Portable Bandmill Sawyer
Retired as of 2006.
This website will continue to be maintained in Memorium
Thank you all for the sawdust forever in my pockets!
Mr. Tom Cadenhead
November 25, 1942 - October 24, 2011
I started this mess with a
Woodmizer LT40HD back in 1990. and since then have had a blast.
I've been in the custom sawing (portable) business and started
with all intentions of just cutting my own wood and letting my sons have the opportunity
to start a weekend business. It took them about 2 weeks to decide that they didn't want
any part of a sawmill. It took another week for my neighbors to realize I had a mill.
We are pretty rural so they were anxious for me to 'learn' on
their trees because they 'had a barn to build', 'needed to fix a fence', 'wanted to put
new siding on their house', etc. They weren't even going to charge me very much to let me
saw their trees either. It took my wife about six weeks to realize that she wanted no part
of washing my clothes with all the pine tar in them so she rented some uniforms for me
using the service where she worked. It took another four weeks to get the bill from the
uniform service and she realized that she didn't want that coming out of her check so she
brought home some business cards that said 'custom sawing- reasonable'.
In the mean time, I had sawed for every neighbor on the street
and had even managed to do some of my own trees and was pretty proud of myself when the
phone began to ring. My neighbors had told their friends and I was in business. This
really wasn't intentional although the money would come in handy, 12.5 cents a board foot.
One of these friends was a bee keeper and we sawed wood for him
to make hives. He had friends who wanted hives sawed too and one of them dabbled in making
furniture and belonged to the local wood working club. So off to the wood working club I
went as the guest of this fellow to be shown off. The guys in the wood working club were
mostly retired, on fixed incomes and got most of their wood from the trash bins of cabinet
shops. I was asked to stand up and tell what I did and they all had trees that they wanted
Being a rather kindly fellow and in need of comraderie, I began
sawing all over town for these wood workers. They were cabinet makers, furniture makers,
carvers, turners and crafts folks.
A few of the trees I went to cut were located on local farms,
Cattle and Chicken. The farmers were letting the woodworkers have the hardwood tree
(hickory or cherry or water oak) but they wanted some pine or cypress cut for fence,
barns, siding, etc.
Well it didn't take too long for the farmers to begin to look for
more cypress than they had on their place so they went to the local mulch mill and bought
some logs. "What are you going to do with them?", they asked the farmer.
It didn't take but a few minutes for the manager of the mulch
mill to compare the $10.00 to $15.00 he could get for a board to the $3.00 he got for a
bag of mulch, of which only about a third of the content was the equivalent to a board.
So-0 off I went to the mulch mill where I could be used about two weeks a quarter and
wanted almost all of the time. It was win-win because they could still mulch the scraps
from the sawing.
Then the loggers who sold the trees to the mulch mill saw me and
wanted me to saw logs at their house. They got beautiful, non-marketable logs given to
them at a minimal price (cherry, sweet gum,oak, hickory etc) so that the companies could
replant the land in marketable timber.
I still saw single trees for my neighbors and woodworkers because
I like them. They haven't gone up on their price in all these years. I also have to take
care of the County (right-of-way clearing), several contractors in the land clearing
business (they sell the boards and timbers as well as use them for decking trailers and
dump truck boards), farmers ( barns, chicken houses and all those wood things you see on
the farm), Individuals building summer retreats and decks and paneling in their living
rooms and dining room tables, boat and yacht builders wanting specialty wood sawed or
resawed and old-timers that want to cut their tree because they used to work in a sawmill
70 years ago and just wanted to do it again. ("..don't really need the wood, ...do
you want it?")
I keep an average of twenty people on the list and go as hard as
I can. I saw a circuit with a 60 mile radius and have been setup as far off as 200 miles.
I have met some of the nicest and most sincere folks and have gained to 300 lbs because
the farmers feed you. I think their wives run contest to see who can treat me the best.
My wife is happy because I can pay for my own laundry now. My
sons are happy because they are grown and gone. I'm happy because I am not living in a
10x10 room and have a big truck with air-conditioning and a radio and have bought my