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  1. #1
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    Default Advice regarding small milling Bandsaws

    The tree lopper I cut wood up for is looking for a small bandsaw mill to cut up smaller trees and small stock.
    He's got a larger order to cut a heap of short/small timber (eg 60 x 40, 25 x 50) and we already have a 27HP 36" throated band saw that is not easy to use with small logs and also currently so worn its not very precise so we're thinking of using that one just to break up logs into short billets and then feed that to a smaller sawmill for more accurate cuts.

    The ones he's looking at at are the
    - 3HP electric 2.4m (400mm cut) Woodfast,
    - the 3.2m x 530 mm 12HP petrol Oltre
    - the 3.1m x 760 mm 14HP petrol Woodland.

    Does anyone have any comments on these?
    Thanks

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  3. #2
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    Apr 2010
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    Central West NSW
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    I can't give any advice about these mills, but based on what I'm finding currently with everything from woodworking machinery to farm machinery to computer parts, you might be advised to make certain you can actually buy a machine before you consider it! Almost everything I've tried to buy in the last few months has been "out of stock" - even if web sites say "in stock"......

    What's worse is that most companies can't even give you an accurate ETA of new stock arriving - last week I was told by a Honda dealer that a new generator (out of stock everywhere despite web sites claiming otherwise) was listed as scheduled for delivery to them next week. When I asked them to check with the wholesaler before I placed an order, they got back to me and apologised because the date has changed to "sometime next year". Mind you, the Laguna spindle sander that I was told would be available in March 2020, then October 2020, then "early 2021" has since completely vanished from all the web sites, so I guess it's gone for good! If you want a new car, get what's in stock at the dealer. Subaru quoted my wife "at least 6 months, we've really no idea". Toyota can take a deposit but can't give you the spec or price of the car you (might?) one day receive, because the timelines are large enough to incorporate facelifts/updates/changes.....

    And my engineer friend has just been notified by his main supplier that there will be a 40% increase in steel prices February/March next year......

    Actually, one comment on topic - from personal experience if it has a small petrol engine make sure it says "Honda" on it. On the farm we have Honda motors on pumps that spend years out in the rain/sun/frost completely untouched and still start easily. I pulled an old generator out of a shed this week, it hadn't been touched for perhaps 5+ years, and it started 4th pull with the petrol that had been in the tank all that time. Every other small engine we have, B&S, Kohler, Wisconsin (!) and Chonda's seem to work OK if they're started every week or so, but any longer and they start to play up.

  4. #3
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    Default

    Thanks Warb,

    I agree about the availability aspect , its a real and growing problem. One of the criterial for even considering a machine was availability, and of those 3 I listed, the tree lopper has seen 2 o0f the actual machines for sale here in WA, while the third is on the east coat but the supplier has advised they have one in stock and can deliver in <10 days.

    RE Petrol engine.
    Both of the petrol driven machines under consideration are Kohlers. The current bandsaw mill uses an electric carriage lift, and an electric start 27HP Kohler and lives outside under a tarp . It goes for months (longest is over a year) without use and if correctly primed always starts within 3 cranks, even with the old fuel. A more significant issue is the battery as over ~3 months it loses enough charge so's it can't start the engine. Fortunately the tree lopper has a bank of about a dozen spare batteries and a charging station always on the go in his shed so I just grab a freshly charged battery and jumper cables and away it goes. The 27HP engine alternator does not provide enough current to directly drive the carriage lift but it charges the battery sufficiently so that it can move the carriage after about 10 minutes.

    I have a small Honda genset that I got for nothing and that gets uses maybe once every 2-3 years and that also starts every time within a couple of cranks even with the old file.

  5. #4
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    Apr 2010
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    Central West NSW
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    I suspect that as the engines get bigger so their ability to survive neglect increases. On the farm we rarely have issues with the larger "small" motors, especially diesels, it's almost always the sub 10HP single cylinder units that cause issues. These are normally the ones fitted to portable gear like fire pumps, small generators, grain augers and so forth. I've got rid of almost everything with a small non-Honda motor, the exceptions are a chipper/shredder with a B&S motor and a grain auger with a Kohler. The B&S has carby issues almost every time it's left for more than a couple of weeks, and is so heavy to pull over that I'm assuming the rotating parts are made of lead. The Kohler is from the 1980's, I believe, and has a completely exposed set of contact breakers that I suspect have been bypassed - I believe this model had a "modern" ignition system that was subsequently downgraded to a more standard small-motor setup. As neither machine gets much use, it's easier to spend and hour or two persuading them to run once every couple of years than to spend $$$ replacing the motors! But for things that I NEED to run (like fire pumps!), they're Honda or they're gone..

    Actually I've just remembered that one of the "buggies" that my kids used to race around the farm has a V twin B&S motor on it, but it's so far away from "standard" that it can't be judged the same way......

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    A more significant issue is the battery as over ~3 months it loses enough charge so's it can't start the engine.
    My solution was to get a small solar trickle charger for about $20 that will keep your battery fully charged.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohdan View Post
    My solution was to get a small solar trickle charger for about $20 that will keep your battery fully charged.
    Good idea, but the boss would probably rather I use the mill more often

  8. #7
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    NSW
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    My only advice would be to make certain you can get blades for the machine or have the ability to make the blades from bulk rolls of blade stock. And make certain the petrol engine can be kept free of sawdust, the bloody stuff gets everywhere!

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hilly View Post
    My only advice would be to make certain you can get blades for the machine or have the ability to make the blades from bulk rolls of blade stock. And make certain the petrol engine can be kept free of sawdust, the bloody stuff gets everywhere!
    Thanks OH,

    The boss doesn't seen to mins getting a saw service to supply blades, we have our own sharpener so we're saving a few bob there.

    I agree about the saw dust but we're using water cooling so there's less dust flying around.
    I clean the air cleaner on the 27HP Kohler every couple of weeks whether it needs it or not - usually its OK.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hilly View Post
    My only advice would be to make certain you can get blades for the machine or have the ability to make the blades from bulk rolls of blade stock. And make certain the petrol engine can be kept free of sawdust, the bloody stuff gets everywhere!
    Thanks OH,

    The boss doesn't seen to mind getting a saw service to supply blades, we have our own sharpener so we're saving a few bob there.
    I agree about the saw dust but we're using water cooling so there's less dust flying around.
    I clean the air cleaner on the 27HP Kohler every couple of weeks whether it needs it or not - usually its OK.

  11. #10
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    I am glad you have something to sharpen the blades with, you will probably need it. Australian hardwoods are as their name implies, hard. And abrasive. Perhaps experimenting with Tungsten Carbide tipped blades would be a worthwhile investment.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hilly View Post
    I am glad you have something to sharpen the blades with, you will probably need it. Australian hardwoods are as their name implies, hard. And abrasive. Perhaps experimenting with Tungsten Carbide tipped blades would be a worthwhile investment.
    Blade sharpness is not that much of an issue as we're getting anywhere between 6 and a dozen or so logs between sharpening and often we could probably go a bit further if we wanted to.

    The new mill arrived today.
    It's a Woodman HM30Max, 30" max throat, 14HP Kohler, 4.2 m bed but easily extendable.

    It arrived in a crate full of lots of itty bitty pieces and we spent all morning just assembling the bed.
    I left the boss at about 1pm reading the manual
    It's got some really nice features so I look forward to using it.

    Ours does is not the mobile version - it just has a frame on steel feet.
    Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 4.38.31 pm.jpg

  13. #12
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    Nice one Bob.
    I have a 400kg log sitting in the trailer with no way of cutting it into usable sized pieces... I'm a tad bit envious
    Looking forward to pics of your mill in action when its fully assembled

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fallen Woodwork View Post
    Nice one Bob.
    I have a 400kg log sitting in the trailer with no way of cutting it into usable sized pieces... I'm a tad bit envious
    Looking forward to pics of your mill in action when its fully assembled
    Cheers FW.
    At a squeeze the new mill should theoretically be able to handle up to about a ton log about all the yard fork lift loader can safely handle.
    The old mill can handle bigger logs but we have to use the big HIAB to do that.

    Big-log.jpg

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    Thanks Warb,

    I agree about the availability aspect , its a real and growing problem. One of the criterial for even considering a machine was availability, and ....
    New word for me, Bob.

    Google said "Did you mean criteria?" Me thinks - if Bob meant criteria, he wood have said criteria...

    So off to the big Oxford English Dictionary:
    • Criterial - "Of or relating to a criterion." Also criterional.
    • And criterion is the singular of criteria.

    That's exactly what Bob meant.

    Thanks, Bob.

  16. #15
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    We've been putting the new mill together over the last few days and today we managed to make the first cut.




    So far its working just like it should.

    Once we finished putting it together there was one M10 nut and 4 self tappers left over.

    After about 10 minutes worth of milling we found an M10 bolt amongst the sawdust obviously we hadn't tightened that one up enough.

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