Stemming from a father and son’s dream to build their own business, Hunski Hardwoods salvages diseased and dying urban trees and mills them into high quality slabs and lumber. Established in 2010 by James Hunsaker and his son Nick, the California business has increased production and efficiency with the addition of their Wood-Mizer WM1000 headrig that offers a 67” diameter log cutting capacity.
Involved in the urban logging industry for over 30 years, James Hunsaker made a habit of taking his son Nick to work with him as far back as he can remember. “Early on, my dad was working by himself salvaging walnut orchards and urban walnut trees for sale to companies making wide slabs and lumber,” said Nick. “After spending some time at a few of these companies and seeing what they did with the logs, we realized we could do the same thing.” Not long after, the father and son team went from selling only logs to also selling wide slabs and Hunski Hardwoods was born.
From the start, James and Nick labored with a chainsaw mill that would take up to eight hours to cut a single log depending on the size. That was until 2013 when they watched a demonstration of a Wood-Mizer WM1000 headrig and realized the potential and growth they could experience with their business. “Once we saw the WM1000 in action and how it made easy work of any sized log, we knew we needed one,” said Nick. “Before the WM1000 we could mill one to maybe two logs per day, now we are averaging three to five per day with ease. Not only can we cut more logs per day, but we are gaining one to two more slabs per log as well. We couldn’t run our business without it.” Nick recalls that in the first two weeks of owning their WM1000, they were able to mill 30 logs that yielded approximately 200 slabs.
Hunski Hardwoods mills urban walnut logs into wide slabs, lumber, gunstock blanks, billets, and turning wood while supplying their salvaged wood products to a wide variety of clients including woodturners, woodworkers, furniture makers, gunstock makers, interior designers, and even guitar makers. “Since we go out and find the trees, salvage them ourselves and mill them, the whole process stays in house and we can tell our customers the whole story of the tree,” said Nick. "We have found that our customers really like to know the story of the tree in which their slab came from, so we make it a priority to find out as much as we can from the owner."
Sawing 2,000 board feet and running the mill 5 hours per day, Nick says the WM1000 allows them to be more efficient with their milling by saving time and money. “We are salvaging walnut on a daily basis and the faster and more precise we can mill them, the faster we can sell them,” he said. "The WM1000 has also taken away the wear and tear that we would put on our bodies from our previous [chainsaw mill]. Being a father and son team, it would be very gratifying if we were able to inspire others to go out and start their own business."
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