Farming, Furniture Restoration, and Custom Sawmilling in Rural Canada

  • By timberysales
  • 14 Mar, 2017
Bruce McEwen sawing on a Timbery Portable Sawmill
Bruce McEwen sawing lumber for woodworking projects with his Timbery sawmill.
Bruce McEwen of Renaissance Furniture Restoration has a variety of interests, a broad skill set, and an always inquiring mind. In Foresters Falls, Ontario, Bruce runs a hobby farm, works as a professional sheep shearer, restores treasured pieces of furniture, creates unique furniture, and operates a portable band sawmill service in the small towns and rural areas of Ontario’s famed Whitewater region. Bruce says he comes by his versatility naturally. While growing up on a dairy farm, Bruce learned from both his mom and his dad who was a skilled engineer serving in WWII. “He was super handy, just great at solving problems,” Bruce remembers. “I built many things with my dad from wagons to fences to out buildings. I learned from him that the ability to fix things is a gift. It’s a gift I have to use and I am so grateful for the chance I have to do useful and rewarding work.”

Bruce offers Furniture restoration services
Bruce offers furniture restoration and custom sawmilling services.
Once a cabinet maker, Bruce noticed a great demand for restoration in the rural areas surrounding Foresters Falls. “I live in an area with a lot of great people,” said Bruce. “They have a sense of history and would rather restore a piece that’s been in the family for a long time than get rid of it, which happens too often these days. I also noticed that most cabinet makers don’t like doing repairs. Very few of them are interested in restoration. I’m a little different. I find great joy in restoring old wooden objects. It’s a great fit with my skills so I decided to go into the restoration business and it’s turned out to be a good decision.” The decision has worked out so well that Bruce has a growing clientele in Ottawa, located nearly an hour and a half away from Foresters Falls where he is based.
Furniture restoration projects
Furniture restoration projects from Bruce McEwen.
A tool Bruce says has made all the difference for his business came through the purchase of a Timbery M285 portable band sawmill. “I had a lot of trees and some great logs from a farm I kept to have milled up someday,” he said. “I thought having my own sawmill would be a great way to make use of the lumber so I went to a woods show and did a lot of research on all the different sawmills available out there. I loved the simple design of the Timbery and the ease of use. I ended up buying the mill and now I can see it was one of the best business decisions of my life.”
Bruce sawing with his M285 Sawmill
Bruce's sawmill satisfies his needs on the farm as well as for his furniture business.
Bruce says the Timbery sawmill satisfies three separate needs for his business. A small farm is always in need of lumber for fixing fences, constructing a shed, replacing old boards on a barn or for a multitude of other uses. The ability to mill the lumber on site is not only convenient but inexpensive when compared with the need to purchase finished lumber from a lumber yard. For a restoration craftsman, being able to mill specialty sizes and create lumber from tree species not readily available on the marketplace is invaluable. “If I have to buy lumber I can only buy certain sizes,” he says. “With my sawmill I can cut what I need instead of settling for what I can buy. The ability to mill up lumber for the furniture is great.”
Bruce McEwen with his Timbery M285 sawmill
"With my sawmill I can cut what I need instead of settling for what I can buy." - Bruce McEwen
“The farm community gives me a lot of work for the sawmill,” he continues. “I’ve cut lumber for everyday farm use, I’ve milled 24’ rafters for a barn, and 24’ logs for a log home. I really like cutting wood for the different uses people have for it.” Whether shearing sheep, milling lumber for a farmer, restoring a valued piece of furniture, or creating a future heirloom for a family, Bruce says the real key to sawmilling as a business is respect for the customer and satisfying their wants and needs. “I always try to listen to what the customer is trying to achieve,” he says. “I present ideas as we talk but it is the customer’s piece and I want to get it right. On each job I do it as if it is my own job. Restoration, for example, is not quick or easy and sometimes I have to put a lot more time into a job than I included in a quote. I will not cut corners, I will take the extra time and get the job done right. That’s something I demand of myself and it’s a great feeling when you know it’s done right and the customer is happy.”
Lumber sawn from M285 sawmill

Timbery Sawmills

By timberysales 21 Jun, 2017
As retirement nears for Edward “Dee” Farmer, the Clayton, North Carolina law enforcement officer and hobby farmer plans to continue serving his community by turning logs into valuable lumber. “I am seeing trees in my neighborhood being cut and carried away to landfills or cut into firewood and I began to think I could take wasted trees and turn them into something more useful,” said Dee. “That is when I started researching for my sawmill.”
  
During his childhood, Dee developed lifelong interests in horticulture and forestry that he plans to continue pursuing in his retirement years. “Growing up on my grandmother’s farm in Western North Carolina as a young child I would visit and watch a sawmill that was set up on her farm,” shared Dee. “A family friend owned and ran the sawmill. He used a horse to drag selected logs to the mill. I would sit on a nearby tree stump and watch the cart go back and forth turning logs into lumber. I guess this is where the seed was sown.”
By timberysales 14 Mar, 2017
Bruce McEwen of Renaissance Furniture Restoration has a variety of interests, a broad skill set, and an always inquiring mind. In Foresters Falls, Ontario, Bruce runs a hobby farm, works as a professional sheep shearer, restores treasured pieces of furniture, creates unique furniture, and operates a portable band sawmill service in the small towns and rural areas of Ontario’s famed Whitewater region. Bruce says he comes by his versatility naturally. While growing up on a dairy farm, Bruce learned from both his mom and his dad who was a skilled engineer serving in WWII. “He was super handy, just great at solving problems,” Bruce remembers. “I built many things with my dad from wagons to fences to out buildings. I learned from him that the ability to fix things is a gift. It’s a gift I have to use and I am so grateful for the chance I have to do useful and rewarding work.”

By timberysales 25 Jan, 2017
Twin brothers Bob and Ken Snyder have been passionate about woodworking throughout their entire lives. Beginning the craft at a young age, the Snyder’s particularly enjoy the creative process in turning lumber into toys, furniture, crafts, and other products they make to sell, give away, or keep for the enjoyment of themselves and their families. With their expertise in crafting a wide variety of toys including trains, 3D puzzles, and space crafts, it is fitting that the New Jersey natives converted an outdoor playground structure to house the Timbery M100 portable band sawmill they use to mill their own lumber for their woodworking projects. Likening the playground set up to a different kind of man cave, Bob says, “It’s like an outdoors man compound, friends come over to watch us saw logs and they end up enjoying our mill as much as we do!”

Bob and Ken began working with wood more than 40 years ago, responding to the influences of their father, Richard. “Dad always said that hard work is the best thing for you,” Bob says. “We were selling light bulbs at seven [years old] and using our dad’s basement workshop to make toys to sell when we were twelve.” According to Bob, their grandfather Earle also had a formative influence on the two men’s lives. Earle was a toy maker himself so many of the toys the boys made were based on patterns their grandfather had developed and much of what the boys learned about crafting wood and designing new wood products came under Earle’s mentorship. As the two learned more they began to expand their efforts, developing their own designs and making more elaborate toys.

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