To Counter Higher Lumber Prices, Many Alaskans Have Decided to Mill Their Own Lumber

Economists are warning that the current increase in lumber prices might last for an extended period of time. To that end, many Alaskans already tired of higher lumber prices have decided to either build their own or purchase a portable sawmill. Hans Dow spent the winter in his garage in South Anchorage building his own portable sawmill and it now sits in a corner on his property. Dow, who works for a tree cutting service as a crane operator, is currently getting his logs for free. He will use the logs to make 2×10, which he will assemble into garden boxes. Others, like Phil Hudson, a retired radio host who lives on 40 acres near Willow, has several acres of dead trees on his property. However, he decided it would be easier to purchase a completed unit with extra blades and had it shipped from Portland Oregon to Anchorage where he will pick it up. Hudson plans on using the lumber he mills to expand his home. Hudson purchased his mill from Wood-Mizer, an Indiana-based company that manufactures tools for processing lumber, including small, portable sawmills. The company’s cheapest mill is just over $3,000, and prices rise to nearly $60,000. According to Kate Sebring, an Alaskan-based sales representative for Wood-Mizer, to say they’re selling fast is an understatement “The lead time is 44 to 59 weeks right now for a sawmill. Other sawmill manufacturers are telling customers the same thing.” Sebring says they are currently taking 3–4 orders per day for the portable sawmills.


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As lumber prices climb, Alaskans increasingly mill their own