Sawmill #1 - A Special Start

Part of the "Our Beginnings" documentary series, "Sawmill #1 – A Special Start" shares the story of Wood-Mizer's first portable sawmill. Subscribe at and don't miss upcoming videos!

In 1982, Joe Bistrovich of New York bought the very first Wood-Mizer portable sawmill after seeing a magazine advertisement. Personally delivered and trained by Wood-Mizer Founder, Don Laskowski, Joe became the first of 100,000+ sawmill owners in 120 countries around the world who are following their dreams of converting logs into lumber.

“A lot of people ask, how did we get started with a portable sawmill. Dad [Don Laskowski] and Dan [Tekulve] decided they wanted to create something new and they came out with a portable sawmill in the middle of Indiana [USA] in the cornfields. Neither one of them knowing anything about sawmills, so I believe that was divine intervention to this day that they decided to do that.” - Scott Laskowski, Founding Family

“Dan built the first sawmill, but ended up not having a log. I said, ‘I’ve got a log’, drove the sawmill up next to it, and loaded it onto the bed. We looked down the board and it was as flat as could be and we thought ‘Whoa, this thing actually cuts wood.’” – Jeff Laskowski, Founding Family

“It was one of those crazy ideas because they had no experience in making a sawmill, they had no experience in using a sawmill, this was a whole brand new world to them and their idea was to make a bandmill using a thin-kerf band which many people had tried and they had all failed.” – Dan Laskowski, Founding Family

Laskowski Family with Wood-Mizer Sawmill

Wood-Mizer Founder Don Laskowski (left) with his family in 1982.

“That first advertisement went out and all of a sudden, about the middle of 1982, a man by the name of Joe Bistrovich called and placed his order sight unseen. Don personally delivered the sawmill and trained Mr. Bistrovich, so you talk about a guy taking a chance with a young company that had no proven track record.” – Dave Mann, 30+ Years with Wood-Mizer

“The thought that you could follow the dream of sawmilling, running your own business, being independent, taking care of your own machine, you didn’t really need anybody else to be able to go and make a living. And I think that was extraordinary and very attractive to a lot of people as we know.” – Richard Vivers, 30+ Years with Wood-Mizer

“The option of being able to go out and buy a sawmill and actually cut lumber for a project or something you wanted to do didn’t exist.” – Jeff Laskowski, Founding Family

Wood-Mizer First Sawmill

Wood-Mizer Portable Sawmill #1 Delivered to New York by Don Laskowski (right), Wood-Mizer Co-Founder.

“I never forget, we would go to shows and there would be all these old-timers with their arms crossed and this look on their face like there’s no way that saw can cut that log. And we’d start that mill up and we’d make that cut and that little bandsaw blade would go through there. We’d get done, we’d shut it off, and those guys would come up there and look at it and feel that and they still just would shake their head. They just couldn’t figure out how it did it.” – Dave Mann, 30+ Years with Wood-Mizer

“It’s really generated a ton of interest for people to dream and think wow I can do that!” – Darryl Floyd, 30+ Years with Wood-Mizer