To glue-up a panel, we select the wood from dry lumber inventory.  Some panels are all one species, but most are a blend of several types of wood.  We then plane the boards very smooth on both sides, often making a variety of thicknesses.  Then you make one straight edge on the jointer.  Then the boards are all ripped to the same width on the table saw.  The strips are flipped 90 degrees so the width cut on the table saw becomes the thickness of the new panel.  I make the length of the panel longer than the needed dimension and trim the piece later.  The strips are all laid out and arranged according to the design.  Know which side will be the face to show - to be sure the best wood is presented and defects are hidden.  Edges that will be seen must be carefully examined to avoid cracks due to planer snipe or wane.  We use special clamps that hold pressure 4 ways to get the flattest possible panel. Modern woodworking glue is stronger than the wood itself - so no biscuits, dowels, or special joints are needed - just use plenty of glue. 

After clamping for a few hours, I trim the piece to the final dimension.  Small pieces are planed and sanded, but large panels that don't fit through the planer are just sanded until smooth.  Large countertops are placed on the floor and the flooring sander is used for the first stage of sanding with 36, 60 and 80 grits.  Once the surface is quite smooth, the exposed edges are usually rounded over with a router.  Next we finish sand the entire piece with a hand held orbital sander.  Extra fine hand sanding to 400 grit adds the finishing touches.  I like the Bonakemi flooring finish for a countertop or table.  It soaks in deep and is extremely tough and clear.  Our wooden countertops earn us about $40 to $50 per square foot.

One farming family near Milwaukee has visited Timbergreen Farm several times, and now have their own wood working business to supplement their other crops.  People across the continent are making this system work!
"We are so glad the logger never came to harvest our forest and in the meantime we heard about your operation. Our forest is definitely better because of that change of plans.  In the last year we have started to see an increase in our flooring and molding sales. Our most recent order is for custom trim-work for a new home. We still provide quality lumber for several area woodworkers, as well. It is truly enjoyable to watch our business grow right along with our forest!"
Charles Schadt and family

Timber as a profitable crop.  My neighbors who operate farms do a fantastic job of managing all their crops - except the most important agricultural crop in Wisconsin - timber.  Farmers know everything about their corn, beef, cattle, etc. and totally mismanage their most valuable crop, their trees.  It comes down to fear of the unknown, ignorance, and a  traditional market system that simply feeds the big sawmills with cheap timber.  They don't see their forest as a profitable crop.

Secret to Success - Value Your Timber
Today, anyone can choose to make a new start managing a timber business.  The main requirement is Confidence - Gain a High Esteem for the living forest and wood as a profitable crop.  This will create a willingness to invest time and money.  Basic training is absolutely necessary, but once you master working wood in the 3-Ds, anything is possible.  Creating your own market for your products, seeing the wood all the way to the final product, and selling your wood direct to homeowners( just like you ) for retail prices will give maximum rewards.