Whether a hobby or a small business, it’s a woodworker’s dream job.

As a craftsman, I’ve always enjoyed building stuff. But the pivotal point that led me into woodworking happened long before I stood at a table saw or picked up a hand plane. And that point is clearly ingrained in my memory. I was 12 years old and my grandpa and I harvested a pecan tree from his yard. Instead of cutting the trunk into firewood, grandpa hired a sawmill to come out and turn it into lumber.

1. Milling your own lumber can open up a world of materials that you may not have access to at the lumberyard, like this 24-inch wide cherry log.

It was at that point that I, at 12 years old, had an earth-shattering realization that wood literally grew from trees. I know, I was a 12-year old genius. It was that day that triggered my fascination with the material we use for our woodworking. And I’ve noticed in the past few of years, the number of people that are starting to share this interest with me are growing. The number of people becoming interested in harvesting and milling their own lumber has increased. And if it’s piqued your interest at all, the good news is that it’s not as complicated as you might fear.

2. Don’t think that a sawing log needs to be arrow-straight. Small, odd pieces such as this walnut crotch can yield some beautiful, specialty pieces.

There are a number of reasons why I would argue that someone should consider milling their own lumber instead of hitting up a lumber yard.

First, and maybe the most obvious, is the cost. Milling your own lumber can produce quality material for a fraction of the price of a lumber dealer. In fact, if you purchase your own mill, like I have, you can actually make a profit off of it by selling lumber to other woodworkers and by offering to mill other people’s logs.

3. Pulling logs out of a burn pile can be a…

 

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