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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Australia
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    4

    Default Tips for new bandsaw millers

    Hi folks, I don't have any experience milling timber but I'm about to pick up my first wood mill and wondering if those of you with experience can recommend any good resources for a newbie to study. I'm in SE QLD and will be milling Iron bark with a Hardwood mills GT34 on a rural property we own.

    I've watched the mill in operation at Toowoomba farm fest and have been shown how to sharpen the blades. Other than that Ive been watching a bunch of vids on YT.

    Cheers,
    Kelly Anne

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    bilpin
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    Hi Kel and welcome to the Forum. Congrats on your purchase. Just a couple of suggestions; If there is somebody in your area with the same or similar mill it would be a good idea to spend a day with them to get the hang of it. Your supplier may be able to give you some leads. There is nothing more frustrating than having to reinvent the wheel when all you want to do is cut wood. Another point I would mention is your desire to attack Ironbark. Great timber when you know what you are doing but very unforgiving if you dont. If I were you I would be starting out on some lighter, less dense hardwoods to run both you and the mill in. A mill needs to be well tuned for the heavies otherwise the blade can snake or worse break. What else grows on your block?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    27,324

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    I agree with Rustynail, try milling something softer at least for the first few logs. I tackled my first ironbark after milling about 50 other logs and even then still found it very difficult and frustrating. If I had tried milling it flrst up I reckon I would have given up and gone home.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4

    Default

    G'day, thanks for the tips & welcome. I've got some grey gums on the property. Not sure which sub species they are but based on the advice I'll start with some of those. It'll be a little while, I've picked the mill up but still have the assembly to get done.

  6. #5
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    Aug 2011
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    bilpin
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    I think you will find Greygum almost as difficult as Ironbark. Maybe keep your eye out for a pine log or two. Stringybark would be a good starter into hardwoods.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    27,324

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    What about a River Red gum (Camaldulensis)? I've only milled logs of the Camaldulensis hybrid with the WA Southern River gums. It's still hard but nothing like Ironbark. Here in WA we have a Eucalyptus/Bloodwood called Marri which is relatively soft so is a good tree to practice on. I also like milling your trees because the sap wood smell like Corona beer, older trees smell mustier and not so pleasant.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Yes there is pine scattered across the property but it is invariably small. I'll look for a workable specimen or two ... not really looking forwards to that, it's a bit of a PITA to get in, fell and clean up. The other species present is a plethora of equally small Bull Oak. I think my milling journey is going to be via the school of hard woods.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    bilpin
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    Ok, here are a few tips for hard hardwoods: Make sure your blade is suitable and sharp. Correct blade tension. Check tension frequently(blade stopped.) Plenty of lubrication on blade (water) Keep the revs up. Slow feed. Buy or make a log peavey or cant hook (it will become your best friend.) Look after your back.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2022
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Thanks Rusty. I'll take those points on board. I don't have a cant hook yet but will weld one up before I finish putting the mill together.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Canberra
    Age
    65
    Posts
    160

    Default

    I mill on a GT26. Make sure you have the mill on a good solid bed, with a nice clear path for the operator. Pushing a mill uphill is not fun. We use 2.4m * 200mm * 75mm hardwood sleepers bolted onto concrete. It has made life much easier. Leave room to blow the sawdust and detritus away from the mill. Try to orient the mill so the operator is upwind most of the time. It saves having dust blown in your face.

    Make yourself a parbuckle & loading ramps, or some similar system, for making loading logs easier.

    A good cant hook is an absolute necessity for turning logs. If you can, make the handle from a good piece of 65mm sq hardwood, shaped with a draw knife and spoke shave. Wood is better on the hands in my opinion. We use 3x.

    If you do any short stuff, under 1m, make yourself a false bed to bridge 2 bunks, and make up a couple of bits of 40mm RHS dogs and weld a support fence between them. It makes life easier.

    Get a good 3/4 axe (and a debarking spud) for stripping off bark. Your blade will last much longer, especially on ironbark. Keep a wire brush handy for cleaning off mud & grit if there is any under the bark, same reason.

    On the top of the guide pillow blocks, there are 2 channels to distribute the lube onto the blade. Make sure you don't put the pillow block on upside down... Use plenty of lube, water is cheap, and it makes a big difference.

    The throttle cable will break. Keep a spare. The fixed guide_block holder assembly will probably break at some stage, as it gets hit by slabs fairly regularly. Keep a spare.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
    Posts
    27,324

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qld_Kel View Post
    Thanks Rusty. I'll take those points on board. I don't have a cant hook yet but will weld one up before I finish putting the mill together.
    Here's a photo of a couple I made a decade ago.
    I can really recommend putting teeth on them like the smaller one
    pair.jpg

    DragonCloseup.jpg

    The tree lopper boys in the yard have taken these out on site and have worked them super hard but they are still going.

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