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Father and Son Industrial Sawmill Business in Ohio

By Olivia Eaker, Wood-Mizer


Located in the lush rolling hills of Piketon, Ohio, Brandon Wooldridge and his son Bryce run their own sawmill business, Deep Woods Lumber Co. The family owned and operated sawmill business was established in 1998 and recently upgraded their equipment to a Wood-Mizer WM4500 industrial sawmill system to carry on their long family tradition of sawmilling.


Starting a Family Sawmill Business  

Ariel ViewAriel View
Brandon and BryceBrandon and Bryce


Brandon started in the sawmilling industry right out of college and worked for a local timber business owner for 3 ½ years. “I decided to go out on my own, and my father helped me,” said Brandon. “I needed to put a sawmill in, so I put in a Frick sawmill.”


Frick SawFrick Saw
First SawmillFirst Sawmill


For more than 25 years, Deep Woods Lumber Co. has remained a family business thanks to the help of Brandon’s son Bryce. “I am a 4th generation sawyer, so it's kind of just in the blood,” said Bryce. Growing up seeing his father work in the logging and sawmilling business, it was only a matter of time before Bryce took an interest himself. “I used to skip school and go with him, hang out in the log yard, and help my grandpa cut up logs and stuff. I’ve just been around it since I was a little old thing,” said Bryce.


Working TogetherWorking Together


For a few decades, Brandon ran the circular sawmill, and now that his son was a part of the business, Brandon wanted to make some improvements by upgrading to a Wood-Mizer industrial sawmill system. “I didn't want Bryce sawing on a circular mill, it’s dangerous. The Wood-Mizer WM4500 is the best move I made in 25 years of business,” said Brandon.


The Sawmilling Process


Bryce WalkingBryce Walking
Lumber StackLumber Stack


Deeps Woods Lumber Co. is in the perfect area to find a variety of different timber species, with especially tall timber growing in the valleys of Ohio. They can mill species such as hard maple, soft maple, red oak, white oak, and chestnut oak, milling anywhere from 40,000 to 45,000 feet of lumber per week. Typically, these logs are sawn into 4-quarter and 5-quarter lumber which are 1-1/8” and 1-3/8” thick. “We start out in the woods. We contract a logging crew and a trucking company too. And they’ll get the logs and bring them in here. We unload all the logs and stack them into the piles. We’ll debark those logs according to the purchase order and we’ll saw them out, grade them, put the lumber, the ties, the cants, and everything on the truck, and send them out,” explains Bryce.


Working on EdgerWorking on Edger


After the WM4500 industrial sawmill was installed, it didn’t take long for Bryce to learn how to operate the mill. “I hopped up in there and within 3 months I was pushing logs through. The first log I ever cut in my entire life was 3 years ago on that sawmill,” said Bryce. “I’ve learned everything, pretty much just started from the bottom, and learned how to scale logs, I can run every piece of machinery over there.”




To keep up with production demands, Deep Woods added a Wood-Mizer industrial board edger to their system which improved their material flow and efficiency. “All of the boards, ties, everything will end up on the same side of the sawmill at the same time. Honestly, we have probably one of the simplest and easiest setups there is for this type of Wood-Mizer,” says Bryce.


Log StackLog Stack


Along with using Wood-Mizer SilverTip Turbo 7 band sawmill blades to cut their hardwoods, Deep Woods Lumber Co. has also integrated Wood-Mizer blade sharpening equipment to keep their blades sharp in-house. “Normally on our hardwoods, we get three to four runs per band at about an hour and a half per band,” says Bryce. “So, you’re looking at six hours per band. For those bands for the price of them, you can’t ask for much more.”


Bryce at WorkBryce at Work


With the thin-kerf sawmill blades removing less sawdust with each cut, Deep Woods is also seeing increased yield from every log which turns to profit. “I can compete now with the other bigger mills because of that saw kerf. Every 10 loads of hardwood lumber we sell, 7,500 board feet per load I gain a load. So, my 11th load is free. And that makes a world of difference, I wasn’t getting that in a circular mill until I put that Wood-Mizer in,” says Brandon.


Looking Towards the Future


Wood Stack Close UpWood Stack Close Up



Father and SonFather and Son


Brandon has big plans for Deep Woods Lumber Co. that includes more Wood-Mizer sawmill equipment, a log yard, a full-time lumber grader, and a bright future for his son Bryce. “In the next five to ten years I can see myself sitting on a beach somewhere with my wife and letting Bryce run the sawmill,” says Brandon. “That’s what I see.”



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