Between the gratifications I got from building nice things from this “junk” wood and the stresses of running a construction business I made a decision to sell out, buy a portable bandsaw mill and get into the lumber business. I have three solar kilns and have sawed nothing but yard waste trees, blow-downs, and reclaimed woods since 2001. Utilizing all of my off-cuts for firewood and sawdust for animal bedding, I can’t imagine a much “greener” operation.
As business continues to grow and as demand for certain species spikes I sometimes buy a few logs from smaller loggers and buy high grade lumber from a few local sawmills. Obviously, a higher demand for quarter-sawn white oak doesn’t mean that windstorms single out white oak trees to supply our raw material needs.
Our local power utility knows that I’m in search of quality cull trees and will alert me if something good has to come down for power line clearance. A logger friend keeps me in mind when he runs across a log or two that he knows won’t be of interest to his regular buyers. He recently gave me half of a cherry fork that was downright ugly. It contained some of the curliest cherry that I have ever seen. A true diamond in the rough!
For really low grade or short logs, I saw 3 x 3” blanks that I kiln dry for about a year then cut into various lengths for table leg blanks. This has turned into a real niche as most commercial lumber driers won’t tie up kilns for the extended slow drying time required to prevent degrade. We sell thousands of these per year, mostly in sets of four on eBay. We are located in Syracuse, Indiana (Northern Indiana), right in the heart of the Central Hardwood Forests of North America. This forest region is home to more than 200 species of native trees. We stock the most requested species in a variety of thicknesses and sell to walk-in customers and ship world-wide. Our clients have a short drive from Chicago, South Bend, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Southern Michigan. We build 8 – 10’ pallets and shop for the best rates on common carrier and ship nationwide, normally within 24 hours. We have a regular customer near Los Angeles who says that he gets better material than he can get locally at about 2/3 the price, including shipping to his door.