Some beautiful finds and sad news

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  • #13992

    Hi all,

    I apologise in advance for the long post 🙂

    I went for a run up to Mostyn saw mills today in North Wales. I have been there a few times now but spent longer than normal rummaging and speaking to the staff there.

    The saw mills are part of the Mostyn estate and do all the forestry management for the estate and a lot of other woodlands in the north Wales area and have some absolutely stunning air dried native hardwood planks. I came away with 2 lovely ash boards each measuring 10.5’x 14″x2.5″ for a grand total of £100. These boards had been in stick for 10+ years! That’s a lot of wood for money I believe.

    They had some amazing finds there including approximately 10′ of an oak tree cut sequentially in 2″ boards in crazy widths in stick as the tree was cut and I was told it had been drying for about 25 years. I didn’t dare get a quote for this little lot especially as the staff said that it was on sale as the complete tree only!
    They also had some beautiful english walnut! I personally have only ever seen short narrow lengths of English walnut in turning supply shops as spindle blanks so it came as a shock to see these 6′ tall 7″x 5″ beams with creamy sapwood and chocolate heart wood snaking around each other. Unsurprisingly these were not for sale and ear marked for projects on the estate.

    The sad part of all this and the reason for the length of this post, the vast majority of wood there was firewood. There were piles upon piles of sycamore and other lovely timbers drying having been cut to logs for hardwood stoves and fires. Speaking to the staff as little as ten years ago most of their wood was sold for construction, furniture, etc but now most of their hardwood is simply chopped into logs for burning as it is far more profitable for them. I for one think this is a real shame and just hope that my small contribution to furniture making can do some justice to the wood that I save from the stoves.

    Again, sorry for the long post and unfortunately I didn’t think to take any photos.

    David Gill

    Hi Aled nice post not too long at all

    Wigan, Lancs. England :


    Agreed, nice post Aled. 😉


    Hello Aled-

    Lucky for you to have a great sawmill within reasonable distance. Sounds like that one is a keeper.

    Most of the lumber used for “fine” woodworking in Southern California is imported into the state, so there are little to no sawmills except for those dedicated to the construction industry. I did find one small outfit, but they seem to charge a lot of money compared to the better local lumberyards.

    When I was in south-west New York state a few years back, I ran across several local sawmills that seemed to do a brisk business in that densely forested area. My father had some of the overgrown woods on his property thinned by a local sawyer and made some good money. Very frustrating being around all that hardwood abundance when I live in the barren desert-like climate of (irrigated) Los Angeles.

    -Scott Los Angeles


    Scott, la sounds a lot like the Chicago land area, however we have no major saw mills, not even for construction. I was able to find two small sawyers through craigslist, but the quality he’s been less than average… Retail walnut in Chicago its about $9bdft

    Aled, I wonder if that is more typical than not, especially in this day in age. Especially with stores like ikea that sell cheap furniture made from cheap softwoods….


    There used to be one in my town up until 10 years ago when it was destroyed by a fire. They even had a kiln, it was never rebuilt as the owner an operator was approaching retirement.
    In southern Ontario we don’t have much in the way of sawmills. I heard of one about an hour away from me. Luckily my father-in-law is a jack of all trades he lives 1.5hrs away, we visit on occasion and he has a lot of older machinery that can handle large trees. He mostly seasons maple out in the elements perfect for farm work. Haven’t asked for a board to play with yet. But Just around the corner from him there is an actual sawmill and kiln. So I can’t wait to go for a visit.

    Mark Armstrong

    Interesting post Aled it is a shame good timber going up in smoke especially when its so hard to buy timber now.

    Dagenham, Essex, England

    Philip Adams

    Hi Aled,
    Thanks for posting that. Might have to pop over from Bangor at some point, especially when Paul is back from the states. Been wanting to find some locally available natives for a while. Where are you based?
    Cheers, Phil

    I work alongside Paul to plan and produce the videos for Woodworking Masterclasses

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