Jump to content
  • Jake_Mooney@Wood-Mizer

    Scottish tree surgeon scales back to focus on work he enjoys

    “Put me in a harness and a rope and a chain saw, and I’m at home.” Nestled in the rolling green hills west of Edinburgh, Sandy and Fiona take pride in their handmade furniture and beautifully landscaped yard. For 17 years, Sandy ran a successful tree surgeon business called Treeshape.

     

    6-copy.jpg

     

    “I came back from New Zealand in 1999,” Sandy shares, “with nothing at that time, after already having 20 year’s experience. I saw there was an open market for tree surgeons and just went for it, basically because it was new, real competition. I’ve built up my yard, the field, equipment, forestry mulchers, chippers, grinders, stump grinders…but after reaching a certain age, it started to hurt, and bureaucracy kicked in as well.” He laughs. “It was just too much and it wasn’t enjoyable anymore. So I sold a lot of my equipment and bought sawmills and sharpeners and setters.”

     

    img_6954.jpg

     

    Sandy and Fiona previously had a Wood-Mizer LT20 sawmill, which they used to process trees on a nominal basis, and used the timber to build some personal projects. “It was such a good sawmill that I went for another Wood-Mizer,” Sandy comments. “Not only because the machine is good, but the backup too. I’ve always been well looked after by Wood-Mizer.”

     

    img_6608.jpg

     

    Sandy’s purchase of the brand new WM1000 wide-cutting sawmill was the first of its kind in Scotland. With the WM1000, logs can be sawed in half, into quarters, or into wide slabs directly for special projects. The operator safely controls all cutting functions while standing on a platform that moves with the head. The WM1000 was perfect for Sandy’s budding business, so he ordered the highest specs for a more powerful machine, a wider blade, and a full blade sharpening package. Wood-Mizer’s Scotland agent, Keith Threadgall shares. “Since nobody was doing it in Scotland at the time, he thought it would provide a good service, being able to mill up big large bits of timber.”

     

    Sandy and Keith were especially excited about the blade sharpening package. “A lot of customers in Scotland are starting to buy their own blade packages,” Keith shares. “They prefer to do their own blades.” Sandy was surprised at the ease in which he could clean, lubricate, and sharpen his blades.

     

    img_6697.jpg


    In the eastern region of Scotland, the weather is pretty changeable. But with the WM1000, Sandy doesn’t need to go outside to operate his sawmill. “It’s electric, it’s inside—it covers all my needs. And it’s very affordable for what it does. With a quick clean and lube, it’s ready to saw.”

     

    “I’m doing it because I like doing it, and I can take time to learn to do it correctly. Hopefully at the end of it, I can have some furniture and be able to provide a service to mill for other people.” And, shortly after making a few pieces of furniture, Sandy’s friends began requesting more.

     

    img_7186.jpg

     

    “So my business is basically going to be an in-house, contract saw miller. I can haul timber with my Unimog 2100 forestry trailer/crane. And I can be part tree surgeon when I feel like it, and a furniture maker too,” Sandy said with a smile. “A lot of oversized timber just gets turned into firewood and wasted, or just gets burned,” he explains. They make it a point to salvage the trees they work on as tree surgeons and use the leftover wood in their own projects. “Even the sawdust is a product,” Sandy says.

     

    Sandy’s business has just started, but it’s already rapidly growing. Sandy is planning ahead and working to find some new contacts so his hobby can become a service for others. “With a good job, you get rewards,” he explains. “The main thing is, be honest. And then be thorough!”

     

    img_1139.jpg

    By Bethany Faubion



    User Feedback


    Good little corner of the tree job that's often overlooked, which when you see the cost of seasoned milled timber is hard to understand. K

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    *Fast efficient big log breakdown is something new for the area*

     

    Disagree with that point as I've been doing it for years, and there is also Patrick Baxter located 40 minutes south of us and a plethora of other sawmills in the central belt of Scotland dealing with specialist, niche timbers.

     

    I wish Sandy all the best with his mill and his business, but I do dislike dishonest marketing. Just because it doesn't have a Woodmizer sticker on it doesn't mean that it's not relevant. 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    3 hours ago, Big J said:

    *Fast efficient big log breakdown is something new for the area*

     

    Disagree with that point as I've been doing it for years,

    I have been in touch with Keith and discussed the WM1000/2000/3500 and as I understand the new machine is overall more efficient on larger diameter timbers. Being the first mill of its kind (heavy WM range at least) in Scotland I think the point fits ok 

     

    Keith, free beers at our stand next year!  

    Edited by Graham w

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    3 hours ago, Big J said:

    *Fast efficient big log breakdown is something new for the area*

     

    Disagree with that point as I've been doing it for years, and there is also Patrick Baxter located 40 minutes south of us and a plethora of other sawmills in the central belt of Scotland dealing with specialist, niche timbers.

     

    I wish Sandy all the best with his mill and his business, but I do dislike dishonest marketing. Just because it doesn't have a Woodmizer sticker on it doesn't mean that it's not relevant. 

    Agreed.

     

    As far as I can can see it's an advertisement, which is fine and all that, as long as it's posted as an advertisement.

    Edited by Mick Dempsey

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    19 hours ago, Big J said:

    *Fast efficient big log breakdown is something new for the area*

     

    Disagree with that point as I've been doing it for years, and there is also Patrick Baxter located 40 minutes south of us and a plethora of other sawmills in the central belt of Scotland dealing with specialist, niche timbers.

     

    I wish Sandy all the best with his mill and his business, but I do dislike dishonest marketing. Just because it doesn't have a Woodmizer sticker on it doesn't mean that it's not relevant. 

    Thanks Big J for calling us out on that. Sorry for the inference that others weren't offering similar services/capacity in the area. It wasn't the intention, and the article has been amended accordingly. 

    Also, additional photos have been added to the article, and a video interview with Sandy is coming soon.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Very good. Thanks for that Jake. We are a well organised bunch (Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmills), and I'd tender the opinion that there are more niche sawmills in the Central Belt of Scotland than anywhere else in the UK. I will certainly have to speak to Sandy about cutting the largest logs, as I max out at about 1.4m.

     

     

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Yeah, the association is a great group. Love the 'Full Circle' magazine - it's one of the best sawmilling magazines available. It's great to have a magazine and group focused specifically on sawmilling, usually most of them are so broad.

     

    If I remember correctly, you're just down the street from Sandy?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now


About

Arbtalk.co.uk is a hub for the arboriculture industry in the UK.  
If you're just starting out and you need business, equipment, tech or training support you're in the right place.  If you've done it, made it, got a van load of oily t-shirts and have decided to give something back by sharing your knowledge or wisdom,  then you're welcome too.
If you would like to contribute to making this industry more effective and safe then welcome.
Just like a living tree, it'll always be a work in progress.
Please have a look around, sign up, share and contribute the best you have.

See you inside.

The Arbtalk Team

Follow us

Get in touch

facebook feed

Recent tweets

×