Two and a half years ago, Lee and Nora Myers were getting ready to build a new home for themselves. Lee is a Licensed General Contractor in Whittier, NC and he planned to put the house up himself. But he and Nora were worried that with the high cost of building materials, they wouldn't be able to afford the house they dreamed of.
"So," Lee recalls, "We decided to take the money we would have used for lumber and buy a band sawmill. We decided we could make a whole lot more lumber than we could have bought with that money."
With the help of a TimberKing bandmill, Lee and Nora's dreams have come true: they live with their kids, Miranda and Erik, in a dream home overlooking the Great Smokey Mountains.
Once Lee make up his mind to buy a sawmill, he had to decide which mill to buy. "We compared several bandmills," Lee remembers, "And decided on the TimberKing because of construction, available options, portability, price and warranty."
If Lee was impressed with the TimberKing on paper, he was even more impressed when a TimberKing technician arrived to deliver his mill. Lee had never used a sawmill before. "But," he says, "After a few hours of instruction from TimberKing's technician, and steady practice on my own, I found the mill easy and fun to operate."
Lee really likes the hydraulic features on his mill, which make ``it simple to load, turn, dog and saw the logs by yourself. Of course, I often have help because people come by just to see the mill operate!"
Swamped With Offers
Before beginning on the house, Lee decided to get his feet wet by building a freestanding workshop. "I wanted a workshop to do the stuff I needed for the house, but first I had to have the lumber to build the workshop."
Most of the lumber for the workshop (and the dream house) came from trees Lee cut when he cleared the house lot. He hauled the fallen, trimmed trees to the sawmill with his tractor. Lee says as soon as people found out he had a sawmill, he was ``swamped" with offers of wood.
"Our house and shop are built from poplar, white pine, yellow pine, butternut, hemlock, oak, birch, locust and sourwood," Lee brags.
Once he had cut the trees into boards, the lumber was air-dried anywhere from four to nine months in the shed behind Lee's old house.
Lee's brothers are in the building business, too, and once the lumber was ready, they pitched in. Before long, the workshop was done.
80% of House Went Thru Planer
At the center of Lee's workshop was his Woodmaster 18 inch planer. "I used the TimberKing sawmill and the Woodmaster planer to make almost all of the lumber in the workshop and house," Lee says. "We sawed all our framing including 2x4's, 2x6's, 2x8's, 2x10's and 2x12's, also 1 inch lumber for roof sheeting and siding."
With knives custom make for him by Woodmaster, Lee used the molding capability of his planer to shape the batten for the shop building and the lap siding for the house.
"I'd say 80% of that house went through my planer. And if anybody doesn't believe me," Lee laughs, "Tell'em I've got it on video!"
After the workshop was filled with cut, dried and shaped lumber, Lee decided he better get to work on his house. "I started with the garage because that would allow me more storage space for lumber." Lee, his brother and nephews poured the slab, and then Lee hurried to get a roof over the slab before winter.
Finishing the walls and interior of the house filled the winter and spring. Except for sheet rock and tile, most of the interior of the house -- studs, frames, molding -- came from Lee's own trees, through his sawmill and planer. Lee did all his own electrical and plumbing work.
Lee estimates he spent a total of $100,000 on the house, including the cost of his TimberKing mill. Now, Lee estimates the house and workshop are worth "At least $200,000, maybe more."
Bottom line, as Lee says, is that "we couldn't have done it without the TimberKing sawmill and Woodmaster planer. We certainly feel like we got more that our money's worth out of our mill and it still runs like new!"
There's still some painting and landscaping to be done on the new house, but that hasn't stopped Lee and Nora from planning their next project: they are going to build a house to sell. "If I could tell somebody one thing," Lee reflects, "I'd say if there's anyway they can go ahead and buy a sawmill, they'll not be sorry."