Roland, that's pretty cool ( manual). Sounds like it is really reliable. Looks similar to what I see on trucks and containers
So if you were to move your whole one man operation inside (Mill, forklift, storage, show room etc.) how big would the building need to b.... not oversize but just big enough? How much square footage does the heart of you operation take up?
That's a great question. I've just retired from my day job, so once I get past the HoneyDew list, I can spend more time on the saw (and once the weather gets better).
My sawmill is sitting in a 10X20 Costco tarp shed, just moved out of my shop (didn't have enough room for tools and mill in a 20'X26' shop).
My tractor is on the other side of the state, sitting in a 20' container. Without it, I don't have anything but winches and/or rented equipment to load with. I have jury-rigged a hand crank loader, that will work with smaller logs.
I don't have a showroom, but I guess I could use my shop for that; it's tall enough, I could use the first floor for the shop, and have a 1/2 floor for display.Woodworking tools around the edge (routers, bandsaw, workbench, hand and power tools, compound miter saw, etc) and tablesaw in the middle. One side is shelving for storage.
Forge and anvil are just outside the main shop door, in a small 8'X8' shed. I didn't want to try and vent the coal forge through the high roof. Need to set up the other anvil and grandson's vise in the forge shed.
So, overall, a 20X26 building, with a couple 10X20 sheds makes me believe I could work in a 30X40 building and have everything I need, but I don't think I could fit in something smaller.
Congrats on your retirement. Now you'll be working harder than ever except it will be on your schedule more and more. The forge and the anvils/vices could be outside under a lean-to style porch? He could make Staples for use in split planks instead of butterflies. Is he using Leg vices? They are the norm in eastern forges.
"I didn't want to try and vent the coal forge through the high roof."
Not using charcoal? Easy enough to make from sawmill residue, and no problems with smoke. Tarp shed is a pretty good compromise. At least it will protect the mill from the elements. Whatever size you make a barn or shed, you'll never whish it was smaller!
'Postie Wisdom', and you are right again, for sure. What would it take to move you inside, mill and all? Would you vent the engine or switch to juice if you have it ($1500).
Plan is to vent the engine, then switch to electric when I can set up a suitable genset, which I'll power with wood gas.
PO you are starting to sound like Roland. Wood Gas? Explain? Or were you crack'in a funny? Roland Mentioned 30 x 40 but I don't have a forklift so I need room for the loader. Maybe 40 x 40.
How high should I make the ceiling 10, 12, 14 ,16. Should I go three pallets high or two?
Postie I like those 53' trailers where the sides are tarpaulins that can be lifted for loading cars and so forth. They look easy to access.
Just curious why you don't bring juice to your site. Surely you aren't going anywhere soon and it would be a good investment. Are you too far from service?
I'm serious about the wood gas. Been looking at it for years. Looks like a natural for sawmills.
I don't have a leg vise yet, but I've been looking for a bargain one. So far, we've put things together with minimal investment; the 'shopping trips' to find parts is part of the fun.
Yeah, we are using coal, because he wants to end up welding for damascas blades; I think that propane won't get the heat needed for some of the steels, and charcoal may be more of a problem holding the heat long enough.
I do plan on charcoal to get the coal and coke started, however.
My sidewalls are 11' high, which gives me enough room to move things a bit. If I were doing it again, and could easily choose, I would add at least three feet.
The reason I chose 11' is the local codes let me build up to 525 square feet with an average roof height of 15' or less for a much cheaper permit. My building is 520 square feet, with an average roof heigth of just over 14'.
Leg Vises Rock!
So the choices are 12', 14' or 16'. Your saying 15'......Roland which side do you fall to if it was your wallet?
I would check local building requirements; like I said, mine was much cheaper to permit. With no plumbing or electrical, the premit was about $250.
But, that being said, when I see the little differences between different heights, I think of what I could do with a second floor for part of it?
If you have an 8' main floor, with a 10" joist holding the floor for the next floor, that leaves me only 2'2" on the edge for headroom; I'm too old to bend.
In the middle, where the ceiling is a bit higher, I have over 5'. so I can work with that for storage area.
If you do the same math, 8' main floor, 10" floor joist, then a 14' sidewall will still give you 5' at the edge if you do a partial second floor.
For me, that would be adequate, so I'd choose the 14' sidewall.
Post Oakie that is a logical progression for many. Thanks for sharing those links and sorry about comparing you to Roland.
Roland, it is likely to be 14' then. I would love to Share Blair's Private message to me but i need to get permission. In his usual flair he nails many of the important points.
Apologies, Baron, I wasn't ignoring you. We've been disconnected for several days, and finally got internet back yesterday - when we were out of town.
I sent you a reply, telling you to go ahead, but GOK where it's gone to. Now I can't find any way of finding that private thread here on the forums, so I can't even cut and snip my reply to paste in here. Teach me a lesson for going off-forum, for sure!
Go ahead and post it. It's mostly the thoughts of someone who's never done what you're asking, but maybe there's some worth to it.
Here it is, Baron.
1) Regardless of inside or out, the mill should be loadable directly from outside. So an opening as long as your mill bed, plus a few feet for those days when your loader operator is vision-challenged. Don't mess with cranes, booms, etc. Just direct-load. Until that log is reduced, its a danger.
2) Storage will be a huge variable, depending on species variety, volume of each, speed of sale once sawn and dried, etc. etc.
3) Showroom - similar variability. What will you show, finished wood products, or sample planks and blocks? Makes a big difference.
4) Planer space? If you're really getting into this, my experience so far has been that no one thinks you're serious unless you can dry and plane their wood as well as cut it.
5) Dust control - once you enclose the saw in a building, what will you do about this? It's not bad in an open environs, just take a pass or two through with the loader and dump it "out back", but if you're sawing and planing then you're headed towards a vacuum system of some sort, with attendant cyclone and bagging or binning.
6) Are you selling by the packaged lift load, or selling loose lumber? It makes a difference if you'll be sorting through stacks to try and satisfy customers, or loading a prepackaged lift of lumber onto a truck.
If I was going to do this, I'd probably set up my saw in the vertical portion of a building shaped like a 'T', with the showroom and finished product storage in the top bar of the 'T'. Kilns, if present, would be arrayed along the backside of the mill, facing south, so that the lumber could go straight from saw to kiln, or stacks if it's not going to be dried. Our nearest kiln operator hand-loads all his lumber, but it would be useful not to have to do that.
You'd want to be planning on fully loading a kiln during each cutting cycle, I would think, not just sawing and drying a few logs at the request of a customer. Things would go to heck in a hurry if you try to do too many small jobs, when you're really outgrowing them.
Think about the flow of materials, from incoming logs to mill to kiln to storage to customer's vehicle. What you don't want to do is move things more than necessary, and minimizing hand-bombing for sure.
Just thinking out loud, and I'm not in the business - so the advice might be worth less than what you paid for it...
Good thoughts all. One thing I would add, from working in furniture and cabinet shops:
Walk through the place you are planning with a big armload of wood. Think of the path each log, board, and stick will need to travel. If you can make the path easier, shorter, less trouble to load/unload, it will help as the business grows.
High level version: Think of the product flow, and how to maximize throughput while simplifying the handling required.
One more - Expansion. This year's dream solution is next year's business limitation. Don't box yourself into a property that gives you no flexibility. Yes, if things go well, you may plan on moving in five years or so, but that shouldn't be the plan for year two.
I got my eye on a property that is 2.5 ac. I'm considering a building that is 40x 60 x 14' ceiling. Most of the lumber I'll be carrying will be carried on a fork lift or loader. I gotta run but wanted yawl to see Blair's points as they suit the property and my goals very well.
You're talking commercial enterprise here, so I'd be looking at the rules of the community - e.g. zoning, noise, dust abatement, etc. Technically, around here, I couldn't make my mill a full-time commercial enterprise on my previous property, as it was zoned residential - it would have to be a hobby business, duly registered that way, with restrictions on hours of operation, and no thought of "employees" as such, other than casual labour. Our new location, just across the road, is zoned Rural, so the rules are far fewer. But if I were to consider going all out, first thing I'd be doing is having a good read of our local zoning bylaws, then have a visit with the local building official. I know him well, account our recent house build, and he's a straight shooter, so he'd tell me up front what my guidelines will be. If you're not changing communities, then you may already have a good handle on this, but if not, or if you are changing communities, do your research. Far better to know now, than to get the property purchased, waltz in to get a building permit, and then find out "you can't do that there!".
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