Search Results for "IL sawmill"

IL Sawmill Directory Being Refreshed

Johnson-Creek-HardwoodThe Illinois Small Custom Sawmill Directory is in the process of being updated.

The directory, last published in 2011, features the capabilities and key contact information for 60 sawyers throughout the state, including operations that have stationary sawmills, portable mills, band mills or a combination of the three. The vast majority of the sawyers listed in the directory process logs from the urban forest, including ash trees felled because of emerald ash borer infestation.

The guide also notes value-added services offered by each business, such as kiln drying, planning, turning and millwork. Many of the listed sawyers also manufacture custom furniture and other wood products.

Paul Deizman, CF, of the Forest Utilization/Marketing & State Forests of the Illinois DNR, is heading up the updated. The 2016 edition is scheduled to be completed by the end of January. it will be posted at and other state forestry web sites. The guide also will be distributed at the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, March 18 at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL.

Sawyers are encouraged to review their 2011 listing and let Deizman know if any changes are in order or if the listing should be repeated as is for the updated edition. In addition, sawyers not included in the 2011 guide are urged to contact Deizman to have their business and services included.

Deizman can be contacted at or at 217-782-3376.




Chicago’s Sister City Has an Urban Wood Brother in Sawmill Sid

Sawmill-SidThe Illinois Urban Wood Utilization Team pays homage to Sawmill Sid, one of our brethren repurposing urban forest trees one log at a time in the Toronto area.

Sawmill Sid, a family-owned business, claims it kept nearly 220,000 cubic feet of urban wood out of the landfill last year. This wood was milled and into lumber, furniture, flooring, beams, and corporate gifts.

Beyond those types of products, Sawmill Sid aims to “to do our part in building sustainable communities. Our goal is to re-purpose our wood products and turn the by-products into biofuel.”

On a closer-to-home reason for being, Sawmill Sid was recognized for contributing wood to build “buddy benches” at all Simcoe County District School Board elementary schools.

Learn more at


Illinois Sawmill Directories Updated

IL-Sawmill-Directory-CoverBy Rich Christianson

The Forestry Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently released a pair of newly updated sawmill directories, one featuring custom sawyers and the other dedicated to stationary sawmilling operations.

The 2016 Illinois Custom Sawmill Directory, last updated in 2011,  features 60 businesses located throughout the state. The vast majority of them have mobile sawmills and are involved in processing lumber from logs reclaimed from community trees.

In addition to key contact information, the county-by-county guide includes information on specialty services offered by custom sawyers including kiln drying, timber inventories and secondary wood processing.

The 2016 Illinois Sawmill Directory, compiled with the help of Southern Illinois University and the U.S. Forest Service, is the first major update since 2013. The 42-page directory features listings of more than 70 sawmills with processing capacities ranging from less than 1,000 board feet per day to more than 16,000 board feet per day. Nearly all of the sawmills primarily process hardwoods, the most common of which is white and red oak, walnut, black cherry, and maple. Less than 5% of the sawmills process softwoods.

Learn more about services offered by Illinois Forestry Resources.

Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop Presentations

ILWUT_LogocroppedPresentations from the Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop, Thursday, March 17, Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oak Brook, IL.


Presenter: Dan Cassens, Wood Products Extension Specialist at Purdue University and Owner of Cassens Lumber, LLC.

1_Why Wood Is Good

2_Wood Quality and Characteristics

3_Log & Tree Scaling

4_Hardwood Lumber Grading & Pricing

5_Sawing Patterns & Grade Sawing

6_Determining Veneer Quality Logs

7_Wood Moisture & Drying

8_Stain & Insects

9_Selling & Marketing Wood Product for Small & Traditional Producers

Prof. Daniel Cassens Biography


Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop Set for March 17

Dan-Cassens-Sawmill-DemoProf. Dan Cassens, a leading authority on North American hardwoods, will present a full-day program focused on hardwoods sawing, grading, drying and more.

The Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop is scheduled for Thursday, March 17 at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st Street, Oak Brook, IL. The full-day program, is presented in special cooperation with the DuPage County Forest Preserves, by the Purdue University Department of Wood Products and the Illinois Wood Utilization Team. The workshop, precedes the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference set for Friday, March18 at Hamburger University also in Oak Brook.

The workshop will include classroom presentations and a live portable sawmill demonstration.

Topics include:

  • Wood Quality & Characteristics
  • Log Scaling
  • Hardwood Lumber Grading & Pricing
  • Sawing Patterns & Grade Sawing
  •  Determining Veneer Quality Logs
  • Wood Moisture & Drying
  • Stain & Insects
  • Selling & Marketing Custom Wood Products

Cassens, who also operates Cassens Lumber,  has presented this hardwood workshop to dozens of appreciative audiences throughout the Northeast and Midwest. Content for the workshop is based on his book, “Manufacturing and Marketing Eastern Hardwood Lumber Produced by Thin Kerf Band Mills.”

Registration Discount Package
Registration for the Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop is $85 and includes lunch if made by February 29 ($110 after and $135 onsite.) A $35 discount package is available for attendees who register for both the Hardwood Workshop and the Full Circle Urban Forest Conference (View schedule).

Learn more and register for the Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop.

Badge pickup and onsite registration opens at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 17. The program will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Rich Christianson, conference director, at 773-822-6750 or





IllinoisUrbanWood’s Top 10 Countdown

By Rich Christianson

The eyes have it!

The final votes are in and the Top 10 most-viewed posts on are known.

Activity on the Illinois Urban Wood Utilization Team’s website finished 2016 with 7, 349 visitors who clicked through 17,412 pages. Both of these totals are more than double that of 2015.

Here’s a quick reverse-order recap of the most popularly viewed posts last year.

10. Video: Tom The Sawyer Mills Black Walnut for Figure
Tom Hogard, aka Tom The Sawyer, of Eudora, KS, demonstrates how to maximize the figure of logs with “flaws” including sweep or crotches. Read more.

9. Woodworking Enthusiasts Get a Taste of Urban Wood
Woodworkers of all ages get an opportunity to craft products from wood salvaged from Chicago Park District trees. Read more.

8. Historic Bell Tolls for Urban Wood Display
Jeff Perkis used red oak milled from one of the downed trees to create a display stand for a historic train bell. It will become a permanent exhibit at the West Chicago City Museum. Read more.

7.  Illinois Sawmill Directories Updated
The Forestry Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently released a pair of newly updated sawmill directories, one featuring custom sawyers and the other dedicated to stationary sawmilling operations. Read more.

6. Passions Flow at IWF Urban Wood Seminar
Three presenters – representing three very diverse business models – chorused their praise for urban wood during a unique seminar held Aug. 26 at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. Read more.

5. Diverse Audience Unites at Urban Wood Event
Arborists, foresters, sawyers, architects, woodworkers and other professionals came together at the Bringing the Urban Wood Full Circle Conference to learn and share ideas for propelling the urban wood market. Read more.

4. Couple ‘Sacrificed Our Entire Lives’ for Urban Wood Business
Rob and Zoe Bocik left the 9-to-5 rat race six years ago to pursue their dream of milling lumber and crafting furniture, jewelry and other products from local trees otherwise destined for the chipper or landfill. Read more.

3. Arborist Pursues His Passion with Urban Wood Start-up
Dobnick Timberworks has joined the Illinois urban wood  movement, opening up a lumber and custom wood products business in Oswego, IL. Read more.

2. Urban Wood Products Showcase Winners Strut Their Stuff
The Urban Wood Products Showcase, featured at the March 2016 Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, shined a bright spotlight on the design creativity of the entries that ranged from tables and wall hangings to a bell stand and soccer ball all crafted from urban wood. Read more.

1. First Release: Urban Wood User’s Resource Guide
A new national directory dedicated to helping connect tree care professionals, sawyers, woodworkers and other urban wood enthusiasts was recently released by the Urban Forest Full Circle Network. Read more.

IL WUT’s Global Reach

il-wut-visitor-mapBy Rich Christianson blew past 15,000 page views for this calendar year in October. As of today, the website has 15,603 total views — more than double the number recorded for all of 2015 and seven-fold the clicks totaled in 2014 when the website was launched.

I detailed the largest factors behind this dramatic uptick in an October 11 webcast produced by the Wood Education Resource Center. They include:

> Giving search engines more opportunities to “recommend” the site by posting 60 articles and videos through October, 60% more than posted all of last year. In October I noted that ranked number one in Google search for the terms Urban Lumber, Urban Wood Utilization and Urban Wood Sawmills. IL WUT ranked number three for Urban Wood and ranked eight, nine and 10 for Urban Wood Products.

> The increased content posts have fed the monthly Illinois Urban Wood Update, a monthly newsletter that debuted in July 2015. It is the monthly newspaper that brings the latest headlines to subscribers.

> That subscription database has climbed dramatically from 351 at the end of 2015 to 803 by the end of September 30, 2016, a robust 129% increase.

It’s been truly gratifying to see the interest in IL WUT’s online activities swell. I also find it interesting that while U.S. and Canadian page views represent 92.7% and 2.4% of this year’s total respectively, visitors have entered the website from 83 other countries. Beyond the Top 10 countries summarized in the accompanying graphic are many nations that one would not suspect would have much interest in the urban wood movement, places like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Cambodia and the Cayman Islands to name a few. I imagine visitors from some of these far off lands arrived by accident but I’d like to think that many were led our way by the will to learn more about urban wood and urban forestry.

Even if it’s a stretch, I can still hope that all left a little more gratified and educated than when they landed.

Note: For those interested, here’s a link to my Illinois Wood Utilization Team update PowerPoint for the WERC Webcast.






Video: Tom The Sawyer Mills Black Walnut for Figure


Tom Hogard, aka Tom The Sawyer, of Eudora, KS, has been milling trees cultivated from the urban forest for many years.

In the accompanying video, Hogard demonstrates how to maximize the figure of logs with “flaws” including sweep or crotches.

Like Tom the Sawyer on Facebook.


Update: USGBC Illinois Postpones May Urban Wood Event


The Illinois Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council announced that it has postponed its urban wood event originally scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19 at Horigan Urban Forest Products.

The program –  Urban Forestry in Chicagoland: Renewable Wood Products from Beginning to End User – will be rescheduled in late summer or early fall. Instead of being held at Horigan Urban Forest Products, the event will be at the Writers Theatre in Glencoe in late summer or early fall. The event will now coincide with the Writers Theatre receiving its LEED Gold Certification.

Plans for the cancelled May 19 event called for highlighting urban forestry and how using locally produced urban wood fits into LEED building projects. The event was to include a tour of Horigan’s warehouse, custom sawmill and kiln drying operations at its facility at 7255 St. Louis Ave. in Skokie. The company, owned by the husband and wife team of Bruce and Erika Horigan,  processes and inventories a wide variety of local hardwoods and slabs.

The May 19 meeting agenda had included presentations by Bruce Horigan and Jon Faris, general manager of the Writers Theatre in Glencoe. Horigan was to discuss how urban forestry is implemented in Chicagoland, how it can be used in green building projects to earn LEED credits. Faris was to discuss how the Writers Theatre worked with Studio Gang Architects to use urban wood products to pursue LEED Gold certification.

USGBC Illinois Chapter has more than  800 members including real estate professionals, architects, engineers, designers, contractors, product manufacturers, state and local government officials, homebuilders, homeowners, and anyone interested in green building. The Illinois chapter is the local affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a national non-profit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

ASLA CEUs Available for Hardwood Lumber & Urban Wood Events



The Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects will award continuing education units to qualified attendees of both the March 17 Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop and the March 18 Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference.

Both events are being organized by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team in separate facilities in Oak Brook, IL. .

The ASLA-Illinois Chapter, Conference Partner of the events, has more than 500 members and is one of the largest chapters of ASLA. ASLA’s mission is “To lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.”

ASLA members can earn 6 Non-HSW (Health, Safety and Welfare) CEUs for attending the Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop, Thursday, March 17 at the Mayslake Peabody Estate. Purdue University of Forestry Prof. Daniel Cassens, a leading authority of North American hardwoods, will present the full-day program focused on hardwood sawing, grading, drying and more. The workshop will include a portable sawmill demonstration. Registration includes lunch. Click here to view workshop schedule and register.

ASLA members can earn 6.5 HSW CEUs for attending the Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference, Friday, March 18 at Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL. The program will navigate all links of the urban wood market chain from land management and tree removal through milling community trees into lumber that can then be fabricated into furniture, flooring and other wood products. The conference will include an Urban Wood Products Showcase of cool professional and student projects, a sawmill demonstration and a Networking Reception with table top displays, including one manned by ASLA-IL representatives. Registration includes continental breakfast, lunch, appetizers and break snacks.

Click here to view the conference schedule and register.