“When I retired, I needed a project to satisfy my creative spirit and to keep me physically active," said Mike Collier. "All my life I wanted to build my own home, and as I always loved construction, and woodwork in particular, this was the perfect dream project.” More than three years ago Mike Collier began building his 2,800-square-foot house. “I cut 80% of the wood which equated to over 25,000 board feet for this project,” Mike said. Using his Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill, Mike saved around $40,000 on lumber while using mostly local wood to build his water front lodge-style home on Gambier Island near Vancouver. Gambier Island is 17,000 acres of pure isolation. The island is only accessible by boat and, with just 200 long term residents, it is the perfect place to get away from it all. The first obstacle that Mike had to overcome was deciding how to transport materials. Due to the remoteness of Gambier Island, the cost of bringing in materials is very high. Mike had the idea to utilize local trees, many of them on his own property. He took cedar from blow-downs and clearings and turned them into lumber using his very first Wood-Mizer purchase, an LT15. Mike built a post and beam structure using non-dimensional cedar logs. After more than 80 custom shaped and fitted log pieces were erected into the basic structure, traditional framing methods were used to fill in the walls and frame the roof. “The cedar was used for all exterior wood including board and batten siding, decks, railings, door & window trim, fascia and soffits. Fir was milled for all the major beams, two interior stairs, some of the ceiling, general trim, and some handsome furniture.” When talking about the most important features of his LT15 Mike said, “The ability to handle 18 foot logs up to 28" in diameter and be powered without electricity was the most helpful. Low maintenance of the machine was also essential.” After the three year project was completed, Mike claimed, “Given that the island was only boat accessible, I have a great feeling of accomplishment that I was able to do this. The house could only be built because of my Wood-Mizer sawmill.”
Working as an electrician on high end custom homes in Oregon for more than a decade, Nathan Shewchuk realized there must be more to life. “I was tired of the city and wanted nothing more than to move into a remote part of Canada and build a house, so I did,” said Nathan. With eight years of hard work and dedication, along with a few helpers and a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill, Nathan accomplished his lifelong dream of building his own home. READ MORE >>
What do you do when you want to remodel your 100-year-old kitchen but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on the lumber? You fire up your Wood-Mizer LT40HD portable sawmill of course! And that is exactly what Chris Becker of Northampton, Pennsylvania did. “My wife and I purchased an older home that had never really been updated. We immediately fell in love with the house when we first saw it while on a walk. When it went up for sale, we decided to buy it, and were blessed to own such a gorgeous structure. The house, which was built in the late 1800’s, rests on two acres bordering a creek and the historic 170-year-old restored Kriedersville Covered Bridge. The house was let go over the years. We knew it deserved special attention and care to make it beautiful once again and turn it into our home. We completely remodeled every single room. The largest of the interior projects was the kitchen, which took approximately eight months. We both love to cook and wanted a modern kitchen. However, we also wanted to keep the old and historic feel which emanates throughout the house with all original wood work and southern yellow pine floors still in place.” The type of wood that Chris used for the flooring in the kitchen included black walnut, English walnut, cherry, hard maple, soft maple, hickory, spalted copper beech, and white oak. The upper cabinet boxes and shelves are made out of poplar. The faces of the cabinets and the drawers were quarter sawn copper beech. The framing lumber for the breakfast bar was spruce. Rough cut pine, spruce and hemlock were used in the framing and siding to modify a window and two doorways.
The breakfast bar top was made from a live edge slab of catsura. The moulding he used to hide the wires and the light enclosure boxes in the ceiling was made from black walnut. After eight months of remodeling his kitchen, Chris reflected on the project, “An absolute joy! Everything came together perfectly!” Chris not only used his LT40HD to mill the lumber, but also to straighten the edges of the boards. He utilized his mill to flatten out the live edge slab he used for his breakfast bar before running it through a drum sander. Chris said, “Being able to trim a few boards at a time saved a lot of time and decreased the waste.” This was a key factor in allowing him to save $10,000 in lumber on his kitchen remodel. “After three years of the love, sweat, and tears we poured into finishing the house, the final results truly took our breaths away! All the projects were complete and we were ready to move in. Just in time too! In the mix of remodeling the house, we were also planning a wedding. We were married at our home two months after we moved in!”
Inspired by Wood-Mizer owner dream projects, Jesse Matras used his LT40HD Super portable sawmill to build a beautiful cabin retreat for his family. “Looking at The Wood-Mizer Way magazine highlighting Personal Best projects, I was inspired to create my own cabin,” said Jesse Matras. “I had a mill, trees, time, and a nice spot to build a cabin retreat for my family. Inspired by photos of people’s projects my wife and I dreamed up a plan that same evening." READ MORE >>
In 2012, devastation struck the Watts Family Farm in Pine City, New York, when a fire destroyed their dairy barn. The 50+ year old structure was built by the parents of Mark and Jim Watts, the successors to the family business, and has been used as a source of income ever since. Although there were no animals harmed in this tragic event, the fire burnt the barn to the ground leaving nothing but ash and rubble. This misfortune left the Watts brothers with no other choice than to rebuild the family farm back to business. Having previously owned an LT15 portable sawmill, the Watts brothers knew another Wood-Mizer mill was exactly what they needed for the job. So they decided to go with a larger version with a few enhancements to make the building process go quickly and
smoothly, and made their way to Hannibal, New York to purchase an LT35 Hydraulic portable sawmill.
With the help of family and friends, as well as the hydraulic loading option, using old fashioned barn raising, the dairy barn was completely rebuilt just nine months and 20,000 board feet later. Using the lumber from hemlock, ash, maple, and oak trees, 85% of the wood was harvested from their property and the other 15% was donated to the cause. The Watts brothers saved a whopping $75,000 on the reconstruction of the barn and even added some improvements, such as a modern milking parlor. A mere nine months after the fire destroyed their family business, they were milking cows again. Mark gave his appreciation, “This project could not have become a reality without the LT35 and help of so many.” Although this tragic event left a scar on the Watts Farm, the friendships and memories made from rebuilding the dairy barn are unforgettable. The Watts family rejoiced and came back from this misfortune stronger than ever. “We were able to milk cows again in the barn that our parents started in 1960, that is something that can not be put into words,” said Mark and Jim. “We have been back milking now almost three years and still get choked up when we think of all we went through in 2012.”
For years David Dove had been eyeing a neighbors’ Wood-Mizer LT15 portable sawmill, but unfortunately for David, his neighbor wouldn’t sell. He had all but given up when out of the blue the 74-year-old neighbor called and asked if he wanted to buy it and of course David jumped on it. At the same time David had been yearning for the Wood- Mizer his daughter Kirsten, as many 12 year old girls, had her heart set on owning her own horse. Kirsten had been wanting her own horse for as long as she could remember, but every time she would ask for one her dad would say, “I don’t know, maybe someday.” READ MORE >>
During the course of three and a half years, Richard and Sharon Maki used their Wood-Mizer LT15 portable sawmill to expand a 600-square-foot cabin into a beautiful 2,100-square-foot family home."We needed a place to live, as our daughter, husband and two boys moved to Montana and were living with us. We decided everyone needed more space," said Richard. With the exception of the stairway support fir, all of the wood used for the cabin was taken from standing, dead trees on the Maki's property. "This project was quite an undertaking, but [our LT15] performed extremely well." After seeing their finished cabin, Richard and Sharon said, "It was a great feeling of accomplishment. We are happy to have a unique and rustic home to live in."
Artists use all kind of mediums. Mozart used the violin. Michelangelo preferred marble. When Justin Metcalf set out to create a one-of-a-kind grist mill, he knew a Bob Ross oil on canvas creation wasn’t going to cut it. He used wood, and lots of it. From hemlock to cypress, yellow locust to chestnut oak, Justin embarked on a mission to achieve a goal by building an old world grist mill. Armed with his Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic portable sawmill, and with the inspiration of the picturesque backdrop of Mars Hill, North Carolina, his “design-as-you-go" grist mill became a reality. He shared, “This has been a dream since I was a boy. Grist mills have always been a great interest to me, as I am a 4th generation miller.” The result is a 1,248-square-foot, 16' x 26' structure. The mill was created with 8,500 feet of hemlock to make up the framing, floors, siding, trim, beams, and grinding mill parts. Additionally, 600 feet of cypress was used to construct the water wheel and (400 feet of yellow locust adds to the beams, exterior stairs, door locks and latches) 500 feet of chestnut oak were cut into 18" x 18" beams for the water wheel carriage. Approximately 10,000 feet (roughly 95%) of the utilized lumber was milled using his LT40, and as Justin puts it, “This would not have been possible, it would not exist, if not for my sawmill. My sawmill made it possible to fulfill a dream!” The LT40 seems to be the perfect machine for such a project.
When asked what features of the LT40HD mill were helpful, he shared, “Being able to cut different size and shape materials and making multiple cuts with one pass.” Over the course of 18 months, and with the help of a few friends, Justin was able to save nearly $8,500 and more than a few headaches. Unlike most builders who use a plan and prints, Justin took the artistic approach, choosing instead to create as the project progressed. The preference to use old time carpentry and no plans resulted in a one- of-a-kind experience for all those involved. Before embarking on their adventure a good friend of Justin’s asked, “What are we going to do if everything goes to hell in a handbasket?” He simply responded, “We will put up a water wheel and start grinding corn.” So, the next time you find yourself near Mars Hill, keep an eye out. Look for a touch of old world in this creation. See if you can spy the water wheel, the stone base and the charming front porch of this truly remarkable creation. You might just find yourself transported to a place where dreams are made real.
Michael Connelley from Weogufka, Alabama built his entire 2,000-square-foot home in a span of three years with a Wood-Mizer LT15 portable sawmill, so when it came time to build the cabinets and furniture for his new home, Michael said using his Wood-Mizer sawmill was a “no brainer”. After searching for the perfect type of wood to complement his home made from pine, poplar, and red oak, Michael found a single red oak log from a tree that had fallen in a nearby city. By making one 10 foot cut from that salvaged red oak log, Michael was able to make multiple projects including kitchen cabinets, an island, coffee table, end table, as well as facing out all the windows and doors for his new home. Using approximately 500 board feet from the same red oak log, Michael completed all the interior pieces in just three months. “All the pieces of my project are one-of-a-kind items that no one else will have in their home,” said Michael. “Everyone comments about the heavy duty construction and how unique and pretty the wood is.” The cabinets are made from typical box construction and the island top and both tables have no nails, only wooden dowels and glue to hold them together.
Michael’s dad, Billy, was a vital part of the projects giving him priceless advice on how to build cabinets. “My dad and brothers went in together and bought our LT15 about 5 years ago,” said Michael. “My project and others we have done have paid for it more than once. The time shared together on our projects and discussions we have had are priceless. Our only regret is that we did not become sawyers 10 to 20 years earlier.” Michael is very proud of the finished projects and says he would not have been able to complete them without his Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill. “I always brag on my Wood-Mizer sawmill,” said Michael. “Accuracy and strength of the saw has been excellent.” Michael comments that the simple and robust design of his LT15 sawmill helped him create not only one-of-a-kind pieces, but also helped him save over $10,000 on the projects. “Without spending a fortune, the LT15 can complete any project you dream about,” said Michael.
After the original deck of Neal Creek Resort’s A-frame house became outdated, Bryan Summerlin wanted to make the deck a larger, more user-friendly area around the structure. Throughout the month-long project, Bryan milled 4,200 board feet of douglas fir on his Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic portable sawmill to create the 1,100 square foot wraparound deck for the resort. “People are always surprised to see how nice the boards look right off of the LT40HD sawmill,” said Bryan. “We love the ample power on our diesel motor and the simplicity of operating the Accuset 2. The quick adjusting leveling system is a must.” Bryan received assistance from Heath Etzel, Jeffery and Chandelle Summerlin to complete the carpentry work for the project. Using post and beam construction, the group built the foundation, decking, and stairs while laminating lumber together for the handrails. Bryan says the new deck is the property’s new centerpiece. “Everyone enjoys the spaciousness of the deck, and people like the curved handrails,” said Bryan. “The kids really like the deck surrounding the large douglas fir tree.” The new deck enables visitors to appreciate the seemingly endless views of nature from all angles. “Most of the lumber dimensions are custom, and would have to be special ordered,” said Bryan. “We do not know how much we saved, but for us, having our Wood-Mizer sawmill is priceless.”
With a roll of string and a wish, the plans for this beautiful family cabin in Terrebonne, Oregon took shape almost immediately. “This project started when my mother-in-law said that she would like to have a cabin built on the property that she owned. So one day I gave her and my wife a roll of string, some stakes and a measuring tape and told them to lay it out. I came back about four hours later, after felling some trees on the property, and found that they had it laid out. My mother-in-law then asked me to draw up the plan as she explained. We worked on the cabin throughout the summer, on the weekends as we had time, and had it dried-in by winter.” Before the project could resume in the spring with the start of good weather, Joe’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer. They worked hard to get this cabin done before she passed away as it was her life-long dream to have a cabin on her property. “We worked all hands on deck, but she passed away five short weeks after her diagnosis.” In just one year's time and only a few months after his mother-in-law’s passing, the project was finished. Joe used the word “bittersweet” to describe the feeling of seeing the cabin. “Unfortunately she did not get to see the finished project,” he said. The family currently enjoys spending time in the cabin and will continue to enjoy the cabin in her memory for years to come. Joe estimated that by using his Wood-Mizer LT35 portable sawmill he saved close to $10,000. With the help of his mill, Joe was able to cut more than 90% of the ponderosa pine and juniper needed for the project. He estimated that approximately 4,000 board feet was cut for the build. The end result was this picture perfect, 392-square-foot, 14' x 20' cabin, complete with a loft and covered porch. Some other features of this cabin include a propane refrigerator and four-burner propane stove with oven. On the lower level there is a juniper dining table with benches as well as a futon. The upper bedroom loft area of the cabin provides extra space and is accessed from an outside stairway. All the decking surrounding the cabin is pine, and all of the hand railing is juniper. Metal roofing covers the large front porch and the 14/12-pitch cabin roof.
With a desire to build a covered structure that would give Neal Creek Resort flexibility for future growth, Bryan Summerlin was determined to construct a structurally sound pavilion that would feature the beauty of large timber beams. In just eight months, the Summerlin family transformed a large cement slab from an existing basketball court into a breathtaking pavilion that is used for virtually anything from storing large equipment to hosting gatherings such as picnics, birthday parties, baby showers, and outdoor concerts. Bryan milled a total of 11,730 board feet of douglas fir on his Wood-Mizer LT40HD portable sawmill for the pavilion that features 2,112 square feet of usable space. “This was a very large project for us,” said Bryan. “It was inspirational to watch the pavilion develop in different phases at different times.” Clinton Construction helped with the cement sawing, truss building and roofing while Jimco Electrical Contracting took over the electrical duties. “Everyone that helped were either friends or family,” said Bryan. “It was a group effort and everyone that worked on the building shared the same goal of quality craftsmanship.” Built in post & beam, the pavilion features 12 3’ x 6’ sliding windows for ventilation and to welcome natural light into the covered structure. Another unique feature is the ability to adjust lighting throughout the entire pavilion in order to accentuate the wood characteristics which are especially beautiful at night, Bryan says. “People always comment on the quality craftsmanship, the beautiful large timber beams, and how heavy duty the structure is,” said Bryan. “Everyone that sees the structure raves about it.”
When a bridge on their property was tragically smashed by a tree, Bryan Summerlin and his wife Chandelle decided to build an aesthetically pleasing covered bridge on their property. Starting out by setting a steel structure over the creek, the Summerlin family built the bridge piece by piece using custom heavy steel plates and bolts. With help from their nephew Jason, the Summerlins used their Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic portable sawmill all the lumber from trees off their own property. They sawed 100% of the 2,000 board feet of douglas fir and cedar required for the 52-foot-long, 442-squarefoot covered bridge. Using post & beam construction along with carpentry work from Chandelle and steel fabrication from Bryan, the Cooley Covered Bridge was completed in just three months. “Most people that look at it are in awe of the craftsmanship, and can’t believe all of the wood is rough cut and not run through the planer,” said Chandelle. The Summerlin family dedicated the bridge after the previous property owner, Mr. Cooley, and said when they presented it to him and his family they were all very emotional. “The project turned out absolutely beautiful,” said Bryan. “We could not wait to start our next Wood-Mizer project.”
Inspired to build a beautiful and unique custom piece of furniture, Bryan Summerlin’s Uncle Duane crafted a one-of-a-kind bench to accent their wraparound deck at Neal Creek Resort. Bryan Summerlin milled all 30 board feet of black locust on his LT40 Hydraulic portable sawmill and says the accurate cuts of his mill get you closer to furniture grade lumber quickly. Bryan said black locust is not available in town, which makes this project even more special due to the unique species of the wood. “My Uncle Duane did everything except milling and staining the wood.” In just two weeks, Duane completed the unique, custom bench project featuring a black locust seat and backrest, welded steel frame, and many different antique parts. “No one has ever seen a bench quite like this,” said Bryan. The bench has certainly made a statement at the resort and many visitors will be able to enjoy this one-of-a-kind project for decades.
"My main reason for buying a Wood-Mizer was to build a hunting cabin. However, I became side-tracked and built a playhouse, barn, chicken coops, picnic tables, benches, tomato stakes and more," said Warren Candee. Once Warren was able to use his lumber for residential structure building, he decided it was time to build that hunting cabin he always wanted. With his Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic portable sawmill, two years and 22,000 board feet later, Warren completed his cabin. "I am amazed! The project turned out so much better than I expected. With the Wood-Mizer on site, the jobs involved were easier than I had expected, and overall, more efficient," he said.
Inspiration can strike at any time, whether you seek it out or not. Some of the best inspiration can come from family, and for Bob Harbrige, an Engineering Handbook (Mechanics’ Pocket Memoranda, 6th edition) from 1900, which belonged to Bob’s grandfather, depicted a simple design for a stationary steam engine. After some time, that steam engine design transformed into a completed, fully functioning, Wooden Air Engine. The machine measures in at 39" x 20" x 19" and was constructed with wood milled on a Wood-Mizer LT15 portable sawmill. Over the course of four months, Bob used hickory, white oak and black cherry totaling an approximation of 30 board feet. The machine is designed as a decorator item and, as Bob shares, “This engine has been used to run a small generator powering LED lights. It has a three inch bore and a six inch stroke and works on approximately four psi of air pressure created by a vacuum.” The detail of the air engine is stunning and the work that went into the four month project is so detailed. “The engine block was made of 1.5" quartersawn black cherry blocks glued together cross grained. The center of the block was drilled for a three inch PVC pipe used as a cylinder sleeve. It has a hickory piston with a black cherry quartersawn piston rod. A wood lathe was used to form the crankshaft, flywheel spokes, flywheel hub, pulley, reverser handle, roller wheel on reverser, piston rod, slide valve rod, piston, spacers on crankshaft and feet for base. Three pieces of 3/16 planed quartersawn black cherry were glued together crossgrained to make plywood sheets. These were used for the reverser piston slide, block glide, slide valve slide, block guide and slide valve port plate. The air chest was made from quarter sawn black cherry and has a Lexan window to view the slide valve operation. The base was constructed from eight 1.5" x 3.5" cherry boards glued together and held with four bolts. The plaque on the front was made from quarter sawn oak with custom decals. The eccentric straps, connecting rod, crankshaft journals, main bearing blocking and valve guide bases were all made from quartersawn black cherry.”