Across North America, small sawmill operators continue to grow in size. Larger mills are suffering from the current slump in the housing market and instead of increasing production as in the recent past they are cutting back affecting the industry as a whole. Timber demand and harvesting has dropped creating opportunities for the expansion of the smaller portable sawmill operations. These mills, most of which are new small business start ups grown of woodworkers and tradesmen are growing at steady numbers. Multi-generation family businesses have always adapted to industry changes and weathered the hardships. In total this represents a small portion of total wood demand and consumption, yet small mills provide valuable services in local timber markets.
In addition to participating in the market of mainstream lumber sales, small mills satisfy unique needs: They provide tailored services for custom manufacturing businesses such as furniture and cabinet makers. They fill niches for specific species, such as walnut, mesquite or cedar, and specific products, such as highly figured stock, sheds, outbuildings and timber framing. They provide outlet markets for loggers, tree surgeons, development clearings, culls and salvage logs.
The changing atmosphere of public opinion is driving the demand for “Eco Friendly” and “Green Products” to its highest level ever. Out on the streets and at the forefront of decision making consumers is the Sawyer. Innovative thinking by nature this new breed of small operator has established a unique service industry. With a strong foot hold in the timber industry sawyers have a large impact in the day to day polices that have far reaching effects. Cities, counties and state agencies are struggling to meet mandates for carbon reduction. Urban logs have a huge impact on this and will be the first area the average citizens of our nation will see change. Already big business has picked up on this and you can expect to find portable mills become a regular tool of the forester, arborist and tree service. Builders have capitalized on log cabins, timber framing and rustic style custom construction.
To summarize, small family run sawmills benefit local communities and other businesses, helping consumers as well as larger sawmills that cannot easily handle smaller jobs. Sawyers are at the forefront of this changing industry having direct affects on public opinion and the demand for sustainable resource management.
As the saw turns so do the days of our lives.
OK, maybe I went a little over board, don’t laugh (to hard).