Hud-Son Patriot Sawmill Review @ 3000BF

My first review was more of a “Why won’t it just werk” complaint, because I had higher expectations considering the cost of the mill. I’ve done several beams and a lot of fencing. This is a review from a “it works, now” perspective.

Some notes, in no particular order:

  • No matter what I did, the wheel shafts kept moving in the pillow bearings. I decided to align the band wheels one last time and spot weld them in place, I know this is an evil, horrible sin, but it has behaved since then!
  • It still vibrates around the Z axis (vertically) but I think this is due to the frame being bent in transit, not a fault with the equipment.
  • The track needs to be screwed to heavy beams, otherwise they will move under the pressure of the mill head and distort the milled timber.
  • The yellow log dogs suck, and it is difficult to mill something square. The smaller the log you are milling, the worse it gets. They are difficult to un-dog and are a constant finger smashing hazard.
  • Even with ethanol-free gasoline, the carb is starting to misbehave on startup. It used to be a one-pull start but now it takes a bit of yanking.
  • I retardedly tried to use chainsaw lube in my lube tank. It’s too thick and that’s because I didn’t open the manual and read what is supposed to go in there.
  • Things vibrate like crazy and you WILL have to go around every few days of milling and make sure all your bolts are tightened.
  • Do not try to pull back the mill head while running without lifting the mill head first. Your bandsaw blade will catch and fall off.

So really, in summary, the machine itself works. I tend to push my equipment hard, and a lot of the problems I tend to have (except assembly) is because I expect more out of the machine than it is capable. The machine itself is not the greatest quality, though. Thin tubing and it moves around a lot, it does not feel solid. I should have purchased a woodmizer.

As far as my original plan of using this to make money….. Not going to happen, even with the current price of a 2x4x8′ at home depot at $6.51 each. The reason being is that many people won’t wait for the lumber to cure, and many of the small construction businesses or farms either have their own mills or already have a guy with a computer/hydraulic setup that can out-mill me in speed and quality by a longshot. There’s too little demand from customers for this, because the culture is “buy it at the store.”

That’s ok though, since if I look at it in terms of money saved, I’ve already “made” the cost of the machine many times over. 300ft of fencing, a barn, siding for a camper trailer, shelving, a barn, a root cellar, you name it. Buying those materials at the current market price would have just wrecked my savings. Paying $4600 once and dealing with the difficulties of operation….. worth it. This tool turns trees into houses, even if it is a pain in the ass.

Finally, the tool is worth having, rather than not.

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