Portable Sawmills Thrive Across Nation

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Blog entry by TreeBones posted 08-18-2008 07:49 PM 3455 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Across North America, small sawmill operators continue to grow in size. Larger mills are suffering from the current slump in the housing market and instead of increasing production as in the recent past they are cutting back affecting the industry as a whole. Timber demand and harvesting has dropped creating opportunities for the expansion of the smaller portable sawmill operations. These mills, most of which are new small business start ups grown of woodworkers and tradesmen are growing at steady numbers. Multi-generation family businesses have always adapted to industry changes and weathered the hardships. In total this represents a small portion of total wood demand and consumption, yet small mills provide valuable services in local timber markets.

In addition to participating in the market of mainstream lumber sales, small mills satisfy unique needs: They provide tailored services for custom manufacturing businesses such as furniture and cabinet makers. They fill niches for specific species, such as walnut, mesquite or cedar, and specific products, such as highly figured stock, sheds, outbuildings and timber framing. They provide outlet markets for loggers, tree surgeons, development clearings, culls and salvage logs.

The changing atmosphere of public opinion is driving the demand for “Eco Friendly” and “Green Products” to its highest level ever. Out on the streets and at the forefront of decision making consumers is the Sawyer. Innovative thinking by nature this new breed of small operator has established a unique service industry. With a strong foot hold in the timber industry sawyers have a large impact in the day to day polices that have far reaching effects. Cities, counties and state agencies are struggling to meet mandates for carbon reduction. Urban logs have a huge impact on this and will be the first area the average citizens of our nation will see change. Already big business has picked up on this and you can expect to find portable mills become a regular tool of the forester, arborist and tree service. Builders have capitalized on log cabins, timber framing and rustic style custom construction.

To summarize, small family run sawmills benefit local communities and other businesses, helping consumers as well as larger sawmills that cannot easily handle smaller jobs. Sawyers are at the forefront of this changing industry having direct affects on public opinion and the demand for sustainable resource management.

As the saw turns so do the days of our lives.

OK, maybe I went a little over board, don’t laugh (to hard).

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

5 comments so far

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5849 posts in 5082 days

#1 posted 08-18-2008 09:27 PM

I agree these portable mills which we have here in the u k in smaller numbers are very popular.I often wonder how the operators protect themselves from nails foreign objects in the wood doing damage to the blades ? Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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1404 posts in 5574 days

#2 posted 08-19-2008 12:10 AM

Hmmmm . . . . Interesting post TB.

-- BLOG -

View Karson's profile


35301 posts in 5898 days

#3 posted 08-19-2008 12:43 AM

Great Post TreeBones. I wish you all the luck in keeping your mill going.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 5411 days

#4 posted 08-19-2008 06:43 AM

Amen, brother sawyer. I’m planning to incorporate milling into my small forest operation. As a tree farmer alone, I would go broke – only the big boys make all of the money, not unlike food or oil production. The real value to lumber comes after milling. The 35 years I spend growing it counts for nearly nothing! I believe in small vertically integrated business operating on a local basis. I think it’s the way of the future ( well, back to the future actually). We’ve already seen what big corporate interests have achieved…

I’ve had my eye on a Peterson swingmill for a long time. It’s the best you can get here in NZ and as it is now sold in the US, worth a look there too.

I’m hoping to incorporate ethanol production into my small farm and convert the gas engine to run on ethanol so that I have a ‘closed’ loop system, unaffected by gas price rises as the speculators break our backs.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Tony's profile


997 posts in 5528 days

#5 posted 08-20-2008 12:09 AM

Hear, Hear! Couldn’t agree more, well written.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

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