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Celebrating 30 years of Peterson Portable Sawmills!



This January marks the 30th anniversary of Peterson Portable Sawmills!  8)

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the mill owners, agents, representatives, supporters and suppliers who have had our back over the past 30 years. Even our competitors, whose presence has driven us to create sawmills that produce above and beyond expectation.

The first Peterson Portable Sawmill, a 6" swing blade 'LogDog' left the factory in January 1989 destined for Gisborne on the East Coast of New Zealand. The LogDog design was very basic: powered by a Stihl 084 chainsaw and utilising a frame which screwed to the log in order to set the mill's vertical sizing. Our team have recently located this sawmill and are working on getting more information about the mill and the family it's been part of for three decades - stay tuned!


The Peterson Tube Frame, Production Frame and Standard Frame mills were launched shortly after, with improvements being made to each product the company released. In 1990, Peterson's Production Frame was released as a hydraulic sawmill, utilizing a tractor's PTO for power. Then in 1992, Briggs & Stratton motors were fit to the range.

At this time, Carl Peterson, the mill's inventor owned the company. Carl had conceived the first Peterson Portable Sawmill in 1977 while living deep in the jungle of the Fiji Islands.

It wasn't until 1988 that Carl took the first fully functioning prototype to the annual New Zealand National Fieldays and from then on Carl regularly attended the event, often entering (and winning) innovation competitions.


Peterson's first international agent were the Lucas brothers in Australia in 1992. After a 'gentleman's handshake' they agreed to market Peterson Sawmills and helped Carl's business grow in Australia for two years.

It was in 1994 that the Lucas brothers began building their own sawmill in direct competition with the Peterson brand and thus ensued a 10 year court battle which cost Carl his home and business.


In 2003, Kerris and Chris Browne, Carl's daughter and son-in-law, purchased the Peterson trademark and intellectual property. Chris had worked with Carl from the start so he was able to use his engineering background in research and development to refine existing models and bring new models on board.

Today, the Brownes continue to innovate, manufacture and export a refined range of Peterson Portable Sawmills for the international market. Carl is now retired and living in New Zealand's Central Plateau.


Now, 30 years after the first Peterson Portable Sawmill was sold, we manufacture four swingblade sawmill models and one dedicated slabbing unit. We also sell a range of accessories to compliment our products and help our operators work smarter, not harder!
Peterson remains a family business with some of our staff having worked with the company for over 25 years. 2019 Marks the thirteenth year I've been part of the Peterson team and I'm still as passionate about our products as when I first started.

If you have any stories to share about your experience with Peterson Sawmills, we'd love to hear from you! Email:

Here's to another 30 years of Peterson Portable Sawmills!

Cool story, thank you for sharing. Best of luck with the next 30 years!


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