Building your life with Craftwood

My Life's work has been to saw lumber to use ourselves, and to provide building materials for others, while conserving the forest resource; utilizing: downed, dead, diseased or threatening trees, as well as healthy ones. Thinned trees and fire abatement has been a growing concern, with increased need for fire-threat awareness.

Merchantable trees are also a focus when healthy trees have a need to be removed for view sheds, sunlight or expansion. When we get a sound, healthy tree it is dealt with according to our mission statement which is to “use it where it should be used”. Treetops and lower quality wood goes into framing lumber and fence boards ,lower quality posts and girders where they can more easily absorb knots. Wood from the middle of the tree could be a desired grade if the tree grew north slope or in a thick forest reaching for the sun or if growing in full sun and/or south slope the tree would have more and larger knots and be of a lesser grade. The base of the tree would generally have less knots and be more suitable for furniture grade, door and window stock, specialty applications such as guitar components or siding for buildings where the knots need to be small tight or nonexistent.

In the 70s we realized after storms we had work removing damaged trees and work repairing damaged structures. After developing a firewood clientele we now needed a source of wood between storms and we found that there were permits available from the state to clear forest land of downed and or dead trees.

Joining the back to the land movement in the late 70s we realized in the great North Woods that one of the few jobs available was tree cutting. After perusing the forest situation we realized we did not wish to be part of the problem of questionable forest practices (primarily over cutting), so we gathered a few like-minded souls and, with our friends who had brought a draft horse, we hired a Licensed Professional Forester (who, incidentally, liked what we were doing so much that he never charged us) and then we bought stumpage from landowners and learned how to cut selective harvest or “improvement cut” a varied forest (both softwood and hard wood – both high ground and wetter ground). After years we not only got better at the practice but enjoyed it immensely.

Having worked hard the first year (operating a horse for skidding logs) we learned how to Selective Harvest. One of our group bought a cable skdder that’ we could reach trees with a cable and pull out falling trees ‘without harming the remaining surrounding trees. During this time I bought a chain saw mill and discovered that much could be made to directly improve our Farmstead.

Now 39 years later I still operate a sawmill and have almost 7000 hours on my fourth Wood Mizer bandsaw-mill. Still enjoying what it can do and being able to do it myself I have continued to operate a chain saw mill for beams and slabs that are often impressive enough to be a valued commodity . I still believe and practice incorporating product lines that encourage respect for forest products ‘as a renewable resource, and offer reclaimed lumber for sale either from salvage operations or fire abatement or small conversions from forestland to residential homesites or deconstructed structures for reclaiming used lumber.

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