Manufacturing Wood Products on the Farm


Timbergreen Farm - Sales Barn and Shop (left) - Mom&Dads house (center) - My Log Home (right)

We tried farming - from 1973 until 1988. Lots of FUN.... but....

Lots of machinery, lots of work, always at the mercy of the weather, low prices for crops, lots of work, not much money. There has to be a better way to make money on a farm!

In 1984, I cut a stand of Red Oak timber, dragged the logs to the field, got bids from the sawmills, realized we didn't make much money. There had to be a better way. I began to salvage the trees that died each year from Oak Wilt. The old Ford pickup was used to get the logs to a local mill where I helped saw the logs into lumber. There, I felt the heat of a large solar kiln for the first time. We used some of the wood for our own projects but soon had excess lumber. A small ad in the local shopping news brought eager customers to buy our lumber. In 1988 we bought our first sawmill and built our first Solar Cycle Kiln to dry the lumber. For years, I sold roughsawn kiln dry lumber and earned an average of $2.28/board foot. This was a lot better than making and selling hay, but I kept thinking there had to be a better way.

All sawmills sell the center cants of each log for a railroad tie or for making pallets. Since I had aggravated the big railroad tie treating mills as a young forester - that option was closed. So I took a big load of 4X4 and 4X6 cants to the local pallet mill, sold them for 30 cents a board foot - and realized I just lost money -there had to be a better way. I started sawing all logs to the center and drying the lumber in the solar kilns. I found I could sell even the worst boards for triple the pallet price, but there still had to be a better way.

People started to request flooring for their homes. Over and Over and Over they kept asking for flooring. I worked a few deals here and there, but learned to make flooring and install it myself when I built my Aspen Log Home in 1997. Making and installing flooring is amazingly easy and the values are amazingly high!
I had found the better way!


Now we make hardwood flooring in the basement workshop of our 100 year old dairy barn

When dry lumber comes out of the Solar Cycle Kiln, we use our edger saw at the sawmill shed to rip the rough lumber into flooring blanks of different widths, to minimize our waste. Our 4 head Logosol Molder makes the wood strips into tongue and groove flooring with one pass through. We can make hundreds of kinds of moldings with this newly available, Swedish manufactured, affordable, and efficient machine. Turning out manufactured wood products right on the farm is an excellent business that is working very well for us in many ways.

Compared to farming: the investment is much less, the work is easier, wages are higher, and return on investment is fast.

We can make a large variety of wood products in our barn basement workshop. Wood is simple to work with once you know a few basic skills (read this article) . Wood products are very valuable in the retail market!