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simonm

New to milling

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I set off with a chainsaw mill which gets you hooked on wood ‘ then moved on to a woodland mills hm130 which is still hard work I was thinking of upgrading to a hydraulic mill but went out chainsaw milling in the lakes and wow seam to got my mojo back with cutting wood

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If you are just wanting to add value to what is essentially a waste product at the moment and you want to do it occassionally as a sideline to your day job then the cheapest option seems to be a chainsaw mill.

If it is going to be something more full time then Big J clearly has some good advice and numbers to consider.

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It's just an experiment I suppose, a more profitable way of moving the wood on other than sending it as firewood. It looks straight forward enough using the chainsaw mill. 

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16 hours ago, Big J said:

Go bandsaw definitely. Chainsaw milling is purgatory, knackering your body, your chainsaws, your bars and everything else. 

 

Set up is cheaper on a chainsaw mill, true, but the kerf and fuel saving on a bandmill soon pays off the difference. Chainsaw milling works out at about £0.30 per cubic foot in fuel and chain oil whereas when I had an electric bandmill powered by a diesel generator, it worked out at £0.035 per cubic foot. So, milling a 700 hoppus foot lorry load will cost you around £25 in red diesel on a bandmill and £210 in petrol and chain oil on a chainsaw mill.

 

Then couple that with the wastage from sawdust. Cutting everything to 2", you gain around 3 boards for every 2 logs you mill (assuming 750mm diameter). That 15% wastage means instead of getting 700 hoppus foot, you end up with just under 600 hoppus foot. So if you had quality oak (costing £8/hf delivered in), it's cost you over £800. Coupled with extra fuel, you're about £1000 more expensive on every 25t load to mill with a chainsaw mill as opposed to a bandsawmill.

 

So, keep the chainsaw mills for the inaccessible oversized timber, but for run of the mill stuff, get a bandsawmill. 

What Big J says is all true but I think everyone getting into milling should go the chainsaw route first.

Otherwise you'll never appreciate just how less painful bandsaw milling is!  

 

As long as you are sensible and don't go overboard with the chainsaw milling gear like I did you'll be Ok, mind you the problem of having to much was solved when it was stolen

Edited by Forest2Furniture
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Everyone appreciates the complete process chainsaw milling from the felled stick to stickered, covered milled timber back at your base is hard work and time consuming.

From what I hear -  nationally there is a mass of milled products stickered and covered, which the producer is unable sell.

We process a lot of timber up to 500mm, which could easily be milled to add value but have held off buying a Panther Mill due to the uncertainty of demand for milled timber. Perhaps there are routes to a market that I am unaware of?

Is this actually the case that there is a very limited market for air dryed slabwood?

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2 hours ago, arboriculturist said:

Everyone appreciates the complete process chainsaw milling from the felled stick to stickered, covered milled timber back at your base is hard work and time consuming.

From what I hear -  nationally there is a mass of milled products stickered and covered, which the producer is unable sell.

We process a lot of timber up to 500mm, which could easily be milled to add value but have held off buying a Panther Mill due to the uncertainty of demand for milled timber. Perhaps there are routes to a market that I am unaware of?

Is this actually the case that there is a very limited market for air dryed slabwood?

To some extent you are correct.  There is a market for air dried slabwood, but it is laregly hobbyists and people doing house improvements; so often  they will not want exactly what you have, and it is very easy to overlook how time consuming and expensive it will be to find these customers.  This is what I specialise in and I have a premises which customers can visit 6 days a week and a stock of over 100 cubic metres of air dried native hardwoods and it is a full time business to look after it and deal with all the customers.

 

There are lots of joiners, kitchen fitters etc out there but they are already very well served by the imported timber market, and are very used to getting high quality rather boring timber off the shelf in good lengths and a huge range of sizes and low prices.  Arb arisings, or even forest grown UK hardwoods are never going to compete in this market.  So you are left with specialist and niche markets and thousands of hobbyists who will want a very diverse range of stock.

 

The only useful suggestion I have for anyone wanting to mill is to sell to me!  Of course there is a limit to what I can take but I am selling at least a cubic metre a week so am always in need of native hardwoods.  Of course I will only pay wholesale prices, but at least I will take a whole batch rather than sorting through looking for the perfect board!  I have 20 cubic metres arriving from Big J on here within a week or so, which will be my second lot from him this year.

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2 hours ago, Squaredy said:

To some extent you are correct.  There is a market for air dried slabwood, but it is laregly hobbyists and people doing house improvements; so often  they will not want exactly what you have, and it is very easy to overlook how time consuming and expensive it will be to find these customers.  This is what I specialise in and I have a premises which customers can visit 6 days a week and a stock of over 100 cubic metres of air dried native hardwoods and it is a full time business to look after it and deal with all the customers.

 

There are lots of joiners, kitchen fitters etc out there but they are already very well served by the imported timber market, and are very used to getting high quality rather boring timber off the shelf in good lengths and a huge range of sizes and low prices.  Arb arisings, or even forest grown UK hardwoods are never going to compete in this market.  So you are left with specialist and niche markets and thousands of hobbyists who will want a very diverse range of stock.

 

The only useful suggestion I have for anyone wanting to mill is to sell to me!  Of course there is a limit to what I can take but I am selling at least a cubic metre a week so am always in need of native hardwoods.  Of course I will only pay wholesale prices, but at least I will take a whole batch rather than sorting through looking for the perfect board!  I have 20 cubic metres arriving from Big J on here within a week or so, which will be my second lot from him this year.

That's sound advice.

 

Rob D - Chainsawbars said a similar thing - sell to a wholesaler.

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Hi all,

 

New to the forum as I am preparing to start a mobile Saw Mill business. Would love to get some of that solid advice I have been reading on this forum, but also would like to offer my voluntary services for any Hereford based Millers out there, thats right I'm offering to "help" for free in order to gain some valuable insights and experience. 

 

I am a former Royal Marine so wet cold hard work is nothing new to me.

 

Much appreciated and look forward to some solid connections.

 

Adam

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Hi Adam shame you are so far away you are welcome to come and help me for the odd day but I am in Shaftesbury Dorset, I have anAlaskan and I am just about to buy a woodland mill

Cheers Mark

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