick slabs for tables. One guy, in particular, specializes in cutting very nice furniture grade lumber and he sells all he can mill and dry at fairly high prices. The last time I was there, he was building a large new kiln.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mann View Post
    I know several sawyers in my area who use a saw similar to the one you are contemplating and they make a good living at it. They all mill locally available hardwoods such as cherry, white oak and walnut and kiln dry it. A couple of these guys cut thick slabs for tables. One guy, in particular, specializes in cutting very nice furniture grade lumber and he sells all he can mill and dry at fairly high prices. The last time I was there, he was building a large new kiln.
    Art, do these guys share their tax returns with you? Because just keeping the faith and pouring more into it doesnt necessarily mean a.good living. I honestly know more people who bought a.faily large mill on one of the zero interest for xxx deals thinking they would easily pay the mill off way ahead of time only to find out that even on custon sawing jobs they barely covered their out of pocket expense. As a general rule these mills were being offered around if someone would take over the payments in short order.

    I dont doubt some markets could support a few custom Sawyers but my honest feeling is most do a lot of it for enjoyment and there is a heavy heavy amount of rough justice when it comes to the accounting as it pertains to true profitability (read someone who does their own taxes and doesn't rely on an accountant to tell them they are working for $0.10 an hour.

  10. #10
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    Bottom line aside, for what this one is selling for, you can get that back out of it some years down the road, if it doesn't work out. One of the best places to learn, and see what other sawyers are doing, is the forestryforum.

    I've been looking at sawmills, not for selling lumber, or sawing for other people, but for several different reasons. My main trouble is that the simple, manual mills would work for what I want to do, but the cut depth is too limited. I want to be able to quarter good sized logs, and only the high end ones have enough cut depth to do that-still looking.

  11. #11
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    I can sell pretty much anything with at least one live edge on it, as long as it's KD and planed flat. The more character the better. Stuff woodworkers would throw in the woodstove suddenly has value, and often more than clear lumber. Selling lumber, however, is a lot more difficult. I take that to mean there are a lot more "fixer uppers" than there are true woodworkers around me. But to Mark's point, I'd never be able to eat from what I sell; but I am slowly paying off the investment I have in my mill and solar drier. I also mill lumber for other people. That puts money in my pocket immediately, but not a lot using a completely manual mill. The LT40 with full hydraulics would make it a lot easier and productive, but I still don't think I could eat from the profits. But for me that's hardly the point. I really like milling wood, and having a mill allows me to take advantage of unusual species that come my way, like red mulberry, black locust, and English walnut, to name just a few.

    Tom, you are right that most manual mills don't have much depth of cut; mine is only 7 inches, and it's frustrating not being able to quarter even a medium sized log. But there are work arounds for cutting quarter sawn wood and it's the compromise you have to make with a low cost mill. Even if I had a mill that could cut through the center of a 30" log, I don't have the equipment to get the quarters off the mill - another of Mark's points. A high capacity mill is of no benefit unless you have the means to handle the logs and lumber efficiently and to do that you have to invest a lot more. More than I wanted to spend to turn free logs into furniture, but for someone else it might make complete sense.

    John

  12. #12
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    That sounds like a terrible deal. It's bad enough that you should stop pursuing it and send me the contact info for the seller.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    I can sell pretty much anything with at least one live edge on it, as long as it's KD and planed flat. The more character the better. Stuff woodworkers would throw in the woodstove suddenly has value, and often more than clear lumber. Selling lumber, however, is a lot more difficult. I take that to mean there are a lot more "fixer uppers" than there are true woodworkers around me. But to Mark's point, I'd never be able to eat from what I sell; but I am slowly paying off the investment I have in my mill and solar drier. I also mill lumber for other people. That puts money in my pocket immediately, but not a lot using a completely manual mill. The LT40 with full hydraulics would make it a lot easier and productive, but I still don't think I could eat from the profits. But for me that's hardly the point. I really like milling wood, and having a mill allows me to take advantage of unusual species that come my way, like red mulberry, black locust, and English walnut, to name just a few.

    Tom, you are right that most manual mills don't have much depth of cut; mine is only 7 inches, and it's frustrating not being able to quarter even a medium sized log. But there are work arounds for cutting quarter sawn wood and it's the compromise you have to make with a low cost mill. Even if I had a mill that could cut through the center of a 30" log, I don't have the equipment to get the quarters off the mill - another of Mark's points. A high capacity mill is of no benefit unless you have the means to handle the logs and lumber efficiently and to do that you have to invest a lot more. More than I wanted to spend to turn free logs into furniture, but for someone else it might make complete sense.

    John
    Yeah, it's hardly worth the trouble to try to quarter saw anything less than 24", and bigger is better. I have a loader that would take care of the log, and cant handling. I wouldn't use one enough to pay for hydraulic log handling, but do have enough need that a manual one would be worth having.

  14. #14
    Alright, interesting twist....
    First off I should of mentioned that I don't intend to make money off of it, the selling would just be the stuff I dont end up using. I don't have a boat so I need some other hobby to sink money into... My main drive to do it is because its an extension of a wood working hobby, and why not...
    Anyways, I was drinking some barley sodas with a buddy Wednesday night and mentioned the mill. He goes "well dad has one in his shed he hasn't used for 10 years and likely never will again, I'll talk to him''. The next afternoon I get a picture of it sitting in his yard... It's a enecraft fully hydraulic mill with 200 hours on it... He thought it will do a 36" by 24' log.
    He said come pick it up, if you can get it running use it for the next few years, and eventually if you wan to buy it we will work something out...
    So needless to say I went and got grabbed it yesterday morning, had both engines going within a few hours and cut a few test boards last night.
    He also had a dozen or so blades, an automatic sharpener, and tooth set he sent with....

  15. #15
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    I hope you paid for the sodas. Crikey what a deal.

    John

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