I have a Timberking 1220 bandmill. Like all small mills I know of, the mill is leveled by threaded rods 8" long or so. I have my mill on five 8"x9"x4' white oak blocks. The leveling feet sit in a 1/2" deep routed circle, so the mill can't slide if knocked, and the bottom of the metal foot has a hole drilled in it with a 4" lag bolt through it so the threaded rod can't spin. The mill is stable and level when cutting logs under 15" and shorter than 12'. Most of my sawing is on bigger logs (working on 5000 bf of 16'x30" poplars now!).
I load all my logs with a Hiab grapple that has 20' of reach and opens up a little more than 5'. The problem is that the mill setup gets knocked around when handling large logs, causing sawdust to get under the mill's level blocks, causing everything to lift up. When I start sawing, I have to flitch 2-4 slabs (to be edged later), then flip the log 180 degrees and take off another 2-4 slabs (also to be edged later). Next I flip the log 90 degrees and either: 1) Take off the top piece of the log and proceed to cut boards as low as I can until I'm close to the log dogs, then flip the remaining cant and saw up the last of the log (besides boards to be edged), or 2) After flipping the log 90 degrees, simply cut the whole piece in half, then I'll be able to saw two cants at once, doubling production, but this only works when there is no tension in the log so the boards remain flat.
There is a lot of handling and moving with the grapple with plenty of opportunities for the grapple to knock the mill around. I am losing too much time re-leveling the mill, and need a solution to keep the mill stable, because it is going to get tapped all the time with the grapple and the logs. It doesn't matter how graceful you are with the hydraulics, things happen. High production is hard on a small mill, but I'm making 800-1400 bf everyday, and making very good money doing so. The idea is to make this mill last and make money for a fully loaded 2" band mill. A concrete floor isn't an option. Has anybody ever done anything like this with a small mill? Also, anybody ever use one of the chainsaw mounted log debarkers?
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor R:
Make a log deck to set the logs on and then roll the logs on the mill.
A good peavey and a heavy bar like either a railroad bar or a cheap digging bar from a place like Harbor Freight or Northern Tool can help you tremendously. There is a proper place for the big equipment and one for a little finesse. Huh, never thought of a peavey as an implement of "finesse," but in this case...
Still, a log deck constructed of large beams has huge advantages and I am going to make one very soon. Flipping the logs is still an issue to knocking the mill around, though. Guess I'll just have to turn down the larger logs from now on.
My other problem was that the logs always have to be pushed forward or backward on the bed. When I tried to push or pull the logs with the backhoe, I always knocked the mill around on the jacks and had to re-level. I solved that by using a 12 volt winch with a snatch block mounted to the mill to pull the logs back and can move the winch to the other end to pull the log. This has saved me a lot of hassle. I am getting ready to mount a hydraulic ram that will push/pull to make it even easier.
With these heavy logs, my chain log turner is unable to turn the logs. I made up a casehardened spike with a 10' length of chain. To turn the logs, I just drive the spike into the log near the bottom and use the backhoe to lift the chained spike and it gently turns the log without tearing up the log like the chain turner did. I turn the log very gently to keep from jarring the mill.
Contributor H, I wonder if you could use a bottle jack between the mill and the log end to slide it forward or backward. I use a bottle jack all the time to level out logs and center the pith on large straight logs all the time and it works well.
I feel my Timberking 1220 is the best small manual mill out there. I ran 4 other mills over 5 years before I bought the 1220. It wasn't designed for production, so things tend to break. Every time something breaks, I beef it up a lot. I am curious how well built your B-20 is. Sounds like the hydraulics are as bad as their customer service.
True, the mill cannot lift or turn the really heavy stuff, but I am really pleased with what it has been able to provide me with. There is no problem lifting, turning or cutting 16-18 foot 24-30 inch logs. I love the mill and also find myself beefing stuff up as I go. I guess if you are into that kind of thing, it makes the process more fun. It seems that most sawyers with mills have added their own beef-ups and add-ons. (I have seen some really weird modifications made to mills that only the owner thinks are necessary. Come to think of it, maybe some of you guys could post some of your mods.)
If your mill is so long, why do you have to push them forward or backward? I definitely get enjoyment out of beefing up my mill too. I can look back and think moowahaha in an evil laugh and see something won't ever break again!
My mill only came with three log dogs, so I made three more including some for a 6' extension. The throat adjustment clamp threads were 1/2". When they stripped at 50 hours on the mill, I changed them to 3/4". I also had an x-shaped brace welded onto the back of the 4 post mill head so it wouldn't rack anymore. It's up high and out of the way. I would like to figure out some way to move the v-belt out of the way so I could cut a 16" tall cant all the way to the bottom instead of only a 12". I would like to upgrade the 20hp Kohler to a 30hp. Oooh, the power!
I have had this Timberking for about 8 months and have had no problem with customer service. I had two of my $75 quick release hydraulic fittings go bad, lost a fender towing from Kansas City to California, and a log lifter bracket twisted so bad it was unusable and they replaced everything immediately. I sent 12 blades for re-sharp and they never arrived there, so they replaced all 12 with new blades.
I am going to try the Timberwolf blades too - thanks for the suggestion. I too would like to figure out how to move the drive V-Belt out of the way. Maybe an idler roller and a longer belt?
Comment from contributor D:
I set my 1220 on 6 X 6 treated then adjusted the height to equal crossed 6 x 6 treated posts which make up the deck. Right now I'm using white oak slabs as ramps. They are long and strong and make a real nice incline to roll logs up onto the deck. I also use the deck to pre-clean and stack my freshly cut lumber. I have never had a problem with my mill moving. I will load large logs with the help of a 2,000 lb. A.C. winch. Its cable is wrapped around the log, and the cable is attached to chain dogs driven into the log (is a big help). The deck makes it easy to power wash the logs, and I can stage a days worth of cutting on the deck.