So whats so great about the Swing-blade?
Other circular sawmills such as a twin-blade design utilize 2 or more blades to perform each cut, this limits the saw's ability to perform the second 'reverse' horizontal cut. Other manufacturer's swing-blade designs sometimes have the power head positioned next to the blade also restricting this second cut - in this case the carriage must be lifted and rotated to achieve what they say is possible.
The Turbosawmill has a removable guard making double-cutting a very simple process. Our Model 12 will cut a whopping 24" wide slab every drop!
Quarter Sawing/flat sawing
A generic advantage of the swing-blade is that you can quarter saw very easily without needing to rotate the log. You are able to remove your deepest cuts both in horizontal and vertical position. Twin-blades usually have one large vertical blade and a much smaller horizontal blade which limits your ability to do this.
This is also true for flat sawing (back sawing). This technique is opposite to quarter sawing. The boards are taken horizontally from the top/bottom and sides as apposed to vertically. This method is best for tensioned logs reducing crook in boards.
Just like a drop saw; if you are sawing up some extremely hard timber you notice the saw start to vibrate. You wonder if you are doing any damage to the saw and blade. So you back out and take sectional cuts until the saw gets through the cut. Right there is the biggest advantage with the swing-blade! There is no need to abuse the mill as its much easier on the gear and blade to effortlessly take wide cuts in sections. This is especially true in milling timbers such as Oak and Ironwood. These timbers may require up to 3 sectional cuts to cut a 12" wide board.
Another advantage of sectional cuts is that the first cut provides a trace for the second or (if necessary) 3rd cut. Meaning the accuracy of the board from one edge to the other is guided true. This is really the only way to saw up wide horizontal boards accurately. A twin-blade will struggle with wide cuts in hard timber.
The Turbosawmill has the answer here too; as our swing-blades are automated! It takes away all the extra walking up and down the log to make these sectional cuts.
You may have noticed that the Swing-blades seem to achieve very good production results at competitions such as the Paul Bunyan Shootout where other mills compete head to head. Dollar for dollar they seem to shine. One of the secrets is the fact that one blade is able to cut the next board while the off bearer is given time to collect the previously cut board. This shaves a good 10-20 seconds off each board cut. You may have noticed attempts in 2003 where other twin-blades were entered into this competition; the fact that they had to cut the board and then return the head ready for the next cut limited their ability to compete.
The Turbosawmill takes this advantage to the next level. Our Automated mill lets one operator produce what other swing-blade mills would achieve with 2 operators. Our automated mills cut the next board automatically giving time to collect and stack each board before needing to actuate to the next board. Makes a very productive solution!
One blade makes milling tensioned logs very easy. The ability to start vertical first and horizontal second (or vice versa) means you won't have to contend with stress of the cut timber rubbing up against your blade. This is typical for twin blade designs. Just switch patterns if you start to experience stress.
The Turbosawmill design means a one man operation simply steps around the carriage when sawing horizontal first. Other Manufacturers require the operator to wedge each beam or walk around the complete sawmill to collect the timber. That's the mono rail difference!
Slabbing and weather boards
We also offer taper board options (through a simple add on gadget). Our mills can also be fitted with our attachment slabber making slabbing up to 61" possible. So these two options really open up the sawyers possibilities!
How does it compare to a band-saw?
Cut straight timber reliably
The band-saw mill has an uncanny ability to hide its kerf loss within your timber. In a lot of cases it goes unnoticed, leaving the sawyer feeling good about themselves, saving maybe every board for every bunch of boards produced with a circle mill. The reality of it is a thin blade deflects, the wider you go the less blade support you get. So what ever savings you may end up becomes apparent when you are ready to plane the boards into a true workable end product. The indisputable advantage of a circle mill is that it reliably cuts straight even if your blade is blunt. Your feed rate slows letting you know that its time to sharpen the blade. By the time you figure out the band-mill is dull you've started to saw waves damaging potentially 2 valuable slabs.
The great thing about the swing blade is the cost of maintaining your blade. A swing blade is an extremely low cost method of sawing timber. To give you an example here is a rundown of expected blade costs;
Ranging from 4 to 8 teeth. Takes roughly 20-60 seconds to sharpen. Needs sharpening every 2 to 4 cube (844 to 1688bf)
You will get around 10-20 sharpens before needing to re-tip. That’s potentially 80 cube (33,760bf) of sawn timber from one set of teeth.
Costs to re-tip can be as little as $6 per tooth. So, a 4-tooth blade would cost you $24 to get re-tipped. So, this gives you a potential running cost of 30 cents per cube of sawn timber (422bf).
Now compare that to band costs. A narrow band blade should not be run for more than an hour. We have been advised that to ensure the best quality timber a band should not be run for more than 40 minutes. A band blade will allow between 4-9 sharpens before its binned.
Sharpening will require good skill and may take anything between 3-10 minutes depending on teeth. Band cost may be around $25-50 depending on manufacturer.
We would expect running for around 40 minutes you would hope to cut at least .5 cube (211bf) before needing to sharpen (that’s assuming you do not own an edger).
So, that gives you a potential equivalent running cost of $5.55-$11.10 per cube (422bf).
A circular blade should last you near the life time of your saw if you are careful with them. You are provided with 2 blades and a sharpener with the standard package.
Simplicity of operation
A half day of operation will get your head around a swing-blade comfortably. Sawing true and straight timber off the bat. Start horizontal and finishing vertical (or vice versa) will give you a 90 degree section of timber. As you notice knots moving through the log you have an opportunity to saw them out.
Now compare that to a band-saw:
Figure out your cut pattern. Analyse the log and then figure out how many cuts and in which direction, factoring all the re-handling and re-sawing required to achieve your relatively simple cut list.
Take the top off the log. Rotate the log. Take the top side off. Rotate 90 deg. Remove the top again. Rotate 90 deg. Remove the top. Now this is where it gets tricky, you will need to cut around knots and then factor all the re-handling and re-sawing while minimizing left over slabs.
Now you will have to learn all about the blade options, teeth angle, set, lubricant, band tension... before you will be able to reliably saw up a log into accurate timber.
Comparing our push mills
A nice advantage of our manual mill range is the push pull weight of the carriage. As there is no associated frame to support the carriage, the weight is kept to a minimum. The M6 manual carriage weighs only 70 kg (154 pounds), the motor weighs only 37 kg (80 pounds). Giving a total push pull weight of 107 kg or 235 pounds. Now compare that to other competitors which start at 150 kg (330 pounds). You will have energy to spare at the end of the day!
Twist in the vertical cut
The Turbosawmill carriage is coupled to the beam, any blade twist whilst in the vertical cut is kept to a minimum. Wide frame carriages can suffer from twist if the pull arm is not positioned directly in front of the leading edge of the vertical blade. You will quite often notice an operator of a wide frame using both arms to maintain a true vertical cut. The more wear on the carriage rollers, the worse it gets. The Turbosawmill does not suffer from this issue.
A little about Honda motors
Don't let the competition put you stray. Honda lists their horse power rating as NET. This means that the listed 22hp unit offered on our site will produce 22hp at the shaft. It's a true indication of what you can expect from your mill and motor. Other manufacturers list their hp ratings in GROSS. This is not a true indicator of what that motor produces at the shaft. The Honda GX690 (now listed at 22hp) used to be listed as 27.5hp gross until they switched to new regulated standards. So if you see one of our competitors listing their motors as 27hp or 30hp ask them if this is GROSS or NET.