I purchased my portable sawmill four years ago to enable me to value add to my sustainable forestry business and take more control as a landholder of forest management techniques. I have certified timber grown and harvested under the Private Native Forestry Code of Practice.
The reason I could value add was due to the low cost of operation and low input costs while gaining high log recovery and gaining the ability to individually mill each piece of timber, giving greater satisfaction and accuracy to each piece, bringing out the characteristics of each piece.
I am also able to choose the most suitable species of tree for the correct use of the timber, enabling greater sustainability and durability.
By selecting each tree individually for the job at hand, and using minimal machinery for less impact, I can maintain biodiversity, increasing sustainable forest management and regeneration.
I use single tree selection as my preferred harvesting method, enabling more light and nutrients to be made more available to the remaining growing trees. I am actually increasing the volume of timber in my forest by taking the larger trees out, allowing the seeds to germinate, and giving more room for the young trees to grow.
As a permaculture project farm, I am demonstrating that I can use every part of the tree with no wastage. It is also a pleasure to be able to give off-cuts and seconds away to those that benefit so as to fulfil the permaculture ideal of contributing surplus to the community. I am servicing the needs of the local market as well as supplying larger mills in regional areas that prefer milling smaller logs, while I can supply the larger timber specifications. Entire use of the log enables me to supply poles, strainers, split posts, roundbacks, sawn timber, sleepers, sawdust and firewood. The head of the tree is left in the forest to break down and act as compost for the remaining trees.
This can be a one man operation, or in my case, two people are working the entire operation. I have a cutter / miller, while I select the tree, snig, tail out and dock on the mill as well as doing the administration work and marketing. Due to the low cost operation I can sell timber at rates lower than commercial mills. I use a10 inch circular blade with a 30hp petrol engine. At present I am planning to build a roof over the mill to protect the timber from the sun as we are milling, as at present the mill is in a permanent location, central to all weather tracks and roads. Being portable, the option is always available to move the mill to another location on the property or even off farm if the opportunity presents itself. This is the versatility of portable mills.