There's a not-for-profit in central Victoria that owns a portable Lucas sawmill and rents it out to people associated with the organisation. Picking up on the thread in this forum on running a co-operative woodworking facility, has anyone had any experience with a co-op running a portable sawmill?
A good sized Lucas mill with a slabbing attachment as well as the circular saw will cost up to $20k AUD. I would like to have occasional access to one but I'd struggle to justify buying one for myself without doing a lot more milling. The local agroforestry group might be a good way to do a co-operative portable sawmill. 'Twould be good to hear of any relevant experience.
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I have owned several of the "speciality" mills such as swing, slab, and band (currently just a band and chainsaw slabber.)
I have discussed the "cooperative" concept a few times over the years. It does have many pro aspects yet the cons can be both dangerous, litigious, and fiscally costly. I still think the pros outway the cons, yet there has to be clear "operational procedures" agreed to and signed, as well as some for of "liability" waver/ownership issues addressed. Deposit and/or investment parameters as well. 10 members can bring a cost down on a good swing blade set up to a much more reasonable amount really fast, but after that is who gets it first and other logistical issues. I say go for it, as we have several mills within our local group of Timberwrights and it does make getting wood much more efficient and less costly. We just all kinda depend on one another when there is a need.
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