Bob Shortridge and his staff at Dreaming Creek have built hundreds of one-of-a-kind masterpieces. And his formula for success is quite simple: a supportive family, talented staff and a Wood-Mizer sawmill.
Shortridge used to run a tree service in the ’70s but craved something more. He always dreamed of a way to utilize the timber he so often was asked to haul away from properties.
Today, Dreaming Creek’s home base is 70 acres in Powhatan, Virginia. Initially the crew members operated a Wood-Mizer LT40 gas-powered sawmill to cut long timbers into cants suitable for timber frame construction. Then they stepped-up to a diesel unit.
In 2008 the company upgraded to a Wood-Mizer LT70 high production sawmill. The design team comes up with a completely unique blueprint, then assembles certain frame components of the house, disassembles them, then numbers each piece. They are then transported to building sites all over the country.
Shortridge’s first big break came while attending a national homebuilding show in Atlanta in 1990.
He encountered an entourage of home designers and contractors who were scouring the world to find luxurious products. They were snatching up extravagant furniture, rugs and textiles, but Shortridge learned they had not yet resolved the issue of the structure itself. One of the members of this group questioned Shortridge.
“The lady asked me how many 10,000-square-foot homes we had built,” Shortridge recalled. “I joked that we just happened to be running a special on 10,000 square foot homes.”
The house was to be located in Sundance, Utah, and Shortridge said the project opened a passageway to the west for his business. It also became one of the most spectacularly large timber frame homes in the continental U.S.
The home is 19,000 square feet, constructed with 102,000 board feet of white ash timbers salvaged from Hurricane Hugo. Shortridge’s crew cut it all on his Wood-Mizer. An additional 28,000 board feet of cherry was cut for the ceiling and roof decking. On top of that was an additional 75,000 board feet for paneling.
Dreaming Creek flourished after that and is still thriving in the timber frame home market. He has completed several hundred homes.
Shortridge bought his first Wood-Mizer in 1988 after seeing one in operation. “It was intriguing to me that it (the
Wood-Mizer) was so terribly safe. I had worked around circle mills for years and they terrified me, and still do to this day. When I saw this Wood-Mizer offer its high level of safety and thin kerf, that was a great fit. We are able to squeeze more material out of the logs than with the circle mills.”
Now Shortridge is on his third Wood-Mizer.
According to Shortridge, the heart of the business, he said, is his staff and his family. His oldest son manages the sawmill, and his other son is already showing a budding interest in Dad’s business.
“There’s a ton of people who back me up. I have a passion and like what I am doing, but it falls way short without someone to support me professionally and personally.”
Shortridge said his wife of nearly 20 years should be given much of the credit for keeping the business in good working order.
“Sandy is the glue that holds this all together.” Another important piece of the entire puzzle is that orange machine that intrigued Shortridge so many years ago.
“The Wood-Mizer was a dead ringer for us. It was small enough to afford and productive enough to meet our needs. It’s definitely served its time here well.”
Editor’s note: The preceding is paid advertorial submitted by Wood-Mizer.