Successful Sawmill Operation

      A logger considers starting up a sawmill, and gets advice from experienced professionals. June 22, 2005

I've been in the logging business for 15 years, and I'm looking to expand the business. I would like to set up a sawmill to saw the timber I buy, but not on a large scale of 4000-5000 feet a day.

I have about 1.5 million feet bought in red oak, black oak, poplar, and other miscellaneous wood. I would also set up a small kiln 6000-8000 ft. I've been looking at the Baker 3638 with the JD 72 hp engine and the wood mizer lt70 both with edgers. There will be three people working it, and I was wondering - will these sawmills honestly produce these footages in 4/4 daily, and which one is better for my operation?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor F:
I think that you would be hard pressed to saw 5000 board feet a day with either of those mills. With the WM LT300, they say that it will saw 1000 board feet/hour, otherwise look at a circle mill for that kind of production.

From contributor A:
If you take out 7 x 9 ties and have good logs and 3 men who will work with a loader running around, then either mill will do it. You will need racks for slabs, a way to get rid of sawdust, some roller tables, and a log deck would aid a lot. A roof over head and firm footing help as well.

Having said this you will want to only saw the best logs in your operation. Blade maintenance will make or break you.

From contributor D:
I run a woodmizer lt70 with an edger and chopline, conveyors, as well as live lumber decks. I have been doing this for a few years, with 3 people, and we cut mostly 2 inch. An average amount of lumber you will cut is probably in the 2000 board feet range.

From contributor A:
To contributor D: I run a LT 40HD G25 with an edger and one man. We are taking 4/4 off sides and 6 x 8 ties out of 8' oak logs, and can saw 2,000 to 2,500 board feet in 8 hours. While sawing pine into 2x stock, I have hit 3,600 board feet a day with several men helping.

Set-up and blades are a key to production, and this is where most people fail the worst. If the blade is not making sawdust, you are not making money. Look at whatever keeps you from making sawdust. Next look at how fast you are making sawdust. Band mills and blades have a limit to how fast they can cut, but you should be at that limit all the time. Chances are you will have a miss cut because of a hump or dive, and the blade will only get slower. Only sharp, well-set blades will cut at upper limit.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Sawmilling

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article