Portable Sawmill Owner Builds Timber Frame Display: Plus Highlights from Wood-Mizer’s 2017 Personal Best Contest

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This year, Wood-Mizer sawmill owner Ralph Aartun won 1st place in the exterior projects category for building a timber frame display that showcases his creativity and talent to prospective customers. Enjoy Ralph’s story of achievement and more award-winning projects that all started with a dream and a Wood-Mizer sawmill.

1st Place Exterior Projects – Ralph Aartun, Pickens, South Carolina
Every project begins with a dream. For Ralph Aartun, that dream was a timber frame display to capture the elegant, natural beauty of the structures he could build. Made with a variety of locally sourced woods including white pine, white oak, and yellow pine, Ralph finished the display with notching and mortise & tenon, and installed it in the beautiful mountains of Pickens, South Carolina.

Ralph owns the generational business Table Rock Timber Frames. He works with his two sons, Johannes and Aaron, to continue the legacy Ralph’s father left from crafting windows and doors in Norway. They value quality craftsmanship and build every project to the highest degree of precision and excellence. This timber frame display is no exception. “Customers are always overwhelmed by the beauty of this project,” said Ralph. ”We’ve had numerous requests to use it for wedding photos and even weddings.” Ralph plans to use the display to educate his clients on the methodology of building timber frame displays and help them visualize their own custom project options.

“This project will allow us to display our exceptional craftsmanship. The variety of textured finishes demonstrates the versatility of our Wood-Mizer mill along with the advantages of various techniques employed to accommodate the needs of our clients,” said Ralph Aartun.
To build the display, Ralph and his sons worked together to harvest logs and mill timber with Wood-Mizer LT40 Super Hydraulic sawmill equipped with Wood-Mizer RazorTip blades. The Aartun family was able to complete the project in must six weeks and saved more than $4,000. “The mill allowed us to customize each timber and fully embrace our creative ideas,” Ralph said.

Those creative ideas are easily noticed in the small, unique details of the building, such as the spectacular red oak sunburst paneling design. The finished dimensions of the project measures 12 ft. x 16 ft. Every inch of the truss, shakes, rafters, flooring, beams, and more was completed with 100% of timber milled on their sawmill. “Having the Wood-Mizer mill on site made the entire process not only feasible, but also facilitated the construction with its simplicity and efficiency,” Ralph said. The Aartun family is especially excited to showcase their beautiful wood structure to potential clients. “This project will allow us to display our exceptional craftsmanship,” Ralph said.

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“The variety of textured finishes demonstrates the versatility of our Wood-Mizer mill along with the advantages of various techniques employed to accommodate the needs of our clients.” Ralph is limitless when it comes to his creativity and craftsmanship. Table Rock Timber Frames projects range from covered bridges and shelter houses to indoor and outdoor furniture and practically any custom request. The timber frame display is just a sample of the magnitude of projects Ralph can beautifully design and construct while carrying on his long-family tradition of woodworking.

Other first place winners include:
Mack Lowery
Terry, Mississippi

Charles Swindler
Bayfield, Colorado

Dave Johnson
Craftsbury, Vermont

Herb Butterfield
Charlotte, Michigan

Nathan Elliott
Kingsport, Tennessee

Eric Means
Wichita, Kansas

Dan Conder
Cicero, Indiana

Nathan Brown
Barnardsville, North Carolina
See photos and projects at www.woodmizer.com/gallery.