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Author Topic: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market  (Read 2803 times)

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Offline pnyberg

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A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« on: September 07, 2010, 09:34:42 AM »
The town that I live in is the home of the Coventry (Connecticut) Regional Farmers Market, which runs from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm every Sunday, spring, summer, and fall, and is reputed to be the most popular farmers market in the state ( It's very well run.  It started out as a small scale event, but has been growing steadily over the years, and now draws pretty big crowds.  The atmosphere is like a small agricultural fair, without the cotton candy.  A few years ago they arranged to move the market to the grounds of the Nathan Hale Homestead here in town (, which gives them room to handle the crowds, and to hold special events, like a sawmill demonstration. :)

I contacted the organizers of the market in early spring to see if there was any interest in hosting a sawmill demo.  I pushed the 'local harvest' aspect of the operation as a sales pitch, but I needn't have bothered because they were very enthusiastic right from the start.  They were so enthusiastic that they declined my offer to pay a 'vendor fee'.  Apparently they like hosting things like a sawmill demo to make the market more of a 'destination'.  Each week's market has a theme of some sort, and this week's was 'Green Up, Connecticut', and for reasons that were never quite clear to me, they thought that the sawmill demo was a perfect fit for this theme.  Initially I was somewhat disappointed to have to wait this long, but now I'm glad I had these past few months of experience under my belt before performing in front of large groups of people.

In preparation for the event, I took down a good sized red oak on my property the weekend before the demo, which gave me 4 medium sized logs, 8' long.  This process was not quite as quick and easy as it should have been, but I got it done.  If I needed a reminder of why I say that 'CT Logs To Lumber does not take down trees', this little exercise was sufficient.  I got the logs loaded onto my trailer, where they awaited their trip to market.

On the day, I made two trips across town before the market opened.  The first brought the logs, which I staged very carefully, with the help of my brother-in-law, Kevin.  The second trip brought the mill, and supporting equipment and supplies.  I put down tarps in the hope of catching about 99% of the sawdust, and put up a perimeter fence using rebar for posts, and 100' of rope.  I had thought of bring a small table to hold the pamphlets that I had printed up for the occasion, but my wife, Kim, added the nice touches of a table cloth and flowers.  We were all set up and ready to go 15 minutes before the opening bell. (Really, there is an opening bell.)

Unfortunately, pictures didn't get taken until fairly late in the day, so in the photo above, we're edging boards from our last log. 

But, to back up a bit, things went well right from the start.  Kevin had never been a off-bearer before, but picked up the knack quickly.  There was a fairly steady stream of interested people, some who just wanted to watch, but many with questions, and quite a few who at least sounded like potential customers.  One of the people who stopped by introduced himself as the owner of the local Woodcraft franchise.  He took a small stack of my business cards with him when he left.

Here I am at the controls, with the Hale house in the background.

I probably spent about half the time running the mill, and half the time talking to people.  A lot of the same questions get asked over and over, so after listening to me answer a question once or twice, my assistants (Kevin and Kim) were able to answer on their own.

I finished up with the 4th log at just a little after 2:00 pm.  The tally for the three hours was 270 bdft by log scale. 

I didn't want to risk taking my not quite legal trailer on the road again, so I made a total of three trips with the pickup truck to get everything back home. 

I left behind just a trace of sawdust and some minor depressions made by the runners under the logs and a couple of the mill outrigger feet. 

All in all, time well spent I think.  They've already said they'd like me to come back next year.

No longer milling

Offline fishpharmer

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Re: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2010, 09:59:18 AM »
Thats just oustanding, a great way to attain positive exposure.  Thanks for sharing.
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Offline sgschwend

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Re: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2010, 10:59:29 AM »
Thanks for posting, that was fun to read, great pictures too.

Regardless of what comes next, just supporting the green concept is a big plus.
Steve Gschwend

Offline Chuck White

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Re: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2010, 12:12:31 PM »
Great job Pete!
Retired USAF 1989, Retired School Bus Driver 2012, now semi-retired Mobile Sawyer, 2018 Silverado 4X4
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Offline isawlogs

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Re: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2010, 09:04:54 PM »

 I did one of those a long time ago at an agriculture fair, thanks for bringing the memory back. It was a lot of fun to do and had a bunch of work from being at the fair , hope it goes the same way for you .  8) 8) 8)
A man does not always grow wise as he grows old , but he always grows old as he grows wise .


Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2010, 09:09:19 PM »
Very nice Peter.   Must have been fun to talk to all the people in such a setting.   Good to hear the "green" was an easy sell as it should be. Dennis
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Offline Meadows Miller

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Re: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2010, 06:50:12 AM »

It looks like you put on a Top Show Mate  ;) ;D ;D ;D 8) 8) 8)

Regards Chris
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Offline sigidi

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Re: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2010, 07:18:18 AM »
Well done Pete, looks great and I'm sure you had a good deal of fun too  ;D ;)
Always willing to help - Allan

Online Magicman

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Re: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2010, 08:53:32 AM »
Those demos will pay you dividends for years to come.  Word of mouth is your best advertiser.  Congratulations on a very successful day.
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Offline neslrite

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Re: A Sawmill Demonstration at the Farm Market
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2010, 08:12:19 PM »
We thought about heading over, but the weather was just to nice. I am glad things worked out.
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