Craig Howard's Successful Business

Taking Business To The Next Level With An AccuTrac Fully Hydraulic Sawmill.

Another winner with the AC36 is by Craig Howard, who lives in sweet home Alabama. His story will be of interest to everyone, but especially to anyone who is considering getting into the sawmill business full time.

He tells of starting his business part time. Working at the sawmill in the evenings after his regular job and on his days off. He eventually quit his job and he and his wife run a lumber and molding business full time.

It really makes us at Cooks Saw feel proud that our machine along with the help and information we give has played a part in someone becoming self employed and making a living doing what he really enjoys. Craig has used good judgment mixed with a tremendous amount of hard work and persistence to make his business a reality.

You will enjoy and be inspired by his story and the pictures of what he has accomplished. ~ Stephen


Craig writes ~

In 1998 I was looking for a way to supplement my income. I was working at a local chemical plant as a chemical operator. There were and still are a lot of portable sawmills around my area. I first thought there was too much competition for me to profit here. After more consideration I decided that there was an opportunity for me to set up a stationary electric sawmill to custom saw for people that only have a few logs to be sawn.

The guys with portable mills won’t go out for just a few logs but the people with just a few logs will bring them to my sawmill. I also figured that it would be better for me to stay in one place to saw my own logs and sell the lumber.

I looked at several saw mills and settled on the Accu-Trac fully hydraulic stationary sawmill. I wanted a sawmill equipped with an electric motor, but I had no three phase current. The guys at Cooks saw solved that problem with an AE-60 phase converter. This let me run the three phase motor off of single phase 220 volt current.

Shortly after purchasing the Accu-Trac stationary sawmill I realized that I had a problem that was costing me a lot of time. I worked alone most of the time and the problem was the amount of time that it took to trim the side boards. This problem was solved with a used Miner Edger that I also bought from Cooks saw.

They had taken it on a trade and added laser lines to it so that I can make straight cuts and know exactly how to line the board up to enter the saws. The edger increased my production and my yield. Shortly after the sawmill got into production it began to pay for itself. I only ran the mill 3 days a week at the most. Within 3 years the mill had paid for itself as well as save me money on several projects and put money in my pocket to boot.

I built a 40 x 100 lumber drying shed. The Accu-Trac stationary sawmill cut all the lumber for this building. The building contained 6x10x20 top plates, 6x6x18 poles to support building. There was 2,600 linear feet of 2x6 for lathing and 40 foot clear span metal trusses. I have cut lumber for several people in my area to build their entire houses. I cut everything from sills to the rafters, floor joist and siding.

After experiencing success I decided to take my business to the next level. I had read about value adding to products. This is to take an existing product and doing something to it to make it worth more money. I knew this is what I needed to do.

In 2002, I used lumber that I had cut to build a duel cell kiln building. The kiln was fired with slabs from my sawmill. I use a Hardy wood burning furnace to heat the kiln and it also heats my house. To process the lumber after I dried it I purchased a Logosol planer moulder.

Now I could take the board I was already sawing and add value to it by making all types of moulding and flooring. This makes the same piece of wood pay me more that double what it normally would pay.

Business grew and consumed more and more of my time. I quickly started getting more than I could handle. My reputation for sawing more accurate lumber and greater yield keeps my custom sawing service growing and I have great repeat business. I now custom saw, dry and plane.

I manufacture long leaf pine timber into heart pine flooring. I also manufacture v-joint, bead and various other patterns of moulding and paneling. In August of 2002, I resigned from my chemical job to run the business full time. I really enjoy running my Accu-Trac stationary sawmill and making products for my customers and myself.

Craig Howard