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 >>
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 >>
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 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.
Triple S Christian Ranch is an Independent Fundamental Baptist summer camp and retreat center located in Rose Bud, Arkansas. Hundreds of young people from across the nation journey to Triple S each year to enjoy exciting activities, Christian fellowship, and spiritual growth through Bible study and preaching.
With a focus on teens, Brother John Bishop and his wife, whom he affectionately calls, “My Donna”, started Triple S Christian Ranch in 1975. They moved to Arkansas that same year and began to work on their dream of providing a place, for kids between the ages of 9-19, to get away from the world and its influence long enough for God to get their attention.
Surrounded by beautiful trees and nature, the ranch features not only a Christ-centered atmosphere, but also all the accommodations needed for teenagers to have an amazing summer camp experience. Highlights of the camp’s facilities include comfortable cabins, a prayer tabernacle, snack bar and gift shop, as well as many recreational areas including a gym, rock wall, a pool, playground, and sports areas. While the family run camp spent the past 40 years focused on providing places to make the campers’ experience excellent and rewarding, their office for the business side of the ranch was badly deteriorated. As a way to celebrate his parents’ 40th anniversary of owning and running their Christian ranch, Luke Bishop set out to build them a new 684-square-foot office.
Using his Wood-Mizer LT35 Hydraulic portable sawmill with DoubleHard blades Luke sawed around 4,000 board feet of yellow pine from their property for not only the conventional framing, trusses, and beams, but also for the interior walls, ceilings and accent areas. The front door is surrounded by beautiful pine shakes that were made using the mill’s shingle/lapsider attachment.
When asked how long his gift and labor of love took, Luke explained that it was a nine month process and that he had help from volunteers to set the trusses as well as plane, sand, and finish the interior boards. He also shared that the mill’s hydraulics “made a major difference in his one man cutting operation.” Luke continued, “I am blown away that all of the materials came from the sawmill with the exception of the dry wall and metal.” The camp’s new office appraised for nearly five times what the family invested to build it. If that alone wasn’t enough satisfaction, Luke looks at the project with a warm and rewarding feeling and says that he “loves it and can’t wait to start another one.”
When Beau Duman of Prairie Rootz Design & Build in Asotin, Washington was challenged with creating a completely custom glass house from scratch, he was more than happy to showcase his tremendous creativity and skill. Beau’s challenge resulted in a one-of-a-kind structure that exceeded the expectations of his client and earned him a First Place Award in the Creative Showcase category of this year’s Personal Best Contest. Making great use from the versatility of his 1989 Wood-Mizer LT30 sawmill, Beau milled 100% of the 5,600 board feet of reclaimed douglas fir needed for the 260-square-foot glass house. The entire project took three months to design, four months to craft all the building materials, and only ten days to assemble onsite. The unique structure, operating as a greenhouse, features copper flashings, a building management system, and electronically tinted glass in order to control how much sunlight reaches the plants. Much of the douglas fir used for the frame, millworks, sash, and door is Radio Frequency Vacuum (RFV) dried lumber. RFV dried lumber typically leads to some of the straightest, most stable, and consistent lumber due to the large amount of additional pressure on the wood during the drying process. “The entire project, design, build, millworks, copper and glazing was done in house,” said Beau. “The construction method was entirely custom to the building and design.” The glass house was constructed in timber frame style with custom joinery while all the millworks were done with traditional mortise and tenon. “I would like to give a big thank you to my client for giving me the opportunity to fulfill her desires and create this piece for many generations to enjoy,” said Beau.
When you visit Jeff Johnson’s website, you learn he is a small, owner-operated timber frame company in the southwestern mountains of North Carolina who enjoys his craft and loves working with wood. You are also greeted with an inspirational message: “Wood is a gift to be celebrated and treasured throughout the life of the home, not hidden behind walls never to be seen.” And, you don’t have to look hard to see that he is not only building timber frame homes that showcase wood, but also barns, mantels, porticos, and pavilions. About a year before Jeff purchased his LT15 portable sawmill, he looked at the feasibility of using a small mill as a key machine in his timber frame shop. He knew he would not be using it to just saw boards and lumber, but rather creating a variety of timber frame pieces using a customized jig he fabricated for the mill. As a result of his decision Jeff says, “The LT15 with the bed extensions and jig have been invaluable and we would not have been able to create the structures it has enabled us to do over the past 10 years.” One impressive structure that Jeff’s LT15 has helped him construct is a custom, octagonal, clear span timber frame pavilion that he and his team created for a customer was looking for an unique structure that would not only be functional for yearly events, but would complement the surrounding beauty of his land. The pavilion is built out of Douglas fir and required 2,125 board feet. Its finished dimension is 1,236 square feet. The construction methods are based on traditional mortise and tenon joinery with steel fasteners and high tension connections. The dramatic cupola at the top of the pavilion was set in place by two cranes with one operator staying onsite for 24 hours while the cupola was being joined to the rest of the frame. The entire project took five months to complete. Jeff has received outstanding comments and compliments for those that have been able to see this pavilion either in person or in pictures.
Like many Wood-Mizer sawmill owners, Stephen Antony is more than a sawmill owner and operator, he is a craftsman turning the lumber he mills into true works of art. While the sky might be the limit when it comes to the creative mind, Stephen’s Personal Best project stops at his cabin’s ceiling. “I wanted something more interesting than the same old pine tongue and groove look,” said Stephen. To achieve the unique look he was after, Stephen milled white pine logs on his RazorTip bandsaw blade equipped LT40 Super Hydraulic portable sawmill into one inch thick live edge boards then hand scribed each ceiling board to achieve a perfect fit with each neighboring board. Next, Stephen says he “sawed one inch boards and hand distressed them to make the look of a center beam.” The final step according to Stephen was to “saw logs with branches in half to go over the ceiling boards to cover the seams.” The Wood-Mizer was especially important to Stephen because, “Being able to cut logs with short branches sticking out enables me give a project a more rustic look,” he said. In fact, Stephen continues, visitors to the cabin are amazed by the look he achieved. “They think it is so unique, they just can’t figure out how it was done,” said Stephen. “By using my own logs and the Wood-Mizer sawmill I was able to save several thousand dollars.”
To satisfy his aunt’s request for a greenhouse to be built, Mike Guglielmo decided to put his own funky twist on the project. After five weeks and 248 man hours,
Mike’s “Funky Greenhouse” was completed. Using his LT15 portable sawmill equipped with SilverTip bandsaw blades, Mike sawed 100% of the 733 board feet of lumber needed for the 9’ x 11’ structure. Eastern white pine along with salvaged old windows and doors were used in the building construction. “Reclaiming,
scraping, sanding, reglazing, and washing the doors and windows was not my cup of tea until I got to use them,” said Mike. “When they were all installed is when I felt the satisfaction of a restorer.” To build the structure, Mike started with 6” x 6” pieces for the foundation and red bricks for the floor. After that he used 4” x 4” posts for the corners, and filled the rest of the walls with the reclaimed doors and windows. Mike used a variety of lumber sizes for the ridge board, rafters, and purlins while using “wormy white pine” for the live edge potting table inside the greenhouse. Mike said, “The ability to saw any size and quality lumber that I needed, without the hassle of a lumber yard or big box store,” was a very helpful feature of his Wood-Mizer mill. The comment Mike hears most about this project is the unique and detailed use of shelves on the outside walls. “I love my Wood- Mizer LT15,” said Mike. “It allows me to saw the lumber I want and to build whatever I want. I am only limited by my own ability.”
A two-time Personal Best Contest winner, taking 1st Place in 2013 for a large barn, Nicholas’ prize winning project this year is a 36’ x 40’ post and beam monitor barn. This style was constructed with roots in designs used to create Vermont’s barns 150+ years ago. According to Nicholas, the 3,000 square foot structure required about 19,000 board feet of sawn lumber, all of it milled on the Wood-Mizer LT40HD portable sawmill Nicholas’ business, Spooner’s Mill, relies on day in and day out. The ability to mill 100% of the hemlock, ash, oak, and cherry posts, beams, boards, pegs and splines needed to construct the barn allowed Nicholas to estimate a total savings of about $10,000 for the project.
After seeing the beauty of the wood inside a large maple log, David Poston from Rock Hill, South Carolina decided to build his very own coffee table to showcase the unique characteristics of the slab in his home. David milled all 30 board feet of maple needed for the project on his Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic portable sawmill and says the most useful part of his sawmill was “without a doubt, the hydraulics. This was a huge log.” To construct the 2’ wide, 5’ long, 1 ½’ high table in just three days, David used nothing more than glue, wooden screws, dowels, and the live edge maple slab. From sawing to finish, the project took a total of three years in order to kiln dry the maple for use as interior furniture. While obtaining the maple log for free, David said he saved nearly $800 total on the project. Once seeing his completed table for the first time, David said he felt, “a bucket full of joy!” The response from others has been nothing less. “The first thing they say is ‘can you make me one?’” David said. As for his sawmill’s role, David says, “My LT40 is not just a bandmill, but a family member. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”