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Sawmill Thrives On Salvaged Logs
Kevin Carlen and Bennie Clawson, Shelbyville, Ill., have a thriving lumber business, even if it wasn't planned that way. They're not complaining - just pleasantly mystified by it all. They created the business from cast-off saw logs. Even better, they decided to try eBay as a way to sell the lumber and that, too, has turned out better than expected.
  "We started shipping lumber by UPS or postal service one year ago. Now we ship to all 50 states and to Canada. Business has exploded," says Carlen.
  Carlen and Clawson have been friends for a long time. They both work for a local electric cooperative - Carlen as a vegetation specialist and tree trimmer and Clawson as a field engineer. They thought it was a shame to burn so many good logs in connection with the construction of rural power lines. They also talked about other sources of good logs just going to waste at the burn pit in Shelbyville. That's when they got the idea to set up a sawmill and turn the logs into lumber.
  "Some of the logs we get come from right-of-way clearing work for power lines. However, most of them come from landfills where local tree cutters haul logs and brush," says Carlen. "We go to the landfill every Saturday and load up our 12-ft. trailer, which we pull behind our Dodge Dakota pickup."
  They had to decide on the kind of saw they needed. A friend who had been in the lumber business for 20 years recommended the Kasco bandsaw mill, so they bought one in April 2007. At first they sold the lumber to local businesses. Then in September 2007 they started marketing on eBay and things just clicked. For one listing they recorded 800 visitors to the website.
  They call their business the Timbermite Sawmill.
  Still more happened. People who needed logs sawed into lumber began to call. All this has generated the need for equipment to augment the sawmilling business. They use a Bobcat to handle logs and a 20-in. Powermatic planer.
  They also have a NYLE kiln drying system. It's set up in a 12 by 16-ft. Amish pre-fab building and has a capacity of 4,000 board feet. The kiln uses electric heat to draw down the humidity. "It's the most energy efficient kiln on the market," says Carlen.
  In addition to their lumber business, they're suppliers of camper firewood which is split by a hydraulic splitter from Rural King. They use shavings from the planer for bedding horses.
  "Most of the boards we sell are 1 in. thick, 8 to 10 in. wide, and 48 in. long," says Carlen. "We don't ship lumber more than 50 inches long by UPS in order to avoid paying higher rates."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Timbermite Sawmill, RR 4, Box 198A, Shelbyville, Ill. 62565; Kevin Carlen (ph 217 273-3700; dkcarlen@consolidated.net); or Bennie Clawson (ph 217 825-6435).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #4