Logosol planer-moulder enables electrician to launch secondary mfg. business
Centerville, Texas — Electrical contractor Tim Franklin doesn’t have a name for his new lumber remanufacturing enterprise yet. In his spare time he makes cedar tongue and groove boards and various mouldings. They are used for wall treatments, decorative ceilings, and other interior trim work. His story shows how someone with time and energy can get into the secondary lumber manufacturing business.
Until recently, Tim was using a couple of routers and a single-side planer to produce each tongue and groove board. It was a time-consuming process — eight minutes per board. Tim is a patient man, but he knew there must be a faster, more efficient way to produce tongue and groove lumber.
He began researching machinery options on the Internet and came across the Web site for Logosol (www.logosolplaners.com ). He found the solution for him: the Logosol model PH 260 four-head planer-moulder. In one pass the Logosol machine can plane both sides of a board, cut a groove on one edge and form the tongue on the other. Tim invested in a Logosol PH 260 in July 2003.
Between his contracting business and his budding specialty lumber business, Tim stays pretty busy. When asked why he decided on the Logosol PH 260, he said, “I buy equipment that will do the job and don’t necessarily pick the lowest bidder. I don’t waste time when it’s time to get busy.”
He recently made 5,000 feet of 6-inch cedar tongue and groove boards for a new house. “We got the raw material on Friday and delivered the finished boards on Sunday,” said Tim. “We ran the cedar through the Logosol at 20 feet per minute.” That’s about 30 seconds per board — quite an improvement over the eight minutes it took him before with the routers and single-side planer.
Logosol woodworking machines are built in Sweden. In addition to the planer-moulder, the company also makes a portable sawmill that operates with a chain saw. In fact, the company designed the PH 260 planer-moulder with European portable sawmill operators in mind.
The Logosol PH 260 has been produced in Sweden for over eight years and has been sold throughout Europe. It has only been available in the U. S. since October 2001 from Logosol Inc., which is based in Madison, Miss., but many already are in use in the U.S.
The Logosol PH 260 is designed for full production. With four heads it is capable of feed speeds ranging from 11 to 52 feet per minute, depending on the product that is being run. The machine can produce a very large range of mouldings, profiles and other specialty lumber products, such as crown moulding, baseboard, door casing, log home siding, and more. The Logosol knife and cutter catalog contains 12 pages of different types of tooling.
Logosol PH 260 Features:
• Four-sided planning-moulding capability
• 10 ¼-inch by 4-inch maximum lumber size, cutting on all four sides
• IP54 certified
• Small machine footprint, only 43 inches by 35 inches
• Feed system can handle material with high moisture content
• Cast iron table
• Five motors for precise control of feed and each head
• 10 Thermoguards protect the machine
• Easily reset for next profile or dimension
• Four dust collectors (one for each head )
• Safety lock on overhead door
• Large selection of reasonably priced knives and cutters
The Logosol distributorship in Madison opened in 1997, offering the company’s portable sawmill. The PH 260 was first advertised in the U. S. in December 2001, and it has been well received, said product specialist Johnny Taylor.
“The machine is imported from Sweden and has been tremendously successful,” said Johnny. “We sold no less than100 machines the first year and another 200 since then. The cost is still under $10,000, so the payback for most people is very fast.”
“Our customers are both big and small companies,” he added. “Some of the big mills use the PH 260 for smaller runs as they can change the setup on the machine in 20 or 30 minutes — a fraction of the time the bigger machines take — and still make money on a small order.” Some mills run the Logosol PH 260 on a full production basis, eight hours a day, he said. Trouble-shooting or questions about setup usually can be handled by a phone call, he said.
“We usually have between 10 and 20 machines in stock, so we can offer quick delivery,” said Johnny. “We will also have a two-head version of the machine available in 2004.”
When he researched the machine, Tim wanted to see for himself what the Logosol PH 260 could do, Johnny recalled. Tim described the demonstration. “I left home at 2 a.m. and drove seven hours to the Logosol facility in Madison with a load of cedar boards. Johnny demonstrated the machine, and I bought it on the spot. I spent the rest of the day training with him and drove home with the machine the same evening.”
Centerville is half-way between Houston and Dallas. In addition to contracting for electrical work, Tim occasionally builds custom homes. Building custom homes gave him the idea for producing his own specialty lumber, like the cedar tongue and groove lumber for paneling.
The specialty lumber sideline is a family operation. Tim runs it part-time with help from his wife, Ginger, and their teenage children, Glenn and Nycole.
Tim is originally from Washington state. Of course, the cedar he works with is from east Texas, not the Pacific Northwest. The species of red and white cedar that grow in Texas are particularly aromatic, he said, making it ideal for such niche specialty lumber applications as lining closets.
Tim normally makes cedar tongue and groove in widths of 4, 6 and 8 inches, but he will make practically any size required on a cut-to-order basis. He also uses the Logosol PH 260 to make crown moulding and many other profiles in pine, mahogany or whatever species a customer wants.
At present the Franklins only cut to order. However, if they have a large order to fill, Tim may run the Logosol all week. He wants to expand his lumber remanufacturing business. “I just haven’t had time to solicit more orders,” he said, “but my goal is to get out of the electrical contracting business. My back won’t take crawling about in attics much longer.” He would like to add a conveyor infeed and outfeed.
Tim did an apprenticeship in electrical work but learned about woodworking “from the school of hard knocks.” He buys rough cedar from a mill in east Texas and has additional sources of supply for other types of wood.
Tim’s lumber remanufacturing business is based in a shop on a one-acre site in town. It’s in a residential neighborhood, so noise could be a problem. However, Tim said the Logosol PH 260 is “pretty quiet, about like a lawn-mower.”
Tim said he is still inexperienced with the machine. It takes him about an hour to change the machine setup to run a different profile moulding, but he is getting quicker all the time. The machine only requires regular hand tools for setup and maintenance.
Tim has found the Logosol PH 260 to be a versatile machine. “We have only had the machine a few months,” he said, “but I am very happy with it.”
(Editor’s Note: Tim Franklin may be called at (903) 536-8402.)