Portable Sawmill Owner Builds Dream Projects: Plus Highlights from Wood-Mizer’s 2015 Personal Best Contest

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The Personal Best Contest, a favorite tradition since 1985, gives Wood-Mizer sawmill owners an opportunity to showcase dream projects built with lumber from their mill. This year, Wood-Mizer LT40 Hydraulic sawmill owner Bryan Summerlin entered four award-winning projects including a wraparound deck, covered bridge, reception pavilion, and outdoor bench featured at Neal Creek Resort in Scio, Oregon. As you enjoy these and other remarkable projects, you will find they all started with a dream and a Wood-Mizer sawmill.



After the original deck of Neal Creek Resort’s A-frame house became outdated, Bryan Summerlin wanted to make the deck a larger, more user-friendly area around the structure. Throughout the month-long project, Bryan milled 4,200 board feet of douglas fir on his LT40 Hydraulic to create the 1,100 square foot wraparound deck for the resort.

“People are always surprised to see how nice the boards look right off of the LT40HD sawmill,” said Bryan. “We love the ample power on our diesel motor and the simplicity of operating the Accuset 2. The quick adjusting leveling system is a must.”

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Bryan received assistance from Heath Etzel, Jeffery and Chandelle Summerlin to complete the carpentry work for the project. Using post and beam construction, the group built the foundation, decking, and stairs while laminating lumber together for the handrails. Bryan says the new deck is the property’s new centerpiece.

“Everyone enjoys the spaciousness of the deck, and people like the curved handrails,” said Bryan. “The kids really like the deck surrounding the large douglas fir tree.” The new deck enables visitors to appreciate the seemingly endless views of nature from all angles.

“Most of the lumber dimensions are custom, and would have to be special ordered,” said Bryan. “We do not know how much we saved, but for us, having our Wood-Mizer sawmill is priceless.”


Wood-Mizer’s 2015 Personal Best First Place Winners

Nathan Shewchuk, Edgewood, BCHOMES & MAJOR STRUCTURES

Jesse Matras, Chichester, NHSMALL HOMES & CABINS

Mark Watts, Pine City, NYLARGE BARNS & GARAGES

David Dove, Camby, INSMALL BARNS & SHEDS

Michael Connelley, Weogufka, ALINTERIOR PROJECTS

John Hubbard, Edmonton, KYPEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

Luke Bishop, Rose Bud, ARGOODWILL




When a bridge on their property was tragically smashed by a tree, Bryan Summerlin and his wife Chandelle decided to build an aesthetically pleasing covered bridge on their property. Starting out by setting a steel structure over the creek, the Summerlin family built the bridge piece by piece using custom heavy steel plates and bolts. With help from their nephew Jason, the Summerlins used their Wood-Mizer to mill all the lumber from trees off their own property. They sawed 100% of the 2,000 board feet of douglas fir and cedar required for the 52-foot-long, 442-square-foot covered bridge. Using post & beam construction along with carpentry work from Chandelle and steel fabrication from Bryan, the Cooley Covered Bridge was completed in just three months.

“Most people that look at it are in awe of the craftsmanship, and can’t believe all of the wood is rough cut and not run through the planer,” said Chandelle. The Summerlin family dedicated the bridge after the previous property owner, Mr. Cooley, and said when they presented it to him and his family they were all very emotional. “The project turned out absolutely beautiful,” said Bryan. “We could not wait to start our next Wood-Mizer project.”



With a desire to build a covered structure that would give Neal Creek Resort flexibility for future growth, Bryan Summerlin was determined to construct a structurally sound pavilion that would feature the beauty of large timber beams. In just eight months, the Summerlin family transformed a large cement slab from an existing basketball court into a breathtaking pavilion that is used for virtually anything from storing large equipment to hosting gatherings such as picnics, birthday parties, baby showers, and outdoor concerts.

Bryan milled a total of 11,730 board feet of douglas fir on his Wood-Mizer mill for the pavilion that features 2,112 square feet of usable space. “This was a very large project for us,” said Bryan. “It was inspirational to watch the pavilion develop in different phases at different times.”

Clinton Construction helped with the cement sawing, truss building and roofing while Jimco Electrical Contracting took over the electrical duties. “Everyone that helped were either friends or family,” said Bryan. “It was a group effort and everyone that worked on the building shared the same goal of quality craftsmanship.” Built in post & beam, the pavilion features 12 3’ x 6’ sliding windows for ventilation and to welcome natural light into the covered structure.

Another unique feature is the ability to adjust lighting throughout the entire pavilion in order to accentuate the wood characteristics which are especially beautiful at night, Bryan says. “People always comment on the quality craftsmanship, the beautiful large timber beams, and how heavy duty the structure is,” said Bryan. “Everyone that sees the structure raves about it.”



Inspired to build a beautiful and unique custom piece of furniture, Bryan Summerlin’s Uncle Duane crafted a one-of-a-kind bench to accent their wraparound deck at Neal Creek Resort. Bryan Summerlin milled all 30 board feet of black locust on his LT40 Hydraulic and says the accurate cuts of his mill get you closer to furniture grade lumber quickly. Bryan said black locust is not available in town, which makes this project even more special due to the unique species of the wood. “My Uncle Duane did everything except milling and staining the wood.”

In just two weeks, Duane completed the unique, custom bench project featuring a black locust seat and backrest, welded steel frame, and many different antique parts. “No one has ever seen a bench quite like this,” said Bryan. The bench has certainly made a statement at the resort and many visitors will be able to enjoy this one-of-a-kind project for decades.