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Portable Sawmilling for Fun, Therapy, and Relaxation

By Wood-Mizer, Canada

Jon Scott Lumber Yard

"Sawing wood with my Wood-Mizer sawmill is fun! It's relaxing and therapeutic," says Jon Scott, a sawmiller from New York, USA.  

Jon Scott became interested in carpentry and wood when he was 12 years old. "My high school didn't offer shop class, so I'm a self-taught woodworker. I learned everything from books, and now I continue to search and find new useful information on the internet," says Jon. 

"Especially when I was young, purchasing wood was always an expensive commitment," continues Jon. Several years ago, he salvaged several red oak logs, a massive white oak, and a black walnut. Jon immediately realized what valuable material this was for a woodworker and decided to take logs to a local sawmill, thinking he'd receive a huge stash of wood for a bargain price.  

"The sawyer there charged me an astounding $19,000!" Jon exclaims. "I paid the full retail price of finished lumber for the milling and drying of logs that I delivered to him. My local lumberyard would have cost less." 


Jon Scott ChapelJon Scott Chapel
Jon Scott LumberJon Scott Lumber


This made Jon look closer at sawmilling, potentially promising him savings and supplemental income. "Having seen the Wood-Mizer sawmills demonstrated for several years at the Woodworking Shows in New Jersey, I resolved to purchase one so that I could mill my own lumber," says Jon. "As a hobbyist, I dabble in various kinds of woodworking, from turning pens to post-and-beam construction. I expect to retire soon from my full-time job, and I want to stay active and entertained. Plus, I love saving money and hate seeing good logs go to waste. Those are my primary reasons for buying a Wood-Mizer." 

"It took a couple of years for me to make the purchase, but now that I have, I couldn't be happier," says Jon. 

Jon chose a Wood-Mizer LT40WIDE portable sawmill with hydraulic log loading. Wood-Mizer has been in business for more than 40 years and has produced and sold 100,000+ sawmills worldwide, many of which are the LT40 model. Recently, Wood-Mizer upgraded this well-known sawmill by adding a WIDE saw head option, which is exactly what Jon purchased. The WIDE sawing head features a 6” wider throat opening, allowing Jon to cut up to 34” wide material (86 cm) on his Wood-Mizer sawmill without reconfiguring the machine. Using hydraulic arms, Jon loads the log onto the sawmill bed and while manipulating hydraulics, he rotates the log, positions it in an optimal way, and firmly clamps it to the bed. Then, he sets the required board thickness in the Setworks electronic device, and the sawing head automatically lowers to the desired level. Then it starts – the blade on the blade wheels begins to rotate, and Jon cuts the boards one after another. 


Jon Scott SawmillJon Scott Sawmill


Jon cuts almost any type of wood this way. "When I first started, I would cut anything. That resulted in me wasting a lot of time pulling boards out of my solar lumber kiln that emerged bowed, twisted, or just too knotty to use as serviceable lumber. I've learned to be more selective about the logs I mill," shares Jon. With his Wood-Mizer portable sawmill, Jon is now able to turn logs into valuable lumber on his own property. Recently, he has been using the wood for renovations to his own home including lattice fencing and repairing damaged doors. 

For another recent project, he had the opportunity to cut some rather complex black cherry wood, and the result exceeded all expectations. "My friends who live an hour away from me once traveled around Iceland and saw small chapels on local farms. Returning to the States, they came up with the idea of ​​building a beautiful chapel on their farm. I came to them with my LT40WIDE, and in three days, we cut the required amount of material from northern white ash, black cherry, and hemlock," says Jon. 

To learn how Jon's friends built the Trinity Knot Chapel, read the story, "Constructing a Unique Wooden Chapel on a Connecticut Farm." The chapel turned out to be so attractive that Jon entered it into a Wood-Mizer My Project Contest and won! The Trinity Knot Chapel was recognized as the best in the "Unique and Unusual" category. 


Lattice Fence ConstructionLattice Fence Construction
Lattice FenceLattice Fence
Trinity Knot Chapel ConstructionTrinity Knot Chapel Construction


"My new project is already underway," Jon continues. "Together with a few friends, we decided to replace 36 wooden pews, each 16' long. The originals are over 50 years old and weren't well crafted in the first place: there's a lot of particle board covered with stained poplar veneer, and poplar doesn't take stain well," explains Jon. 


Stacked LumberStacked Lumber


For the new pews, they decided to use white ash logs obtained from trees killed by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “the Emerald Ash Borer is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 30 states.” By harvesting and milling these damaged ash trees, the wood can still live on through items such as furniture for generations. "A benefit born from tragedy," says Jon. "May this valuable wood continue to live in useful products. We've already milled and dried a couple thousand board feet." 


Jon Scott Working on the SawmillJon Scott Working on the Sawmill


"I never expected to love milling as much as I do," Jon admits. "Honestly, I enjoy milling the boards and beams more than crafting them into usable furniture or other items. I find it fun, relaxing, and therapeutic – I LOVE my Wood-Mizer!" 


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