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Wood-Mizer LX55 initial impressions

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Review by bigblockyeti posted 06-14-2021 12:30 AM 1592 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Wood-Mizer LX55 initial impressions Wood-Mizer LX55 initial impressions Wood-Mizer LX55 initial impressions Click the pictures to enlarge them

I originally ordered an LX25 on March 1st and decided I needed something bigger less than 2 days later so I changed my order to an LX55 with the upgraded 14hp engine. The original expected delivery date was the third week in July and I was pleasantly surprised to have that bumped sooner two times to May 21st. I recieved confirmation that it shipped to the dealer on May 19th and with the 21st being a Friday before they were closed all weekend I was anxiously awaiting a call as early as possible letting me know I could depart on my nearly 2 hour journey to take delivery. I finally got my call with plenty of time to get there long before they closed. Picking it up was quick an easy, they even loaded it in my truck before payment was complete, along with the separately crated engine.

I got it home in time to start supper so afterwards I only had time to carefully uncrate it while taking inventory to make sure everything was there and get it laid out on the garage floor for Saturday assembly. Everything was very compact in how it was crated and many of the shiny new parts were very heavy. Two people could have done that part of the job better than twice as fast as one person. This is where I ran into my first issue. In these times, everyone’s short on labor and materials yet still trying to meet production goals. The powder coating had tiny wires buried just under the surface on 3-4 of the saw head frame members that slice through skin better than a razor. None of my injuries were severe as the lacerations created just were deep enough for stitches but a dozen or so bleeding wounds did no favors in speeding preparations. A razor blade to shave down the offending inclusions left almost no visible Mark’s but if QA was performed better, this wouldn’t have been an issue.

Saturday the first thing was bed assembly and the second problem revealed itself, the structure when fastened together and torqued down is not strong enough to remain rigid while moving, while advertised as a portable mill, the LX55 needs a substantial subframe or trailer beneath the frame to move it without first disassembling it, thus the reason the manual states to assemble it where it will be used. The instructions were adequate but far from the best I’ve seen on US manufactured machines. The third issue arose installing the arched head post support brackets, a weld at the edge of the mating plate was far proud of the surface disallowing the two sections to be connected tightly together. I had to first grind the symmetrical welds on both brackets flush, another QA slip up that could have been easily avoided. Then came the fourth problem, the catch for the door latch doesn’t have the required adjustment to keep from aggressively grinding against the opening in the door the catch passes through when opening and closing, this has yet to be resolved. The balance of the assembly went fairly smoothly until encountering the fifth problem, they didn’t include enough flat washers requiring me to raid my own cache which not everyone would readily have access to, better QA could have prevented this. Assembly was complete and adjustments were next, that process was well explained and was performed almost without incident. The sixth problem was the preinstalled height scale sticker was way too high, adjusting the scale bracket all the way down still indicates ~3/4” higher off the bed than actual. I have been sent another scale sticker free of charge so that problem is all but solved, QA should have caught this.

I got the mill in place and readjusted the bed flat, and fired it up after filling the crankcase with the supplied oil and adding a little gas. It idles a little high as I expected given the occasionally aggressive clutch engagement which could stall a slow idling engine trying to accelerate two heavy band wheels. The engine operating speed seems too low at under 3100rpm, an email to customer service over a week ago has not gotten me operating speed specification which I expect to be between 3400 & 3600rpm. Then I ran into the sixth problem, the water bottle doesn’t vent so once a sufficient vacuum has been pulled by evacuating water, the flow stops. I don’t yet have resolution despite asking in the same email regarding engine speed. Leaving the bottle cap slightly ajar allows it to vent but also wastes water by constantly dripping all over the place. One of the bed sections doesn’t line up as well as the rest and the way a male end engages a female end, there’s no adjustment available, this may or may not end up being a problem, I really have zero desire to start grinding on the bed rails because they didn’t leave the factory in serviceable condition.

I’ve only run 10 small logs through the mill so far and the included 10 degree blade seems to be doing well in hard and soft wood, I’ve run water on all to keep the blade clean in the cut and that too (save for the flow issue) is working well. Cleaning the mill is best performed with a compressor of at least 20 gallons and a blow gun to get all the crap blown from the nooks and crannies, initally attempting this with my little 2 gallon compressor took way too long.

Overall, despite being critical of QA slips, the mill performs well, some of the welds could be done much neater but from a function standpoint I have zero complaints yet. The $300 price for the larger engine seems steep but sourcing a different, larger engine from the base 9hp could be tricky given the mount holes in the motor base plate are for the Kohler engines and may or may not work with whatever could be found aftermarket. I was pleased they went with a Kohler Command Pro but this engine, unlike my other Kohler Command Pro engines of less and more power, doesn’t have full pressure lubrication, spin-on oil filter and hydraulic valve lifters. This one looks like an attempted clone of a Honda GX390, which isn’t a bad thing (time will tell) but it has fewer features than I expected.

I ordered 15 extra 9 degree blades which are supposed to be better at hardwood than the 10 degree but I’ll stick with the included blade until it’s in need of sharpening.

My struggles with contacting customer service and having my questions answered have earned this mill just over a three star rating, I rounded up in anticipation things will get better, if they don’t then it deserves the three stars I will change my rating to. I really just want to have a single point of contact that will answer my emails completely within a week of receipt. I think we’re getting close, just not quite there yet.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me




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bigblockyeti

7443 posts in 2879 days



13 comments so far

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Andre

4615 posts in 2964 days


#1 posted 06-14-2021 05:21 AM

Sweet looking rig, wish I had one like that when I milled a couple of Birch a few years ago!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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artsyfartsy

1612 posts in 2317 days


#2 posted 06-14-2021 12:35 PM

You’re gonna have fun with that. Congratulations.

-- DWelch. Michigan, The only dumb question is the one not asked!

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JCamp

1378 posts in 1709 days


#3 posted 06-14-2021 01:44 PM

Awesome. I’m in the middle of putting together my LX25. I’ve had it for a couple weeks now but mine and my wife’s work schedules have been off or it’s been raining so it’s eating me up not getting to use it. Cent wait to put it to work. How are you intending to dry your lumber?

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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Peteybadboy

3653 posts in 3108 days


#4 posted 06-14-2021 07:17 PM

Very cool!

-- Petey

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bigblockyeti

7443 posts in 2879 days


#5 posted 06-15-2021 06:49 PM

Despite not having a telescoping blade guide arm, the tension on a sharp blade keeps it going into the log right where it’s supposed to without any noticeable blade drift.

My favorite thing to cut so far is crotch logs, it’s spectacular what can be found inside and they’re much easier to handle than an 800-1000lb log despite posing a challenge to securely clamp down.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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CFrye

11327 posts in 2998 days


#6 posted 06-18-2021 03:17 AM

Congratulations Yeti! Gorgeous slabs!

-- God bless, Candy

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bigblockyeti

7443 posts in 2879 days


#7 posted 06-19-2021 12:58 AM

It’s certainly fun and alot of work without any equipment to load logs on the bed. I’m constantly on the lookout for free logs now and just picked up a pretty heavy maple that I started milling today. It’s big and putting the mill to the test but it’s performing well, I’m glad I upgraded to the 14hp engine.

I also sufficiently dulled the first 10° blade and installed one of the 9° blades I bought 15 of and I can tell a difference between the two except going from a dull blade to a sharp one makes quite a difference.

I got a chance to speak with Woodmizer on the phone and we’re slowly working through some of the issues. Previous attempts to communicate via email were unfortunately unsuccessful but getting to actually speak to someone has been far more helpful.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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bigblockyeti

7443 posts in 2879 days


#8 posted 06-19-2021 04:38 PM

I forgot to mention problem #7, the log clamps are an acme thread screw and leaving the factory an inexcusable burr was left on both ends of the screw forming a razor blade inches from where your hands are when clamping logs. I spoke yesterday to a CSR and mentioned this (I’ve already corrected the oversight) who said he would let production know about it. He also told me to just drill a small vent hole at the top of the water bottle to keep it flowing correctly. These issues while small should have gone away right around the industrial revolution.

Problem #8 showed up in the form of carriage bolts holding the two primary masts into the mast carriage rollers. The square portion of all four carriage bolts is too long and they can’t penetrate into the round mast holes after going through the inside of the mast carriage rollers. This leaves the head about 0.060” too high and they lightly hit the bolt heads of the bed connector plates when passing by. The same CSR indicated the inner holes of the primary mast tubes where square and all four carriage bolts needed to be loosened and realigned so the square part of the carriage bolts would penetrate through that square hole allowing them to fully seat.

This information was unfortunately wrong, the holes are not square, they are round and I found this out only after disassembling the mill far more than I should have had to. Needless to say, I’m less than please having to speak with someone new everytime I call and being given incorrect information. I’ve called Wood-mizer and left a message asking them to call back Monday when they have a solution. They’re fast headed towards a three star review, my greatest hope is that I don’t end up having to return the mill.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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robscastle

8094 posts in 3362 days


#9 posted 06-21-2021 10:02 AM

Looks like a nice piece of kit I researched the LX25 here in Australia, but it doesn’t seem to be available.

I assisted milling with my friend in Kyogle, 2011 we did Camphor and Slash Pine, the pine definitely required and used water.

The mill is a Lucas Mill and from memory the water feed line had a regulating flow tap fitted, so you could adjust the flow to suit.
It may be a mod you could retro fit.

Very nice crotch logs that’s what its all about!

-- Regards Rob

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bigblockyeti

7443 posts in 2879 days


#10 posted 06-21-2021 11:37 AM

I’ve thought about a hose pinch flow limiter so I don’t have to fuss with that when turning on the water, I can just turn it a quarter turn every time which would be faster.

The hole I drilled (0.050”) is sufficient for venting, I still just can’t believe in this day and age that end user customers are having to modify brand new equipment to allow it to work correctly!

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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robscastle

8094 posts in 3362 days


#11 posted 06-22-2021 04:48 AM

Sadly most machinery and plant is from the PRC or Taiwan…(psst which is China anyway)
Lets say 95%.

I did a bog on different bands a while ago, the conclusion was they all came from one supplier and the company selling to you and i just paint them with their colours and add their stickers.

Just about every machine I have, has my custom mod upgrade, and I am sure I am not Robinson Crusoe there.

It possibly does work correctly but not the way I want, so it gets modified upon discovering “little” things that could be done better? or diferently?
and not forgetting added cost!

I am not sure of the cost benefit Analysis of replacing Nut and bolts with nutcerts but long term its worth it to me.

-- Regards Rob

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bigblockyeti

7443 posts in 2879 days


#12 posted 06-22-2021 11:20 AM

This was designed and built in the USA, that was one of my sticking points. I really liked the Woodland Mills HM130 but despite being a Canadian company, the mill was constructed in the far east. I’m not certain where Wood-mizer gets their steel but it stands to reason it could be domestic.

I started shopping for a mill over 5 years ago and went to the Paul Bunyan show in southern OH in ‘17 to do more in person research and watch the sawmill shootout.

Previously Wood-mizer’s LT10 looked appealing but too small for what I wanted to do, the LT15 was a bit bigger, which is always good, but too expensive to not pay for part of itself and generating income was a long term goal.

Despite taking longer to assemble and disassemble, I prefer floating fasteners to fixed as any gauling or cross threading can be quickly fixed by a new nut and screw.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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robscastle

8094 posts in 3362 days


#13 posted 06-22-2021 01:53 PM

I understand about buying in country we even has issues with Chinese cloning with the Lucas Mill

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-16/lucas-mill-family-fight-to-stop-chinese-copies-of-sawmill/7848394

-- Regards Rob

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