The TimberKing Story
Founded in 1929 under the name Belsaw, TimberKing is America’s oldest manufacturer of one-man sawmills.
TimberKing’s original product was the Belsaw circular mill, which was in constant production from 1929 until 1998. Tens of thousands of these mills were sold world-wide.
“It’s such a great heritage,” says TimberKing President Will Johnson. “Every week we get a call from someone who’s still cutting with a Belsaw mill his dad or granddad bought. I want my children to get those calls from my customers’ children, saying their fifty-year-old mill is still going strong.”
TimberKing began making portable band mills in 1989.
“We were not the first company to make a portable sawmill,” Johnson points out. “And this put us at a real advantage: It was easy to look for something simpler, better, stronger than the other designs. Something a guy could hand down to his grandkids.”
TimberKing has long been one of the most innovative forces in the portable band mill market. TimberKing was the first portable mill company to introduce hydraulic bi-directional chain log turners, hydraulic vertical log stops, standard computer set-works, hydraulic roller toe boards and engine-driven direct-action hydraulics systems. These features that began with TimberKing have since been widely imitated in the Portable Sawmill industry.
Along with constantly improving its portable mills, TimberKing has remained “the company to watch” in new product innovation:
• In 1989, TimberKing came out with the B-20 mill, the first widely-sold portable mill with a 4-Post Cutting Head. The B-20 mill has seen many of TimberKing’s most important innovations come to light, including hydraulic chain log turners, hydraulic vertical log stops, standard computer set-works and hydraulic roller toe boards.
• In 1998, TimberKing introduced the Talon 900 Edger, the first conveyor-feed edger designed to meet the needs of the portable sawmill market.
• In 1999, TimberKing brought out the TimberKing 1220, the first “personal” sized bandmill with the same rugged Big-3 features –solid-welded four-post head, solid-welded log deck and solid-welded big-beam power core – that come standard on quality industrial mills.
• In 2001, TimberKing unveiled the TimberKing 1600, the first mid-sized bandmill with “basic” hydraulic features: blade feed, blade up/down and log loaders. Over the years the 1600 has grown with the product line, adding bi-directional chain log turner, hydraulic log clamp, and basic computer setworks as standard features.
• Also in 2001, TimberKing began offering the TimberKing Blade System, the first blade and lubrication system which has different blades and lubricants to fit all possible cutting situations.
• In 2003, TimberKing brought out the massive 2400. The 2400 was designed to handle the very large logs found in older woodlots.
• In 2008, the 2200 arrived. With 49HP Diesel power the 2200 provided a heavy-industrial mill well suited to old-growth woodlots.
• In 2009,TimberKing replaced its venerable B-20 mill with the Model 2000. The 2000 was designed to do everything the B-20 did for its owners all those years, plus offering new advantages including a more advanced computer set-works, wider cut throat and direct-action hydraulics.
• In 2011, the Model 1400 filled the gap between the fully-manual 1220 and the ever-more advanced 1600.
- In 2016, TimberKing brought out the 2500 mill as a powerful but compact replacement for its flagship 2400 mill. Boasting a 59HP diesel power plant, dual bi-directional chain log turners and dual bi-directional log clamps the 2500 far surpasses the competition with its best-in-class power and versatility.
- In 2017, TimberKing converted all mills to the idler-pulley drive system, a design that’s since been widely imitated.
- In 2020, TimberKing brought out the 1620 mill, a significant upgrade to the older 1600 model. Among other new features, the 1620 offers significantly wider cut-throat, wider and heavier log deck, heavier capacity axle and upgraded energy chain.
“We want our customers to have the most innovative products available, period,” Johnson says. “But we also insist on having the kind of quality and service that has kept our family in this business for almost 90 years. There are a lot of folks out there today making bandmills, but you have to ask yourself: where were they twenty years ago? Where are they going to be twenty years from now? Along with everything else, the answers to these questions are what set TimberKing apart from the crowd.”