A new client of mine was telling me about her son-in-law who has been
in the process of rebuilding an old sawmill, not far from where my
parents used to live. I had noticed the activity there, with the log
buildings being worked on and workers all over the place.
As pure coincidence would have it, I ran into one of the partners on
this project when I was buying myself a new SAK (Swiss Army Knife...he
was all out of Swiss Navy Knives).
He told me that they have well over 50,000 BF of miscellaneous wooden
beams from old barns and salvaged 200-year old maple and other logs
from the depths of Georgian Bay.
They will be using modern technology in terms of drying the lumber and
fancy metal detectors before sawing the stuff "with substantial, new
Some of the stuff will be cut into veneers.
This is right in my area, and I am chomping at the bit to get my nose
Solid surface fabrication is doing well for me... but wood is in my
I even had a dream that I bought some exotic hand plane which produced
a curl that floated to the ceiling.
I need help!
Sigh. I have similar dreams. I am sick of remodeling and repair. If
I had something else on the table that would pay the various expenses
one seems to incur by osmosis, I would seriously consider shutting
down the company, or reducing it to "intersting projects only".
If I had a sawmill open up anywhere near to me... just within 50
miles, I would probably be thinking waaay too much about what I could
be doing instead of what I should be doing. I spend too much time
thinking about a roomy furniture/cabinet shop at the edge of some
small town around here.
But before that when I was at the Texas Furniture Maker's Guild
contest, I saw a lot of really good work. Some of it was OK, some of
it just wasn't my taste (but the workmanship was great), and some was
clever and inventive. But the guys that placed, WOW. A couple of the
pieces would challenge anyone. It was inspiring to me, but also
pointed out new wood working skill sets I haven't even touched.
Skills that could take years to master. Sounds good to me.
I often wonder why I never took up fishing or something along those
lines. At least you could blame poor performance on bad luck,
weather, equipment failure, etc. Kinda hard to do with woodwork. Yet
I think for some of us woodworkers/carpenters, like your dream of a
long wispy curl from a well tuned plane, it is the climb as much as
But a woodmill? I have a friend of mine that made a trip up to Ohio
last year and went to veneering mill near a town he was visiting. He
wanted to get me some bowl blanks for the lathe, so he stopped in to
see how much they wanted for them. They had ends that were deemed
unusable for veneers with some cracking, branches and knots. These
were piled high outside the main machinery. Price? Take all you
want, in the off season they can't give these stumps away fast
enough. In the fall, they give them away for firewood so they don't
have to haul them off.
What a haul I would make for the lathe and my woodturning club with a
nearby sawmill. I would have more new best friends than I could
Sun, Apr 29, 2007, 1:47pm (EDT-3) firstname.lastname@example.org whimpers:
<snip> If I had a sawmill open up anywhere near to me... just within 50
There are about 7 (seven) sawmlls within 10 miles of where I live.
THAT I KNOW OF. And that's only in ONE drecton. There's maybe 2-3 a
little further out; again, that I know of. I found all of them by just
driving by them, didn't hunt down a single one. No telling how many
there are within 50 miles, or how many of them I could find if I really
wanted to. You need to start taking some weekend drives, and asking
around. By the way, a number of those sawmills are within the city
limits of our county seat, and about 20-25 miles from Raleigh, the NC
capitol, so we're not exactly talking a low population area here.
If you don't ask the right questions, the answers don't matter.
- W.S. Lind
Many years ago, flew in a single engine plane from Dallas to San Angelo.
During the flight, if you looked in a northerly direction, you could
see miles and miles of miles and miles that contained an occasional
If you looked in a southerly direction, you could see miles and miles
of miles and miles.
Trying to run over rattlesnakes and tarantulas on the highway at
6:00AM before things got too hot was something to relieve the boredom
Sun, Apr 29, 2007, 5:52pm (EDT-2) email@example.com (Swingman) doth sayeth:
Yabbut ... in San Antone where Robert is, you can see any tree within 50
Yeah, what they call trees we call brush.
I have heard there's places where a lot of messkeet grows, and
someims, by careful cutting, you can get boards as long as 3 feet out of
I spent about 3 years at Ft Hood. That's not far from one of the
cultural centers of Texas. Ding Dong. Truth.
If you don't ask the right questions, the answers don't matter.
- W.S. Lind
On Apr 29, 4:40 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org (J T) wrote:
Whimpers? Are you kidding me? Isn't it about time for your annual
"I'm leaving the group" farewell tour? A comment about a fact isn't a
whimper, bitch. You watch too much Oprah.
Good reason for caps, no doubt. I am that you feel if someone of your
intelligence could find them, everyone should be able to.
driving by them, didn't hunt down a single one. No >telling how many there are
within 50 miles, or how many >of them I could find if I really
Good for you! You live in a state with an abundance of hardwood.
Hurray! So much native hardwood they have sawmill signs out on the
So? Did I comment on NC? No, unlike you, I don't comment on things I
don't know anything about. I specifically mentioned my location, not
of our county seat, and about 20-25 >miles from Raleigh, the NC capitol, so
we're not exactly >talking a low population area here.
Looking at that statement, you must be assuming that more people means
more sawmills, or more wood to cut, or both.
Maybe even a connection to the proximity of sawmills and state
Let me help you out. Raleigh, NC has a population of about 375,000
people (don't bother with Raleigh-Durham-Cary). San Antonio is right
at 1.3 million, not including the metropolitan area. Where is the
wood? I live in a county that covers over 400 square miles, and on
one edge it is about 75 miles from the capitol. Granted, that's more
than 20-25, but where are the sawmills?
It is arrogant and profoundly stupid of you to think I haven't looked
for a close sawmill of any sort. And it almost borders some kind of
retardation for you to think you know more about this area than I do.
In the SFWIW category, Southern California has 8 counties, if you
include Santa Barbara, and a tad over 17,000,000 people.
One of those counties, San Bernardino, which is not the most populous
by any means, is larger than the state of Connecticut.
You want desert, there is plenty of it.
You want a sawmill, try 4-500 miles north.
Still California, just a tad north.
Sun, Apr 29, 2007, 11:17pm (EDT-3) email@example.com doth exclaim:
A bunch of stuff I will respond to, but snipped .
OK, then substitute 'exclaimed his remorse', or some other words
rather than 'whimper'. It's not like a personal attack on you.
Bitch? People from Texas talk like that now? San Francisco yes,
but San Antonio? Sure didn't when I was there.
I was trying to point out that sawmills can be found where you'd
never expect one. But you missed that. As I recall, there was even at
least one somewhere around the Ft Hood area when I was there in the mid
'70s, one of the last places I'd have expected a sawmill.
Actually most of the sawmills here I spoke of deal with pine, one
specializing in cedar. Only one had signs on the highway, the others
had small signs along their entrances.
You specifically mentioned your location? You might want to go
back and check the post I responded to. You did mention you were at the
Texas Furniture Maker's Guild contest, no mention of participation.
Nothing about where you live, or even that you actually live in Texas.
Kinda hard to comment on where you live if I don't know. What I
commented on was what I actually know.
Nope, I made the statement based on the fact that even with a
rapidly building population, and subdivisions everywhere it seems, there
are still sawmills around. I though that would be self-evident too, but
got that one wrong too..
Well Hell, I could have read the population figures on an Atlas
myself. Where's the wood? I don't know, I'm not there to look. The
size of your county has nothing to do with anything. And the sawmills?
I don't know that either.
Arrogant and profoundly stupid of me to think you haven't looked
for a sawmill? Nope, because you didn't say. I don't know you, so
don't have any reason to assume you did. Borders on some sort of
retardation for me to think I know more about your area then you do?
Never said, or implied, I did. What I do know is that if 'I' was the
one looking for a sawmill out there I'd get me a plan. I'd start out by
checking the phone book, then contact my local Chamber of Commerce, and
Better Business Bureau. Then, along with askng anyone and everyone I
came acroos about sawmillls, I'd contact:
County business permit, or tax, office. At least one local university.
Your county, and srrounding counties, Agricultural Agents. State
Forest Service. Bandsaw sawmill manufacturers ,for owners in the area
that will do sawing. After all, 50 miles from you to a sawmill means a
search circle that's 100 miles across - and that's a lot of area. And,
if all that still didn't find me at least one sawmill, I'd say to Hell
with it, and buy, or make, my own damn sawmill. No prob. Personally,
if I had some more space here I'd just go ahead and buy a bandsaw mill,
period. There's a lot of potential lumber going to waste around here
clering land for new subdivisions and mini-mall and the like. I
wouldn't bother gathering any of it mysef, I'd just saw wood brought to
me. Figure payback would be pretty fast, even with a top-of-the-line
Ah yes, do I have a plan to psst? Hadn't intended to post it, but
since you asked:
I plan on retrieving my trash can from the curb, taking a look at the El
Camino's rear lights, and spending a bit of time in the shop fiddling
with the planer sled I made to make a part for my mitre saw. I'll just
wing everything after that.
If you don't ask the right questions, the answers don't matter.
- W.S. Lind
You have at least six sawmills within one hundred miles that I know of, and if
you check the woodmiser list, probably a lot more.
Just stay away from any Belizean you meat with a portable rig, usually going
under the name of John Losket.
Excellent!! Although I wouldn't really call a two hundred mile trip a
short one (my truck gets about 12-14 on the hwy and being in business
I always figure in gas), maybe I could find some of the ones you know
about within that radius. Now if I found one that worked with my
Where are they?
Like I said earlier, I know about many that are a few hours away, but
none near. I hope you aren't counting those two stoners out at
limecreek mill near Uvalde in your mix.
Truthfully, I haven't checked Woodmizer for about 1 1/2 years, and the
last ones they gave me had them for personal use or sold all their
product to private customers. The old links I have don't work, and
the two portable mill guys I bought from before have disconnected
But I am not looking for a portable mill, either, and if you got that
from my original post, I am not sure how. I was thinking in context
of my post that I was looking at the mill ends given away as firewood
being good turning blanks, etc. I do not need wood sawn, so I am not
sure about the value of contacting Woodmizer.
But a full fledged mill that ran all day would indeed be of interest.
So if you will give me some names and numbers of the six you know off
the top of your head I would certainly appreciate it.
Don't let me down.. I have already talked to a couple of my buddies
that are looking forward to a road trip if something turns up here.
One has an old one ton p/u, so the fifty mile radius would be great,
but close to that would be OK, too.
Star with Texas Woods, Inc. Rural Route 1 Box 66 Bastrop, TX 78502 (800) 687-1779
He will talk your ear off and tell you who is in business and where.
Apparently ten years is enough for people to change their numbers on me :-)
Dittmar runs a mill in your area.
However, you have to start think about buying wood as the profit margins mean
that most of us no longer give anything away.
I was actually hoping you would send me the six mills you referenced
when you jumped in with
SNIP to newer posting
Apparently, sadly, you aren't having any better luck with this than I
am. I was encouraged by the surety of your words. I personally have
people I can call and talk to about mills in Texas. I was hoping that
since you volunteered that so readily you were on your game, not
thinking about ten year old info.
One more time to help with the confusion, the fifty mile mark
mentioned was the desired limit of distance, with some flexibility.
And once more, I know where there are mills a couple to three hours
drive away. My associates and me all know the same guys, we all know
the same mills, we all know where they are. We know how to contact
the mesquite guild, we know how to use the yellow pages, some of us
are members of the local chamber, and all of us know how to ask.
And again, see above for the fifty mile reference point and its
Nope. Accoding to local legend (the memories of the 72+ years old
club of contractors I know), they shut down their mill operation
sometime in the 50's, and have been selling lumber as a commodity ever
since. They have sold some rough sawn in the past but I don't think
they do now unless it is ordered. I *think*still offer planing
services, but in no way are they a mill. One of the smaller lumber
vendors here, they now concentrate mainly on wholesale materials, and
small custom orders.
Hmm... odd remark. While I noted that it was ironic that mill ends
were given away as firewood in Ohio, I never indicated I wanted you to
feel the bite of being taken advantage of when you posted
Assuming "us" is your group of some sort, (obviously not a lumber mill
association ;^) ) what is did you give away for free that made you
In context of telling me I need to think about buying wood
stop a minute and take a breath before you run away with yourself. I
buy anywhere from $1000 to $12,000 of material a month as a
contractor. No one gives me anything free, not material, not
delivery, not handling, nothing... not a cent. I never ask, >>then I
don't owe<<. Looking mainly for service, I don't ever want some
vendor to tell me, "it won't be there until tomorrow (instead of
today), but it does have that free stuff on there we promised to give
you for nothing".
Back to your last sentence or two. In context of your message asking
for consideration of "us" (the ones that no longer give anything
away), who is the "us" that you represent when you talk about the
profit margins of wood? Are you a lumber/hardwood supplier or
The 'No Bullshit' approach is sooo refreshing.
Just the other day, I received an e-mail and a fax of the drawings to
quote on a job.
Just an L-shaped counter with an island. A nice mid-sized gig for me.
The e-mail specifically asked me for my "best price."
I quote the gig and e-mailed my proposal. The reply asked if that was
indeed my best price.
I e-mailed back, and added $ 500.00 and said: "you were right, that
wasn't my best price...this is."
I mean, who's got time for bullshit?
I haven't heard back yet. <G>
The West side of the property where I live, has a row of cedars and it
is jam-packed with all kinds of excitable birds. Before dawn, the
little suckers start their day early with a sound some would call a
racket. To me it is music.
The other morning, for fun, I decided to do a Fonzy and yelled: "COOL
IT!!" out of the window. For a few seconds, it was dead silence..then
a little muttering, then a full-fledged crescendo which sounded a lot
like "ahhh go screw yourself" I then turned toward Angela and said:
"you know they're heckling me??"
Poor thing had to be resuscitated, she almost passed out from
laughter... it took her a good 10 minutes before she could tell me
that I had looked quite serious when I said that.
When you start off a day like that, there just isn't time for
I have NO idea what just made write this.. but it is time for a
bourbon and a cigar.... skip the cigar.. too dangerous.
Why do the do that? Obviously you don't know these folks, or they
would shoot you over a drawing and ask you how much it will run. So
some nitwit puts on their schoolmarm dress and half glasses and says,
"now Bobby, I want your best work here. Don't bother to turn in
something that isn't your best."
What is worse to me is that most of those using that approach simply
do not have the gonads to use language I understand: "hey, this thing
is completely price driven. Gimme your lowest shot upfront because
that's the one I will most likely take".
But to be talked down to by having some idiot tell you they want your
best price, it grinds on me. Just say it.... I want it as cheap as
possible! It isn't that hard. Why do they think you would give them
a crappy price? Do they think you have that much time to waste? It
is galling to get those, especially from someone that doesn't have
anymore interest of investment in you doing the work than just faxing
over a drawing.
Thinking what... that you intentionally gave them a bad price (knowing
that client speak of questioning "best price" means they think you are
too high) and wasted your time to do it?
Alright, you got me there. No coffee on the monitor, but almost. I
have done a lot of things, when negotiating, but never that. As Daffy
says, "It is to laugh".
ALTHOUGH..... Don't you be one bit surprised if you DO hear from them,
because having made *sure* that you gave them your best price, they
will be moved at your additional efforts. Ya think?
Why you would seperate two old friends like that, I don't know. I
don't get to it too much anymore, but I do love the combination. I
don't know how strong I can be though, as this opened up less than two
miles from my house:
Talk about reasonable prices.... and on the way home, too. And a
smoking parlour with leather chairs and great smoke eaters.... BYOB
(bring your own bourbon!). I'm not made of stone...
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