Love rough cut lumber

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Thunder5Ranch, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    When I am making shopping list I break them down into three categories. Must Have, Could Really use it, and It would be nice to have. I had always put the bandmill into the "It Would be nice to have" category. Knowing what I know now, it should have been bumped into the "Must Have" category. If you have a stand of timber and some basic building skills, a band mill can save you a small fortune. I finally had some spare money that was not earmarked for some major truck or tractor repair and ordered this mill from Hud-Son Forestry equipment, it is not a giant mill and is a Oscar 330pro model that burned me for I believe right at $8,000 with shipping back in 2010. It can take up to a 30" diameter log and with the extra track I can make 16' lumber. I am currently using woodmizer silver tip bands on it, The silver tips are a one use band but do a lot better on the knotty old post oaks than the bands that can be sharpened and one band mills a lot of board feet before wearing out.

    The building in the picture was the first one I built back in the spring of 2010 using green hickory 1"x10" over a 2 1/2" x4" post oak frame topped with a steel roof. The Cabin or as we call it "The Mill House" is 14' wide and 20' long with 3 rooms, from the left rafter to the next rafter to the right is my tool room. The Room beside it is where my scroll saw, drill press, wood lathe, band saw and other larger tools are. The back room is 12' x 20' across the back with a double door on the left side and heated with a little Voglezang box stove. The backroom is my shop where I build tables, chairs, hide my beer refrigerator, and put together hutches and just like to in general hide out in the winter. I modeled the building after a old frontier cabin I saw out west a long time ago, that always fascinated me with how simple and yet highly functional it was. I could easily live in this little cabin using the tool room as a kitchen, the right room as a bedroom and the back room as a living/dining room . LOL my wife on the other hand does not share that sentiment :)

    Since this was built the mill moved to its new home farther back in the woods and a bigger open sided shed where the lumber can be stacked and cured inside. I have milled the lumber for and built 2 30' x 40' all post oak barns, 3 out houses, 12 farrowing houses, a cattle barn 12'x24' 3 16' x 30' chicken houses, 2 feed sheds and a smoke house the same size as the first cabin minus the rooms. The oak lumber alone would cost a small fortune to buy for these projects, I figured up what the lumber for 1 of the 30x40 barns would cost and my jaw dropped when it would have came in at over $22,000 just for the lumber.

    A 30" diameter log that is 8.5 feet long is nothing to sneeze at. That is a big log! And a lot of true 2x4s and 1x's come out of just one tree trunk. The milling is not so hard once you have the log squared and a helper or two to buck the boards and stack them. It usually is not hard to find help from folks that will trade their labor for milling their logs. The mill is fairly easy to break down and move to their location and set back up, The only hard part is if they don't have a bucket tractor to lift the mill head. Now days that is not even a problem, I found a old 24' trailer that the floor rotted off of and bought another 24 feet of ground track and welded it to the trailer frame. So now I just lift the mill head off of the perm ground track at my place and sit it down on the trailer track strap it down and roll off to wherever a friend needs their logs milled. I welded a steel cat walk down either side of the trailer track and because I am getting old, fat and lazy, I welded and bolted two hydraulic cylinders and welded together a side lift to pick the logs up and onto the track. You can get all of those features from most mill manufacturers but in addition to being old, fat and lazy.... I am a cheap ass :) And those features would have tacked on another $5,000 to the mill price. I made the lift system for a couple hundred bucks from the steel scrap pile and repacked a couple old cylinders I replaced on a tractor bucket and If I remember right picked the trailer up for $150. Sounds better than $5000 to me :)

    I pretty much just cull out dead or dying trees in our wood lots and thin out some of the trees to give better trees more room to spread out and grow.

    Yep I should have moved the Band Mill to the must have list and bought it 10 years earlier. I cringe every time I think of how many thousands of $$$ I spend on lumber and and steel pole barns in that previous decade :(
  2. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    Nice! I built my mill from a 1970's Homelite Pro ChainSaw with a 70" bar and chain. It was a two man heavy, but makes an excellent mill saw able to handle up to 5'8'' logs! It was a simple build that cost maybe 1K to build, and has worked very well. The nice thing is it can break down easy and be transported to where ever I need. Check online places like Craigs List in the PNW for Saw's of this type. HomeLite's were THE saw back in the day, and they can be found for a few hundred, and parts and rebuilding service is still available! McCullough and Wisconsin can also do very well if you can find them!
    Ganado and Thunder5Ranch like this.
  3. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    Hat's off to ya bud, really nice set up! A guy a few miles from here has something similar, although its older and not as neatly set up as yours. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if he even uses it anymore.
    Ganado, Ura-Ki and Thunder5Ranch like this.
  4. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Homelites of today are not the homelites of back then. There was a time I would not own anything but a homelite then they started making cheap garbage, same with troybilt tillers. Now days I only use Husqavarna Saws and Craftsman tillers with the sears extended repair and replacement warranty in place...... The Husq saw over the last 10 years have proven to be dependable and work horses love my 460 ranchers. Tried a couple of Stihls and they spent more time in the shop than they did in the woods.

    I played with the chainsaw mills, the only thing I didn't like was the wasted lumber that got turned to saw dust. But for hard to get to locations where the band mill won't make it to, I have a big saw with a 36" bar and chain with a guide that will cut up to 6X6 lumber. Wish you had not mentioned the old Homelites, now I have to go dig out the old one I kept and totally wore out 20 years ago and let nostalgia play out :)
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  5. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    I got quite the education on Chain Saws growing up in Logging country in Orygun, All the Pro's had Homelite's back in those days! Stihl were actively trying to sell their new saws and Huskies hadn't proven themselves yet! Now days, I use a Smaller Sthil 390 for "Yard Work" and Use my Big Husquvarna 460 for the serious work! Both start and run first pull, and do the job well! One thing I have found with these two is the Stihl will cut faster, The Husky has way more grunt, but is slower! With the right chain's both will out perform any saw I have ever tried!
  6. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Yeah the 460s are not speed machines but nothing slows them down. I did buy a little top trigger Echo when I had the landscape company and tree service and that little gray saw looked like a toy with its 10 inch bar but ran like a champ. Still does, I grab it to go in after a big tree is down for the limb work where the bigger saws are more of a hassle to manuever. Keep thinking I will eventually buy one of 20" or 24" Echos and see how they hold up. I just can't get into Stihls maybe I have just had lemons.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    In Alaska, if you are a Logger, you have only STIHL Saws.... My 035 is 35 years old, and AlaskaChick's 018 STIHL is 15 years old.... Both have been in the woods, and used heavily... I rebuilt mine 15 years ago, and hers got. A new Carb 5 years ago, that is it for Maintainance. I bought a Roll of Oregon Chisel-Tooth Chain 25 Years ago, and still have about a third of that roll, left. Bought an Oregon Electric Chain Sharpener, with the Chain, and keep half-dozen Chains for each Saw, sharp and ready to use. Real Men love STIHL Saws...
  8. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Plus one on STIHL!
    Love ours they just work.
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  9. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    i AGREE , I bought my LT15 Woodmizer in 2008 to replace the Alaska Mills .STIHL saw's only now
    Smaller kerf & quieter . Mine is all manual & keeps my heart rate up as in it's a real workout .

    Thunder5Ranch and Ura-Ki like this.
  10. sarawolf

    sarawolf Monkey+++

    Oh man very nice.
  11. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Real men don't use chainsaws, real men just pull the tree up and snap it into firewood :)
    Tully Mars, Ganado and Ura-Ki like this.
  12. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Friend a bit South of me bought a LT15 WM very nice mills, more bells and whistles than my Hud-Son and I like the track a bit better than the Hud-Son track. Hehe pushing the mill head on any manual mill is a work out after a day of milling you know you worked :)
    Cruisin Sloth and Ura-Ki like this.
  13. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    I have been working for 4 days straight & have lot's of 2x6x19' for fence rail or ? all done in western red cedar .
    I needed to wait till the big dinosaur came back up from the lower runs , needed to lift a 4' round stick onto the bed.
    I was wet from sweat @ 7:30 Am & all day .
    I get firewood , slash burn & lumber !!

    Thunder5Ranch and Tully Mars like this.
  14. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Woodmizer LT40 owner since 1991. I'd agree....if you have timber, a small bandmill is a nearly a must have tool for homesteading. They will cost nothing in the long run at the savings if you build stuff.

    25' 6x10 coming off my mill:


    Pile of 2x8x14' floor joists that eventually went into a rental house build.


    Tapered 8" lap siding I use on all my barns and outbuildings:


    Logs from clearing 1/2ac for an apple orchard

    White pine to be milled, my 35x75 shop in the background.

    Skidding winch for the tractor:

    Stack of 5/4 x 6" x12' white oak for fence lumber:

    Making red oak door/window casing on molding machine in the shop....5 cents/foot....ahahahaaa
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