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Cooks Sawmills - any good?

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I am thinking of importing a bandsaw mill towards the end of this year from the USA made by a small company called Cooks http://cookssaw.com/

 

Why?

 

Because I need wide bandsawmilling capacity and two years ago they launched a super wide bandmill which looks ideal.  I am awaiting a shipping cost but it should not be prohibitive.  Have any of you arbtalk millers come across any of their products?

 

I am used to using the slabbing attachment on my Lucas Mill for wide cuts but I really need greater efficiency and less effort than this.

 

Comments welcome!

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When I was "prospecting" for bandsaw mills, and with the 10 year(ish) ago favourable exchange rate, looking keenly at US stuff, Cooks were a front runner, from my own extensive internet based research, probably thee front runner, and SUBSEQUENTLY backed up by a local Engineer, with significent forestry machinery experience and  currently works for Jas P Wilson as a NI/Irish rep(or did until very recent), who stated they would be his first pick.

I will try and find his contact details in my phone.

Just remembered, Geoffrey Boreland, I will give him a ring to check.

Cheers

Marcus

Edited by difflock

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32 minutes ago, difflock said:

When I was "prospecting" for bandsaw mills, and with the 10 year(ish) ago favourable exchange rate, looking keenly at US stuff, Cooks were a front runner, from my own extensive internet based research, probably thee front runner, and SUBSEQUENTLY backed up by a local Engineer, with significent forestry machinery experience and  currently works for Jas P Wilson as a NI/Irish rep(or did until very recent), who stated they would be his first pick.

I will try and find his contact details in my phone.

Just remembered, Geoffrey Boreland, I will give him a ring to check.

Cheers

Marcus

Thanks Marcus

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I always liked the look of the Cook mills and I did consider them when I imported my Logmaster LM2 from Texas.


Now as regards wide cuts. There are so many issues with wide boards and they include:

 

  • you have to have complete handling for logs and boards of that size. Logs can easily weigh 5000kg, and 500kg boards aren't uncommon.
  • they are prone to serious drying defects, whereas simply ripping out the heart leaves two very wide, very stable boards that can be rejoined together.
  • they much up your stacking system, as they have to be stacked in log form, as no stack will accommodate two wide boards wide.
  • cutting accuracy on a 40mm band would be unreliable at best. With 1.3m between the guides, there is little to stop a little blade like that deviating, and possibly wasting a very expensive log.

My point is that in my experience, wide boards are best avoided if at all possible. Otherwise, mill with something with a very wide blade and you might be OK!

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Have you had a look at Hud-son sawmills?

iv had a few de-barker's from them and they were really helpful and posted to uk no problem. a few years ago i asked them about shipping to uk and they said it would not be a problem to give  a cost for it, but never took it any further.
i like the look of them, the band wheels are a bit bigger diameter which i think will be less stress on the bands.#https://www.hud-son.com/product/oscar-52-portable-sawmill/

the next size up mill is a big jump in cost though.

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57 minutes ago, Big J said:

I always liked the look of the Cook mills and I did consider them when I imported my Logmaster LM2 from Texas.


Now as regards wide cuts. There are so many issues with wide boards and they include:

 

  • you have to have complete handling for logs and boards of that size. Logs can easily weigh 5000kg, and 500kg boards aren't uncommon.
  • they are prone to serious drying defects, whereas simply ripping out the heart leaves two very wide, very stable boards that can be rejoined together.
  • they much up your stacking system, as they have to be stacked in log form, as no stack will accommodate two wide boards wide.
  • cutting accuracy on a 40mm band would be unreliable at best. With 1.3m between the guides, there is little to stop a little blade like that deviating, and possibly wasting a very expensive log.

My point is that in my experience, wide boards are best avoided if at all possible. Otherwise, mill with something with a very wide blade and you might be OK!

Thanks for your input Jonathon.  I agree with everything you have said, but I do have a demand and a need for wide boards, and the handling is no problem as this wide milling will only take place at my yard, so we have the capability to cope with them.

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57 minutes ago, farmerjohn said:

Have you had a look at Hud-son sawmills?

iv had a few de-barker's from them and they were really helpful and posted to uk no problem. a few years ago i asked them about shipping to uk and they said it would not be a problem to give  a cost for it, but never took it any further.
i like the look of them, the band wheels are a bit bigger diameter which i think will be less stress on the bands.#https://www.hud-son.com/product/oscar-52-portable-sawmill/

the next size up mill is a big jump in cost though.

Thanks for the info Farmerjohn.  I did not know Hudson did a wide mill.  I have to admit the only time I saw a Hudson mill it looked very DIY, but I will check them out.

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I run an autotrek with a 4" wide blade, cutting up to 1mt wide, unless the log is mild without knots I would only attempt such a cut with a recently sharpened blade,  on a 2" wide or narrower blade i would say the accuracy of cut along with speed of cut would be open to question, so tend to wholeheartedly agree with Big J on all his points. 

Seriously, how many logs do you have access to that requires a 48" or wider T&T cut so that the purchase is a no brainer....otherwise stick with what you have got.

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1 hour ago, youcallthatbig said:

I run an autotrek with a 4" wide blade, cutting up to 1mt wide, unless the log is mild without knots I would only attempt such a cut with a recently sharpened blade,  on a 2" wide or narrower blade i would say the accuracy of cut along with speed of cut would be open to question, so tend to wholeheartedly agree with Big J on all his points. 

Seriously, how many logs do you have access to that requires a 48" or wider T&T cut so that the purchase is a no brainer....otherwise stick with what you have got.

Thanks for your comments.  I have offloaded a lot of my large diameter logs recently, but I still have maybe forty or fifty tons of logs which need a through and through cut of between 28 inches and 48 inches or so.  I have the logs and will keep getting the logs and I have the demand for the timber.  The figures stack up for me I just need the machine!

 

Don't forget it is a very different technology using wide bandsaw blades.  They are very expensive and easily give trouble.  I think narrow blades are far superior in terms of what you get for your money.  I have spent many hundreds on wide blades over the years only to find a few days later they are developing cracks and before long they are scrap.  With a narrow blade you could even treat it as disposable.  When the blade costs only £25 and it completes six cuts in a large log and produces slabs which I can sell for £900 it works, even if that blade is then scrap. 

 

Incidentally I use Stephen Cull for sharpening narrow bandsaw blades and I find him really good.  No-one else I have tried can do it consistently, and I am talking about dedicated saw doctors not cowboys.  A lot of saw doctors simply won't touch the narrow blades as they are so cheap to buy it is almost as costly to sharpen.

Edited by Squaredy

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My inclination is that if you are finding that you've a ready supply of large diameter logs, that having a chainsaw based log halver fabricated would be the way to go. 

 

Before I got the Trakmet saw, I used to halve all of my larger logs with a chainsaw mill with extra long uprights. It's not that easy, and isn't something you'd want to leave your employees doing. 

 

£7-10k would probably see you to getting a carriage based chainsaw mill. Spec it with a 120-140cm throat, and it would mean you could halve just about anything. Or, you could mill it through and through if you are feeling masochistic. 

 

I can't stress enough how stable boards are from large logs, with one side straight edged through the heart. They mill really quickly on the sawmill (you just stand the half up vertically, mill through until you're a board shy of the heart and flip the cant) and you eliminate 95% of all movement and drying defect. It's brilliantly easy for your customers to select bookmatched boards as you'll have thousands of them, all of them with a perfect straight edge (not a rough and ready edge from free hand halving). 

If I were milling hardwoods again (which I won't) then that is the way I'd go. Wide throat bandsaw technology is hit and miss, and you'll get perfect cuts until suddenly the blade decides its' blunt halfway through a cut and you waste £200 worth of timber. 

 

If the carriage based chainsaw mill is interesting for you, I've got a little one coming from TCF engineering next week which could be scaled up I'd have thought. Mine's only 3.5kw 240v on an 18" throat, but you'd fly through the timber on 10-15kw three phase.

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