Grit Blogs > News From The Nest In Rural Pennsylvania

A Tribute to Dad

A photo of Lori Dunn with pet squirrelsIt is official. My dad is out of the sawmilling business.

Wednesday, June 9th, the mill, and all the equipment that goes along with it, pulled out of the place it called home for 16 years!

I can say that I am both happy and sad.

Sawmill folded up  and ready to go

The sawmill

It has been a part of my family’s life for a long time, and although it hasn’t been his main source of income for a few years now, dad still sawed on occasion, either something he needed for himself, or some small amount of custom sawing for someone else.

Dad loading various sawmill items with my brother on the back of  the trailer to help guide him

Dad on loader moving log deck to be loaded onto trailer

My husband Jim in skid loader bringing more pieces to be  loaded

My husband Jim in skid loader  hauling motor that ran sawmill to be loaded on trailer

Running a sawmill is hard work, but satisfying work as well. I started working at the mill 16 years ago, when my dad purchased it. This was not his first mill, however. He had another mill for a time, before he got this one, so he has actually been at it longer.

Mom and Dad

My dad is a man of many talents. Before the mill, he was a logger, supplying logs for a larger mill operation, till he decided to try sawing for himself. Even before that, he was a mason contractor, and carpenter. He can pour a slab of concrete, lay up a block foundation, frame out a structure with lumber, and finish it inside and out, even building his own furniture, flooring, or laying up brick on the outside! He can even install and lay up a stone fireplace or hearth!

Dad working on fireplace mantle

Over the years, he has acquired much knowledge from a hands on type of approach, from a time period where you learn by watching, helping, and doing for yourself. My dad has no college degree, but, I would venture to say, he has more knowledge than a lot who have had schooling in the same field. But, Dad is now at a time in his life to slow down a bit. He is a craftsman and an artist, still working with wood. He has a woodshop, and builds anything from birdhouses and feeders, to larger pieces of furniture. If you can come up with it, he can make it for you.

A  bench and stool Dad made

Birdhouse with leather hinges

Handcrafted cutting boards

Double rocker with flower patterns woodburned on back

Headboard with mirror center and woodburned doors on sides

Rockers  with various wildlife woodburned

Picture frame

Wooden utensils and  coffe scoop

But to that, he adds his artistic touch. He wood burns on his items, anything you might want. Deer, turkey, elk, moose, any kind of wildlife, flowers, vines, leaves, acorns, trees, cabin scenes, are just a few of the things he has done. All of his work is done free hand, not with a stamp of any kind! He loves doing this work, and it is physically much easier on him than the mill work was, and that’s how it should be. He has made many of the pieces of furniture in my home, and I consider them to be heirlooms, worthy of handing down to my children and grandchildren someday!

Side view of African chest

Top view of African trunk

Boat paddle with woodburning of men in canoe

Fish storage box

Woodburned flower chest

Turkey chest

Woodburned duck box with carved duck head

Woodburned trinket boxes

Father’s Day has passed, now, but to my dad I say, Happy Father’s Day! I hope that I can acquire even half of the knowledge, talent, and ability that you have thus far! I Love You Dad!