Friday, April 3, 2015

Tour of a Rural Iowa Sawmill

Recently while making a trip to one of my favorite little mom 'n pop sawmills, I decided I'd snap some pics to share with you all. Something tells me not every woodworker gets to see something like this.

The sawyer's name is Paul and we've become friends. He's in his mid 70's now. How he keeps this place in operation by himself is beyond me. Paul always enjoys when I bring him pictures of the furniture, benches, and whatever else I make with his lumber. I could see how that would be rewarding for a him.

Of course his prices are pretty good since we're cutting out the middle man. That said, some woodworkers don't like this type of lumber source because they only want select grades. There's a lot more common grade wood in a log than people realize. I have no problem working around/with defects, especially when the lumber it's priced correctly.

Here goes. Entering a "hardwood farm" that has been in the same family for over a century.




Inside the sales room. He carries mostly stuff from our area: white oak, walnut, cedar etc. Sometimes he'll swap other sawyer to get some cherry and maple.


Paul is checking out the pictures I brought him. His place gets a little cluttered;)


Here's the stacks in his main building. Paul's not running out any time soon.



And now my favorite part....the sawmill. Does it look like a one?


Well, it is....old school. Big circular blade powered by the pto of a tractor. There's a sled on the backside of that big blade that slide the log back and forth. Freshly cut board fall toward the front. Totally OSHA approved.


It's cool to think my entire shop, and a lot of the furniture I've made has run across this saw.


Crazy ehh? Too bad he wasn't sawing that day or I could have got some action shot. Sometimes when I arrive he is sawing and I jump right in the action. I think it's fun.


Got a little bit of everything that day. Though it doesn't show in the pic, the maple towards the front is nicely figured bird's eye.

Most of the rest is red oak for an upcoming project. Take care all, Red