Portable Sawmill- Custom Milling a Pacific Yew Tree

Pacific Yew log
Pacific Yew log

A neighbor recently approached us about a custom milling job. When they had recently purchased their property they had inherited a large old Pacific Yew tree that had been cut down and unceremoniously left to rot on the ground. A Rescue of this beautiful old trunk of Taxus Brevifolia was in order. We hauled the log sections home to our milling site a few weeks back and waited for the weather to break.  The first weekend of November rewarded us with a dry afternoon… time to mill.

The neighbor arrived, with a huge grin on his face, just as Bob was finishing setting up the mill.  The first 23″ diameter, 8′ long, log section was rolled onto the mill bed. After much analyzing of the log, and matching it to the customers plans for furniture making and a prominent fireplace mantlepiece for their living room were discussed, the Wood-Mizer portable sawmill was fired up.

A variety of boards were milled. 3/4″ boards, 1″ boards, 2″ slabs and a beautiful 5″ thick slab for the mantlepiece, all with the undulating live edge intact. Each cut revealed beautiful grain, tortuous, tight and multicolored. Scars from damage many years past, voids where decay had begun. A history line of the trees lifetime was opened to our view.  Each cut of the bandsaw blade divulged more beauty. What a thrill!  The grins widened further.

After several hours the milling of 2 logs was complete.  The customer climbed into his pickup, and with an enormous grin on his face, motored his load of Pacific Yew boards and slabs home to his workshop. To a workshop where items of great beauty will be created for their home, the home that sits on the site where this majestic old tree had lived and died. A fitting tribute to this magnificent old tree that would have otherwise been left to rot on the forest floor.

9 thoughts on “Portable Sawmill- Custom Milling a Pacific Yew Tree

  1. This is such a wonderful outcome for that beautiful old tree! Any ideas on the age of the tree?
    My husband and I own 34 acres of virgin woods. We can hardly wait to get on the land to find our own wood treasures.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

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