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General Forestry => Sawmills and Milling => Topic started by: Tim on April 12, 2003, 05:23:06 AM

Title: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Tim on April 12, 2003, 05:23:06 AM
I was currious to know what the motivation was to enter into the wonderful world of making bigger wood into smaller wood was for you folks.

For me it was two things; When I was finished with college a few years ago, I was working a construction job. During the course of 2 years with this organization, I realized that my attitude was too poor to spend the next 45 years working for someone else. It was sawing or starve. I bought my mill from my father and that was the start.

The other reason was that I wanted a drill sharpener. After 11 years I still don't have one. I'm thinking that I'll buy one when I decide to pack it in.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Captain on April 12, 2003, 05:37:44 AM
We moved to another state for reasons of employment 7 years ago.  My wife is an avid equestrian, and always kept her horse at her aunt's horse farm.  It was convenient 20 miles away. Not that handy when you are 200 miles away.  

We bought a 7 acre lot of 120 year growth, abandoned farmland (Eastern White Pine, Oak, Beech, Hemlock)  The house was contracted due to necessity and speed.  I immediately began clearing for the barn.  To make a long story short, we contracted the lumber for the barn sawn and I caught the bug.  *DanG sawdust.  Now I'm so busy custom milling, the barn isn't even finished yet ::)....need to take a month off from milling this summer to build some exterior doors and paint.  

Captain
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Jeff on April 12, 2003, 06:19:25 AM
What prompted you to start sawing?

Stacking lumber and watching the sawyer grin at me. ;D

I started working in a commercial mill right out of High school. I lied about my age as you had to be 18 to work there and I needed a job. (Not a very good way to enter the work force) I worked like a dog for two weeks stacking and doing everything I could. I worked through every break to get caught up. at the end of that two weeks I went to the boss and told him I had something to tell him. He said "Your not going to quit on me are you, your doing a great job". I said no, and then told him I had lied to him.
He went from concern to anger and explained all the trouble that potentially could have happened and told me that if I had not have worked as hard he would have fired me on the spot and if I ever lied again I would be.  I never did.  

During this time the obvious became apparent. ;D The sawyer made more money then everybody and looked like he had a less taxing job. I started asking the owner with a week of almost being fired if I could learn to saw. Within a month I was in training and within a year I replaced the sawyer fulltime. That was in 1979 and 1980. Been doing it ever since other then a few stints working in the woods when business was poor and the mills shut down.  I left that first mill in 1984 when it closed and started working the next day as sawyer where I am now.

Have never drew an unemployment check or been out of work in all that time.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Neil_B on April 12, 2003, 06:44:34 AM
Bin doing it for a few years off and on with another sawyer. Caught the bug as well. Was a shift foreman at a mining company and was sick and tired of the managment BS so I resigned and took this on as a business. Well trying to anyway.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Ed_K on April 12, 2003, 07:41:14 AM
One reason was seeing a lot of good wood going to cordwood.
next was a need for lumber around the farm.
plus its one more way to keep busy when I can't log.

and I love seeing whats inside  ;D.
Ed K
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: woodmills1 on April 12, 2003, 08:30:31 AM
Got hooked the very first time I saw a woodmizer LT40HD at the northeast loggers expo in springfield mass.  took a few years till I bought one but thats what started me.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: ohsoloco on April 12, 2003, 11:30:24 AM
I started getting interested in woodworking my senior year of college.  My dad had a planer and some other woodworking equipment he didn't use anymore, and a couple thousand bd.ft. of lumber out back (I used to play on the lumber stacks as a child).  Naturally I was always looking for inexpensive lumber, and unusual stuff as well.  One day at work a few years ago a co-worker said he was out cutting firewood in back of a house that was being constructed.  He thought I should go look at this one log.  Went out there to find a nice cherry tree that was lying  there, along with about a dozen nice logs from the same tree (some were rather short, though).  The contractor said I could have them, otherwise he would burn it  :o    I had another sawmill cut this up for me, but then I realized that there were so many people that were just dicing stuff like this up for firewood, or taking it to the dump.  After talking with a tree service, he said he would give me some logs.  I was still pondering taking out a loan for the mill....then the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers happened.  Made me really think that we may not be around much longer, you never know.  A month later I had my mill  ;D    

This is a pic of the butt log from the cherry tree...the lumber is stacked out back in a shed.  Sure will make a nice kitchen  ;)

(http://www.forestryforum.com/images/04_01_03/CHERRYopt.jpg )
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Tom on April 12, 2003, 12:30:22 PM
I've always felt an intimacy for trees and wood for some reason.  Might be in the genes.

I saw people buy a building lot, cut all the trees down, move a mobile home on there and in a couple or three months have store-bought wood stacked for a deck. ???

That looked dumb to me and I decided I would try to change it.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: ohsoloco on April 12, 2003, 02:51:37 PM
I also think it's great to know where the lumber came from.  I salvaged some other cherry trees just south of State College when I first got my mill.  It is now being made into a hutch for someone living on the other side of SC.  Now I just have to get into the shop and complete the thing  ::)
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: ElectricAl on April 12, 2003, 06:53:31 PM
During the winter of 1992 I was working for $6.15 per hour. I had a college degree in communications and was 2 class short of a second degree in business management.
I was quite displeased with job outlooks.
One Sunday after church I was talking to a full time Furniture builder. He was quite despondent over some logs he had sawn at a local circular sawmill. {Thick and thin}

He said, "What this area needs is a guy with a portable sawmill"
I asked him "how do you move a sawmill"


The next day he stopped by our house with a
1989 Wood-Mizer brochure.

In May of 1993 we owned a New 1993 LT40HDG24, a new Stihl 021, and a new Dixie cant hook. ;D

Our first log was a standing dead 26" Bur Oak. We had just spent $20,000 and was making thick and thin lumber just like the $500 circular saw 5 miles down the road. ???

We butchered a couple logs before figuring out,
Fresher is better.  ;)


ElectricAl

Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: isawlogs on April 12, 2003, 09:52:36 PM
  In my case it was always a matter of cutting wood , lenght wise with the chainsaw at first( needed cash) Then 12 years as journeyman IronWorker  on high rise steel stucturs then bought the mill and never looked back been sawing since ...that was in 93 and the mill is still with me so are my stihl saws....(well the replacement saws the originals where needed by others with the rest of the tools in the shop, but thats another story...)
making sawdust  8)
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: biziedizie on April 12, 2003, 10:12:59 PM
isawlogs where did you do high steel? I did it for about a year in Toronto when I lost everything, and I mean everything when I was 22. If I told you what my net worth was back then you wouldn't believe me!
 I remember being up 20 stories and seeing the city and how small the people and cars were below me. It was a very cool way of life and the guys were all great as we all cared about each other.
 I still get to be up that high but now I'm inside the buildings working.

     Steve
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Ron Wenrich on April 13, 2003, 08:39:22 AM
My family background is carpenters and farmers.  None of them are really inside jobs.  After college, I had a hard time finding forestry work, so eventually hooked up with a sawmill.  That's where I got more of an education.

I started out stacking lumber, went to scaling logs, then to mill foreman, and finally procurement forester.  Then went into business as a consulting forester.  The recession of '83 pretty well did us in, since no one was paying their bills.

Went to subcontract for a local logger.  I'd saw in his mill, if he bought a mill.  He bought the equipment and supplied the labor.  I put it in and learned how to saw.  

Since then, we've put 5 different mills in (1 burnt due to lightning).  I still subcontract and do other consulting work.  The relationship works real well.  I get a higher pay than most since I get paid by production.  They get a quality product that attracts buyers (job security).  I get no hassles from my clients and very few headaches when I go home at night.  

Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: dail_h on April 13, 2003, 11:56:41 AM
   Odl gent in the neighborhood that used to take me fishing,and let me work on his farm had an old Moffet circle mill.It cut thick and thin, anyway when I was 16 he let me saw some with him standing by,I aint never looked back.Wanting a bandsaw,but still enjoy sawing on a manual handset mill.There is nothing like the sounds andsights of those old mills,the slap of flat belts,the shudder of the frictions when you pull on the lever,the song of the saw when it bites into a log,the bellow of the engine when the load takes up.SHOOT,I wata go saw,and it's Sunday
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Frank_Pender on April 13, 2003, 01:49:16 PM
I guess I was more likely than not, born into it as opposed to falling into the forest for the trees.  My father had owned a few large mills about the time I was born and had opted out of them and the truck business to set u a retail lumber yeard East of Portland, Oregon, on what had been a 7 acre raspberry field in 1949.  He first built a house on a parcel near where the company building would stand.  I was 4-5 years old and would stand and watch the whole thing being built.  That is where it began  It also, would travel with my ffather to the 23+ mills he bought lumber from and get to ride on the old fashoned straddel lumber carriers.   At one mill some of the guys would race to where My fathe would park his truck to see who got to take me for a ride first.  Wow, what excitement.  I eventually got a college degree or two in education and then needed to supplement my income.  Tha began with falling and cutting timber for firewood.,  I often would product 100 plus cords a year and teach ful time.   Like many of us in the woods work we get older and more tired quicker.  This entiled some change of didrction.  I married a large tree farm and felt it was better to stay here that live in a two cabin tent as we had been doing for two years, off and on.  I then saw a Mobile Dimension after three years of researching  :P and looking at various types of mills. I then decided to sell a rental and buy the mill.  8) I got all of my money back within the first 3 or so years and did not have to
live in a tent to boot.  The rest is history, I guess,  I now have two MD mills and a very large Head Rig. 8)  
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: isawlogs on April 13, 2003, 09:41:06 PM
  Biziedizie
Local 711 out of Montréal, mostly worked in Québec but did some work in and around Ottawa. Did the steel all trough this province , last job was up in James Bay at LG2A as welder on gates and doors for the water spillway.That was back in 91.Pulled my withdrawl card in 93 and bought the LT40HD24 and like I said never looked back....
Stihl making sawdust...  ;)
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Geoff on April 13, 2003, 10:03:13 PM
How did I start?

1)  Too stupid to know any better
2)  Won a million dollars and figured it'd be a good way to spend it
3)  My wife wanted me out of the house

Oops...none of those are true.  Actually, it's been 12 years with the portable mills and I just can't let it go.  The smell of sawdust and my customers keep me coming back for more.  It's been great for us over the years, especially to build a business over time and watch it grow!

There's not a day that goes by that I don't learn something or see something I never seen before.  At 33, I figure I'm 1/3 done my career in sawing!

Geoff
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: biziedizie on April 13, 2003, 10:56:39 PM
I met a girl that lives in Powell River B.C and started dating her and she lived on the ocean and was right beside the fair grounds.
 I was out late one night and didn't know that the fair was on the next day and I woke up a little hung over. Well what kept giving me a headache was this buzzing sound that I've never heard before so I thought I would go down there and check it out. I got around a corner of a building and saw two Wood Mizers sawing and that was it! Just seeing these machines cutting logs was all it took to make me want one. I couldn't believe that a mill could do what they were doing and it was a bonus that they let me make a few passes. At the end of the show they spent some time talking to me and I was impressed with the customer treatment they provide, still am.
 After 3 years of research I bought a Norwood for the cost reasons but when I'm ready to upgrade I will be buying a WM as I'm impressed with their product.
 I still need to learn alot about obtaining logs and things like that but I'm having fun and not going broke by being smart and listening to all the good advice that's out there.
 I bought the mill to build my own house as I know from being in construction that materials are expensive. I want a place in the woods so that me and my little guy have a place that we can call our own and make our bond stronger then it already is.
 I think that down the road the sawmill business will make me money but as I very well know any new start up takes alot of time and alot of thinking.
 Hmmm now I feel like sawing a log! Might have to take my new solar powered deck lights up to the mill. :)

   Steve
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Oregon_Sawyer on April 13, 2003, 11:51:47 PM
When I was born, My father was a minister and a logger.  Dad logged all of my life.  He used to tell story's about working in a sawmill during WWII.  And at one time he had a "portable mill” a small stationary on skids that they would yard onto a lowboy to move.  I was too young to remember his mill.  But, Dad took me out with him in the woods with him on spring breaks from school as early as the fourth grade.  Dad started doing timber management in the early 50's before most loggers even knew what that meant.  We logged and managed private timber and tried to set the tree farms up for perpetual yield.  Around the time I was 14 I saw a portable mill powered by a VW engine.  I had wanted a mill ever since.

7 years ago I bought a 48-acre piece of property from my father to build a house on.  It had some merchantable timber on it and I decided to have it cut for my house.  

About a year later I went to a log home show a saw a WM mill.  I had the money, desire, and the excuse of building a house.  Not to long after that I started cutting logs with a WM LT40.  I love making sawdust.  I still don't have the house built but am cutting the last pieces this spring.  I have cut over 400,000 ft of lumber for others and myself.

It’s depressing if I don't get to cut something every week.  I drive truck 4 days a week (regular pay, benefits and pension).  I should be able to retire from driving in about 8 years.  I expect to have a full time mill running by then.  Currently I am specializing in Western Red Cedar and special cut Douglas fir lumber.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Bibbyman on April 14, 2003, 12:11:55 PM
We've been asked this question a number of times so I wrote it down and linked it to our website.

How we got started in the sawmill business (http://www.forestryforum.com/members/bibbyman/pagestart.htm )
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: MrMoo on April 14, 2003, 01:08:55 PM
Well we bought the wooded property where we live now. As we cleared a bit of it for the house I kept the logs.
Found someone to come in and mill the logs but the results weren't so good (varying thickness and wavy boards).
Gave things a lot of thought and came to the conclusion that with some practice I could probably saw as well as the guy I had hired and that since we owned the woodlot a mill would eventually pay for itself and we would never want want for a piece of lumber.
Then I bought a mill and found out I really enjoyed doing this. Now I have a good time doing it for my own use. My boards are the correct thickness and not wavy. I am using this time as my practice. In the future if I get tired of dealing with the corporate stuff I may try doing to make a few dollars.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Tim on April 14, 2003, 03:48:31 PM
It certainly seems that there isn't any regrets about taking a swing at the lumber industry.

Personally, I made a whack of mistakes along the way that made it a tough row to hoe but, on the whole, even with working out from time to time, I enjoy what I do.

I couldn't picture myself doing what I do for anyone else for a long term by any means. I don't think that the fulfillment would be there. Even with the piddle poor day I had today. ( everything I touched broke. )
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Jeff on February 13, 2020, 10:43:42 AM
What prompted you to start sawing?

Stacking lumber and watching the sawyer grin at me. ;D

I started working in a commercial mill right out of High school. I lied about my age as you had to be 18 to work there and I needed a job. (Not a very good way to enter the work force) I worked like a dog for two weeks stacking and doing everything I could. I worked through every break to get caught up. at the end of that two weeks I went to the boss and told him I had something to tell him. He said "Your not going to quit on me are you, your doing a great job". I said no, and then told him I had lied to him.
He went from concern to anger and explained all the trouble that potentially could have happened and told me that if I had not have worked as hard he would have fired me on the spot and if I ever lied again I would be.  I never did.  

During this time the obvious became apparent. ;D The sawyer made more money then everybody and looked like he had a less taxing job. I started asking the owner with a week of almost being fired if I could learn to saw. Within a month I was in training and within a year I replaced the sawyer fulltime. That was in 1979 and 1980. Been doing it ever since other then a few stints working in the woods when business was poor and the mills shut down.  I left that first mill in 1984 when it closed and started working the next day as sawyer where I am now.

Have never drew an unemployment check or been out of work in all that time.
Was looking for something related to another topic but found this. I thought since it had been so long since this topic was started, it might be fun to revisit it and hear from other members.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: thecfarm on February 13, 2020, 10:56:37 AM
A good idea.
My Father. He talked about sawmills a lot. Chesterville was nicknamed Slab City.
He use to talk about the circular sawmills, all there was when he was growing up. We looked at the mill I have now, Thomas, a lot. I only wished he would of had a chance to see me ran mine. I would of never got rid of him.  :D  
I have trees and plenty of time. I needed out buildings, so why not buy a mill? 
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: EOTE on February 13, 2020, 10:57:23 AM
I retired a couple of years ago (typical forced corporate retirement) so my wife and I bought a 30 acre piece of  wooded earth out in East Texas with the intent of building our retirement home and enjoy life there.  Only about a quarter of an acre was actually clear so we built a steel barn there as our center of operations and mapped out where we wanted to build our future home.  We saw that we needed to clear a lot of trees including a fire break around the home site and barn.
 
Long story short, my wife and I cleared about 2 to 3 acres of land and ended up with a BIG pile of logs.  After checking what I could get selling the logs, my wife and I came up with the bright idea to buy a sawmill and cut all of the lumber for our new home, starting with those logs!  We figured we could cut up that stack of logs and harvest some of the bigger trees from the rest of our land.
 


You can see the rest of our story at Building our Dream Home a.k.a. Delusions of Retirement (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=108689.0).
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Tim on February 13, 2020, 11:02:01 AM
Wow! 17 years since I posted that question...
I still don't have that drill sharpener.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: terrifictimbersllc on February 13, 2020, 11:27:44 AM
Liked wood and woodworking

....started chainsaw milling


greed for wood....

.... let Wood-Mizer brochures get into the house

....thought maybe sawmilling was something I'd like to do when I retired, so why wait to find out

....6 yrs later found myself "unexpectedly retired"

...failed retirement, started sawing

Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: alan gage on February 13, 2020, 11:29:29 AM
I enjoy woodworking. I enjoy processing firewood for myself. I enjoy building things for myself. I really wanted a sawmill but just couldn't justify it. Waited a few years and suddenly I sold my house and bought a new house/property that needed remodeling and a new shop built. I had money left over from the sale and enough justification so I used it to buy a used mill, skidloader, truck, and trailer and a little bit of land to set it up at. Now I have no money but I do have a lot of cool stuff!

Had grand illusions of being a great mobile sawyer like Magic Man or selling lumber like Yellowhammer. But reality has set in and I'm now quite content to saw my logs for mainly my own purposes with a custom job here and there and selling the occasional stick or two. Real life makes it hard to spend as much time with the mill as I'd like but it's quality time and I'm looking forward to summer when I can mill up some lumber to build a cabin/fort on the land with a few of my 7 year old buddies. My log pile never seems to get smaller but maybe this will be the year....

Alan
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Old Greenhorn on February 13, 2020, 11:34:39 AM
It's a great question and it should have a simple answer for most of us. But when I read this I sat back in my chair and had to think 'how did I wind up here?' and the answer was not really apparent.
I think I got swept up. I stumbled on the FF and read around as a guest for 4-6 months and began learning about band mills. Knowing machinery all my life it just did not seem that complicated and looked like fun. I started poking around the used mill sources "just to see what they were going for" no way could I afford one, but hey "you never know, right?" The idea of making something from a tree I harvested really had quite the pull on me. It was much more satisfying than throwing it in the wood stove. Also, the environment was just right. I live in a heavily wooded area. Lots of loggers, tree guys, sawmills (3 one my road alone now) and other stuff around. It was the perfect storm to get sucked into.
So one day I stumble on this mill, an Oscar 328 (Hud-son) for just 2 grand, with 2 extra track sections and an extra clamp. I had been cutting a lot of decent trees on my neighbor's property and it was a shame to make firewood out of all of it. I looked at it and it was ready to go with just an hour of routine maintenance. So I talked to my neighbor and he got excited too, his income is on a much different 'scale' than mine and we split the cost down the middle, with me making lumber or whatever for him. Very loose. I thought once I had it all working it would be a 'sometime thing.' I had no idea of course, what I was getting into. Nor did I even know if I was up to the task of running a mill or if I could make a decent board. It was a new challenge and I just got sucked down the hole so fast that I never knew, and still don't, what hit me. 
Now here I am having a couple thousand BF through it, a shed, a loft, and a couple of other builds and made some rustic furniture and am looking to do more in the near future. I have a skidding arch moving logs when I can get them, looking for a log supplier now (milled up most of what I had available), designing new stuff to make, setting the shop up for this kind of work, moved the mill to be more productive, and basically it has become a second job, but one I love.

So I guess the simple answer if I trace it all back, is that I can blame it all on the FF and the day I stumbled across it and began to learn. A strange twist of fate I guess.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Southside on February 13, 2020, 11:36:49 AM
Had a need for lumber for multiple farm projects and a house remodel, figured buying a mill would be a cheaper way to get the job done since I had the logs and equipment to feed it, then I would probably just sell the mill after, so I bought a LT35......  Well, some of the farm projects are partially done and the house remodel, we won't talk about that......which reminds me I need to go check the kiln....how did this happen?  :D
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: WV Sawmiller on February 13, 2020, 11:48:44 AM
    I graduated high school at 17 and after an all nighter on the river gigging frogs Mom came in and woke us up and told me and my older brother to go get a summer job. We drove to Pensacola Fla where we heard a road construction crew had hired a classmate of mine. They hired my brother and were fixing to hire me till they found I was only 17 and their insurance wouldn't allow me to work there so my brother stayed earning $1.75/hr at 40 hours a week. I stopped on the way home at a Boise Cascade plywood plant and they hired me starting midnight shift that Sunday night. They put me stacking beech core out of the kiln but I did such a poor job of it they moved me to the spreader crew feeding and laying core making plywood. That paid $3.35 and I'd typically stay over a few hours on clean up or unloading a train car load of flour (for the glue) or such and I'd come in every weekend to make plywood or clean up. The boss showed me how to clean the press pits - nastiest, most dangerous job on the site so that became my regular job. Of 8 men hired that week I was the only one crazy enough to stay the summer. When school started back I would still come in on weekends for clean up. The next couple of summers I worked at a St Regis paper company to pay my way through college.

  I graduated AU, went into USMC for 13+ years then worked overseas mostly for 25 years or so in some real remote and ugly locations such as western Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Mongolia, Norway, etc. setting up and running man-camps and military bases and such. I worked and we vacationed all over the world. I still remember visiting a French run sawmill in the middle of the jungle in The Central African Republic and was amazed to watch them saw 6' diameter logs into boards with a band mill using 12" wide bands that it took 2 men to carry. That played out so I retired and with time on my hands I visited the WM dealer in NC on the way to visit our daughter one weekend. Tyler showed me how the mills worked and convinced me I could operate and maintain one so I placed the order that October day for January delivery.

  I had sent inquiries to several of the big sawmill dealers years before then lost interest. They all responded then slowly quit sending information except WM. WM was never pushy but every 3-4 months I'd get a simple post card inviting me to go see some demo near me so, when I got tired of hunting, fishing and babysitting and with time still on my hands, the stars aligned and I bought the mill. While waiting on delivery I set up my business model and found this site and read everything in the Sawmills and Milling thread, That was very helpful in getting set up.

  When my mill got here January 8, 2015, Tyler brought it up and I towed it to the waiting logs through 6" of snow. It had warmed up to 5 degrees while Tyler was traveling here from NC. The lube tank was a solid block of ice and while trying to crank the mill to demo it to me and my son it back fired and blew the spark arrestor 50' and I lost it in the snow (but later found it when the snow melted).

  I sawed a few thousand feet of lumber in practice and took the sometimes less than beautiful but usable lumber and made it into a 14'X 62' pole barn to store my lumber. Then I slowly started sawing for the public. Mostly I chase a few mobile jobs and started making benches and now bus stops, etc out of trees salvaged off my 40+ acres of mountain land. I'm not setting the world on fire and still need to saw another 907 bf to hit my 100K but as soon as the weather breaks any day I will hit that probably to use on my second pole barn that looks to be about 30' wide on front, 14'-22' on the ends and diagonal across the back (Trapezoid shape) to fit the available space.

 I have made a lot of new friends in the process with all the money going back into equipment and such and hope to continue to learn and do more so in the years ahead as long as my health holds out.

Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Old Greenhorn on February 13, 2020, 12:25:23 PM
Every good thread deserves a few tangents. I really started to think about this question and I googled it just for fun. I came across this article  (https://montgomeryequipment.com/why-do-people-buy-sawmills-circle-band-or-chainsaw/)and laughed so hard my co-worker came in the see what was going on.
It was this point regarding why sawmills are good that got me:

Good Income Source for Retirement. If you are reaching the age of retirement, having your own sawmill business is a good investment. You can hire one or two workers and pay them by the hour to do the heavy (back breaking) work. All you need to do is manage and market your finish products.


"All you need to do is manage and market your finish[sic] products"  :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
There is NO mention in the whole article about drying, log handling, storage or any of the other things involved in running a mill. Just 'make lumber, sell it, make a killing' type stuff. It was a humorous read to me. If I had read that 3 years ago, I would have believed every word. ;D :D

Now, back to the real thread....
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: ljohnsaw on February 13, 2020, 12:46:53 PM
I've always enjoyed tinkering with wood and metal.  Built a couple barns for my wife's horses along with a shed or two.  I was working as an IT manager, though not with the title or pay, and was getting tired of the politics.  When my wife passed (10 years now) and I had a 19 yo girl and 6 yo boy to raise, priorities change.  I made my exit plan for 3 years and bought some property with a lot of trees.  With the help of many here, I designed my cabin.  (Rough plan to Final Design thread) (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=63364.msg940821#msg940821)  I thought, easy - just cut up my trees and build it.  Didn't have a lot of excess cash so I built a mill to handle the long stuff needed.  (And another smallmill build thread) (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=84444.msg1290881#msg1290881)

Learned a lot milling for a few years (4 to 5 months as weather permits each year) about what trees are worth it and what are junk.  Got my foundation in and first floor framed.  
(Cabin build thread) (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=66160.msg988728#msg988728)  Lots of milling left to do to get it up this year!  But the gut feeling when you slice into a log - the smell, the sound, the look.  I don't want to ever give that up!
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: dirtmotor on February 13, 2020, 01:29:08 PM
When I started rebuilding my 100 year old farm house I went to an auction an bought 1200 bf of rough sawn red oak to use for all my trim and really enjoyed planing and making the trim . It got me to thinking about getting a band mill . Found a affordable manual mill and got on FF and learned enough from all you guys (Thanks !) , and my mistakes to use it . Now I can't pass a nice tree without wondering if it will make a good saw log , still just a hobby sawyer but retiring soon , hopefully I will upgrade saw (hydraulic) and keep on milling .  
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Tom the Sawyer on February 13, 2020, 01:57:53 PM
Took woodshop in junior high 55 years ago and got hooked on woodworking.  Many small projects over the next 10 years, lived in an apartment so limited tools available.  When my skills got to the point that I wanted to use nicer wood, I found that nice hardwoods were very expensive (at least to me).  My dad knew a family near my home town (southern Missouri) that ran a sawmill and I would go out there and buy all the mill run red oak that I could haul back home - .25 p/bf, right off the blade.  Learned to stack and air dry, now I had plenty of wood to make furniture.  

Over the years I saw many nice trees coming down due to construction projects (roadway, new homes, etc.) and started looking for sawmills closer to home (mid 1980s).  I had a tree taken down by the power company and salvaged the logs, got them sawn by an old, circular mill (lots of waste).  Eventually found a guy with a portable Wood-Mizer mill (LT10?), started looking for logs in earnest.

Portable mills were hard to find in my area; two of the guys that milled for me had died, one got so old he couldn't mill any more, one lost his mill in a divorce, etc.  When I retired in 2009 I was going to need more wood for projects and, with it being difficult to find someone I could rely on, I started looking for my own mill.  Found it late that summer and started milling for other people in the spring of 2010.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: WV Sawmiller on February 13, 2020, 02:38:47 PM
@Tom the Sawyer (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=9572) ,

   Tom, that is a mean woman who will take a man's sawmill in a divorce. I hope he got the poodle, all her jewelry and the china. :D

   
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Tom the Sawyer on February 13, 2020, 03:10:58 PM
Back in the late 90s, we were both members of the Kansas City Woodworkers Guild and I had done a program on small scale harvesting of what would now be called urban logs.  We set up a demonstration in the parking lot, I furnished the logs and he brought his sawmill, an almost new Timberking.  He did a very nice job.

A couple of months later I called him to have him mill some more logs for me and he told me that he no longer had the sawmill.  I asked him what happened and he told me that his wife got the mill in their divorce.  Naturally, of course, my next question was, "what's your wife's phone number?".  He said that she didn't know how to use it, or had any use for it, it was just a way to turn the screws a bit more.  He said that she probably didn't really know what it was, or how much it was worth.  When I asked what she was going to do with it, his reply was that she'd probably give to her brother for beer money.  

As I recall, he got his pickup, she got the house, the mill and everything else.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: stanmillnc on February 13, 2020, 04:08:00 PM
I’ve always been interested in wood-working and at a young age, I was exposed to sawmilling at “Old Sturbridge Village,” an early 1800’s recreation of life in rural New England where they operated a water powered sash-type mill. I was fascinated by the operation and it was my favorite part of the old village I frequented. As a kid, I built many small items from scrap wood, including rustic bird houses that I sold out of my front yard. I often used materials from slab scrap cuts that my father got cheap from the local lumberyard.

In my early teens, I helped my father build a cabin in upstate Maine. Without electricity, we used all manual tools and although an arduous process, it taught me the value of hard work and what can be accomplished with your hands and a little know-how. This experience provided the foundation for my interests now. Watching my father build this house on his own instilled the confidence in me that with hard work, anything can be accomplished that I put my mind to. Although I didn’t know any better at the time, doing everything by hand, including drilling holes with a brace, using a wood miter box with a hand saw, digging a well with a shovel and cutting a 5-acre field a couple times a year with a scythe helped me develop my work ethic……and made me appreciate power tools in later life!

A few years after college, I moved from MA to NC and my foray into sawmilling began with a plan to build a 32’ x 40’ timber frame barn completely on my own. The barn site to be cleared was populated with huge old growth white oaks, poplars and pines. I didn’t think it made any sense to cut up these logs into firewood, then go buy all the lumber I needed from a retailer, so I looked into possibilities of renting a portable mill. A co-worker had a small sawmilling side business (The Wood Shed in Chester, SC), so he trained me to operate his portable Wood-Mizer LT40, parked it on my building site and off I went creating big stacks of lumber. I loved sawmilling with this machine so much, I cut much more than I needed, so I built the post and beam barn, then filled it to the brim with lumber! Since I was out of room in my new big barn already, I decided to build another barn, just to store my wood inventory, which gave me an excuse to mill more logs. Local tree-cutters were calling me whenever they had saw logs to unload and I accumulated quite a pile of logs. My log collection grew before I had the money for a sawmill, so I found a great guy fairly close by in SC - "Poston Widehead," who milled my logs for me....but I missed milling myself.

So I decided to get my own equipment and started with a 56” Alaskan Chainsaw Mill powered by a Stihl 880. I cut huge slabs with this mill, but learned quickly that this is hard, exceedingly slow work. I actually burned up the motor in my first 880 pushing it too hard through a 40” hickory log with a dull chain; this experience really made me appreciate the bandsaw mill.  A guy down the street from me had a rarely used Woodmizer LT15 that I kept my eye on and ultimately when a divorce forced the sale, I jumped on it. Since I’m only a weekend sawyer with young kids, I really needed something that makes efficient use of my time, so I upgraded to a LT40 hydraulic mill.

My mantra is “Work hard and good things happen.“ Work can be fun and cutting logs is exciting to me – I feel like a child opening up a wrapped present – you don’t really know what’s inside a log until its cut and each log is different. Sometimes the beauty and character of the wood can be amazing. I really embrace the “green” aspect to urban sawmilling. Our natural resources are precious and limited – it makes me sick to think of all the timber clear-cut for development in urban areas like mine that ends its life rotting in a landfill. I feel obligated to do my part as a sawyer to divert these logs from the landfill and help others appreciate the beauty of wood by upcycling these trees.

I love being outdoors, getting exercise and operating heavy equipment – sawmilling satisfies all that. My son “Sawyer” loves to help daddy with his little plastic chainsaw. Perhaps he’ll eventually help me run the sawmill and develop a love for being outdoors turning logs into lumber like I do.

*Thanks to all the contributors on this Forum - I've learned so much from the great people here willing to share their experiences - the Forestry Forum is a real treasure!*
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Jeff on February 13, 2020, 04:28:26 PM
I'm glad I kicked this topic up! :)
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: 47sawdust on February 13, 2020, 04:40:02 PM
I have wooded property,I'm a carpenter....it seemed like a logical progression.My wife was supportive as well.
BUT the main reason was you guys made it look S-0-0-0-0 easy,and my neighbor specialized in trapezoidal 4x4's and 6x6's and I thought ,heck I can do that.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: SawyerTed on February 13, 2020, 04:57:57 PM
My dad is a minister who was raised on a farm.  He was a jack of all trades.  I recall asking him where he learned so much about tools, repairing and building things. He talked about his experiences in Agriculture Education, FFA and his projects.  So I took Industrial Arts in junior high school because there was no Ag. Ed. program.   We did a wood working project, a metal project, a plastics project and and electricity project.  My wood working project and my metal working projects got entered in the Indstrial Arts Student Association state competition.  Both won first place blue ribbons!  I was hooked!  I decided I wanted to be an Industrial Arts teacher so I could teach students some of what I loved especially woodworking. 

I taught at the high school and college levels then became the Vocational Director for two different school districts. Later I worked at the state level leading vocational education here in NC.

During my time in education I also built cabinets and furniture and I helped operate our family farm.  A few years ago I started thinking it was a shame to be sawing the nice storm downed trees on the farm just for firewood.  I started looking at having some logs milled.  The problem was nobody was portable.  So I started looking at portable sawmills. 

I "thought" chainsaw milling would be a low cost way to mill some lumber. I messed around with CSMing for three or four years - in short I hated it.  So I started looking at portable mills, first manual then hydraulic.   I neighbor has a manual mill so I went and helped there for about 3 days.  That convinced me (and my wife because she heard me moaning about sore muscles) to get a hydraulic mill.

Four and a half years ago I retired and quickly got stir crazy so I went to work as a facilities and maintenance manager for a small manufacturing company.  After a couple of years that was getting dull so I went back to looking at sawmills.  Two years ago I put a deposit on a mill, formed an LLC and went into the sawmill business.  I traded my chainsaw mill for 20 sheets of metal roofing a few weeks ago......
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Magicman on February 13, 2020, 05:05:32 PM
Well DanG, I responded but I don't know where it went....

Anyway I was carpentering and had started using beetle killed SYP to reduce my material cost.  I noticed that the sawyer was working less and making more $$$ than I was so I started looking for a used sawmill.  As luck would have it, I found the perfect sawmill and that was over 2 million bf and 18 years ago.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: frazman on February 13, 2020, 05:20:07 PM
Well , 2020 will be my first year with my mill. I have a few projects in line and I'll see how things turn out. Looking forward to learning as I go and reading allot of info on FF.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: boonesyard on February 13, 2020, 06:05:21 PM
This has been a great/interesting read.

I grew up on a family farm where we did everything ourselves. Dad, grandpa and uncle were all extremely self-sufficient. It's amazing how growing up poor can make you better in so many ways. We did our own metal work, carpentry, and mechanical work. I really took to carpentry and operating machinery. Started a little furniture shop with my cousin 42 years ago, had a lotta fun until we went different ways. Worked on the farm until everything went bust in the 80's.

Went to college for engineering, drove truck over-the-road, back to farming. Started construction in '85, married and had our daughter a few years later. Bought our little piece of 20 acre heaven on the River in '90. Other than farmstead tree groves, the river is the only place with trees in the valley, it's just flat,flat,and more flat ag land. I'd never even been around or seen a sawmill. Started our own construction company in 2003 and have never looked back. 

I set up another wood shop at home and started by building a toy box for the grandkids 3 years ago. I really had the wood bug bad, and now I had the where-with-all to do something about it. I really hated wasting the trees that went down or died around the place, so I thought about a small manual mill to just cut some wood for my own projects. Then I found THIS PLACE! I read everything I could in sawmilling and quickly decided I didn't want to wrestle logs by hand. My wife and I like to work, so we decided to buy the LT50 and we'd have something to keep us busy in retirement. Wow, once the neighbors find out there's a sawmill, busy is an understatement!

I guess you could say it all started with a toy box, and the Forestry Forum. Lovin' every minute of it, Thanks to All. 
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: farmfromkansas on February 13, 2020, 06:31:13 PM
I enjoyed woodworking in school, and folks insisted I go to college, so took wood shop classes there.  Had a career as a house builder, enjoyed the work but not the customers, and retired at 50.  Set up my wood shop at home, hired a couple sawyers to cut lumber for me, and they both screwed it up, so looked at getting a mill. Was 15 years ago I got a Cooks MP 32.  Don't saw for money, just my wood addiction. 
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Beavertooth on February 13, 2020, 08:11:04 PM
Had been a self employed carpenter since I was 19 and bought a used LT40HD to saw up lumber to build us a house with and it just grew from there. That was 15 years ago. No carpentry for me anymore just sawing with mill and have a business selling portable storage buildings, carports, and metal buildings. 
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Banjo picker on February 13, 2020, 08:30:24 PM
We were building my oldest sons house.  Got the rafters set and it was time to put on the decking.  For some reason...I don’t Remember what.  Maybe hurricanes or something found that OSB board was a good bit over $20.00 a sheet.  I said no way. 

 I knew a man with a wood mixer....went to see if he had any thing to use for decking.  He had stacks of the prettiest pine 1 x 10 and 1 x 12s I had ever seen.  We bought enough to deck out the boys house and I got the bug for a mill of my own.

I had been pouring concrete for a living...mainly for Vulcan Materials and the economy had started to slow down, but cross ties were a hot commodity and I had a bunch of sweet gum that needed cutting.  

So I bought a mill and cut ties as long as that market was hot.  Ties cooled off and I went to work for MDOT for 8 years and just run the mill on the side.  I retired from them an now I run the mill 3 or 4 days a month, unless I have some custom sawing to do.  I have one main customer keeps me as busy as I want to be.  

Nice job bringing this back up Jeff....never seen it before.  Banjo
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: trapper on February 13, 2020, 09:33:09 PM
62 or so worked in the winter on a portable circle mill crew.  also enjoyed cutting firewood.  in 64 worked full time in a mill in town  for a year last 6 months owner let me run the saw a split shift 4 hours in the morning and 4 to 6 hours 2nd shift.  left to work at mercury marine  43 years.  Still always interested in wood and the outdoors and watching woodmizers at the farm shows I wanted one. Got divorced and when I got remarried my father in law asked if i wanted to buy his place and ended up with 57 acres worked a lot of overtime one year. put in outdoor furnace and and wife got kitchen redone.  friend on the way to his hobby farm saw a used lt30 at an estate sale and the rest is history.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Chuck White on February 13, 2020, 09:38:16 PM
I've always been interested in making stuff with wood!

In 2005, I decided to give my FIL a hand (tailed for him) on his 1992 LT40G18 Wood-Mizer!

In May of 2008, my wife and I bought our own, a 1995 LT40HDG24 Wood-Mizer from @
petefrom bearswamp (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=8633) and have been using it every year since.

Still look forward to sawjobs in the Spring
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Napoleon1 on February 13, 2020, 11:02:59 PM
In 1993 I just finished helping my father in law pick his cotton crop.  I walked from his shop going home and saw my neighbor John David Sanders. I was telling him I didn't have anything to do now we are thru picking ( I had a full time job) he said boy buy a sawmill and you will have plenty to do. I asked him where you buy one at he said look in the back of a magazine.

I got home and started looking in the back of magazines and found woodmizers ad. I couldn't sleep that night waiting on the morning to come so I could call. Well I called and tried to buy a sawmill they wouldn't sell me one till I slept on it. I tried to tell him my neighbor told me get one. He still wouldn't sell me one. So the next day I called back and told him I wanted a sawmill. Man said mail 2500 dollars for deposit I said ok.  Sent the deposit and started the wait. 

After I sent the deposit I went over to John David Sanders house and told him I bought a sawmill. He laughed so hard he hit the floor still laughing. When he calmed down he said boy you don't even have a chainsaw laughing again at me. He kept saying boy you didn't buy a sawmill and I kept trying to tell him I did but he didn't believe me. I told him I'll be back in a little while and left. I drove to a hardware store in town and bought my first stihl. Then went back to his house and put that saw on his kitchen table. He looked at me and said you bought a sawmill. I started laughing then. I did not know the first thing about sawmilling.  

He let me take in half of his garden for my sawmill operation(his garden was 6 acres). We then started going around getting trees that no body wanted. I had cut and stacked about thirty logs. That is about the time woodmizer said my saw was almost ready. 

My wife,daughter,dog and I loaded up and drove to Indy to pick this great machine up. Went thru the training then it was time to look at the sawmill. We were led to some doors. They swung those doors open and there it was. I was so excited. My wife looked at me and said you spent 27000 dollars for that. I said no I bought 2 cant hooks, extra gas can,12 boxes of blades,and some other spare parts. She looked at me like I was crazy. 

I'm on my third woodmizer now. I miss my friend John David he was 75 when he told me to buy a sawmill. 





Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: firefighter ontheside on February 13, 2020, 11:18:41 PM
My good friend Andy was a member here.  His name on here was gfadvm. Some of you may remember him.  He had a sawmill and I loved to see what he cut every day.  I went to visit him in OK and brought some logs with me to mill on my visit.  I visited him several more times.  Andy was diagnosed with brain cancer and had many surgeries, therefore he was not able to mill anymore.  Long story short, I inherited his mill and try to carry on his style of milling.  Andy has since passed, but I remember him well.  Every time I use the mill I think of him.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: RAYAR on February 14, 2020, 12:12:13 AM
Always had an interest in rural life and spent lots of time at my uncles'. He had a 100 acre property with 90 acres wooded. Started at an early age helping him cut and load logs onto a woods trailer and haul them out of the woods. I was always quite observant in things that interested me and eventually started to use his powersaw. After I was done with schooling, I pursued logging jobs. I cut pulp, studwood, and logs and also got into operating skidders and a porter.

The cold weather is not something I am fond of so eventually got a job working year round inside. Kept that job for over 30 years 'til I retired in the spring of 2019.

I do not own a wood lot. My buddy bought a 65 acre wood lot about four years ago to build on. Since retirement was getting near, I started looking at bandmills. Inquired about one that seemed along the lines of what I was looking for and found out it was a shop built one, that's why I couldn't figure out what brand it was before inquiring about it. It was a three hour drive away. That was in the fall of 2017. In the summer of 2018, my buddy with the wood lot saw this mill for sale but couldn't afford it at that time and showed me the add. It was the mill I inquired about the fall before and at a fairly reduced price, so I called about it again to go see it, but didn't tell him I had inquired about it the fall before. I think he had other pics of it this time around and I was interested in what I saw. My buddy and I made the three hour trip and I bought it. Got it for almost half the price he originally advertised it for the previous fall. Of course joining and hanging out on the FF didn't help ;) .

It's a manual mill, well built but quite basic. I've since made many upgrades to it to make it easier and more fun to operate and improve its functions. Still have many more plans and improvements for it to come. You can see it here in this thread I have on it:
Ray's Portable Manual Mill Mods & Additions (https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=106696.msg1663416#msg1663416)
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: kelLOGg on February 14, 2020, 06:35:12 AM
In the early 80s we pasture-boarded our neighbor's horses. They put up electric fencing and tended it but occasionally the horses would get spooked by storms and get out. At the time was no big deal because we were so sparsely populated then but I still didn't like it. I thought "If I had a sawmill I could up wooden fencing" and minimize escapes. The boarding endeavor didn't last but the idea of sawmill did. I had built a large barn on our property so working with wood was natural for me. I thought about a mill for 8 years, visited sawyers but delayed pulling the trigger because I was still in a job I enjoyed. Finally, in 2002 I bought it - wish I had done so earlier and am still enjoying sawing. 







Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: moodnacreek on February 14, 2020, 08:32:18 AM
A long relationship with a neighbor, 20 years my senior, shaped my life. Hunting, fishing, trapping ,camping and sawmill stories. So when I was 33 I ordered a bellsaw that came in bent so they sent another carriage and left me the old one. What a bunch of junk. But I cut and welded and learned, Sawed out trailer planks nights and weekends. In '94 I bought 3 old sawmills and made one good one, poured footings and set up a proper sawmill with building. Started with gas, found an edger, log turner, then diesel, then electric, green chain, slabwood saw,sprial roll case, live log deck, etc. In 1999 I closed my small auto body shop and went full time sawing and not making any $ until about 6 years ago. At 70 I am slowing down. It has been a long road. Have more business than I can handle. My greatest profit is the good friends that have been made along the way.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: randy d on February 14, 2020, 08:48:58 AM
I stopped taking my medication and started losing my mind again now I have my pole shed full of lumber and lumber stacked out in my yard and still want to saw some more think I better start taking my meds again. Randy
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: curved-wood on February 14, 2020, 08:53:58 AM
As a teenager I've worked all my summers as a helper on construction. Since then I was always dreaming of building my own house. After university, we bought a farm with an old house on it and a bit of forest. I logged my trees and transport it to a stationary circular sawmill with my pick-up with no loader...very physical job.  While skidding I flipped with the tractor, got a skull fracture, walked 3/4 mile on a blackout to get to home. Was still alive and on my feet 6 months after with no sequela, thank to my angel. So got the house built. Set up a small woodshop to do the inside finishing and the furniture with wood bought from different mills.
 For 15 years I was a ceramist/potter and I was ready for a carrer change. I've heard of portable mills and I thought it was genius to carry the mill instead of the logs . I spend an afternoon sitting on my truck tailgate watching a young man operating his bandmill.  Before buying a bandmill I wanting to rent his service and cut my own logs just to test. The owner of the mill was always changing the schedule. So I made him a purchase offer depending of the production . Finally the deal was to spend 1/2 day with me and give me a crash course. He had stayed with me 1/2 hour just explaining the few hydraulic fonctions and ran away ! The young man sawmilling was an imposed idea of his father. His father suicide himself so the kid didn't want to see the mill anymore. So I  bought the Enercraft mill and got on the road to do custom sawing.  Several years later I  sold the mill for few hundreds dollars less han I paid for . Got a new LT40 and install it stationary on my farm. The rest is history : loader +  4 face planers + kiln + few sheds+ good tractor + winch + etc. Pass my million board foot and got my watch from WM. Still sawing but now I am getting more involve in building curves with wood structure and still need the mill to do my custom sawing.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Nebraska on February 14, 2020, 10:01:00 AM
I love trees and hated to see them pushed out for irrigated farm ground development growing up.  I like wildlife ...I think sawing now is an outlet for me to try to make something useful from waste mostly.  My logs are salvage.
It also give me an outlet when my career gets old and my when kids occassionally do stupid stuff. The hard work is therapy.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Brian C. on February 14, 2020, 01:00:09 PM
It started when I had a few trees taken down. They were walnut and ash. I found a guy that had a portable mill (WM LT40) and hired him to saw for me.  This was back before 2000. I started looking, but was afraid about laying out that much money and only using it once or twice. I didn't know if there was a market and where do I store the logs? I only have an acre of property at my house. I started to really investigate portable mills. I do some wood working and wanted more wood. Then the Emerald Ash Borer struck. I lost another three or four trees as did a couple of neighbors and again I had logs for lumber. I tried to get a hold of the guy I had before, but he had a stroke and sold his mill. I found another and had them milled.

The bug was set. My friend and I came across an auction and there was a mill for sale. He brought it to my attention. So we went to the auction and bought the mill. An LT 25 gas all manual mill. We made a few upgrades, then with business getting better a year and a half ago upgraded completely by purchasing a LT40 hydraulic. It is something to watch a log open up and the grain patterns found inside.

We then found the forum and what a blessing. What information you guys have put here can't be found in a classroom, and I know, I am a teacher!
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: DaveinNH on February 14, 2020, 05:50:11 PM
So books can be really dangerous to me. Over 20 years ago I started with the company I am with now and was down in NJ for a couple of weeks. I went to a bookstore and bought a book on timber framing that featured a 12x18 foot building. I really needed some storage, so I bought a 36 inch bar for my 460, a Granberg rig and a few ripping chains. While my intent was to mill everything, I quit after the post and beams and bought the siding to finish it. Fast forward a few years. As some of you know, my wife works as a wood artist but all of her work starts as a turned piece. She had just started turning, and a club she was involved with demonstrated at a fair in MA. Hudson was there just down the hill, and a guy I literally just met and I were looking down the hill at the demonstrations. He said he would love to have that little 18 inch mill, and I said so would I as my wife and I were out growing the under the house 2 car garage shop, and would love to build a barn. He said he had just bought a Lucas mill, but lived on small lot outside of Boston, and could not run it. So I made a joke to this guy I had known for 10 minutes. I said I have 6 acres, If you buy that Hudson mill I will buy a set of extension rails for it. You can bring your Lucas mill to my place (I had no idea what a Lucas mill was) and I will have the slab for the barn I want to build poured to put the Hudson mill on. Completely a joke! He said lets go talk to them. Two hours later we came back, and my wife said "where have you been". I told her we had just bought one of the smaller mills, plus he had another sawmill, and we were going to put them behind the house and start working on a barn for here. She never missed a beat and said Cool. I paid 600 for the extension plus a second box of blades and he bought the mill. So after a couple of years of hauling pine we found on craigslist, and sawing it (we split the wood 50/50) we built my wifes 28x40 two story barn workshop. She does let me use a little of it. Fast forward a few years more, the mills are gone and I am cutting wood for her business with chain saws. We decided we had to get a mill. I did my research showed her a larger Hudson, a Norwood which could have hydraulics added later and finally the LT40HD. She saw the price and I heard the loudest intake of air I have ever heard. Told her I would leave it up to her, and the next day she said she wanted the Woodmizer. Her work has started to take off in sales, as well as paid demos and workshops across the country. Last August we went to Ireland where she was a featured demonstrator.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Cjross73 on February 14, 2020, 06:12:10 PM
In '98 I was setting up a runway in the neighbor's farm field.  Had to take down some edge row pines and the neighbor mentioned a local guy had a portable sawmill.  It was pretty new then, a 96 WM LT40. He killed the pines and it nearly framed my hangar. I caught the bug then watching and off bearing for him but was a broke overworked F15 engine mech so never thought about it much after that.

Fast forward 21 years and my new wife and I  bought some land that had been timbered. They had dropped and left quite a bit of hardwood trees.  I built a CSM and after the first try I really had the bug but knew the CSM wasn't going to cut it. I remembered the guy with the band mill from way back and went to talk with him.  He's in his 90's now and thought he might not use it so much anymore so we made a deal we are both happy with. That was in Sept 19 and I'm learning that I have a LOT to learn but I'm enjoying the process.

The plan is to build a  timber frame house on our land, then all the shops and barns. In between that and working on angio/cardiac cath lab machines maybe I can do a little milling for others. I  have learned (usually the hard way) the Lord's plan will always trump my ideas so I'm just enjoying the ride and thankful for it. There's something addicting about opening a log and seeing what it can become 

Chuck 
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: longtime lurker on February 15, 2020, 09:35:21 AM
I grew up with a mill either side of my parents business, and  I was always fascinated by the saws... guess nothing has changed at all. :D

As an aside am I the only person here with no interest in woodwork or carpentry or home renovation whatsoever?  I love sawing logs.... no interest at all in what happens once its in board form.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Sixacresand on February 15, 2020, 10:15:35 AM
To salvage lumber from beetle killed pines.  Got it done with a lot of sweat and a WM LT10.  As a sawyer, I was greener than most of the logs I milled. 
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: AK Newbie on February 15, 2020, 02:54:32 PM
The Air Force brought me to my dream assignment, Alaska... Joined the local Police Department.  Needed a place to recharge when the reality of how humans treated each other got too tough. Found a remote cabin on a lake with trees.  Always loved making things with wood. Now I had nearly an unlimited supply.  Pulled a LOGOSOL mill out to the property one winter with a snow machine.  Put it together, bolt by bolt in 10 degree weather, relishing every minute, and dreaming of the things I could make and build.  With the help of the many fine people on the Forestry Forum learned the basics of making good lumber.  Started turning that lumber into furniture for the cabin, wood sheds, gazebos etc...  The physical work was rewarding, and the study of the process fulfilling.  Dreamed of one day owning a WM mill.  Retired from the PD and got my WM.  Now continuing the sawmill journey.  Making beautiful lumber for myself and others who love trees.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: donbj on February 15, 2020, 04:20:29 PM
Joined the local Police Department. Needed a place to recharge when the reality of how humans treated each other got too tough

I'm way off topic but thanks for that. I'm Canadian and have great respect for our law enforcement and yours. Tough job!
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: WLC on February 15, 2020, 04:39:37 PM
I've always been in the woods for one reason or the other.  Been cutting trees down for one reason or another for years.  Mostly firewood or hazard trees.  When we moved to AK I continued having to cut firewood and hazard trees.  It almost pained me to see the beautiful wood and possible lumber in these trees being cut up into firewood.  Fast forward a few years and I finally convinced myself that I "needed" a sawmill.  Now I cut what I can into lumber and the rest to firewood.  I only cut for myself and not for a job. It's hard work, but very therapeutic.  I'll use some of my lumber in our new house for various projects and more of it to build my shop at the new place.  I hope to, at some point, start making some furniture and other things to sell on a part time basis.
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: mtoo747 on February 15, 2020, 08:58:48 PM
When i retired from almost 40 yrs in the machining field i started spending more of my time in my berry patches and vegetable garden. I found that the spot i had been using for vegetables was much too wet too late in the spring so i moved it to higher ground in 2018 and decided to put up a small garden shed (8x12) using rough cut lumber. So i went to the local circle mill and bought lumber for the shed. Now i had bought lumber there a number of times for different projects but for some reason this time was different! I became fascinated with sawmills and started watching all the videos about milling that i could find. I especially liked the ones on the bandmills and was thrilled with some of the beautiful grain being exposed for the first time  when the log was opened up! Dang! I had to have one!  I couldn't really justify buying one as i have very few trees on the property and went back and forth with it for a few months. Finally in Sept. of 2018 i was talking to my brother (who happens to have a tree service) and told him how i felt. He asked me if i could afford it and i said i could... and he said "buy the(admin edit) thing". So the next day i ordered my Woodland Mills hm126 with trailer and extension! Been loving it since i got it..just wish i had done it sooner.
mike
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: Poquo on February 16, 2020, 06:46:09 PM
About 6 years ago a friend from work hired a sawyer with a woodmizer LT40 to cut his logs to build a barn with . I worked as an off bearer for a few weekends , that's when I got bit by the saw dust bug . A few years later I found the Forestry Forum , spent some time sawing with Southside then in August 2019 bought a used LT40 , life is good !!
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: ManjiSann on February 16, 2020, 07:10:17 PM
I wanted some firewood and didn’t want to pay $50 for half a pickup load so I bought an axe and brought home 4 pick up loads of free wood, mostly willow. Turns out willow is terrible to split so after a day of that I asked my wife for permission to buy a chainsaw. Had so much fun with the chainsaw that I wanted to try felling a tree. Neighbor had a willow he needed gone so I helped remove it. All the while I was reading how to do this stuff on this forum and other places. Kept helping neighbors remove trees and also picked up a nice maple log that was just too nice to turn into firewood. I grew up doing woodworking but never had the money for nice lumber. Figured this was my chance so tried free hand milling the maple with mediocre success. Decided I wanted to see what all the fuss was with pro level chainsaws so pinched my pennies and bought a used Husky 390xp, put some work into it and welded up an Alaskan style jig for it. I keep an eye on the local listings and pick up trees where I can. In the end I do it because I love running a chainsaw and turning a log into useable lumber. It’s an education and a heck of a lot of fun!

Brandon
Title: Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
Post by: millwright on February 16, 2020, 07:58:27 PM
I was a millwright for a couple different places, an older gent was trying to set up a circle mill down the road, so I helped a lot with that and when he was up and running I worked with him a lot  after he passed away I still wanted to saw ,so I bought an LT 30 and ran that for several years. Put about 6,000 hrs on that, then sold it for what I had paid for it. Then bought a LT 35 hyd. I retired several years ago and wanted to saw part time, but usually I have way more work than I want, so now I get real picky on the jobs I take, can’t let it get in the way of fishing and hunting.