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Thread: Saw Mill - Does anyone cut their own lumber?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Rock Creek, OH
    Posts
    382

    Default Saw Mill - Does anyone cut their own lumber?

    Dad and I have been kicking around buying a sawmill. It would be cool to build some buildings from our own lumber. I was curious if anyone does some custom milling. I'm generally curious about people's experience with sawmills.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Essex VT
    Posts
    386

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    I bought my Norwood Lumbermate 2000 sawmill in the fall of 2003. I have cuts tens of thousands of board feet of lumber with it, mostly pine, cedar and some hardwood. I have used the lumber I cut to build my tractor shed, put three additions on my sugar house and build four sap sheds out in the woods. i always have dried lumber for other misc projects.

    I rarely do any custom milling. I usually have too many irons in the fire to custom cut. Plus I like to mill when I want to and not under pressure from someone wanting wood by X date. Besides, the Lumbermate 2000 is a manual mill and I can't produce enough board foot volume per hour to the justify what I would have to charge either by the hour or by the board foot. People with hydraulic mills can cut a larger volume per hour. I will occasionally cut something for a friend at $50.00 per hour plus the cost of any ruined blades (hidden metal, sheet rock screws are the worst)

    I spent about $7,500. on the mill with shipping, a trailer package and extensions for the cutting rail to be able cut 20' logs. After 18 years, the mill owes me nothing. I can let it sit idle for months and not worry about it.

    Joe
    2004- 470 taps on gravity and buckets
    2006- 590 taps on gravity and buckets 300 gph RO
    2009- 845 taps on vacuum no buckets, 600 gph RO
    2010- 925 taps on vacuum new 2 stage vacuum pump
    2014- 3045 taps on vacuum, new 1200 gph RO
    2015- 3104 taps on vacuum
    2017- 3213 taps on vacuum
    3' x 10' oil fired evaporator with steamaway

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Eagle lake Maine
    Posts
    262

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    I also have a Lumbermate 2000, it's bulletproof. I've sawn out a couple garages, my house, several outbuildings etc. I've sawn a lot of cedar, pine, maple, birch, aspen, fir and spruce for various projects. I also have a log moulder to shape logs and plane large beams. It's so nice to be able to just go out back and custom saw whatever you need. Eventually when I have a little more free time, I'd like to make live edge furniture, signs, etc. You won't regret buying one, guaranteed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Lawrence County Ohio
    Posts
    260

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    Yes, it's GREAT havin a mill on the farm. We just saw for our own use, but I have people askin every week what we'd charge to saw. Between the catle, sheep, honeybees & garden, I don't have time to saw for anyone else/ We have a little "American" band mill, made in Cambridge OH. The little mill we have now was cheap, ($4500 15 years ago) but it's manual you have to push through the log, not bad with green lumber and a new blade, get a seasoned oak and a little wear and it'll wear you out. I called about upgrading to a powered carriage back in the spring, and American Mills are about 100 mills behind schedule, running three shifts. Wood mizers were a 6 month lead 6 months ago, not sure what they are now. Good luck finding one right now, used ones cost more than new ones, and there's several months lead time for a new one. I grew up sawin on a Frick circle mill, we sold RR ties by the truck load. Built two houses, six barns a few chicken houses & tool sheds, and a sawn a little custom lumber in my lifetime. We rarely cut down a live tree, just saw windfalls & dead trees here & there. This is how I got to making syrup, My Dad had a sugar maple uproot on his farm, he told me about it and I went up to bring it down to the mill. I got on the internet looking for the price of maple lumber and found an article about making $X one time with a saw log, or $x every year if you tapped & made syrup. I knew we had at least a couple hundred maples, so tap tap tap & boil boil boil. Shootin for 800 taps this coming year- got to save up & buy a new evaporator before I grow any more!! One a these days I may get all 1500 of em tapped. We have a blight that's been killing off white oaks, so I cut them down once they are dead. Most of what I saw are 14' white oak 3x's to floor my 90' bridge. One a these days I'm goin to start sellin the white oak to the stave mill and buy some steel grating to floor the bridge with. Saturday night I fired up my table saw and cut up about 25 cuttin boards worth of white oak, walnut and wild cherry strips to make for Christmas gifts & sell for a little extra $$ right before maple season. Sellin at $25-50 each, it's amazing what you can pull out of the slab pile that doesn't get burned in the evaporator and can put some extra $$ in your pocket. I make jewelry boxes, shadow boxes, and little knick knack shelves and an occasional picture frame for a neighbor who is a painter. If you can find one, jump on it, you won't regret it.
    2012 15 jugs
    2017 125 3/16 - 18"x 6' drop flue set up
    2018 240 3/16 - Deer Run 125 RO
    2019 450 3/16 - Converted RO to electric, Procon 330 pump & added a membrane
    2020 600 3/16 - Maple Pro 2x6 Raised Flue, added AOF/AUF
    2021 570 3/16 - Built a SS steam hood, new Smoky Lake SS filter press
    2022 800 3/16 - Upgrade RO to 4 4x40's,Procon 660, adding a Sap Guzzler to 400 taps

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Cornwall, CT
    Posts
    338

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    I've had a Norwood 26 for almost 10 years. I've built most of my barn, most of my sugar shack and two chicken coops with it along with countless other little things around the place. Mostly I cut white pine. I even made a jig to cut shingles with it. I wouldn't use white pine shingles on my house but they're great for the chicken coop. I've also cut walnut for a kitchen table, a bunch of red and white oak for friends and some nice cherry from time to time. Couldn't imagine being without it!
    1980 - 6 taps, stone fire pit, drain pan evaporator, 1 pint of syrup
    2016 - 55 taps on 3/16 and gravity, new sugar shack, 2x3 Mason XL, 16 gallons of syrup
    Inception of Young Love Maple
    2017 - 170 taps on 3/16, 30 on buckets, 2x4 Mason XL, NextGen RO. 50 gallons of syrup
    2018 - 19 more acres, 250+ taps on gravity and buckets, 2x5 Smokey Lake arch and Beaverland pan.
    2019 - 250+ taps on gravity. A few buckets. 35 gallons of syrup.
    2020 - 300+ taps on gravity. 50 gallons of syrup.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Granville, PA
    Posts
    377

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    I agree, I love my mill. Bought a Norwood 2000 in 2000, cut 8k board feet of cherry in the first 4 months of owning it. That was when cherry was really high priced so the mill paid for itself quick. I built a couple dozen spiral staircases, 3 hunting cabins, 2 sugar shacks, a couple timber frame barns and countless other projects. No custom cutting here, too much of my own stuff to do.
    Matt,
    Minehart Gap Maple

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Rock Creek, OH
    Posts
    382

    Default

    This is really good stuff. Thank you to everyone!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    upstate N.Y.
    Posts
    189

    Default

    I have an oscar 30" mill. I poured a concrete pad for the tracks to sit on and welded up some extra tracks to cut 20 foot logs. It is a manual mill and has served us well, built the sugar house and many other projects. It is all manual so a 24 inch 16 foot pine will make you grunt when trying to roll it. If you plan on farm use it is great, but if you want to do some serious sawing some of the options like log turners, de-barkers and stuff would be much appreciated. Had mine for about 15 years with no issues at all. I pressure wash the logs if dirty but try to skid in the snow. Blades do not last long if the wood is at all dirty.
    2.5X10 HE
    600 RO
    Vac

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Canaan NH
    Posts
    342

    Default

    We have a Turner Mills, manual rig. It's pretty good to have on hand. I've cut lumber for garage overhangs, a treehouse, and a sun-room addition to be built next summer. Nice to have lumber on hand as well for whatever projects crop up. Mr. Turner makes a very reliable mill.
    Boulder Trail Sugaring
    150 Taps on Vacuum
    Homemade 20"x40" Hybrid Pan - 15 gph
    Homemade Steamaway - 10 gph
    Waterguys single-post RO

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Thetford, VT
    Posts
    416

    Default

    We have a Woodmizer on order...since...the end of January '21. It was initially scheduled to be built the second week of September '21. It all there except the starter for the motor. We are told it's wrapped and ready to ship upon receipt of backordered starters. I think I heard the current lead time hit about 72 weeks.

    We had tossed around the idea a few times in the past. Last year we had our property logged (part of current use management). We bought about 10,000 bdft of the hemlock they hauled out to the landing. We have several buildings to side and a few things to build such as a sawmill shed.

    If you have a use for one start looking for that right deal (very rare today) or get on the list. We initially looked at some of the smaller mills which we could add accessories to as needed. Then we realized with 10k bdft ready to go we gain the highest benefit and return now on ordering a hydraulic mill. It will last a very long time. There are no plans to saw for others, however if timing is in our favor then it would be nice to help put some of the money back in the bank.

    Join some groups on facebook to get ideas of what to look for and what to avoid. Also check out www.forestryforum.com they have a subsection dedicated to saw mills.

    Mike
    Tapping since 1985 (four generations back to early to mid 1900s). 200-250 taps on buckets and then tubing in the mid 90s. 2013- 275 taps w/sap puller 25 gal. 2014-295 taps w/sap puller 55 ga. (re-tapped to vacuum theory) 2015-330 taps full vac. 65 gal, 2016-400 taps 105 gal, 2017-400 taps 95 gal. 2018-additional 800' mainline and maybe 400 new taps for a total near 800 taps. 2x6 Leader WSE (last year on it) supported by a 250 gph RO.

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