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Author Topic: New sawmill design - does it have value?  (Read 6912 times)

Offline Bluecollar

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New sawmill design - does it have value?
« on: September 25, 2011, 11:21:24 PM »
From 2004 to 2010 we designed and built an automated portable sawmill using circular saws. Our manufacturing business did not survive the economic slump and closed in 2010. We retained the rights to the sawmill but now we need to decide if we really did design something real sawyers are interested in or if we need to chalk it up to experience. We designed a number of things into the sawmill; portability, accuracy, high production, minimum labour requirements and automated log handling and I am looking for feedback as to whether they have value or not. Looking forward to a conversation. Thanks.

Offline Stevem

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Re: New sawmill design - does it have value?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 12:02:47 AM »
Welcome to the forum.  Hope you enjoy our little world and become one of us.

I'll jump into this and probably put my foot in my mouth but it's been there before (and it's still not comfortable!).

I looked at a number of the videos and have to say "Neat sawmill"  Might have seen it  at the Logging conferece?  But have to ask, "Who was your intended market?  With the innovations of the saw head why mobile?  Wouldn't that be a better "bonus" idea if needed?

FWIW and IMHO

One of the reason I'm in the sawmill thingy is because of a love of wood and I can do it on the cheap.  When I saw a tree, if I want, I can massage it to get the best (my opinion) wood out of it. I can cut commodity wood, 6/4, 12/4. 3 x 3, bowl turning blanks, and slabs all out of the same tree.  And I can do this without any support equipment unless you count a peeve or cant hook as support equipment and no employees though one helper really speeds up production.  Sawmill is paid for so I have no payments and if I want to I can park it for 6 months and not get too worried about losing money.  Most people I know doing this kind of thing are very close to my situation.  It's a fun hobby that you can take serious if you want to but don't have to.  There are a number of people that do make a living sawmilling but most are not concerned with making it "big."  Just getting by is good.

The people I cut commodity wood for have three to 20 trees that they want cut into boards or require some special cut like 2 x 7's for personal use and they are not worried about a building inspector not accepting non-graded wood.   Or, because I have a Lucas, they have a tree that is just too damn big for any sawmill to want or be comfortable with.  My boards come off the mill edged so no additional equipment to do that job,  (Band mills edge the side boards on the mill.)  I consider my niche as big trees and wide slabs. 

Most everybody I've talked with at my level of sawing knows we can't compete sawing commodity wood.  So "Mobile millers" are not your market.  We're too damn cheap.  And I, at least, hav no intention of ever cutting a million feet a year.
I have no idea what the mills production capabilities are but consider this:

Commercial Oregon sawmills get around 200% recovery of wood from log scale bought, recover the saw dust and can chip and sell or use everything else. All established utilization lines.  Poke a log in one end and the wood comes out the other end as graded, ready to use building material. Very efficient utilization of a tree. 

And if they want to increase production they add another shift.  All the equipment and infrastructure is there and ready.

I talked with a guy years ago that ran a sawmill in the woods that fed a sawmill with cants.  He'd "cut 7000 feet a day and headed to town"  What he saved the mill was haul cost of the waste to the mill which has since found a use. 

As an example:  One of the local mills now makes wood pellets out of the waste wood and sells them into the commodity market.  Another small profit center for them.






   

Stevem
Because you can doesn't mean you should!

Offline Stevem

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Re: New sawmill design - does it have value?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 08:43:43 AM »
I might add about 20 years ago Morbark had a high production mobile circle sawmill.  They no longer make and probably don't support it.  It was kind of like a Bell Saw on steroids.  You might talk with them, if anybody is still around that knows about that mill, and ask why the got out of the business.

see here:  http://www.carolinamachinerysales.com/?page=detail&id=used&machine=000211 
Stevem
Because you can doesn't mean you should!

Offline Bluecollar

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Re: New sawmill design - does it have value?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2011, 11:59:23 PM »
Hi Stevem
Thank you for the reply. This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Absolutely you and other mobilers are not our target market. Neither do we think we can compete with the large mills. What about those products the large mills don't do but still need good production to get them done efficiently? Rail ties for instance. Are there any forum members that have requirements like rail ties or similar items that would be interested in chatting with me?