Friday, April 19, 2013

Meadowlark Log Homes - Using Wood-Mizer Sawmills since 1987

Meadowlark Log Homes has a rich history of building log structures. At a young age, Ora Miller began “riding the ridge beam” at the Amish barn raisings which was extremely scary and dangerous but necessary as dozens of men pulled up the end wall of the barn. His courage and willingness to take risks eventually lead him to start his business running a circular mill while his three sons build log cabins.

During the early years, Ora’s sawmill produced railroad ties but experienced a major set back when his operation burned. Without falter, though, Ora pushed ahead. By 1978, he and his sons had built several cabins and introduced a unique approach to log home construction which featured a “flat on flat, hand-peeled” log. With this design, the flat surfaces of the logs are pinned, screwed, and glued together, forming a very strong and stable wall while giving the interior and exterior a rounded log look.

With a reputation for building beautiful log homes, Ora once again purchased a sawmill and went into business full time. That was in 1980; they have been building log homes ever since.

As each year passed, Meadowlark’s business grew and they were introduced to Wood-Mizer sawmills. In 1987, they purchased their first Wood-Mizer and found it was “superior to the old circular sawmill and a whole lot safer.” Since that time, every log that goes into their unique homes is processed on a Wood-Mizer. Remarkably, the company is on their sixth Wood-Mizer: an LT70 with multiple bed extension. According to Joas Miller, son of Ora, the Wood-Mizer sawmills “have allowed us to do what would have been nearly impossible to accomplish: become a successful log home company that builds and ships homes nationally and internationally.”

Meadowlark builds, on average, 35 log home masterpieces each year. They have established dealers in Wisconsin and North Carolina who have been instrumental in introducing these log homes to new communities. When Wood-Mizer talked to them last, Meadowlark was finalizing plans with yet another person to help facilitate sales. In addition to their U.S. expansion, the company has shipped their structures to Canada, Japan, and South Africa. This is possible because Meadowlark Log Homes joined the Log Homes Council (LHC) log grading program and has every log inspected, structurally graded, and grade stamped. After a log passes grading standards, it is approved for use in the log home. The LHC grade stamped log home is structurally approved for virtually every country in the world.

Meadowlark’s goal is to be recognized as the best log home company in the world. “With all the different components that are required to become that, our Wood-Mizer plays a vital part in helping us provide the greatest log home masterpieces available,” comments Joas. He also recognizes the mill for its ease of use, functionality, and efficiency. “In today’s economy, it (LT70) has also helped us produce at the highest proficiency while maintaining low overhead cost,” explains Joas.

While board foot production is difficult to determine in this specialized application, Meadowlark runs their LT70 high production sawmill 7-8 hours a day and finds it easy to train sawyers to operate this integral piece of equipment.

Joas is proud to be working in the family business which includes his two brothers and one sister. Even his nephews have taken up the drawknife and have started to learn the family business.  “It has been a pleasure serving our amazing clients and providing them the home of their dreams, thanks in part to our Wood-Mizer,” says Joas.