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Author Topic: what prompted you to start sawing?  (Read 7903 times)

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Offline MrMoo

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #20 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.

Offline Tim

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #21 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. )
Eastern White Cedar Shingles

Online Jeff

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #22 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.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #23 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? 
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Offline EOTE

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #24 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.
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Offline Tim

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2020, 11:02:01 AM »
Wow! 17 years since I posted that question...
I still don't have that drill sharpener.
Eastern White Cedar Shingles

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #26 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

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Offline alan gage

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #27 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
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #28 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.
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Offline Southside

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #29 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
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #30 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.

Howard Green
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #31 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 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....
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) Retired and trying to make a living to stay that way. NYLT Certified.
OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker, yet.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #32 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)  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)

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)  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!
John Sawicky

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Offline dirtmotor

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #33 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 .  

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #34 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.
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If you call and my wife says, "He's sawin logs", I ain't snoring.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #35 on: February 13, 2020, 02:38:47 PM »
@Tom the Sawyer ,

   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

   
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #36 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.
07 TK B-20, Custom log arch, 20' trailer w/log loading arch, F350 flatbed dually dump.  Piggy-back forklift.  LS tractor w/FEL, Bobcat S250 w/grapple, Stihl 025C 16", Husky 372XP 24/30" bars, Grizzly 20" planer, Nyle L200M DH kiln.
If you call and my wife says, "He's sawin logs", I ain't snoring.

Offline stanmillnc

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #37 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!*

Online Jeff

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2020, 04:28:26 PM »
I'm glad I kicked this topic up! :)
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Offline 47sawdust

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #39 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.
Mick
1997 WM Lt30 1999 WM twin blade edger Kubota L3750 Tajfun winchGood Health Work is my hobby.


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