Category 8: Unusual & Unique


  Sawyer: Gregg Turk
Location: Somerville, AL
Equipment: LT40

Project Dimensions: 14' long X 5’8" wide X 7' high 
100% of lumber cut on the mill
Estimated Savings:
$4,000+ on lumber
Wood Species Used: 
yellow & tulip poplar
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GRAND CHAMPION - Santa's Sleigh get an Upgrade

Gregg Turk used to use his mill to saw for clients as well as to saw material for his fine furniture making and woodcarving. But after being struck with health problems, Gregg was forced to scale back his business and semi-retire. He decided to try out a new vocation: being Santa. There was just one problem with the new gig. When children saw Gregg’s Santa persona, they would ask, “Santa, where is your sleigh?” Unable to lie to a child, Gregg saw only one alternative: to build a sleigh.

With a little bit of Santa’s magic, the wood from a single poplar tree was transformed into Santa’s sleigh. Gregg did all of the woodworking himself and only contracted out the front bells, upholstery, and wiring system, all of which he still had a hand in designing. Although the style of the sleigh may look old-fashioned, the dash is outfitted with the latest advances in technology to make Santa’s job a little easier. He has a GPS system, a computer to view the “Great Kids List” and images of space, a switch to activate the locking clamps to help hold the sleigh down when up on the rooftops, and even a liftoff sequence simulation with roaring subwoofers and fog!

Not long after he began building, he was contacted by two local cities about being Santa for their Christmas events. Suddenly, the pressure was on. Although December was only three months away, Gregg was determined to finish the sleigh in time. Making the sleigh took a little more than the snapping of Santa’s fingers. He worked on building the sleigh eight to ten hours a day and spent his evenings designing the parts he would build next. Needless to say, Gregg was exhausted at the end of this project, but the final result was worth it. Although his wife was a bit concerned, once the sleigh was completed, they both sat on the floor of the workshop speechless at the masterpiece in front of them.

Gregg considers his sleigh the culmination of more than 35 years of woodworking and the best project he has ever undertaken. His Wood-Mizer sawmill allowed him to work with high grade material that he never could have purchased at a lumberyard and gave him flexibility in the sizing of his material. As Gregg says, “The combination of being a woodworker, a Santa, and owning a Wood-Mizer sawmill allows you to be able to build anything you can imagine!”








  Sawyer: David Watters
Location: Zionsville, IN
Equipment: LT15

Project Dimensions: 6,250 sq ft 
62% of lumber cut on the mill: 30,000+ BF
Estimated Savings: $80,000
Wood Species Used: white oak, antique beech, sugar maple, black walnut, white pine, white cedar, hickory, antique walnut/maple, poplar, red oak, antique chestnut
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FIRST PLACE - The Beamery's Barn

When an organic farm needed a structure to serve as an office and equipment barn. David Watters had no problem making that happen. When the client saw old round barns around Indiana and wanted one of his own, David pushed timber framing to its limits by including two round barns in the design. “I tell people that if it has anything to do with timber, we’ll try it at least once.”

After nine months of hard work, the employees of The Beamery and their subcontractors created a building that is beautiful as well as multi-functional. The client wanted a design that was unique and had historical elements. Not only did the design incorporate historic lumber, but the mortise and tenon timber frame construction method used throughout the building adds extra historic value. Keeping in line with the organic nature of the farm, the building also includes several green elements, including a full geothermal heating system, structural insulated panels, and a wind generator. It’s truly a one of a kind building.

David’s LT15 and 33’ bed length have proved invaluable in his business, allowing him to cut up to 18’, he now can cut 24’ white oak beams himself. He also uses his LT15 to resaw reclaimed wood that other mills won’t touch. For this project, he was able to cut the antique timber down to the sizes he needed and used 95% of the reclaimed lumber in the construction.








Sawyer: Robert Long
Location: Tecumseh, OH
Equipment: LT40 Hydraulic

100% of lumber cut on the mill
Estimated Savings: $2,000
Wood Species Used: oak, walnut, cherry

HONORABLE MENTION - Five Clocks for Five Brides

When five of his nieces and nephews got engaged in the same year, Robert Long made each couple a unique clock as a wedding gift. The clocks became an exciting feature at the family weddings as everyone began to look forward to seeing what the next one would look like. These clocks exhibit true craftsmanship and attention to detail. Robert used mortise and tenon joints exclusively without using a single nail. He also did all of the work on his own, from milling all the wood on his LT40 to building boxes for each clock and gift wrapping them. These classic, hand-crafted timepieces will surely be cherished by Robert’s family for years to come.