The Wood-Mizer sawmill creates opportunities when traditional farming was impossible
In 2003, David and Teresa Weyler invested in a large country farm in the hills of Bedford, Kentucky in the United States. Happy with their purchase, in 2005 the Weylers acquired more land along the Little Kentucky River, which included an old, historic farm home that had been built in the early 1900s.
In order to rebuild the old farm home and stay true to their goal of environmental stewardship, the Weylers chose to rebuild using materials already located on the property, particularly the rock and timber found in abundance on the land.
To utilise trees for more than firewood, the Weylers needed a sawmill of some kind. Researching a variety of options, they bought a portable Wood-Mizer bandsaw sawmill because of its reasonable cost and because David would be able to bring it to any part of his property with their four-wheel drive tractor.
David and Teresa spent many weekends at their property restoring the house and meeting neighbours. Eventually they were overcome by the attraction of the rural lifestyle and sold their home in Louisville, Kentucky to live on their farm full time. They worked towards self-sufficiency by growing their own fruits and vegetables and providing their own meat, poultry, and fresh eggs.
As the Weylers considered a fourth and final addition to their land, they determined it was time for the property to produce income to help pay for itself. The topography, however, presented some issues due to its steep, rocky terrain.
Traditional farming would be difficult, but the couple concluded that a vineyard and winery would be the most likely venture to succeed. Planting their vineyard from virgin ground was a tremendous amount of work and requiredhundreds of wood posts. David and Teresa cut all of the posts on the sawmill using cedar from their own forest. In addition to using their mill to make lumber for the house restoration and posts for the vineyard, they have also rebuilt a second house, several barns and made a lot of fencing material.
The Weylers’ first commercial project, built over three months, is a beautiful cedar and ash timber-frame wine pavilion to complement the vineyard. For the project, the Weylers enlisted the help of friends to harvest trees, mill, and build. David is quick to point out that 100 percent of the wood used in the project was milled on their Wood-Mizer sawmill. He estimates that the materials alone for the pavilion would have cost at least $20,000 USD to buy at a wood supply store. The Weylers also milled hickory, a highly tough and hard wood to cut, in order to build the main bar. The floor is laid with large stones.
Just recently, the Weylers completed a 600 square metre winery and tasting room to accommodate their wine production. The building includes a tasting room with a 7-metre solid cherry bar top, salvaged from a single cherry tree that fell down in a windstorm. David explained that this one bar top was valued at fully half the purchase price of the sawmill. "It had fallen down in a storm and had to be removed. This one tree would have probably cost us over $3,000 USD to have contractors remove it, but with the sawmill we were able to do it ourselves at no cost and still repurpose four truckloads of solid cherry wood."
In the Weyler’s case, the sawmill has helped them to improve the value of their assets as well as making a profitable business off the land without relying on traditional farming.