Friday, July 27, 2012

Wood-Mizer Takes Applications for Professional Sawyer Program

An opportunity for actively sawing Wood-Mizer sawmill owners to boost long-term success

Wood-Mizer Pro Sawyer Network

Wood-Mizer Products is taking applications for a new customer program, the Pro Sawyer Network, designed to boost the success of sawmill businesses and owners throughout the United States.

Members of the Pro Sawyer Network will have access to exclusive opportunities to increase the profitability of their sawing endeavors. Although Wood-Mizer has had components of the new program in place for many years, the Pro Sawyer Network brings all the benefits into one program that has involvement options that members can select themselves, such as being referred to new customers looking for a local sawing service, and demonstrating their sawmill for credit on account. More information on involvement options can be found on the online PDF application.

“Many sawmill owners and businesses have experienced some tough times in the last few years. Our desire with the launch of the Pro Sawyer Network is to funnel more opportunities for profitability directly to our talented customers that offer so much to their communities,” commented Wood-Mizer’s National Sales Manager, Dave Mann. 

The formation of the Pro Sawyer Network will also provide a local resource to individuals who want to hire a sawyer to cut their logs into lumber. Currently, Wood-Mizer offers an online request form that can be used to obtain the contact information for a local sawing service. According to Wood-Mizer’s Dave Mann, this online tool has been very successful in connecting people to sawyers-for-hire, and he says that they have plans for a more robust version of the tool down the road.

Wood-Mizer sawmill owners can apply for membership to the Pro Sawyer Network online at, or request a form in the mail by calling 800.553.0182. Membership is free of charge, and some qualifications apply. Members of Wood-Mizer’s previous “Custom Cutting” and “Owner Demonstration Credit” programs are required to reapply if they desire to transition to the Pro Sawyer Network.

Keys to Success from 57 Years of the Sawmill Business

The Baize Family team. Author Jordan Baize to the far right.
By Jordan Baize

Family photo from 1981
In today’s economy, a few years in business is something to be proud of, not to mention almost 6 decades.  Our family’s lumber manufacturing company, B& K Wood Products, is celebrating its 57th anniversary this April.  Companies like ours and Wood-Mizer haven’t just been lucky over the years or stumbled into good fortunes.  Our company has instead formulated a Company Philosophy for longevity and growth made up of some of the simplest ideas known to man, and I’d like to share these principles with you.  Caution: this is much simpler than what they teach you in business school!  Let’s get started.



Integrity - Establish relationships with business partners with a handshake and a solid word.

Not many companies can say they are selling to some of the same customers as they were 40 years ago, but ours can.  There’s no easy, cheap, or quick way of getting customers to buy the same product from your for more than four decades.  There is only one way to accomplish this: treat your customer with integrity.  Look at the customer-vendor relationship as a marriage. In 40 years, the customer will have plenty of time to find the faults in you (and there always are a few faults in all of us).  But if you have treated your customer with integrity for the length of the relationship, they should care enough about your organization to overlook those faults, or at least give you time to correct those faults without dropping you first.

Milling in 1959

Organizations should make it a point to serve customers, not just push products their way.  In the end, the only thing that generates customer retention is positive relationships that are built on integrity.  If the waitress at your favorite pizza joint is rude and unhelpful, the pizza you once enjoyed will start tasting worse and worse.  No product is good enough to overcome poor relationships.  Integrity wins in the end every time.  Not to mention it just feels good at the end of the day to be able to hold your head high.  Try it! It’s worked for us.

Diversification - Offer a wide array of products and services.

 Our company was started over 50 years ago as a side lumber and crossties operation only.  Today, sawmilling is still a big part of what we do, but it is not the only thing we do.  Nor will it ever be again.  We have adopted a more diverse range of products than just the standard lumber and tie variety out of necessity.  This has always been a strategic position of ours, and it proved its worth in 2009.  Countless friends and competitors of ours shut their doors for the last time that year.  At the time, most of them were still cutting the same side lumber and crossties we were cutting 50 years prior.  There is nothing wrong with consistency, but when times change, we must change with them or risk looking failure in the face. 

One of B&K's Wood-Mizer Industrial Headrigs
Diversifying your products and services to cover varying areas of the market is a necessity.  For instance, during the heart of the economic crisis when the housing market had tanked, we were not able to sell much of our inventory that ends up as cabinet facings, hardwood flooring, or stair treads.  Instead, we had to lean heavily on other products that we produce and divert those revenue streams (which were quickly drying up) down other avenues.  A few years back our wood chip market was soft so we went looking for another way to capitalize on our wood waste.  Because of that diversification, we are now Kroger’s largest producer of manufactured firewood, a new use for the same material our wood chips once came. 

Whatever It Takes – Manufacture products of unquestionable quality using both trail-blazing technologies and beaten-path tools of the trade.

  Our company has been around for a while and learned many things over the years.  We pride ourselves in not forgetting the many lessons learned through the decades, all the while not neglecting newer technologies and good, old-fashion hard work.  We feel like that is simply the only way to be consistently profitable in business.
Another Wood-Mizer thin-kerf headrig at B&K Wood Products
When our organization sets up a production goal, we meet that goal. Period.  Budgets and forecasting are useless if the top number on the income statement (gross revenue) is lower than expected.  Companies must aim to produce quality products in the expected timeframe.  Anything short of that changes the financial landscape of the company.  Use all resources necessary to get the job done on time—whatever it takes.

Thrive, Don’t Survive!

The B&K Wood Products facility

The simple active application of these ideals to our business has resulted in longevity spanning 57 years.  It’s important to remember that most people who have been successful have taken a few easy-to-understand principles that their grandfather could have taught them, and followed them without wavering.  Instead of avoiding failure, business owners and managers should instead be trying to attain greatness and longevity.  Thrive, don’t just survive—let’s go the distance!

For more information on products that have helped B&K succeed, visit Also, to see how thin-kerf headrigs can help your business increase profitability, watch this video: Ohio Valley Veneer

Friday, July 13, 2012

Missionary to Mongolia, Asia using a LT40 Hydraulic to build School and local Market Facility

Two decades after Mongolian independence from Soviet control, much of the isolated northern Mongolian town of Khatgal still lies in ruins, families live in extreme poverty, and the struggling government is limited in the support and opportunities it can provide. 

With tourism on the rise in the area, many have turned to traditional craft making. Local artisans labor in their one room cabins or Mongolian tents, working in homes smaller than the average American bedroom. During the short-lived summer months, women and children wander for miles through scattered camps placing their wares on the ground to display to foreign travelers. With an average annual income of less than $500, dreams of making a living for their families too often fades under the hardships. 

Mission Director Mickey Cofer and his wife Trina are on location working to make a difference. Their backgrounds as professional artists prepared them to be able to reach out to the needs of poverty-stricken artisans. They have set up a nonprofit organization called Local Craftsmen Foundation where individuals can receive training in quality craftsmanship and effective marketing. Through the generous gifts of American churches, the foundation has purchased a 100,000 square foot abandoned Soviet factory – a five building complex sitting on twelve acres of lakefront property. 

They are planning to turn the roadfront building into an Arts and Crafts Center to create a vibrant showcase and market opportunity for local artisans. The midsection of the factory is allocated for a Leadership Training Institute, and the lakeside facility is being renovated into a Summer Youth Camp and Community Center. 

The gift of a brand new Wood-Mizer LT40 hydraulic sawmill is making the renovation of this incredible site possible. It has afforded Mongolian Missions the opportunity to labor efficiently and inexpensively using local labor and materials. Through the help of this amazing tool the Cofer’s are working to help revitalize the region. Once renovations are complete, the sawmill will continue to be the main piece of equipment used for the long-term woodcraft project; not only producing crafts for tourists, but the furniture, frames and floors of their traditional Mongolian yurts for families around the country.

Through partnerships with people and organizations like Wood-Mizer, dreams are becoming a reality, and major steps are being taken toward strengthening one of the most charming and unique societies left on the face of the earth.

Inspired? Get involved with Mickey’s work: 

Contact address: Mickey Cofer, Mongolian Missions, PO Box 189 Winchester OH 45697

Article shared by Jacob Mooney <a href="">Google</a>

Maximizing Sawmill Blade Performance

Premature Sawmill Blade Breaks

Why do they happen and how can they be prevented? Look over these trouble-shooting tips to ensure that you are getting the most from your blades when using your own blade sharpener and setter.

1. Running a blade dull or too long causes increased stress in the blade
  • • Pull the blade at regular intervals to maximize flex life and lower material amount removed to get blade sharp again.
  • • Change the blade immediately after striking a foreign object or material
  • • Be sure to grind lightly and into the gullet to remove any stress cracks.

2. Running a blade with damaged or worn blade guides can lead to failure
  • • Replace roller guides when flat spots develop on the shell.
  • • Replace roller guides when grooves develop in the flange or as flanges wear thin.
  • • Replace roller guide or bearing if it will not spin freely or is loose.
  • • Replace blade guide pads when fractured, worn thin or worn unevenly.
  • • Blade guide pads should not be too tight and “heat” the blade. Be sure to adjust for different thickness of blades.

3. Other sawmill conditions that can lead to blade breakage
  • • Worn or cheap blade wheel belts.
  • • Loose or damaged drive belts.
  • • Insufficient blade tension or tension system problems.
  • • Loose sliding arm that goes in and out.
  • • Excessive build up on blade or blade wheel belts
  • • Bearing failure in the blade wheels
  • • Blade contacting any steel or guards while sawing.

4. ReSharpening issues that can lead to premature blade failure
  • • Grinding too heavy, burning the tooth and gullets.
  • • Incomplete sharpening of total blade profile. Use a dye or nail polish to ensure getting it all.
  • • Removing stress cracks forming in the gullet.
  • • Missing the outside corners on the backside of set teeth.
  • • Dress grinding wheel frequently to eliminate grazing and particles embedding into the wheel.
  • • Dress the grinding appropriately for each profile or try CBN technology.
  • • Maintain bend location when setting the blade and stay away from the tip.

5. Other factors that affect blade life
  • • Allowing blades to rust when storing.
  • • Leaving sawdust and pitch buildup on teeth when storing blades. Flood the blade with lubrication before removing.
  • • Remove blade tension when not using the mill.
  • • Lubricate the blade while sawing.
  • • Maintain proper tracking of the blade on blade wheels.

Use the Right Sawblade for the Job.

It is crucial to the success of the milling operation to correctly match the right saw blade with the species and conditions of the material being sawn. Thicker blades handle tougher sawing conditions but thinner blades offer more flex life. Thicker blades also require more horsepower and can saw faster! Some blade profiles also require more horsepower. 

  • The 7 degree and 4 degree blade are suited for higher horsepower machines in hardwoods and even softwoods. 
  • The 9 degree profile offers best performance on low horsepower, lower demanding and smaller logs. 
  • The 10 degree is the best all-around blade profile for mixed hardwoods and general sawing conditions. 
  • Don’t be afraid to try different profiles in your sawing conditions to see what works best for you. 

Wood-Mizer's ReSharp is always available to meet your blade maintenance needs and make it easier for you to experiment. You can even join our automatic blade replacement program that gives you even more convenience and flexibility with your blade supply. Visit to learn more about blades, Wood-Mizer's ReSharp service, blade maintenance equipment, and the types of blades available from Wood-Mizer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wood-Mizer Goes Mobile

Our website is now mobile friendly! Calling customer service, ordering blades, or getting a map for your local Wood-Mizer location is now easy to find right on your mobile device! Browse our product lines, check out the latest promotion, and more. Just visit on your phone!

Feel free to leave feedback for our new mobile website version. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Homesteader with a Sawmill

Building a Self-sufficient Farm and Home without the Lumberyard
by Kevin Kiwak, Wood-Mizer LT40 Super Hydraulic sawmill owner.

“Every wood element in the house – from the frame to the trim, doors, shelves, cabinets, you name it – was milled on the Wood-Mizer [sawmill]. One hundred percent of the wood in the house comes from my property and was processed on my mill.” Kevin Kiwak

"In the summer of 1993, I attended an introductory timber framing class at the Heartwood School in Beckett, Massachusetts. It was during that experience that two significant events occurred - I saw a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill for the first time and I made the acquaintance of Jack Sobon, the well-known timber frame architect and author. For the next decade, I dreamed of building my own house and starting a self-sufficient farm but circumstances always seemed to interfere. I purchased my Wood-Mizer LT40HD Super Remote [sawmill] in 2000 but it still would be another four years before Jack Sobon would design my house and I could chance leaving my career to pursue my dream.

The Learning Curve

"This is my first house, with little previous building experience other than my two weeks at the Heartwood School. It is my very first sawmilling experience. Admittedly, the learning curve was steep when I first started milling, but I soon found the machine design and operation to be intuitively obvious. Proficiency followed quickly. The house plan was taken from a 17th century French Country design. The French call it 'half-timbered,' that is, a timber frame with infill for the enclosure so that the frame remains exposed. I knew when I started the project that it would seem odd covering such a beautiful frame with siding or some other enclosure, so this was the perfect design solution. 

Timber Frame Construction

"As the frame is exposed it would require a rot-resistant species. Living in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts I was limited in choice- white oak, black cherry, and black locust being the available rot-resistant species. My property, quite fortuitously, was heavily populated with wild black cherry. The timbers are heartwood cherry on all exposed exterior surfaces. The wild cherry timbers were milled on my Wood-Mizer and then the frame was assembled using a scribing technique so as to be able to incorporate many unusual and curved members. After milling, not a single power tool was used in the construction of the house. For example, over 600 mortise and tenon joints were hand cut with a mallet and two inch framing chisel. From tree on the stump to assembled frame took the better part of two years. The entire project is now in its sixth year!

"The infill is autoclaved, aerated concrete block, chosen for its high R-value, covered with three coats of aged lime plaster both inside and out. The rafters, roof boards, floor joists, tower members, wane-edged siding, and exterior trim were all milled on the LT40. The interior timbers, also milled on my Wood-Mizer, are an assortment of species- beech, birch, red oak, hard and soft maple, sycamore, dawn redwood, eastern white pine, hemlock, cherry, and apple: in proportion to the timbers on the property, a formula devised by Jack Sobon. The wide variety of species used and the fact that milling occurred throughout the year (from 100 degrees in August to minus 15 degrees in February) required an assortment of sawmill blades. The Wood-Mizer technical staff was central to my sawmill blade education.

"The longest members in the frame are 34 foot 8x9 inch cross ties. The summer beam, cut from eastern white pine, measures 8x24 inches and is 16 feet long. The large hip roof and the other smaller roofs required some 32,000 shingles. These were made from knot-free, heartwood blocks of eastern white pine and milled using the shingle-maker attachment on my Wood-Mizer. I quickly discovered that shingle-making leaves a tremendous amount of ‘scrap’ wood which would generally be considered unusable, but with the Wood-Mizer I could turn even these scraps into valuable lumber.

Making it Work

"Every wood element in the house - from the frame to the trim, doors, shelves, cabinets, you name it - was milled on the LT40. One hundred percent of the wood in the house comes from my property and was processed on my mill. We are still working on the interior finish work on the house but starting this Fall I will begin a 35x50 foot 3-bay timber framed English barn. We would like to eventually house a pair of oxen – which we will use for logging in place of a tractor – in the future barn. All our present outbuildings - chicken coop, garden shed, sheep shed- were made using the Wood-Mizer. All future buildings – barn, bakehouse, and woodshed – will be built using the mill. We had a 6,000 square foot vegetable garden this year, in addition to which we grew broomcorn (for brooms!) and our own wheat. We dug a root cellar this summer and harvested 400 pounds of potatoes in the fall.

A New Horizon

"My Wood-Mizer sawmill has literally opened a new world to me. I am not restricted (financially, aesthetically, or imaginatively) by using a lumberyard or having another sawyer mill my elements. The possibilities seem limitless. For me, there is no turning back."

Kevin Kiwak with his Wood-Mizer LT40 Super Hydraulic portable sawmill

About Portable Sawmills

Small, affordable band sawmills have reduced or eliminated that reliance on box store lumber for thousands of people across North America. In the early 1980’s Wood-Mizer first came out with an affordable sawmill for the average Joe and self reliance for one’s own lumber suddenly became a possibility. Storm damaged timber is one of the most common reasons people first begin considering sawing their own lumber. They know that their trees are much more valuable than just being chopped up for firewood, and the idea of processing those trees into lumber is born.

About the Sawing Process

Wood-Mizer sawmills are based on a very simple, intuitive design. After a log is rolled onto the bed, and clamped firmly, the bandsaw blade is engaged, and the bandsaw head is pushed down the length of the log, sawing off a first board. Then the head is raised up, pulled back, and the whole process starts over again, and the boards begin stacking up. Boards can be stacked vertically on the sawmill, and edged to various desired widths in the same manner. Unlike convention circle sawmills, which remove 1/4” of wood each time the blade saws through the log, the Wood-Mizer ‘thin-kerf’ bandsaw blade removes less than a 1/10” of an inch. This increases the amount of material that each log can produce, and greatly reduces the amount of waste from the process. Hydraulic versions of these sawmills greatly reduce the amount of labor involved and increase production rates.

Studies on the Impact of using a Portable Sawmill

US Forest Service researcher Stephen Bratkovich, has reported that typical sawmills in the US operate at about 50% efficiency in terms of lumber recovery. In a study of a pallet lumber mill in Missouri, Bratkovich demonstrated 69% efficiency for a thin kerf mill with a .050" blade cutting thin lumber. "The US annual cut of timber for lumber products is equivalent to approximately 240 million trees," Bratkovich writes. "We could save the equivalent of 69 million trees annually if our recovery efficiency improved from 50% to 70% in our primary processing industry."

Learn more about portable sawmills and see more success stories at or