Wednesday, September 28, 2016

An Amish Sawmill

Sometimes the answers to questions are right in our own backyard.  It is really important to pay attention.  I touched on that briefly with the Monarch butterfly blog.  If I hadn't been aware, I would have missed the beautiful metamorphosis.

It all started with a project my husband has been working on for most of the summer.  Some of you know he is constructing a garage-like structure for his old pickup truck.  I will write all about that when it is done.  In the meantime, I was trying to say to anyone who would listen that I don't want the building to look like a tin can or a metal shed.  I want it to look like our other structures, hopefully with logs and rough cut boards.  Many ideas were suggested, but none really struck my fancy.  I am not a carpenter, but I know what I like.  My main criteria was to look out my kitchen window and see something pleasant.

One day we had a carpenter stop by who had done some work for us.  My husband mentioned the problem he had (probably mentioned me in the conversation).  He told the guy that we had been to one of the big box lumber stores to look for siding ideas.  We saw some log siding and despite the higher cost, that was what I wanted.  My ears perked up when the term "Amish Sawmill" was mentioned.  We had heard of these, but we never knew where they were or anything about them.  That is strange in itself because we live very close to Amish country and have visited other establishments many times like greenhouses, bakeries, furniture stores and food stores.  We thought it was worth checking out before we made a decision.  The carpenter asked my husband if he wanted to check it out and he actually took my husband there first.  They came back with enough log siding for our job at a very good price.   The siding is of much better quality.  It is thicker and is made from local trees as opposed to trees from different climates.

I was happy.  Maybe this project wouldn't look so ugly after all.  As everything progressed, it was time to build the window frames.  My husband was going to use 2 x 4's.  We all know by now that a 2 x 4 isn't 2 inches by 4 inches and that it is really 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches.   As a result, the siding was too thick, and we needed 2 inches and not 1.5 inches.  This project has become a figure it out as you go project, so we went back to the sawmill.  This time I went along and took the camera.

This sawmill is called D.W. Sawmill.  It is on County Road JJ near Westfield, Wisconsin.  It was a bigger operation than I thought.  As we drove up, the first thing I noticed was the house.  It was your typical white Amish house with clothes on the line and a buggy parked in the yard and another buggy in an old barn.

We saw a woman and two little children but I didn't feel comfortable photographing them without their knowledge.  Next door was the wood product operation.  They had a lot of lumber made out of all kinds of woods.   They had all dimensions plus beams, shiplap, tongue and grooved, wavy siding and log siding.  It could be rough sawn which we wanted or planed smooth.  I don't know exactly where the logs come from, but we were told they were local.  There was the smell of wood smoke and a whirring sound in the air.  One of the building was used for kiln drying the wood and another building was the sawing area.

There was an office and behind it a little building that looked like an outhouse.  We found out that this wasn't an outhouse at all.  It was where the cellphone was kept.  Amish don't have landlines but apparently they are allowed to have cell phones.  They get power from gasoline engines so maybe there is a little generator in this building to charge the phone.  I didn't ask.

Best of all, we got what we wanted in the size we needed.  You can't get that from the big lumberyard in the city.  The prices were awesome.  Even with the 11% off come on event at our big box store, we got a much better deal at the Saw Mill.  Helping the local economy is another bonus.  From now on this will be our go to lumberyard if it is possible.

Bye, bye...see you soon.


  1. Hello, We have visited this sawmill many times and are considering purchasing their tongue and groove log siding for the exterior of our home. Just curious how the siding has held up on your garage? Any splitting, cracking, or gaps between the boards?

  2. It’s held up well, but we sealed it with woodguard.

  3. Do you sell cut stock lumber ?

  4. Do you sell cut stock lumber ?

  5. They do but I suspect they are as low on stock as everyone else.

  6. They do but I suspect they are as low on stock as everyone else.

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