This East Sussex family farm has diversified their farm and boosted profits with the addition of a sawmill to the mix – watch the video at http://youtu.be/tbwICgDu6Sc
If it had not been for a unusually fierce windstorm in 1987, Alex Gingell may never have discovered a way to make his farm profitable.
With a large mortgage in front of him, a family to feed, and meagre farm profits supporting both, Alex worked his tract of land from dawn until dusk. When a large storm system swept through southern England, leaving scores of trees down across his land, Alex attempted to turn a disaster into opportunity and sell the trees to the sawmills around him. He found that they were unwilling to pay much for them, so Alex hired a fellow with a portable Wood-Mizer sawmill to come and cut them all for him, then sold the lumber to local builders and made a healthy profit.
That was the beginning of Alex Gingell’s career as a sawmiller. He purchased his own Wood-Mizer LT40 mobile sawmill in 1990. He started out by sawing and building bespoke oak gates for clients, as well as offering a mobile milling service to his local area.
He now owns two Wood-Mizer sawmills, an LT40 for standard cutting requirements and a new WM1000 for cutting big logs. His son Harry recently joined him full time, and they keep busy with a steady demand of orders from builders, joinery companies, and furniture makers. Harry has obtained FSC certifications, enabling them to cut FSC certified oak for customers. Their local area has a high concentration of oak-framed houses, and as homeowners build extensions or renovate, they desire to maintain the traditional oak appearance.
Although the LT40 easily handles most logs, Alex needed a solution for the bigger logs for better beams and wide slabs. Among the solutions available on the market, a newly developed sawmill from Wood-Mizer met his needs the best. High quality oak is very valuable, and Wood-Mizer’s WM1000 allows him to retain maximum yield from each log, since the sawmill uses narrow bandsaw blades. The thinness of the cut compared to alternative sawing methods can mean the difference of an extra slab from each log, and when cutting valuable wood, this advantage is highly significant.
Although the majority of his day is spent on the sawmill, Alex has refined his farming system so that the two sides of the business work together to provide his family and employees with a comfortable income.
Regarding their marketing, both Alex and Harry agree that historically their work has been generated by word-of-mouth, but that their efforts to have a website and Facebook page have paid off more and more.
Visit their website at www.copfordsawmill.co.uk and follow their exploits on their active Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Copford-sawmill/132272686819508.
Visit www.woodmizer.co.uk for more information about personal and mobile sawmills.
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