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This is the place for news about In The Sticks.

February 4, 2013

As a Jack of all trades yet master of none, I have been struggling.  I am getting around to writing an update.  I continue to appreciate visitors and milling Juniper.  Thanks for looking and keep juniper in mind for upcoming projects.

Kendall Derby


December 19, 2012

Oregon Public Broadcasting ran a wonderful piece on juniper Nov.21, 2012

Also at the top of the sheet, Oregon Solutions is crafting a push forward for juniper.  We have millions of degraded acres (RESTORATION!) and we want rural industry (JOBS!).  It is very powerful to look directly at so much opportunity (JUNIPER!).  The Oregon Solutions process is going well and I expect big outcomes!

Amy and I have been getting some juniper furniture made by craftsmen experienced with juniper lumber.  The furniture is for personal use.  I’ll get photos so we can show craftsmanship from the sawmill to the home.

It is definitely winter here at 27F this morning.  That is actually good, because the mud is frozen.  Logs are trickling in from new suppliers.  That means the log source is expanding and I have logs in the yard.  I am milling a bit of pine and fir for custom orders.  The juniper push is coming.  Springtime will demand landscape material and garden bed material.  The furniture artisans are growing as well.

August 24, 2012

Making business history again with the shipment of juniper lumber to California.  This is the largest volume order I have shipped and it went to Pasadena for a pioneering decor project.  I’ll do an extended update post soon.  Meanwhile things here are steady and opportune!


April 22, 2012

There are two substantive leaps forward to report.  For the first time in the history of the world a truckload of juniper logs were delivered on a flatbed semi.  Those logs were promptly milled.  The resulting kiln load was completed last night.  It is the finest juniper lumber produced in a decade.  I say in a decade in deferance to the old timers.  I don’t know what they produced but I am confident about this kiln charge being the best available anywhere.  I am looking forward to the grading and selling of this lumber.  This is another step forward.  Alright, alright here is a picture of the truckload:


First ever truckload of 8.5 foot juniper

The sales opportunities in Portland are still a large part of my business.  I continue to get good feedback/comments from my customers and I really appreciate it.    I especially appreciate the photos of finished projects and products.  Did you know there are juniper shuffleboard tables?  This is still early in the game of juniper.  The customers, products, trucking experiments and my sawmill methods are all open to discussion.

I have developed a sawing technique that seems to be working well for production and recovery.  I still do not produce enough volume to be a viable company.  I am getting more confident in the crew training, workplace procedures and day to day operation.  I am in a better position to have crew and equipment that will push the up the volume in a safe efficient manner.  My job is to pioneer profitable production of a unique resource.

Producing  juniper lumber is like working with mules.  I cuss a lot.  Most people will not do it.  What mules and juniper are good for…they do very well.  It takes a special kind of person to work with long ears and short lumber.  Perhaps we deserve each other.

I readily respond to email

Forward we go!!!



July 18, 2011

Oh My!  I knew I had been slacking but my last post was in 2010!  Yes, I am still here.  There is a saga.  I am getting in place to relate the story of the lst seven months.  Today, I need to go mill.  What a journey!

December 14, 2010

Mud, a re-saw and boxes!

The fleeting snow has gone over to mud.  That messes up my ability to mill.  In  Dayville I had a well drained location.  In Fossil I am going to have to spend money importing truck loads of rock if I want to mill logs into lumber.  I’ll be sure and put those truckloads of rock on my wish list for Santa! Hah!

I will have to get a picture of the resaw now that it works.  Picture a machine that uses the same blade as the sawmill but “re-saws” lumber to a set thickness.  The good news is that it uses three phase power.  Three phase is a real benefit that came with the warehouse and kiln property.  Expect to see the sawmill with an electric motor in the future.  Back to the re-saw…its first paying job was to craft two inch lumber from two and a half inch lumber, lickety split.  That flexibility on thickness will mean simpler sawmilling and more orders accepted then sold!

I have been learning about wooden boxes.  Apple boxes and other wood boxes were the basis for entire factories and careers.  Those days are gone!  I got curious so I have been creating some replica apple boxes and other types of crates.  Here is a picture of some gift style boxes from juniper.

juniper gift boxes

December 8, 2010

The transition from Dayville to Fossil is complete.  Tha seems like old news to me as the process has been dragging on.  I now have an office (job site trailer) in Fossil.  I have the “Shop” (U-haul,twenty foot box on a 1973 Ford F600) in Fossil.  I am moved out of the Dayville house and it is rented out.  Up next is the sawmilling of the logs I have sitting in the yard.  Thanks for checking in at this page.  I try to keep the significant news posted.

October 20,2010

Dozer work was part of the week as well.  An adjoining property had a D-8  (huge) bulldozer and I hired it for some cut and fill earthwork.  Two hours of Cat work and I have more leveled area to work on.  I expect there is an added 3-4000 square feet of new work/storage area carved from the hillside.  That should be it for the dozer work on site.  I want the rest of the hill to stay a resplendent grassland.  There is still room for a garden, apple trees and a garden shed.

October 20,2010

Truckloads of logs came in this week to Fossil.   Two hundred thousand pounds of juniper logs and a self-loader load of red fir logs  were delivered.

October 8, 2010

For Amy’s birthday bash, Amy and I went the Sustainable Northwest Gala in Portland to support a favored customer, Sustainable Northwest Wood.  While in Portland we ran a bunch of juniper and hardwood slabs through the wide belt sander at Creative Woodworking.  We picked up other material that was run at Trillium Northwest another millwork operation.  We left some amazing slabs at the Sustainable Northwest Wood Warehouse with Ryan and Dawn.  Not much of a birthday “party” for my superb wife but she really is a “sport” about these things.

September 25 2010,

Took a load of fancy juniper lumber to Portland yesterday.  It will be used as backyard fence for people who can afford top grade juniper as a fence boards.

There are still not any profitable outlets or products for juniper at the current scale of production.  After all these years juniper has still not found its true calling.   Exotic wood dealers say it is not exotic enough.  Other lumber dealers say there is no demand for it so they don’t carry it.  I treasure my landscape timber customers and the other scattered sales.  I get discouraged because I need to grow this business “organically.”  That means take increased sales and profits and invest in growing the volume of sales and profits.  At this point there are few sales and no profits.

In looking at this web site I seem to verge on dismay,  a lot.  I actually think that is OK.  I do not expect easy.  I do not want to pretend this is a fairy tale.  I write these observations with the idea that someday we can look back and remember how things were.  Success with juniper is earned and not easy.

August 12, 2010

I just turned away another order for a truckload quantity of juniper.  How sad to have a small business and turn away customers.  I just completed the move from Dayville to Fossil.  I don’t have a reliable supplier of logs.  I don’t have the capital to have material already on hand.  I work alone so my production capacity sucks.  How is that for a list of pathetic excuses?  How long do I get to stay in business while making excuses?  Hey, I am not discouraged.  I love challenges.  Why else would I be a  juniper sawmill business out here “In The Sticks,” if not for the psychological torture!

August  12, 2010

The lot in Dayville is vacant.  Everything is moved to Fossil but the larger forklift.

August 4, 2010

Dan completed his latest mill operator assignment and is off running a skidder now.  I moved the mill to Fossil and vacated the Dayville log yard.  Now, I am dedicated to Fossil and looking for logs.  This week I sent out an eighteen thousand dollar quote.  Now it is wait and see for that one.

I am proud of my track record regarding safety and maintenance.  Six years in the business and everything is running well.  One minor injury accident, from a non-running chain saw (eight stitches=I was stupid).  Not bad for being part of the sawmill industry.  The safety effort will continue.

I am distressed when doing everything by myself .  There is very little I can do really well when I wear so many hats.  It is good to be busy and in one place!   Fossil, Oregon here I am!

July 2, 2010

Dan is back!

I am bringing Dan back to run the mill in Dayville for the month of July.  I am also working on a scheme to get my nephew as young and strong labor.  Seamus can help Dan and he might learn a thing or two in the process.  I have logs coming and we will get caught up on inventory demands.  Heck we might even get ahead!

July, 2 2010

I am vacating the Dayville log yard at the end of July.  I am going to mill the material on site and move to Fossil.  I don’t  pay rent in Fossil.  The highway location will be missed but I am behind on rent and the solution is to vacate.

June 30, 2010

Trip to Portland and visited three customers.  Added connections and solidified my view that the opportunity for me is in kiln dry juniper lumber.   The landscape timbers wil still be important but not the empahsis of my business.  If I can keep one primary customer in timbers, the rest of my work can be milling and drying lumber.

June 22, 2010

I don’t want to be the only bakery in town.

This sawmill business is like running  bakery.  People want fresh wheat, white , raisin or rye bread .  They want it now, at a favorable price.  Sometimes, at my tiny scale of operation, I am out of flour and the oven is cold.  If there were another baker in town I could refer the order to that other baker.  Then the customer would be happy.  The more people that appreciate good bread the more opportunity there is for me to be in business as a bakery.

My challenge is to have the fresh bread coming out of the oven when a customer walks in the door.  If I am out of bread, I want to send the customer over to the other bakery and get the order filled.  Right now there are few other choices for juniper lumber.  If I do not have the volume or type of lumber the customer seeks, I do not have a place to send them.  I think it is better to have fulfilled juniper customers than to have frustrated juniper customers.  I wish I were not the only bakery in town.

June 19, 2010

Rain continues to create a mud issue for the loggers and the sawmill.  I did run the kiln and that lumber has been graded, inventoried and properly stored.  I am behind on orders for the landscape timbers and have been for a month.  Between the kiln load and the mud I just have not been able to mill timbers.  I will be busy for another month just catching up!

4-26-10 Logs are in Fossil!!!  For the first time log truck loads of juniper have been delivered to Fossil.  The  logs came from Monument, OR,  were hauled by a truck out of Prairie City, OR and unloaded by a log loader from Fossil OR.  How’s that for economic stimulus?   I will be looking for more logs in a month or sooner.



Week of May 3, 2010:  Milling  Douglas fir logs in Dayville, deliveries!  I see a “special” fir log coming up.  If it turns out to be unique, as I predict… may be “One Of A Kind” lumber.  Stand by for News.  (The fir log was a nice log but not what I had hoped for….nuff said)

5/10/10 on my to do list, a price sheet for lumber and posting the log criteria for purchase.  My brother say I need to say more nice things about juniper instead of scaring everybody off.  OK, I’ll try.  I do have several skilled customers now with juniper furniture “in process.”  If the projects turn out well I will post pictures.

5/16/10  Interesting event for juniper…the largest volume producer of juniper lumber is sold out.  That has resulted in me getting calls for truckloads of juniper.  There are two problems with that.  I am not able to turn out truckload quantities on short notice.  Second, the big producer underpriced the product so these volume buyers expect to pay thirty percent less than what it costs to produce the material.  I am waiting to see if this collapses the demand for juniper or if the market will find a way to tolerate the higher (honest) price.  If the largest juniper sawmill is willing to be a non-profit that is fine.  What does it mean for the rest of us?

A comment on the use of “honest price”:  in order to keep the supply line in operation each entity needs opportunity.  The logger, the trucker, the sawyer, the broker and yes…the customer.  Each of these people need to see handling juniper as a viable part of the day.  In fancy business speak this is called margin.  When I buy a log for twelve dollars, I need to sell the resulting pieces of the log for more than it cost to process the log.  Otherwise, I can not sustain or grow my business.  When you buy or sell juniper with me, there will be the expectation that both of us will be in business long after the transaction.  A steady hand at the wheel, and an “honest price.”  End of Rant!

5/19/10  I am invited this week to speak about the value of juniper in a watershed. Hmmmmmmm.  This could be interesting.