With a passion for sawmilling and helping others, Dan Conder accepted the challenge of building a barn for Nick Roudebush, a Wesleyan University pottery instructor in need of a studio for his students. After harvesting and bucking dead white ash trees for the project, Dan began milling two years before construction in order to have the weathered and aged wood Nick wanted for the interior. “Getting all the wood for free allowed Nick to complete the studio sooner,” said Dan. “He was very thrifty in repurposing materials.” Dan’s Wood-Mizer LT40HD portable sawmill with RazorTip bandsaw blades was used to cut 99% of the 10,000 to 15,000 board feet of white ash needed for the project and he estimated saving $40,000 by milling his own lumber. When it was time to frame and side the barn, Dan received help from Mike, Grant, and Mitch House along with JR and Nick Roudebush. After two years, the 1,350-square-foot barn was completed. The finished studio is 24’ x 36’ with a 12’ x 24’ foot loft and an attached garage that is 12’ x 18’. Dan said the mill’s portability and ease of use helped him handle a large volume of logs that were in several locations during the project. “This exceeded my expectations,” said Dan. “I love the chance to help others and paying it forward, also Wood-Mizer support. Milling has become almost a ministry for me in my retirement years. Finding neat projects to get involved in and making them possible.”
After completing three large projects with his Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill, Peter Legere felt confident in his own ability along with the capabilities of his sawmill to take on his largest project to date. In 8 months, a 2,300-square-foot storage barn was completed using approximately 8,000 board feet of white pine and red oak all milled on Peter’s LT15 sawmill equipped with RazorTip bandsaw blades. By sawing 100% of his own lumber for the barn, Peter estimates he saved $10,000 on the project. “Besides the fact that my wife calls me a woodchuck, I have owned 2 LT15s,” said Peter. “After purchasing 10 wooded acres, I knew I wanted another LT15. The size, ease of use, and quality made it a no-brainer.”
One of the benefits of owning a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill is how it can help make you make the best possible use of resources, whether that resource
is space, time or materials. Gary Allison used his Wood-Mizer LT40 sawmill to find an excellent use of space on his property as well as a use for logs that would have otherwise gone to waste. As Gary’s family expanded, his house was becoming a little too small for entertaining and hosting family gatherings. His wife
encouraged him to provide a place where they could all spend time together. Since California has nice weather most of the year, rather than adding onto their house, they wanted to create an outdoor room and take advantage of that nice weather. The resulting project is an oval gazebo that is a roomy 14' x 21'. Gary worked on the gazebo during his spare time over the course of a year. To begin the construction process, he anchored the posts to the foundation with a 2" steel pipe. He made the post to rafter connection by notching the post and doing the rafter to fit while also gluing and bolting it. Gary used a compression header to build the roof structure, and he made the roof decking out of 2" tongue and groove material. The gazebo is an inviting outdoor space with plenty of sunlight as well as the shade of an oak tree. The pagoda roof is complete with two ceiling fans to keep guests cool on warm days. All 1,750 board feet of the lumber Gary needed came from deodar cedar logs he salvaged from urban forest. These logs were destined for the landfill, but Gary was able to salvage them and instead use his Wood-Mizer LT40 to transform them into beautiful lumber for the posts, rafters, headers, railing, ballisters, and roof decking. Because of the sawmill’s accuracy of cut and minimal waste, he was able to maximize the amount of wood he yielded from his logs. Gary estimated that using his LT40 saved him at least $3,500. After it was all finished, Gary said, “I was relieved to have it done, as well as happy it came together as I had envisioned it.” The well-designed gazebo has gotten more use out of it than Gary initially expected. It has become a favorite location for Gary’s family gatherings, serving as a location not only for dinner parties but for graduation parties and rehearsal dinners as well.
Whether it be a two-foot overhang or a 2,000-square-foot wraparound, the “porch” means something different to almost everyone. The people who have them love them, the people who don’t have them wish they did. With as many different functions as designs, the “porch” has definitely found its place in American architectural heritage. Craig Forman began reevaluating the design of his front porch soon after moving into his new Meadville, Mississippi home. The original
porch consisted of several steps leading up to a covered 8' x 24' pin oak floor that gave access to the front door. Although the porch was functional and did provide some room for seating, it was not the enjoyable outdoor space he had originally envisioned for his family. “The original porch was not really big enough
to use for anything,” said Craig. With the help of his two sons and his Wood-Mizer LT70 portable sawmill, Craig began converting his current porch into a larger, (16' x 24') more usable space. The rafters were extended for the roof using oak boards to sandwich the original beam, eliminating the need for a post in the middle of the new porch. Red cedar was used for the beautiful new railings around the porch and cedar was also used for the uprights. The rafters, beams
and floor joists were all made from southern yellow pine, and slabs of cedar and beech were cut to make the new benches. Approximately 1,400 board feet was cut with the Wood-Mizer during the week-long project. Craig said he could not put a price on how much he saved by using his Wood-Mizer mill, but “without my
Wood-Mizer, I could not get the cedar lumber. Everything except 5/4 deck boards were cut on the mill.” With the addition of his great grandmother’s rocking chair and his grandparents' leather bottom straight back chairs, the new porch has finally become the comfortable family outdoor space that he had imagined. “It’s a nice feeling to be able to provide something beautiful and functional for my family,” Craig said about completing the project.
With logs ready to saw and a love for building, 70-year-old Kent Mitchell decided to build a new barn with his Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic portable sawmill on his 80-acre Vermont property. Kent sawed 90% of the 7,000 board feet of spruce, fir and white pine on his mill for the project and estimates he saved $6,000 by doing so. Constructed over three months using standard wood frame, the 860 square foot “Mitchell Barn” has two sections at 16’x 36’ and 12’ x 34’ and includes
a roomy loft. The exterior is board and batten, except the front of the barn which is made from clapboard siding. “The building is entirely built of lumber logged on our land and milled on my mill, except for the front which is sheathed with plywood and clapboarded with materials from a previous project,” said Kent. With help from carpenter and close friend, Ron, Kent completed yet another project with lumber from his property. “I love my sawmill,” said Kent. “Over the years, I have built a storage building for my son, a barn in Maine, and have helped neighbors and friends saw logs they had a particular desire to use.” Kent also has plenty of Wood-Mizer sawn lumber in his own home including white-pine siding, cherry stair treads, banisters, vanity tops, cabinets, along with a maple kitchen island and butcher block top made with wood from his property. “Everywhere I walk in the house includes something I made with the help of the Wood-Mizer,” said Kent. “And boy it feels good!”
After semi-retiring from fine furniture making, Gregg Turk decided to try out a new job: being Santa. However, when children saw Gregg’s Santa persona, they would ask, “Santa, where is your sleigh?” With help from his LT40 portable sawmill, Gregg sawed 100% of the yellow and tulip poplar needed for Santa’s sleigh. Gregg worked on building the sleigh eight to ten hours a day and spent his evening designing the parts he would build next. Gregg considers his sleigh the culmination of more than 35 years of woodworking and the best project he has ever undertaken. His Wood-Mizer sawmill allowed him to work with high grade material that he never could have purchased at a lumber yard and gave him the flexibility he need in sizing his material. As Gregg says, “The combination of being a woodworker, a Santa, and owning a Wood-Mizer sawmill allows you to be able to build anything you can imagine!”
Richard Cloutier’s project is a special one. At age 65, his carpentry workshop is the project of his lifetime. What made this project even more special for Richard was that it was a family project. A long weekend with the family got construction off to a good start, and with friends and local help, the workshop was completed in just eight weeks. Richard used his Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic portable sawmill to cut 100% of the white pine logs for the workshop. The workshop includes a shed for wood storage as well as an area to keep his sawmill out of the snow during the winter. The main workshop is 30' x 20' with 12' x 30' side additions for a total of 920 square feet. He did the framing with 2' x 6' walls covered in 12" pine boards and battens. Richard’s LT40 Hydraulic gave him the ability to create two 10' x 12' x 20' beams, which he used to finish the inside of the shop, along with a tongue groove of pine boards for wall finishing. The walls were assembled on the floor, and Richard’s helpers raised them up. A tractor helped put the 20' pin beams in place. In addition to his personal creativity, Richard says his inspiration came from magazines, including past winners of the Personal Best Contest in The Wood-Mizer Way. It is fitting that his lifetime project is now also in the pages of a magazine to inspire other Wood-Mizer owners to start their own dream projects.
Timber frame structures are known for their big, heavy, dramatic designs and David Watters knows how to accentuate their beauty, boldness, and efficiency. For one of his recent projects, David worked with a client to build a full, heavy, four-story timber frame home using traditional mortise and tenon joinery. Located on a stunning piece of property in Indiana, this home qualifies as a passive house which means it meets rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency and has a reduced ecological footprint. Through its design elements of orientation, solar gain, and extremely well insulated panel wall structure, this home can be heated and cooled on a small, mini-split air system similar to a hotel unit. The home is a special showcase piece for David’s business, The Beamery, because it boasts all the unique and early construction methods of timber frame with a modern twist on efficiency and design. Built using bald cypress, this residence has 4,479 square feet. From the initial meeting to completion, the project took a few years because ample time was given for planning and financing. The fabrication and erection of the frame took David and his crew about two months. Using Wood-Mizer’s compact, powerhouse LT15 sawmill, David sawed 90% of the wood needed and shared that the mill while “small but mighty, was invaluable” on the fabrication of this job. Additionally, the MP100 Molder/Planer attachment was “essential in providing a smooth timber surface that the client desired,” continued David. “This versatile machine [LT15] has been a real value and money maker for our company.” The Beamery is enjoying the outstanding reaction by the owners, friends, family and new clients who have toured the home. David concludes that this project “proves that timber frame homes can be a great choice for building and thanks to our Wood-Mizer we were able to build it.”
When a natural disaster strikes, trees are often in the path of destruction. Robin Graham was faced with this situation when several tornadoes came through Alabama and left a trail of downed trees. Not wanting to see this resource go to waste, his solution was to purchase a Wood-Mizer LT15 portable sawmill and begin milling his logs and drying the lumber. As a one man operation, Robin liked that the bed rails of the LT15 were close to the ground so he could manually roll the logs onto the mill easily and also appreciated having the automated power feed option. Two years after milling the wood, he started construction on a
boathouse, using about 3,600 board feet of white oak, cedar, and cherry wood. He and his wife had wanted to build a boathouse on the lot for a while and wanted something that was unique. Robin spent eight months on the construction. The boathouse is built on 6" x 6" pressure treated posts driven into the lake bottom using a floating pile driver. Unique features include built-in shelves, rolling cedar barn doors, and a boat lift with the mechanics all hidden in the ceiling. The boathouse measures 32' x 30' with an 18' x 20' upper deck and 140' of walkways and stairs leading to the water. Purchasing a Wood-Mizer sawmill has proven to be a good investment as Robin estimates he saved about $20,000 by using his LT15. While building on the water presented its challenges, the end
result was very rewarding for Robin, and he was thrilled with how the finished product turned out. “Being able to design the boathouse, then cut, mill, and prepare the wood has provided a great sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.”
After constructing many small stick built structures, Randy Madison wanted to try timber framing on a smaller scale in order to get more experience before building his retirement home in the style. Two years later, the result is an 816-square-foot timber frame woodworking shop. "I'm very proud that it all went together without incident. The LT15 is a rugged and accurate machine, able to cut timbers to dimensions commercial mills can. It is totally easy to start and easy to run," Randy said. Randy estimates he saved more than $10,000 by sawing 3,500 board feet of southern yellow pine and hickory on his Wood-Mizer LT15 portable sawmill for the project. The final dimensions for his “timber frame triumph” are 17’ x 36’ with a 17’ x 12’ loft. Fresh off his first timber frame success, Randy is looking forward to building his retirement home now that he has more experience in timber frame construction.
Building homes, particularly log homes, is something Kylan Williams from Tygh Valley, Oregon has been doing for the last twenty years and has become quite an expert. However, Ky says this winning project was the most fun, challenging, and gratifying home he has ever built. After dismantling a 600-square-foot log cabin built in 1892, Ky salvaged the original logs and used timber from the property to add 2,100 square feet to the structure. The owner of the property, Becky Nelson, works for the forest service and loves nature, so salvaging as much of the original cabin as possible was very important to her. “I was personally interested because of the scope of creativity this project allowed,” said Ky. “I do lots of creative projects using my sawmill far more than just producing lumber products. This project afforded the opportunity for almost everything I use it for.” Ky and his two son-in-laws, Travis and Levi, milled all the logs, floor joists, framing lumber, flooring siding, rafters, roof sheathing, facia, trim and cabinets on his Wood-Mizer LT40 portable sawmill fitted with RazorTip bandsaw blades. The 2,700-square-foot home required over 25,000 board feet of ponderosa pine, douglas fir, white fir, and lodge pole. Ky estimates he saved over $50,000 on the overall project from salvaging logs and milling his own lumber. After working on the home for nearly two years, Ky feels very proud of what he has accomplished. “Everyone that sees this home thinks it is amazing,” he said. “I put my heart into all of it.”
After building many homes for others throughout the past 30 years, Thomas Thomas was inspired to finally build a home of his own on his small farm in
a quiet waterfront community in Washington State. Thomas knew that his Wood-Mizer LT28 portable sawmill, and help of family and friends, was going to be the ticket to completing the project on a tight budget. “This home is my final house,” said Thomas. “My concept was to build a very well designed, detailed, and efficient home that would stand the test of time.” Post and beam was used for the main structure, while standard framing was used for the interior. Many old school methods that Thomas had learned over the years in building homes were used in the extensive cabinetry throughout the home. “My family helped in all phases of post and beam framing,” said Thomas. “I could not have done this without them.” The siding, countertops, paneling, door frames and other miscellaneous items were all milled on the LT28 using cedar, spruce, and mesquite and saving Thomas an estimated $20,000 in materials alone. “This would not have been possible without my well used Wood-Mizer LT28 mill, and my wife - she’s a trooper,” said Thomas. Thomas milled 85% of the 9,000 board feet of lumber on his LT28 to complete his 1,520-square-foot home in just 16 months. “My friends and family are amazed at the amount of detail and quality workmanship of this home,” said Thomas. “This was a huge project due to the amount of detail. I am glad and relieved it is now done.” When asked if Thomas would be retiring his LT28 sawmill now that he has built his final home he replied, “Oh no, I plan to convert it to a stationary mill and keep using it.”
Owning his LT40 portable sawmill for more than 15 years, Phil Ritchey was finally able to build a complete structure from start to finish for the first time. With help from friends and during a period of six months, Phil built a lakeside post-and-beam gazebo, complete with a stone fireplace and an outdoor kitchen. He sawed 7,500 board feet of white and red cypress and red cedar for the 32’ x 40’ gazebo and estimated he saved thousands of dollars by sawing his own lumber with his Wood-Mizer. Phil’s favorite thing about his sawmill is its portability. He remarks, “The men love the saw and lumber, and the women love the gazebo and kitchen!” When asked about how he feels now seeing the project completed, he says he feels, “Very proud. We harvested the timber, sawed it, milled it, and then built this beautiful place. This is the first time I’ve gone from standing trees to a finished project and everything in-between.”
When a customer asked Scott Brockway if he could make a sugar shack out of his trees, Scott not only “hit the sweet spot” with a wonderful project, he scored with a Wood-Mizer Personal Best award. Scott’s winning project was a timber frame styled 16’ x 24’ New England sugar house that took three months to complete. For the project, Scott milled 95% of the 1,850 board feet of white pine, spruce, and red pine on his Wood-Mizer LT50 portable sawmill with SilverTip bandsaw blades. According to Scott, his ability to utilize trees harvested from the customer’s land to mill siding, trim, posts, beams, and truss material saved his customer about $6,500 for the complete project. “I built the trusses in my shop,” Scott explains. “I used mechanical fasteners to hold the timbers together, built the post frame, set the trusses with the help of an excavator, then installed the roof, siding, vents and side doors.” Scott, the owner of Berkshire Wood Products says his mill’s Accuset 2 was an important feature enabling him to get the most yield from a tree. “I feel very satisfied to know that my Wood-Mizer was a great investment for my business,” Scott said. “I am one of only a few builders around that could have done this project using standing trees on the customer’s property to build a completed sugar shack. People who see it seem to be impressed that I was able to mill all the lumber and then build it.”
The Joe Gibbs Youth for Tomorrow prayer pavilion was in need of a stage where they could hold church concerts and plays put on by the children. Russell Martin and project manager Willie Washington were more than happy to be a part of the project that included a 14’ x 20’ stage and back wall made from dawn redwood, three custom cut 12’ oak crosses and 30 slabs that measured in at 3’ x 22’ x 12’ for bench seating. Russell used his Wood- Mizer LT70 sawmill with DoubleHard bandsaw blades to cut 85% of the 3,500 board feet of dawn redwood and oak for the project, all while saving thousands of dollars in the process. Russell was originally asked to help make only slab seating, but once the foundation witnessed what the mill was capable of, the project quickly decided to add on the stage with back wall and rustic crosses. “The LT70 allowed us to cut anything we needed for this project and allowed us to grow the project into what it [has] become,” said Russell. The project, which was divided up into a three step process took two months to complete and has received a great response from everyone who has seen it. “[I am] proud, to see an idea on paper, then to see it now is truly amazing. Everyone who has seen it has said wow,” said Russell. “I am very happy to take these trees off of the construction site, mill them, and build projects like this. I love my LT70.”
"I enjoy making maple syrup but it can be difficult when trying to do it entirely outside,” said Robert Gondar. “I had always wanted a comfortable and warm sugarhouse and with a little prodding from my grandchildren, the dream turned into a reality.” With his Wood-Mizer LT15 portable sawmill, Robert sawed 100% of the 3,734 board feet needed for the 512-square-foot sugarhouse. Robert estimated saving $2,240 by sawing all the tamarac, spruce, fir, and eastern white cedar for the project. “It was a true sense of accomplishment that wouldn't have been affordable without having my own wood lot and a Wood-Mizer,” he said. “I was finally able to boil my sap from an outdoor barrel evaporator to a nice and comfortable building. Many friends and neighbors joined me during the sap season to make it an enjoyable and tasty winter."