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How do I hire a sawyer to mill some downed trees?

Q:

I’ve got some downed trees that I’d like to have sawn into lumber, but don’t own a sawmill. How can I locate a mill in my area—preferably a portable one that can come to my place and cut the logs on-site?
—Darrell Jones, Batesville, Miss.

A:

First, Darrell, check your local phone directory’s business pages under “Sawyers,” “Lumber,” and “Logging.” Second, log on to the websites of bandsaw mill manufacturers, such as Wood-Mizer, TimberKing, and Norwood, and search their owner databases for nearby sawyers who do custom milling. Finally, browse websites dedicated to milling lumber. We recommend the following:
• forestryforum.com
• woodfinder.com
• sawmilltrader.com

Before contacting a sawyer, be ready to discuss the following: 
• the species, diameter, and length of the log portions of the trees; will he have to cut the logs to length;
• how long the trees have been down;
• where the trees are currently lying, and what kind of access the sawyer can expect;
• if you’ll bring the logs to a mill, how you will transport them;
• how you want the logs sawn (quartersawing makes the best furniture-grade lumber, but requires more effort and costs more);
• whether you’ll want to assist in or provide direction during the milling. 

Send your woodworking questions to askwood@woodmagazine.com

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