Sawing Oddball Logs

One of the greatest joys of running a sawmill (in addition to exercise and fresh air), is opening up a log to see the beauty inside. Often, I’ll have to stop, brush the sawdust off the log and take a minute to admire the grain and color of an unusual log. Some, like the fork […]

14 Myths About Sawmilling and Trees

Over the years, a number of myths have evolved about logs and sawmilling. Many have their basis in the experiences of sawyers, while others are just flat out wrong. Here are my observations about some of these myths.

Using your Sawmill to Mill Short Logs

How is it that you spend twice as long milling short logs for half the lumber?  The fact is, sawmills are typically designed to take logs 8’4” and longer.  Anything shorter either gets cut for firewood or left out in the woods to rot.  These are often logs with “character”—crotches, burls, bends, and unusual grain.  […]

Log Sawing Patterns To Meet Lumber Customer Needs

Ask any four sawyers the best way to cut a log and you’ll likely get at least a dozen different opinions. Often the disagreement comes because they use different terms to describe exactly the same procedures.

What is “Urban Lumber” and Why is it Important?

“Urban Lumber” is wood that has been harvested from residences, businesses, city parks, and areas being cleared for development.  Most of these trees are chipped for mulch or buried in a landfill.  The magnitude of this “waste” is staggering.  According to the U.S. Forest Service, five billion board feet of usable lumber—about 1/3 of all […]

Milling Damaged Wood

Life out in the woods is brutal, even for a tree. During its lifetime, a tree can sustain damage from fire, insects, lightning, drought, floods, freezing weather, wind and whatever else Mother Nature decides she wants to throw at it. Add man-made damage from careless logging, grazing and the consequences of recreational use (deer blinds, […]

Where and How Can I Sell the Lumber I Cut on My Sawmill?

The best part about running a portable sawmill is being out on a beautiful day with a light breeze at your back (blowing the sawdust away from you) and taking one perfect board at a time off each log you cut. However, after a while, it may occur to you (or, in my case, my […]

How to Use the Entire Tree When Salvaging Wood and Cutting Lumber

First of all, when it comes to using the entire tree, you can trust nature to waste nothing. Eons before the first axe took a bite out of a tree, the nutrients and organic material in dead trees returned to enrich and build up the soil. Along the way, the tree provided habitat to cavity […]

You Don’t Need a Woodlot to Find Valuable Wood

Those piles of lumber air drying out by the barn are a real source of pride for me, and I love it when someone looks at the wood and asks where I found the logs. The assumption is that wood with beauty and character must come from expensive logs, or imported from Africa or South […]

Autumn Milling

Autumn has to be the best time to run a portable bandsaw mill here in the Missouri Ozarks.  After a summer of enduring 100-degree temperatures, fighting off ticks and chiggers, dealing with dehydration, and entertaining visitors (who usually show up when I am trying to patch up the hydraulics on my old 8N Ford tractor, […]