Let’s say that you own a piece of land and you want to build a house. If you live in a forested region, the first step is to cut down enough trees to create the needed open space for your foundation, lawn, and driveway.
As you’re cutting down the trees, you may think to yourself, “I’m going to need to buy lumber to build my house. I wonder if these logs can be milled into 2x6s and 2x10s.” The answer is: they probably can.
If you live in a rural area, someone in your town probably owns a portable bandsaw mill. This type of mill can be transported to your site, and in just a day or two, the mill will transform your logs into piles of framing lumber and boards.
Local lumber for local needs
Over the past 40 years, my friends and I have built lots of buildings with green lumber, including homes, garages, barns, and sheds. Many of these buildings were framed with lumber milled by Leslie Ham.
When I moved to this corner of Vermont in the mid-1970s, Leslie ran a local cabinet shop. In 1995, Leslie decided to switch careers, and he bought a Wood Mizer bandsaw mill. He’s been a sawyer ever since.
Leslie is hard-working. He thinks before he speaks. Like many older Vermonters, he’s inclined to be thrifty with both money and words.
According to the old saying, when a farmer slaughters a pig, nothing is wasted: the aim is to use “everything but the squeal.” Leslie applies the same philosophy to trees. His sawdust is bartered or sold for bedding. Leslie has a sugaring operation, and his two vocations are complementary. All of the slabs (the outer edges…