Living off the grid and in need of a steady income, Eli Smith began Montana Log Works LLC in the small town of Anaconda, Montana. According to Eli, the business was difficult to establish before the purchase of a Wood-Mizer sawmill which has improved efficiency and profitability for the custom cabin and shed operation. “Before Wood-Mizer, our business was slow. We had another mill that wasn’t very accurate or fast but it’s all I had,” Eli said. “I finally got fed up and drove all the way to Missouri to buy a 1987 Wood-Mizer LT30, best decision I ever made."
Like with many small start-ups, growing pains are not uncommon, but Eli’s ability to adapt to market demands and find a niche product has enabled his business to continue to grow. “It’s been difficult to get the business going but very rewarding,” said Eli. “We started out carving furniture, but now we build cabins.” Moving away from furniture production and providing complete custom cabins and sheds has improved profits for Eli’s business.
Today, Montana Log Works operates with three employees and a Wood-Mizer LT28 sawmill averaging 400 board feet of production a day. Eli says there are many features of the Wood-Mizer mill that has contributed to his business success including portability, safety, ease of use, durability, quality, and accuracy. As the primary sawyer, Eli counts on Wood-Mizer’s rugged all-purpose DoubleHard sawmill blades to ensure a quality cut for any kind of local Montana timber he is sawing including fir, spruce, and pine.
On a day to day basis, timber is purchased from local loggers, milled, and packaged together for the construction of cabins and sheds. Once the material is prepared, cabins are constructed on-site by Montana Log Works and feature custom accents desired by customers including live edge material and natural tree beams to showcase the beauty of the timber. Typical clients consist of fly fishermen, hunters and families looking for a rustic cabin built to their specifications. A quality product at a fair price is always provided by the company and has been paramount to their success.
Eli points out that word of mouth from satisfied customers has enabled him to grow his business throughout the years and as long as Montana Log Works continues to provide great products and service, he believes this upward trend will continue. As far as advice goes, Eli suggests to find a niche and be persistent. “Wood-Mizer has changed my family’s life,” said Eli. “We went from broke and starving to a growing business. Thanks for putting out such an amazing product.”
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