Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Building Backyard Projects with Lumber from a Portable Sawmill

Sawing lumber for the farm

As stewards of our land and resources, we cultivate and care for what’s been given to us. One way that many people are becoming even more self-sufficient is in the way that they obtain lumber for projects around the farm and in their back yards, using a small personal sawmill.

You can mill your own wood a lot easier than you might think. Small portable sawmills are making it possible for anyone to be able to cut their own boards for garden sheds and other backyard building projects. These one-man mills take up little space, and fit nicely into a garage or set up in the backyard.

Jim Oseychuk of Ontario, Canada, not only used his Wood-Mizer sawmill to saw all the lumber for his house and deck, but also for his garden shed.

Jim Oseychuck's backyard garden shed, which he built all from self-sawn lumber

“We were standing in our old raspberry patch,” he recalls, “when my wife suggested that we rip it all out and construct a garden shed.  I had been saving some fir logs that had enormous curves, mostly caused from growing on steep rocky slopes. For conventional purposes, they were quite worthless.  But from a creative sense, they were very unique.  This was my chance to use them!” 

What was originally meant to be a simple backyard shed became a masterpiece of creativity and craftsmanship.   His wife, an “original North Carolina girl with a love of gardening,” got her much anticipated and award-winning garden shed.

Danny Hamsley (Hawkinsville Georgia) uses his portable sawmill to harvest trees that fall down in storms, saws them into lumber, and then builds custom furniture, or sells the lumber to local woodworking hobbyists. 

The enjoyment of actually sawing lumber yourself is only one of the benefits that come from using a portable sawmill. You have the choice of where your wood comes from, and do not have to limit yourself to just what is on the store shelf. You can get your wood in ways that allow you to be a good steward of natural resources. Trees that often end up as firewood can be turned into valuable lumber instead. The milling process produces sawdust that can be combined with your compost pile as well.

Most portable sawmill owners feel that their investment pays for itself after only a couple of projects. And it’s a gift that keeps on giving, giving you years of enjoyment and the ability to produce your own wood for you and your neighbors.

Danny with a fresh stack of lumber, ready for drying.
Learn more about sawing your own lumber at www.woodmizer.com. Wood-Mizer carries a full line of portable sawmills, from entry level mills to mills with advanced hydraulic log handling functions. Order your free portable sawmill catalog here.

See Wood-Mizer saw mills in action in the video below.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Massive Wood-Mizer Sawmill provides new Profits for Portland Hardwood Supplier

Meet Art Blumenkron. This forward-thinking, eco-minded owner of Goby Walnut & Western Hardwoods has recently installed an extra-sized thin-kerf Wood-Mizer sawmill to maximize profits for his business and minimize his impact on the environment.

The Pacific Northwest is well known for its towering tracts of evergreen forests. One Oregon company, however, is making a name for itself by tapping into the wooden treasures found within a different natural resource: dead, dying, and diseased hardwoods. Goby Walnut &Western Hardwoods is seeing worldwide sales due to their impressive product offering, and is leading the way in using environmentally responsible & profit enhancing business practices.

Started over 35 years ago by Gary Goby, the company was purchased in 2007 by Art Blumenkron, an entrepreneur who was looking for a break from the high stress of his dental equipment manufacturing business.  He was ready to invest his time and money into something more rewarding. That’s when he discovered Goby Walnut, being run from Gary Goby’s home outside of Albany, Oregon.

A large Walnut slab, up to 75" wide, in inventory

Art realized that the growing specialty hardwood supply company had untapped potential, and after making the purchase, he moved the company to the Northwest Industrial area of Portland, hired additional employees, and invested in a professional website displaying their inventory of hardwood slabs, figured boards, tone wood billets  and veneers. Art’s changes are having their intended effect. The company processes 50% more logs, and sales have tripled since 2006.

Goby Walnut buys trees from Arborists, municipalities, parks and individual landowners within a couple hundred mile radius of their Portland location. They look for trees from two to over seven feet wide, and will pay from $500 to $20,000 for the right tree. These logs are milled into slabs, boards, and veneers that all fetch premium prices from high end furniture makers, musical instrument craftsmen, and woodworking hobbyists. Two of the rough sawn figured Oregon Black Walnut slabs on the company’s website are priced over $10,000, but Art also supplies boards and remnants for under $100.

With the increased sales and growing worldwide demand, Art saw the need to further expedite his milling and drying processes. He had been milling the huge hardwood slabs with chainsaw and swingblade mills, but knew that there had to be a more efficient way to accurately saw the premium logs and decrease the amount of precious wood being wasted in sawdust.

The WM1000 cuts down on sawing time, while improves yield

Familiar with Wood-Mizer’s thin-kerf  portable and industrial sawmills, he learned about Wood-Mizer’s most recently released machine, the WM1000 thin-kerfheadrig, which can saw a 67” log in half while only losing 1/8 of an inch in sawdust each pass. Art weighed the cost of the machine with its increased efficiency, cut quality, and unbeatable material recovery, and knew he had found exactly what he needed to maximize his profits from his logs.

With the WM1000 installed at his facility, and running full-time every day, Art is confident that the machine will pay for itself quickly. Every log cut yields an extra slab each time. Each large slab in his inventory ranges from $1,000 to $10,000 dollars each, which means a significant increase in profitability coming from the new mill.
"We recently cut a 15 foot, 48” diameter walnut log and were amazed to find that the thickness of the slabs didn’t vary by more than 1/32” over the whole 15 feet. Our finish on the slabs is much better than [our previous mill] and we yield an extra slab on every log. Another consideration is time…it takes about 10 minutes to complete a cut on a large slab…."  
Art Blumenkron
But the uses for this machine are not limited to just cutting premium slabs. “The WM1000 is great for any kind of sawmill business that deals with large logs, whether it be parting logs so they can be milled or sawing large slabs. It’s a lot of machine for the money!” Art explains.

Large slabs for furniture makers are not the only wood product offered by Goby. Gunstock blanks in three different varieties of walnut, cherry, maple and myrtle are available for muzzleloaders, rifles, and shotguns. Craftsman of musical instruments can find Oregon Walnut and Big Leaf Maple tonewood for most stringed instruments, providing superior sound and looks for the musical instrument.

For woodworkers, walnut veneers, book matched boards, turning blocks, remnant wood boards and blocks are available. Goby Walnut’s inventory also boasts large walnut, maple, redwood, and myrtle burls for tabletops.  

Art is continuing to research how to make his business more efficient and profitable. Right now he is sawing many smaller hardwood logs on the WM1000, which takes time away from sawing the big logs. He is looking at remedying that problem by putting in a Wood-Mizer industrial WM3500 to handle all his smaller hardwood logs and let the WM1000 concentrate on the big logs.  Art is also working with kiln manufacturers to see if he can utilize new kiln technologies to speed up the drying process while maintaining the integrity of the wood. Large hardwood slabs presently take 1-3 years to completely dry and be ready for resale. He would consider his investment worth it if he could process those same slabs within months instead of years.

To learn more about what Goby Walnut & Western Hardwoods offers, visit www.gobywalnut.com to learn more about the company and to browse their extensive inventory of hardwood slabs for sale.
Visit www.woodmizer.com to learn more about the WM1000 and other industrial sawmills that are giving sawmill operations additional profitability from their logs.

Ways that Goby Walnut & Western Hardwoods is making more profits by being environmentally conscious.
  • Uses the WM1000 thin-kerf headrig to maximize profits and minimize sawdust from premium hardwoods
  • Uses sustainable tree harvesting practices, and is in the process of being “SmartWood” certified
  • Uses waste wood to heat his buildings and saves thousands on energy bills
  • Installed more efficient lighting in his warehouse, and will save even more on his energy bills
  • Is developing a way to market walnut shavings as a natural weed suppressant.