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Author Topic: what prompted you to start sawing?  (Read 7653 times)

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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #40 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......
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Offline Magicman

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #41 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.
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Online frazman

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #42 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.

Offline boonesyard

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #43 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. 
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Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #44 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. 

Offline Beavertooth

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #45 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. 
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Offline Banjo picker

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #46 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 dont 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
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Offline trapper

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #47 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.
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #48 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 and have been using it every year since.

Still look forward to sawjobs in the Spring
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Offline Napoleon1

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #49 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. 






Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #50 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.
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Offline RAYAR

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #51 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:
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Offline kelLOGg

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #52 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. 







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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #53 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.

Offline randy d

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #54 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

Offline curved-wood

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #55 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.

Offline Nebraska

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #56 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.

Offline Brian C.

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #57 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!

Offline DaveinNH

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #58 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.
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Offline Cjross73

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Re: what prompted you to start sawing?
« Reply #59 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 
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