Thursday, October 2, 2014

Building a Home with a Wood-Mizer

Dream home built by Nathan Shewchuk and his Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic

It’s one thing to dream about building your own home, but it’s another to accomplish this endeavor. Working as an electrician in Oregon for more than a decade, Nathan Shewchuk came to the realization one day that there must be more to life. With determination on his side, Nathan decided to ditch city living for greener pastures. “I was tired of the city and wanted nothing more than to move into a remote part of Canada and build a house, so I did,” said Nathan. With eight years of focus and hard work, along with a few helpers and a Wood-Mizer sawmill, Nathan was able to accomplish his lifelong dream of building a home.

Nathan and his Wood-Mizer LT40HD
After moving from the Pacific Northwest to British Columbia in 2007, Nathan began preparing his land for his dream home. While looking for a supply of lumber, Nathan found that he had a few options to choose from. He could either buy lumber and transport it to his remote location or produce the lumber himself utilizing local resources from his land. Call it coincidence or fate, while driving up the coast one day Nathan ran into someone using a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill. “I thought that this was the only way to go, what a handy tool,” he said. “I looked into a few different sawmills but found nothing compared to the Wood-Mizer.” Shortly after, Nathan purchased an LT40 Hydraulic and was set to continue his new life chapter. Believe it or not, Nathan didn’t have any previous sawmill experience before buying his Wood-Mizer. “I just went in headfirst and figured it out,” he said. “I spent basically my whole life in the trades, framing, and Finish carpentry, so [building and woodworking] wasn’t anything new to me.” Nathan did receive a week long training from “one of the best sawyers,” he said, but with sure determination and a Wood-Mizer sawmill, the foundation was built for big things to come.

 Constructing the 1,500 square foot woodworking shop        
After setting up necessary utilities such as roads, power, and water supply, Nathan shifted his focus to his home. He wanted 100% of the wood used in his home to be sawed on his Wood-Mizer, so that meant lots of trips to the kiln and many years of drying lumber. “It took eight years, that’s from clearing the property to the last nail,” he said. Nathan used half of the timber from his own property and sourced the other half from a friend who owns a nearby woodlot. With mostly cedar and birch on his property, Nathan needed a supply of douglas fir from his neighbor for framing and beams.  With winter setting in around November and the snow sticking through April, Nathan said he had to work efficiently with the seasons in mind. The first year of construction, he completed the roof and milled all the cedar materials needed for the windows and doors of his home. Nathan’s short-term goal was to live in his new home in the Fall of the second year of construction. With help from his neighbor and master Finish carpenter, Kit, the windows and doors were completed and Nathan was able to move into his home for the first time that Fall. “The Wood-Mizer was a wonderful tool, it was perfect for the job," he said.

The windows and doors were  built by
Nathan's neighbor - a Finish carpenter
Over the next few years, Nathan milled birch and douglas fir needed for the rest of the interior of his home and worked on all the finishing woodwork needed for the windows. He also built a rock fireplace and shower and milled all the tongue and groove wood for the walls and ceiling. When it was all said and done, eight years of hard work and sawing 100% of the 22,000 board feet of douglas fir, larch, birch and cedar on his LT40HD, Nathan had finally finished his dream home and woodworking shop. With help from many friends and neighbors, Nathan completed his home from the ground up, inside and out just how he had dreamed. “My neighbor, Kit did all the cabinets, doors and Finish carpentry and my friend Doug was there hand-in-hand for carpentry work and many brainstorming nights,” said Nathan. “Many people helped along the way, there is no way to count them all really, but I think this project was inspiring to many and I am very fortunate to have a lot of good friends and co-workers.”
Beautiful master bedroom built from douglas fir, larch, birch and cedar

The living quarters are estimated at 1,200 square feet, while the shop is 1,500 square feet and the deck is 500 square feet. Nathan estimates he saved between $70,000 and $80,000 by sawing his own lumber for his home. “I get an overwhelming response to my home, but I am not sure that the average person really understands the amount of work it takes to build something like this,” said Nathan. “All in all, I had the time of my life building my home and owe many people for their knowledge and skills,” said Nathan. “This would not have happened without that.”

As for the future, Nathan is looking forward to what’s next and there’s no rest in sight. “Eight years is a long time to build a house and it takes a lot of discipline along the way,” said Nathan. “It kind of became a full-time job for me and it was very enjoyable to figure it out along the way. I think I’m just very happy it’s done and can’t wait to get onto the next project.”

100% of the 22,000 board feet needed for Nathan's dream home and woodworking shop were sawed on his LT40HD

Monday, September 15, 2014

Salvaging Urban Wood with a Wood-Mizer Sawmill

As Wood-Mizer owners utilize the benefits of their portable, thin-kerf sawmills, they are discovering economically and environmentally effective solutions to salvage fallen and diseased city trees that would’ve otherwise gone to waste. Learn how Megan Offner and her social enterprise, New York Heartwoods, is paving the way as a model for future businesses interested in becoming a part of the growing urban wood industry.

Logs recovered after Hurricane Sandy 

The Emerging Economy of Urban Wood

By Megan Offner

New York Heartwoods (NYH) began in 2010, with the help of Dave and Steve Washburn, Hugh Herrera, myself, and a Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic. Our plan to manage and harvest trees ourselves was scratched when we realized how many were falling over, dying and being removed by arborists. Multiple severe storms and several invasive insect epidemics have led to unprecedented challenges to our forests and communities while budgets of municipalities and landowners are stretched with the reoccurring removals of downed or dying trees. Landfills across the country are struggling to keep up with the amount of wood waste that is being generated and at the same time, people need jobs and communities are evolving to become more resilient. By processing urban wood, we participate in creating solutions: reducing wood disposal expenses, redirecting material from our waste stream, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, fueling the demand for local wood products, and growing an exciting new economy.

Working with a local tree service to lower a maple log onto NYH's
flatbed trailer. (Photo by Megan Offner)
Community relationships are the key to both supply and demand. Due to annual weather events like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy along with the arrival of pests such as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), we have access to more logs than we are equipped to process. Harvesting logs ourselves is labor intensive and therefore, in most cases, cost-prohibitive at our scale. By working with tree services we can have waste logs delivered for free or, at most, for the cost of gas and the driver’s time. Beyond the tree services that provide logs and clients to buy wood, are landowners, institutions, land trusts, the Department of Transportation, utility companies, municipal land managers and local officials. We have found the latter is an especially fruitful connection as they control what the contracted arborist does with city trees. As most towns and cities are burdened with increasing costs for citywide services, decreasing revenues, rising landfill costs, and decreasing landfill space, redirecting logs creates waste management solutions and reduces storm clean up expenses, which can generate wood for park benches, picnic tables, fencing, flooring and cabinets for city buildings. The ability to ameliorate local issues while creating valuable lumber may lead to municipal contracts and resources that will support both log supply and the demand for products.

Megan milling a white ash log. (Photo by Rose Kallal)
Portable band sawmills have a great advantage over large circular sawmills when working with urban trees. Their ability to travel to sites can eliminate logistical challenges and expenses of transporting or disposing of logs. For example, after Hurricane Sandy landfills were at full capacity so many cities and towns across New York State designated parking lots for the staging of logs. Local sawyers were invited to come mill what they wanted for free, and even still, it took months for many of those piles to diminish. The possibility of hitting metal, common in urban trees, is too expensive a risk for commercial circular sawmills. Metal can dull blades and slow down band saw production, but since the narrow band blades are inexpensive and easy to sharpen, that value can be recouped with proper marketing of the tree’s story and the wood’s character.

Urban trees generally have lower branches and contain metal or other foreign objects, creating dramatic knots, colors, and grain. These unique characteristics, along with the tree’s history, are desirable to artisans, fabricators, interior designers and architects for the creation of furniture, flooring and other custom products. Documenting the tree’s story and providing pictures of its transformation into finished products adds value by making it more meaningful to the buyer. Every industry uses wood in some capacity, which leads to a multitude of niche market possibilities. By reaching out to my previous networks to see how I could create solutions to their problems, I was able to build most of my business on personal contacts and word-of-mouth.

On display at Eileen Fisher, 5th Ave. in New York City
As my access to urban markets is one of NYH’s strengths, I am increasingly brokering wood for other local sawyers with a similar ethos. I see that in the same way that marketing and distribution hubs are being created to assist the success of small farmers, and local wood being the next “local food”, there is needed support for the growing number of independent sawyers. The Illinois Urban Wood Utilization team and Urbanwood in Michigan are two wonderful non-profit models of networks that facilitate the wood use chain from arborists, sawyers, woodworkers, distributors to buyers. As our population grows, so does the amount of urban land in the United States. According to the Journal of Forestry, by 2050 the amount of urbanized areas is projected to increase from 3.1% in 2000 to 8.1%, a total of 392,400 km, which is larger than the state of Montana. With this, the production and sale of urban wood will also grow, and there will be more integration into municipal management systems. For now, innovation is happening on the ground- one mill at a time.

About the Author: Megan Offner co-founded New York Heartwoods, a woman-owned social enterprise in Warwick, NY in 2010. Her mission is to regenerate forest vitality and local economies by building systems and relationships that maximize the value of "waste" trees. Connect with New York Heartwoods on Facebook or at

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Smart Log Processing

For more than 30 years, Wood-Mizer has developed a strong reputation as the leading manufacturer of portable sawmills, industrial sawmills and complete log processing systems. Wood-Mizer’s Smart Log Processing Line (SLP) has taken thin-kerf, low waste concepts into an industrial environment and positioned the company as the preferred choice for maximizing higher log yields at lower operating costs from small and medium sized logs.

Wood-Mizer's Smart Log Processing line has been installed in hundreds of locations around the world.

Continuing the success of Wood-Mizer’s patented narrow band technology, the SLP is a flexible series of modular products designed for the profitable conversion of 4” to 16” diameter logs into boards, battens, and pallet wood. Although there are many configurations and setups, a typical layout consists of one or more TVS units (Twin Vertical Saw), SVS units (Single Vertical Saw) or SHS units (Single Horizontal Saw), Horizontal Resaw and an EG300 Multi-Rip Edger. The system can be set up in a conventional, in-line arrangement for maximum efficiency, or it can be setup modularly for convenience. Based on standard cutting units and combinations of chain, belt and roller conveyors, the SLP system can be customized to fit any operation. With hundreds of individual units and systems operating worldwide, the SLP line sets the global standard for processing small and medium logs for profit.

The compact and low cost TVS (twin vertical saw) removes two sides off a
log before it is sent to the SVS (single vertical saw).
One company profiting from Wood-Mizer’s SLP line is S&J Contracts in Northern Ireland.  Led by Stephen Sufferin, the company produces pallets and specialized timber by utilizing Wood-Mizer’s thin-kerf technology. “In 2007 we had difficulty sourcing locally sawn pallet wood, so diversification was in order. We decided to mill our own timber to guarantee supply and cut production costs,” said Stephen. S&J Contracts’ SLP line, similar to a U.S. scrag mill pallet operation, consists of the TVS, SVS, a four-head Horizontal Resaw, material handling for loading and transferring, and a Multi-Rip Edger.

The way the SLP line works is simple: The TVS features two tilted heads and removes the slab from two sides of the log. The SVS shares the same titled head design and splits or removes the third side from the two-sided cant coming from the TVS. From there, the Horizontal Resaw recovers as many boards as possible. Lastly, the Multi-Rip Edger standardizes up to three board sizes for maximum sawn timber recovery. The Wood-Mizer SLP line can be easily reconfigured for maximum flexibility and is well suited for new ventures and diversification of existing mills. New ventures can take advantage of the lower capital required to install and maintain the line while existing mills can reevaluate how to better utilize lower-value logs by increasing yield and capacity to efficiently match market demand.

Stephen acknowledges that adaptability is the key to being successful in the industry. “We have enough timber to go on with our normal jobs without relying on sawn timber suppliers,” said Stephen.  “The mill is flexible. I make my money from the various sizes of timber I am asked to produce.”  Stephen believes that a major factor contributing to the success of S&J Contracts has been the investment in the best quality machinery for the job.

Darryl Floyd, Wood-Mizer’s COO says, “We designed the SLP system as an answer for sawyers who are
The SVS removes the bottom slab and eliminates the need
to turn the cant before reaching the resaw.
looking to maximize their sawing capabilities when it comes to sawing small logs. We recognized the need for scragg mill operations in the marketplace and the SLP system is our solution. Companies all over the world are squeezing every last board out of small logs and profiting in this tough and competitive environment.”

With hundreds of units sold across Europe, Asia and Africa, and with the installation of this equipment in locations across North and South America, Ireland’s S&J Contracts isn’t the only company to benefit from Wood-Mizer’s versatile SLP line. Wood-Mizer has companies in Mexico, Guatemala, and Chile which have recently installed the SLP line and are successfully sawing small and medium sized logs for profit, establishing the system as a proven performer in the global economy.

For more information, visit 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Building a Successful Business with a Portable Sawmill

While there are a lot of elements in every successful business, two Wood-Mizer sawmill owners agree that their sawmill is the cornerstone of their business and offers them versatility, creativity, and the ability to meet the diverse needs of their customers. Through both strong and tough economic times, their Wood-Mizer sawmill has provided them with a competitive advantage and the ability to make dreams come true for their customers.

David Yasenchack Timber Framing & Design, Kingsville, Ohio
One-of-a-kind timber frame pool structure designed and constructed by David Yasenchack.
Utilizing a unique natural bend in a log
For more than 15 years, the self-motivated entrepreneur, David Yasenchack, has been building one-of-a-kind timber frame homes, studios and garden structures for his small Kingsville, Ohio business. David Yasenchack Timber Framing and Design operates with a Wood-Mizer sawmill in order to create unique lumber from their own forestland, but it was David’s determination that enabled him to follow his dreams and establish his own timber framing business.

While working for the Forest Service and managing a commercial apple orchard in the early 1990s, David was inspired to pursue a new and challenging project, so he began building his first timber frame structure. It was during this project that reshaped David’s life and his career. “In the process of gathering materials for my first timber frame project, I purchased timber and lumber from numerous local sawmills,” said David. “I became intrigued by the sawing process, particularly with the accuracy of the band sawmills.” By the end of this project, and after seeing his neighbor mill a very large oak tree with his portable band sawmill, David envisioned the investment of a portable sawmill as the stepping stone to building custom timber frame structures for a living.

David's Wood-Mizer sawmill enables him to saw logs with
 unique bends and curves for building timber frame structures

Shortly after, David purchased his first Wood-Mizer, an LT40 Manual sawmill, to serve as an affordable entry into self-employment. “The mill helped me to find my calling in the timber framing trade,” he said. “I am proud of my Wood-Mizer. From the outset, it shaped my living, but it went on to shape the path of my career.” Today, David operates with his Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic sawmill and constructs custom timber frame buildings using select trees from his own forestland and from client’s own trees.

The business saws a wide variety of hardwoods on their sawmill, but mainly oak, cherry and walnut to create the necessary building materials for his customers. David also uses his mill to saw conventional lumber and wide, live-edge flitches for use in furniture projects as well as for other woodworkers needing customized material. “I’ve told many people over the years that an investment smaller than the purchase of a new pickup truck put me on the path of not just personal fulfillment, but a fair measure of financial security and independence,” David said. “It’s an ever evolving tool that gives me the ability to shape one of the world’s most common and abundant resources.

A custom timber frame structure
”David says his Wood-Mizer is a main component of his entrepreneurial success. “It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the Wood-Mizer in my business,” he said. “It gives us creative control by allowing us to create just the right live-edge timbers from the particular logs we choose.” David also touts the design of his Wood-Mizer which gives him a distinct advantage for his specialty sawing projects. “The cantilevered head is an advantage in many ways, but mostly because it allows us to saw highly curved logs in a practical and accurate way,” he said.

David Yasenchack, owner of David
Yasenchack Timber Framing & Design
By utilizing the features of his Wood-Mizer sawmill, David says his timber work is crafted to the highest level. The mill enables David and his team to revise and develop a custom design in response to special and unique logs harvested from his or a client’s woodlot. By keeping a unique bend or curve in a tree for his lumber, David can maintain the wood’s natural shape and characteristics in his finished timber frame structures. “In short, the mill makes us more adaptable and creative,” David said. “Those are both huge competitive advantages in our field.”

Northern Log and Timber, Kelowna, British Columbia

Northern Log and Timber constructs custom log homes with lumber milled on their Wood-Mizer sawmills
Family operated for more than 60 years, Northern Log and Timber offers a variety of services and products available both locally and around the world. From lumber to log home packages and more, the company operates with two Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic sawmills and an LT40 Super Hydraulic sawmill, which have positioned them for global success in the lumber industry.

Construction of a custom log home
Founded in 1952 by John Morgan Sr., the company supplied lumber to northern Yukon and Alaska until they relocated to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia in 1972. In the 1980s, Northern Log and Timber expanded into global markets by exporting lumber to Asia, Europe, and South America and has since built log homes, barns, schools for clients from Japan to Mexico. Today, the family business is operated by John’s son and daughter, John Jr. and Julie. John is a builder and runs the sawmills, while Julie designs homes for clients and handles sales.

Beams and flooring milled on a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill
Typically, Northern Log and Timber saws lumber for log home packages but they also produce beams, joists, decking, posts, flooring, trim, v-joints, timber trusses, and custom siding. Julie attributes the company’s diverse offering of products and services to be crucial to their success over the years. “Because we have a wide variety of products, and a large variation in our customer base, we have continued to grow,” she said. Head sawyer, John Jr., said their Wood-Mizer sawmills are another one of the reasons for their company’s success. “The support system at Wood-Mizer is the best. It’s the best mill on the market,” said John Jr. “Downtime is minimal and usually short, it produces the volume needed. This success translates into higher wages and profits.”

Interior bedroom of a Northern Log and Timber custom home
Locally, the Morgan family supplies building material stores, contractors, and landscapers with lumber as well as design and build log homes onsite with their own profiled timbers. Due to the volume of orders, the majority of their business comes from building supply stores. However, Julie adds, “The most satisfying customers are the ones you help to accomplish their dreams. My father always said that it was great to build the high-end, impressive projects, but the most satisfying was the look on a customer’s face when their home was completed – the simple home for the working man.”

Trusses sawed on a
Wood-Mizer sawmill

By utilizing the versatility of their Wood-Mizer sawmills, Northern Log and Timber has continued to grow and succeed in the global lumber market. “The Wood- Mizer mills have allowed us to expand our product line,” said Julie. “The mills are the backbone of our business. Without them, we wouldn’t have survived in this economy.”

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Milling the Homestead Necessities

By Anneli Carter

Anneli Carter, author and co-owner of Deer Isle Hostel
A few years ago a major piece of our homesteading puzzle fell into place when we bought a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill. Up to that point we'd been dependent on the lumber yard and its supply, as well as friends and acquaintances with occasional stacks of lumber for us to rifle through or logs to mill somewhere else. Because we don't have any heavy equipment to transport logs with, anything cut on our land had to be moved by someone else, first to a mill and then back here.

Now, on every first day of a new building project we start where all building projects ought to start: in the woods. We select the trees that fit our intended purpose, fell them, haul them with our people-powered log hauler and turn them into lumber right here in our yard. Last year we built a timber-framed hut from a red oak that started to shade the garden; that entire frame didn't travel more than 300 feet from the stump to the mill to the site.
Building at Deer Isle Hostel

But not all logs have to come to our yard. The mill isn't so big or heavy that it can't be loaded onto our trailer and hauled behind our Subaru. This week we have the Wood-Mizer set up a couple of miles down the road at a friend's place. He's a tree feller and has stacked up a pile of cedar, black locust and spruce – really nice red spruce – that's all ours as a trade for milling the hardwood for him. We get the perfect lumber for our next projects and he gets the perfectly matched lumber for the sauna he'll build at his place.

Anneli operating her Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill
We bought the portable mill to provide our own building material and to make use of the trees that need to come down around our yard. The gasoline it takes to run the machine is a tradeoff, but for us the gains are so many that the emission footprint still is much smaller than it would have been if we had to go somewhere to buy what we now can produce. In addition, the by-products have turned out to be just as valuable to us as the lumber. 
Slabs from the LT15 sawmill

For one thing, the sawmill gives us slabs (the off cuts with bark on one side). Tons of slabs and for anyone cooking on a small wood stove, there's nothing better to get your tea water boiling than some dry spruce slabs. We get enough for ourselves, and then more. We give slabs to neighbors and friends and in return we get something else, like warm spaces to start tomato seedlings in or help to look after our chickens if we go away somewhere.

Sawdust can be used for many
homesteading applications
Then there's the sawdust. It might not sound like much compared with the $1,000 pieces of locust we cut this morning, but I don't know what we would do without the sawdust the milling provides us. I don't know what we did before we had the mill as we use the sawdust in our outhouses, to pack the root crops in for storage and in our chicken house. We go through perhaps 60 feed sacks of it every year, a resource we would have to go somewhere to get if it weren't for our mill. 

To say the sawmill is a piece in the homesteading puzzle might be a slight understatement as in some ways it's a key factor. It enables us to progress with our building projects without necessarily having the money it otherwise would take, it ties us to our community with labor- and resource trades, and it makes it easier for us to store food, keep our chicken house clean and have nice outhouses for the Hostel guests. Some of the essence of homesteading right there: providing for yourself and your community using your own resources and making the most of what's around you. Who would ever have thought that a Wood-Mizer would to the trick?

Visit for more information on homesteading or to order Anneli's new book. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Growing with Wood-Mizer

After 20 years in the business, Darrell Gruver, owner of D&D Logging and
D&D Hardwood LLC, still enjoys grading logs.
For nearly two decades, Darrell Gruver has built and grown his two businesses, D&D Logging and D&D Hardwood LLC, with a knack for identifying problems as opportunities and a Wood-Mizer sawmill. Over the course of 18 years, Darrell has owned five Wood-Mizer industrial headrigs, three Wood-Mizer portable hydraulic sawmills and is currently installing three Wood-Mizer WM4000 industrial headrigs to become the centerpiece of D&D Hardwood LLC.

Starting out as a logger in the late 1980s, Darrell established the family-owned and operated D&D Logging in Racine, Missouri. He quickly realized that he could do better for both himself and his customers by utilizing extra value from the logs he was handling. He discovered that all it took was a willingness to sort and haul better quality logs to a grade lumber mill rather than to their original destination of being converted into railroad ties or pallet lumber.

After running D&D Logging successfully this way for several years, potential catastrophe became opportunity in the mid-1990s when the owner of the sawmill where Darrell sold most of his grade logs informed him of plans to retire. Faced with the loss of this business, Darrell reasoned that having a mill of his own would decrease transportation costs and provide needed diversity to his operation.

D&D Logging and D&D Hardwood LLC in Racine, MO.
In 1996, Darrell encouraged his father-in-law, C.R. Smith, to purchase a Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic sawmill and enter the milling business. For the next year, C.R. sawed logs into grade lumber in a pole barn near Darrell’s home with the diesel powered thin-kerf LT40 Hydraulic bandsaw. When C.R. decided to move on, Darrell purchased the mill himself and established D&D Hardwood LLC to supplement his growing logging business.

After six years and 9,000 hours on the LT40 Hydraulic, Darrell was pleased with Wood-Mizer’s service, production capacity and durability and decided to upgrade to the LT70 Hydraulic –Wood-Mizer’s most productive thin-kerf sawmill at the time. Shortly after the purchase, Darrell’s son Anthony became interested in the business and focused on running the sawmill, which gave Darrell time to concentrate on improving his logging operation.
Sawn and edged grade lumber.

Less than a year later, Darrell soon found D&D running out of sawmill capacity with the growth he had experienced with his logging business. He decided to expand into a full production sawmill capable of producing several million board feet of grade lumber per year and built an operation centered on a Wood-Mizer LT300 industrial headrig. “I had become a Wood-Mizer fan,” he said.

In 2006, production increased with the addition of two more Wood-Mizer LT300s, one to upgrade the LT70 and the second installed to act as a resaw to increase production. At this point, Darrell estimated that the three LT300 headrigs combined to saw lumber at a rate of 6,000 board feet of grade walnut lumber per hour. With high production rates and an efficient operation, D&D yet again continued to expand and just four years later, Darrell upgraded and installed two WM3500 industrial headrigs. “The machines are very reliable and the service from Wood-Mizer is unsurpassed,” Darrell said. “Choosing Wood-Mizer was an easy decision.”
D&D's WM3500s cut more than 140,000 board feet of walnut weekly.

Darrell says that using thin-kerf bandsaws not only increases the productivity of his business, but reduces the number of trees that need to be harvested. “We try to get the best lumber out of every log,” he said. “Thinner kerfs mean less sawdust and less sawdust means more boards. That’s good for the pocketbook and for the environment.” In the current operation, fitted with a Wood-Mizer LT300 headrig, two WM3500 headrigs, an LT40 HD, HR1000 industrial resaw, and two industrial edgers, D&D is producing around 200,000 board feet of hardwoods per week.

On a typical day, oak, walnut, cherry and maple logs between six and fourteen feet arrive at D&D Hardwoods where they are scaled, graded and sorted. The logs are then sent to one of three headrigs depending on wood species and all of the grade lumber is removed. When sawing species other than walnut, a residual pallet cant or railroad tie is produced. Boards and cants are edged to obtain the highest possible grade and sent to the HR1000 resaw to reduce further processing. “From start to finish our operation strives to not only get the most out of every log, but to do so in environmentally sound ways,” said Darrell. “Depending on the customer’s needs, we almost always selectively cut in ways that will be the best for a sustainable forest.”

Today, Darrell is in the process of installing three Wood-Mizer WM4000s to increase productivity and improve consistency across the business. Complete with high tech computer automation controls, servo motors in the head, and 50% more steel than the WM3500, the WM4000 is designed for production and built to last. “These saws are very efficient, fast and powerful,” said Darrell’s son Anthony who has been operating Wood-Mizer mills for more than a decade. “The thin blades require less power than other saws and the setworks make them a ‘no-brainer’ to run.” As the market expands, Darrell’s proven business model and forward thinking approach has positioned D&D for continued growth and success in the lumber industry.

To see how you can grow your operation with Wood-Mizer, visit

Friday, May 2, 2014

Family Sawmill Business Boosts Production with Wood-Mizer WM4000

Mike and Shawn, Honey Grove Hardwoods LLC owners, with their Wood-Mizer WM4000 industrial headrig
Shawn loading a log onto the WM4000
In less than three months after taking ownership of the family sawmill business, 3rd generation owner Mike Junk and his brother-in-law Shawn Fowler made the changes necessary to compete and thrive in the lumber industry. By installing a Wood-Mizer WM4000 thin-kerf industrial headrig to replace their old circular sawmill, Mike and Shawn positioned Honey Grove Hardwoods LLC on the cutting edge of technology to increase efficiency, yield and profits for their business.

Producing grade lumber for moulding, stair treads and flooring, the Pennsylvania based Honey Grove Hardwoods used a circular sawmill as the center of their operation for more than 70 years. Last year, Mike and Shawn came to the conclusion that their circular saw with conventional wide kerf blades had reached the end of the line. “We realized we were running outdated equipment when we weren’t getting the footage and grade yields that we thought we could get with thin-kerf technology,” Mike said.
Shawn operating the WM4000

Mike also noted that their operation with the circular sawmill forced the sawyer to do multiple jobs at once. “A vertical edger was positioned in front of the sawyer booth on our circular headrig, which meant the sawyer was also the one doing the edging,” Mike said. He explained that this process helped with saving costs on labor, but since the sawyer was rushed to saw as well as edge the lumber, it sacrificed quality and production.

Transferring lumber to the
Three-Way Conveyor

Wanting to improve efficiency throughout their operation, Honey Grove Hardwoods added a Wood-Mizer Log Deck, Three-Way Conveyor, and Green Chain along with an EG400 edger to complement the WM4000 in their production line. “We put the whole Wood-Mizer system in starting with the Log Deck, which helps ease loading logs onto the WM4000. From there, logs are cut on the headrig and then moved from the built-in conveyor to the Three-Way Conveyor,” Mike said. “Material is transferred from the conveyor to the Green Chain and then to the EG400 edger for a very smooth transition from logs to accurate lumber.” With this system, the sawyer no longer has to be the edger, which improves efficiency and quality of materials.

Feeding boards into the EG400

Compared to their old circular sawmill operation, Mike said their yield has improved greatly with Wood-Mizer equipment. “The yield factor is amazing with thin-kerf producing only one-third the waste of our circle sawmill, plus you can slab smaller and lighter which increases usable lumber,” he said. Being able to produce more product from fewer logs also cuts down on transportation costs and increases the profit per log. “We are getting the same amount of lumber while using 25% less timber and raw materials, which in turn, reduces transportation costs across the board,” Mike said.

By taking advantage of Wood-Mizer thin-kerf technology, Mike and Shawn have positioned Honey Grove Hardwoods LLC to be competitive in the lumber industry for generations to come. “The WM4000 put us right back up to the competitive edge on utilizing and maximizing yields for our business,” Mike said.

To learn more about how you can step up your production with thin-kerf technology, visit