Wood-Mizer Project Gallery


Justin Metcalf - Grist Mill

2013 Personal Best First Place Winner in Small Barns and Sheds


custom log mill
custom log mill
large timbers
custom log mill
interior of grist mill
construction of mill site
Grist Mill
Justin Metcalf and his Wood-Mizer Sawmill

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.