Billy Butler Smitten by the Sawing Bug

Billy Butler Smitten by the Sawing Bug.

This is an excellent story, we thank Mr. Butler for sharing his love for sawing logs. It is very encouraging to know a machine built by Cooks Saw MFG. is being used and appreciated.

It's our goal, to help you make more money and enjoy life. I think that band sawmills are great therapy too and that's a big reason why we enjoy building and using them ourselves. Truly the quality and accuracy is excellent. As you see this lumber can be used for many projects and sold to commercial markets also.

Billy writes:

I was bitten by the sawmill bug 20 years ago when I had 12 eight foot cypress logs milled by an old fellow who owned an old Corley mill. The logs were used for the siding on my house that I was building at the time. The old Corley did the job, but I cringed every time that old circular saw blade cut through the log slicing off another 1x12x8 board, and as I watched ¼ x12x8 inch of that log end up on the sawdust pile. If my calculations are correct, that's 2 board feet per pass! The kerf on that circular blade sure wasted a lot of wood!

I had worked hard for those logs, cutting them from the lagoons of a creek swamp. I had to wade out into the water waist deep to fell the trees. Then I pulled the logs out of the water eight feet at a time, sawing off an eight foot log and pulling it to dry land with a farm tractor. To think of losing that much of my hard-earned lumber to sawdust was a shame.

The experience of sawing logs from my property into lumber that could be used for my own purposes convinced me that one day I would buy a portable sawmill of my own and that it would be a band sawmill so that more of my lumber would end up on the lumber stack instead of the sawdust pile.

Over the years I investigated at least a dozen band sawmills, corresponding with the salespeople, examining their videos, and watching demonstrations at a local annual farm exposition. Some were cheap, some were expensive, some well built, and some were very flimsy.

Finally, the time came when I could retire and have time to do more of the things I enjoyed, most of which involved working with wood. With retirement, the time was right to purchase that mill.

In December of 2002, I contacted James Osmond at Cooks Saw and Machine. The Cooks had produced one of the videos I had examined, and I had made up my mind, that was the mill I would buy. The design, durability, and ease of use could not be beaten at any price.

I have now had my sawmill for eight months, and I am very satisfied that my decision to purchase the AccuTrac MP-32 sawmill was exactly right. Over the years I have purchased equipment only to find that although the equipment was good, there were annoying, small things that I could work-around, but could have been avoided if the manufacturer had done a little better in the design. This is not the case with my MP32 portable sawmill. I have worked with it now for these nine months, and I find it to be the best-designed piece of equipment I have ever owned. Every day it is ready to saw. No fixing problems or readjusting before I can saw.

I have sawn walnut, cherry, cypress, poplar, red oak, cedar, and pine. The narrow kerf of the band is ideal for expensive woods giving me more wood for my effort with less waste in sawdust. I have used wood that I have sawn in building a master bathroom addition to my home. I used cypress and red cedar to build the surround base for my Jacuzzi bathtub and for the bay window in front of the tub.

Owning a small tract of timberland, I have found that also owning a sawmill gives me an endless supply of fine wood to build whatever I want. In the process it also helps me manage the timber, allowing me to cut mature or lightning killed trees one or two at the time instead of hiring a crew to cut enough for a load. There is much less devastation to the existing trees and forest floor.

The sawmill also came in handy during the beetle infestation that most of the southeast experienced last year. I was able to salvage newly infested timber to use for projects around the farm instead of letting someone haul it off at five dollars a ton. This wood worked fine as barn siding, and for my outbuildings.

The boards are so accurate and smooth; I have found that I can cut smaller rough dimensions because less planning is needed even for wood I use to build furniture. I have expanded my craftsmanship to other items. I built a custom door. This door was built from 600 year old cypress and it is the exterior door to my new bathroom. The vanity was built from the same cypress.

Other projects are in the works as soon as I finish with the new bathroom. I plan to build two log cabins on the stream near my home to use as weekend retreats. I also plan to market my sawing skills to others to produce extra income during my retirement years.

For anyone considering buying a portable sawmill I can give my wholehearted recommendation. It is great therapy and a money saving/making hobby.

Billy Butler,
Cairo, GA