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.”
Dee recently purchased a Timbery M100 sawmill in order to learn how to turn logs into lumber. As part of his learning process, Dee says he is utilizing his Timbery to mill boards for his own use in building a permanent 10’ x 30’ shelter for the mill. Dee and his wife also live on a 2 ½ acre hobby farm with Pygmy and Myotonic goats along with four full chicken coops. “I also find myself using a lot of milled and air dried lumber for our hobby farm, using the lumber for new goat stalls, food shelving, and board and batten chicken coops,” said Dee.
“After completing the mill shelter, I plan to build a small shed near the mill for convenient peavey, cant hook, blades, and other tool storage. I plan to use all lumber milled on site for this project.”
Dee intends to eventually purchase a larger, towable sawmill for retirement income, but a friend convinced Dee of the value of learning a new skill from the ground up. “I’m a few years away from retirement, and wanted to start early with a manual mill to learn the wood hands on and direct before going to a larger mill,” said Dee. “My initial plan when purchasing the M100 was similar to my machinist friend’s path. I planned to work with a manual mill, close to the log and lumber, to learn and become efficient using a portable mill. Now I plan to continue to use my M100 for my personal use and mill for friends and neighbors to gain additional knowledge and experience.”
Dee’s advice to others considering a sawmill includes thinking about your goals and purpose for a sawmill while speaking with as many companies as possible. More tips include seeing what’s available for service along with how and whom you contact for assistance, parts, accessories or advice. “I researched portable mills for over a year before I decided on the Timbery,” explained Dee. “I met with sales representatives at trade shows, open houses, and public demonstrations. I met Chad Sanders [manager] with Timbery while he was attending an agriculture equipment show in Raleigh. He demonstrated the Timbery products for me and was very friendly and shared his knowledge and practicality of the mill. I also met my local Timbery dealer, Joseph Whitley and his staff, that only added to the benefits of the purchase. The combination of my intended milling purposes, price, and a local sales and service center is why I chose the Timbery M100.
As we say down south, Joseph and his staff was the gravy on the biscuit.”
Dee says he gets important benefits other than lumber out of sawmilling. “In addition to the rewards of turning logs that could have been thrown away into useful lumber, I enjoy the physical manual labor,” said Dee.
“I enjoy the time milling, releasing stress after a long day or week. I go out to the mill and as I slab away and turn a log into a cant and then lumber, I feel the stress melting away. The sawdust therapy I receive is immeasurable. Being able to open a log and see the grains hidden inside, and turn a log into useful lumber or a future weekend project is highly rewarding for me. A bonus for me is the transformation back to that time I used to sit upon that tree stump.”