Mobile Saw for Breaking Down Logs

A sawmill set up to process small logs needs a mobile saw to break down occasional stands of larger trees. Sawmillers offer advice. October 29, 2012

We run a 12 mmfbm softwood (90% plus black spruce) sawmill in Newfoundland Canada. We produce dimensional lumber (3", 4" and 6" material from 8' and 12' logs) for the construction industry but our strategic focus is on products such as sidings, claddings, panellings, etc. manufactured from the 12' long, 6" cants. We are in stands with very slow growing softwoods (typical cycle is 90 plus years).

Our logs are typically very small with only 10-20% measuring over 7" in diameter. These larger logs are the ones we need for our value added products. However, occasionally we run into a stand with much larger logs which we cannot run through our regular production equipment. These would measure 17" - 24" in diameter and would be 12' long (for sidings and claddings). We want to purchase a saw (mobile would be nice but not absolutely necessary) that can efficiently breakdown a log that size into 6" cants. These cants can then be introduced to our regular process at our gangsaw. I know most of you guys are processing high value hardwoods, but are any of you doing size of logs that I have described here? If so, what are you using and what kind of production can you get?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor B:
I hire out my custom sawing, but my sawyer is using a hydraulic Wood-Mizer. I think it's the LTH40 on a portable trailer that easily handles that size log. He's cut 3000' in a day with me and another worker handling the logs, and that wasn't a long day.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I also would suggest evaluating the LT40HD. Other companies make comparable, so use those LT 40 specs as a comparison basis.

From contributor G:
A swing sawmill is another option to consider. They do really well with that size cut and they can disassemble a large log from one setup. They tend to be less affected by the conditions that cause wavy cuts. They often do very well with oversize logs and are able to process them without ripping the log down. A nice feature is the built-in diamond sharpener common to all brands, sharpening the saw on the mill. Mine was built by me not to be portable, which allowed me to specialize the saw automating the feed, saw control functions, and log clamping.

From contributor A:
If this is something that you are going to set up and run just sometimes as the logs come in with just one or two people the LT40H would be a good mill. Not only can it handle the size logs you want but can also process small ones as well, though not as efficient as your current setup. You could take a 24 inch log and make 9 6x6's out of it in just 10 or so cuts and with a few more cuts salvage some of the side wood.

Another market is very wide boards. I have sold just about every pine board over 18 inches wide I could ever saw. If you can get the logs to the mill and the cants away two men could produce 1,000 bdft an hour cutting cants with no problem. When looking at a brand of mill look to see what can be serviced in your area and their warranty. Wood-Mizer, Baker, and Timber King all would be good choices, but having put 16,000 hours on a Wood-Mizer makes me lean towards them.