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The Wood Shed

Listing #447   Listed on: 09/24/2012

WOODWEB Content Editor, Brett Hagstrom, Interviewed Duane Slaymaker in March 2014. You can listen to the audio interview by clicking on the respective links below.

  • Listen to Part 1: The Sawmill
  • Listen to Part 2: Species Sawn
  • Listen to Part 3: Kiln
  • Listen to Part 4: Customers
  • Listen to Part 5: Projects
  • Listen to Part 6: Projects Cont.

    Continue Reading about The Wood Shed

    Company Name:   The Wood Shed
    Contact Name:   Duane Slaymaker
    Location:   Strasburg, PA  17579
    Year Founded:   2000
    Sq. Footage:   0
    Employees:   1
    Gross Sales:   N/A

    Product Specialties:
        Hardwood Lumber

    Service Specialties:

    Sawmill Equipment:
        Sawmills: Portable - Norwood
        Other - John Deere tractor
        Other - Hudson log loading trailer

    Viewer Comments:

    Posted By: Dave Boyt     [01/22/2013]
    I've visited Duane's mill. He is a very skilled sawyer and woodworker - and a heckuva musician.

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    Company Description Continued

    A former employer’s passion for milling material for his contemporary Windsor furniture line influenced Duane Slaymaker’s interest in sawing lumber. Duane found the process fascinating and rewarding. A milling and drying site, front end loader, and hauling equipment were readily available on his family farm and Duane spent considerable time researching sawmills. The research let to the purchase of his portable Norwood 2000 mill, and with all the necessary gear in place Duane started his own sawing operation. Several black walnut trees located on the farm became the “guinea pigs” and the lumber from these trees became a dining room table, Duane’s first tree-to-furniture experience. After this experience he was hooked.

    Duane eventually purchased additional support equipment including Several 20" Stihl saws, a 32" Husqvarna for slabbing large logs to fit the mill, and a 16' trailer equipped with a winching system. “The Norwood is a perfect fit for my setup” Duane mentions and “it fit my budget, is easy to maintain, and cuts very accurately.”

    Logs are acquired mostly through word of mouth and a network of Duane’s friends. Occasionally local tree removal companies will drop off logs at the mill. Duane does travel locally to pick up logs but typically will not travel more than 30 minutes away from the mill. He will pay for certain logs, but most are acquired at no cost from homeowners’ happy that their tree will be fashioned onto fine furniture as opposed to becoming firewood, and some are just happy to have it out of their yard. An abundance of storms over the last few years has provided many nice saw logs.

    Hardwoods are primarily sawn at the mill, with the most frequent species including black walnut, poplar, and red and white oak. Duane also enjoys sawing honey locust, hackberry, and sycamore. These more obscure species are mostly used for building “short runs” of Duane’s patented line of guitar display stands (see

    The optional trailer package was purchased with the Norwood to move and store the mill during the winter months. Duane prefers to transport logs to the mill rather than trailer the mill to the log. This allows access to the support equipment and prevents recurring setup and teardown. He mentions “having the tractor available greatly speeds up the process of moving logs around at the mill and loading them on the mill.”

    Occasionally sawing orders are completed for non-commissioned customers but the main focus is sawing lumber for commissioned cabinetry and furniture. Duane indicated that “the custom milling takes away precious time from my own milling and shop work.”Duane mentions that he currently has a standing order with a local middle school for 4/4 poplar. The tech-ed. classes use the material for a specific, recurring project. Duane processes the poplar from log to ¾” x 6” x 6’ finished boards. Duane mentions that “knowing the absolute final dimensions that will be needed makes sawing the logs extremely efficient and greatly reduces waste.”

    Once the lumber is cut on the mill it is stickered, covered, and air dried to 20% MC at the mill. The lumber is then transported to a local kiln for further drying with a target MC of 6-7%. Duane sells lumber to local shops and delivers to customers with the forementioned 10,000lb flatbed trailer or uses his pickup truck to deliver smaller loads.

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