Milling gear and question of economics

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lowroadacres

Minister of Fire
Aug 18, 2009
536
MB
Merry Christmas and Happy New year to everyone at hearth.com. Its been a while since I have posted as a new job and fmaily activities have kept me hopping.

While I was away from hearth.com my in laws, God bless them, have been cutting wood "for fun".

They have brought home several trailer loads of ash from the woodlot we have access to less than half a mile from our yard. Some of it is burnable now as it is small to medium diameter dead and debarked "beaver killed" wood.

At the same time as they have been bringing home firewood they have started to stockpile logs suitable for milling.

This is where I start my questions.

We are hoping to mill a pile of 1 inch lumber for baseboards, trim or accent boards and for framing in the beams and ductwork in our basement.

The other use for slabs and split or weather checked boards will be for a wood shed and for our "sugar shack" for cooking out maple syrup.

I am weighing out the purchase of a saw and an alaskan mill. The mill would be brand new but I will need to find the right used saw. How old of a saw can be successfully used? I know that it won't come cheap.

The other option I am looking at is transporting the logs to a friend's bandsw mill that he has set up but the cost per board foot will be in the 40 cents range plus the transport time and costs.

There is one other mill in the area that I am trying to track down to compare pricing.

Given our cash flow I am wrestling through my options.

We have access to, for our purposes, a nearly unlimited source of ash wood within a mile of our home.

We also have several tree services that are quite open to bringing wood by our place which in many cases is mill sized pine or spruce.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
I agree Lee. If you can find a mill then it would not make sense to get the Alaska mill unless you just want to do some playing around. If you do get the mill, you already know this won't be done with a small saw. Big saws take dollars.

Many times if you have enough, you can get someone to mill the logs right at your place. We have several folks who get together and we mill once in a while. It is relatively cheap and we all help each other. Those portale mills can put out good lumber; a bit slower than a permanent mill but rather quickly by portable standards.
 

Thistle

Minister of Fire
Dec 16, 2010
4,205
Central IA
lowroadacres said:
I am weighing out the purchase of a saw and an alaskan mill. The mill would be brand new but I will need to find the right used saw. How old of a saw can be successfully used? I know that it won't come cheap.
I had a Poulan 475 77cc w/ 24" & 36" bars that I bought new in Apr '94 to power my Alaskan mill.Worked great with plenty of power & very high compression.As I got older it was really a knuckle breaker to start with no decomp button.Started looking for a different used big saw this spring,went with an excellent 22 yr old Husqvarna 288XP w/ 180lbs compression I found on Ebay in June.That's a monster,so glad its got that decomp button haha.I looked at its comparable current model - the 390XP with same displacement,horsepower & a couple pounds lighter.When I seen the price of a new one set up like I wanted ($1300 w/State Tax) I changed my mind quickly :lol: Sold the big Poulan last month on Ebay,buyer was very pleased.

If you're serious about chainsaw mills,a saw needs to be 75cc minimum if its gonna see regular use.You can do occasional milling with a smaller saw ( I used a McCulloch ProMac 61 cc model for a few months at first until it was just too slow for me).,but pay close attention to prevent overheating & other damage.And keep everything CLEAN & give it rest periods between heavy or long cuts.Milling places tremendous stresses on a saw,much more so than regular crosscutting.

Anything over 80cc from Husqvarna,Stihl,Dolmar would be a great choice.You can usually be set up for much less than buying new.

Husky 385/288/390/395 Stihl 064/066/660/084/088/880 Dolmar 9000 or 9100 are all real workhorses.
 

SolarAndWood

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2008
6,788
Syracuse NY
I've been going through the same analysis. I picked up the 2095 with 24 and 60 inch bars for $400. Figure that gets me into the milling game for a grand and I have a saw for the big stuff.
 

Thistle

Minister of Fire
Dec 16, 2010
4,205
Central IA
SolarAndWood said:
I've been going through the same analysis. I picked up the 2095 with 24 and 60 inch bars for $400. Figure that gets me into the milling game for a grand and I have a saw for the big stuff.
That's a helluva deal. The 60" bar alone is worth that much.I looked for a decent Jonsered 2095 also (lots of parts interchangeable w/Husky 395) but after a few months of searching & waiting,I gave up.Not many around I noticed on the market that people are willing to part with.Parts found occasionally but almost never see complete running saws for sale.I dont think J-red makes any saws over 60cc now,once Electrolux took over Husky also they consolidated lots of the 2 product lines.
 

Cowboy Billy

Minister of Fire
Dec 10, 2008
885
Britton MI
Its .20 cents a bd/ft here too for band mill work. Considering how hard it is to block up ash I would imagine it would be a chore to cut it with a CSM although I haven't used one.

Billy
 

SolarAndWood

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2008
6,788
Syracuse NY
Thistle said:
That's a helluva deal. The 60" bar alone is worth that much.
Yeah, had a buddy pick it up for me as soon as he got out of work the day it was posted. Didn't want to miss that one. There are a lot of good deals out there if you are patient.

Have a feeling I am going to have a bunch of Ash to mill in the next few years.
 

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Frozen Canuck

Minister of Fire
lowroadacres said:
Merry Christmas and Happy New year to everyone at hearth.com. Its been a while since I have posted as a new job and fmaily activities have kept me hopping.

While I was away from hearth.com my in laws, God bless them, have been cutting wood "for fun".

They have brought home several trailer loads of ash from the woodlot we have access to less than half a mile from our yard. Some of it is burnable now as it is small to medium diameter dead and debarked "beaver killed" wood.

At the same time as they have been bringing home firewood they have started to stockpile logs suitable for milling.

This is where I start my questions.

We are hoping to mill a pile of 1 inch lumber for baseboards, trim or accent boards and for framing in the beams and ductwork in our basement.

The other use for slabs and split or weather checked boards will be for a wood shed and for our "sugar shack" for cooking out maple syrup.

I am weighing out the purchase of a saw and an alaskan mill. The mill would be brand new but I will need to find the right used saw. How old of a saw can be successfully used? I know that it won't come cheap.

The other option I am looking at is transporting the logs to a friend's bandsw mill that he has set up but the cost per board foot will be in the 40 cents range plus the transport time and costs.

There is one other mill in the area that I am trying to track down to compare pricing.

Given our cash flow I am wrestling through my options.

We have access to, for our purposes, a nearly unlimited source of ash wood within a mile of our home.

We also have several tree services that are quite open to bringing wood by our place which in many cases is mill sized pine or spruce.
Would seem to me that long term, if the tree service delivery to your yard is solid, that a portable bandsaw mill makes more sense. Something to consider & budget for if it indeed pencils out.

You may be stuck hauling to another mill or having them come to you until you can swing the purchase of a good used mill.

I can't see how a chainsaw mill would ever pencil out for 1" lumber...sawdust to lumber ratio is just way too high.
 

lowroadacres

Minister of Fire
Aug 18, 2009
536
MB
This is good feedback which I appreciate. I have located another fellow who does milling with a bandsaw mill. He charges by the hour. He will also allow me to help for that price which means, at least he says it will mean, that we get more done in a given hour because there will be two or more of us lifting positioning, stacking, etc.

Initially we will be taking a few logs to his yard on a trial basis where we are going to do up some 6 by 6 beams for use as deck railing posts. These will be from spruce.
We will also take a couple of ash logs to try to see how his saw handles them. In the mean time I am waiting to connect with another individual who has a mill but I don't know if it is currently serviceable and the owner is on a Southern holiday.

Another couple of twists have occurred as well including finding out that just a few weeks ago my FIL, without knowing that it would have potentially worked for us, tossed a 25 year old saw into a scrap metal bin. He doesn't know how big it was but he says it was orange and had a 4 foot bar that he could "really lean on" through large firewood. he also noted that the compression was good but it needed carb work. Arrrrgh.

As we live on an acreage the song there is a hole in the bucket dear liza dear liza is our theme song I am making some babysteps towards some long term plans.
This means that before we dream of building or buying anything in the way of milling equipment we need to get the old Miller portable welder into the workshop to pull the Onan engine off to see what it needs to become operational. If we can get it rolling and sparking then we are going to look at other projects.
We have been looking at the plans for a procut portable chainsaw mill. For those who feel the sawdust/cutwidth/wastage issues with a chainsaw mill compared to a bandsaw mill we are not worried about this on two counts.... One, we have access to large amounts of wood which is the least expensive part of our process. Two... My initial thought, at least in theory, is that maintenance on chains we can handle, bandsaw blades not so much.
 

Thistle

Minister of Fire
Dec 16, 2010
4,205
Central IA
lowroadacres said:
Another couple of twists have occurred as well including finding out that just a few weeks ago my FIL, without knowing that it would have potentially worked for us, tossed a 25 year old saw into a scrap metal bin. He doesn't know how big it was but he says it was orange and had a 4 foot bar that he could "really lean on" through large firewood. he also noted that the compression was good but it needed carb work. Arrrrgh.
Without seeing it,sounds like the saw might've been this one - Husqvarna 2100/2101 series - 6 cubic inch 100cc 6.9 HP 11,000RPM production dates 1975-1990 Powerhead capable of pulling up to a 60 inch bar & chain. Yes the sound you hear is me crying now :lol:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjCCOB4viyQ&NR=1
 

lowroadacres

Minister of Fire
Aug 18, 2009
536
MB
Given how incredible my in laws are to our family I definitely had to work on my poker face when he told me about this in passing.

It is one of those situations where I cannot control what played out so I am just going to learn to communicate project ideas more clearly with my FIL.

Which is why I am going to disciple myself to getting the welder moved in under cover and worked on to the point where we have it operational. Then projects can be worked on in a more organized fashion.

He loves building things but he needs some help thinking ahead of the list.
 
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