Timber Techniques Training

Wallace Baird and his family from Walkertown, NC participated in                          Timber Techniques Training.  Here us some of what they said.....

"We had an unbelievably great week at Jim Birkemeier's place.  After a dinner in his aspen log home Sunday night with his girl friend and his parents, we had a walking tour of his operation and on two miles of trails through his forest on Monday.

On Tuesday we felled eight red oaks which had died of oak wilt this year.  He demonstrated the Swedish technique for felling trees.  I had read of this in Dave Johnson's "The Good Woodcutter's Guide" and have used it here.  But it was very helpful to see it demonstrated.  You have almost complete control of where to fell the tree.  Daniel, Elizabeth, and I felled one or more of his trees.  He tries to fell them while doing the minimum amount of damage to other trees and to the forest floor. 
It is simply amazing.

On Wednesday we helped saw the logs into lumber on his WoodMizer mill and stacked the boards into one of his kilns. 
On Thursday Jim collected some 1" kiln dried birch boards from his storage building and we used his edger to produce 2 3/4, 3 3/4, and 4 3/4 boards for the planer/moulder.  We then made tongue and groove flooring.  We also used his resaw to produce 4/4 boards from cants cut Wednesday and placed the boards in the kiln.

Jim is still working on his house so on Friday he had us install 40 sq. ft of flooring in his first floor on a concrete floor.  We mixed the birch with cherry flooring he had already made.  We did the subflooring, nailed the flooring down using the different widths, and sanded it.  Jim put the first coat of sealer on the floor about 4:30 pm.  This had to dry a couple of hours before being sanded again before another coat of sealer.  We left around 5:30 and drove to Chicago for our Saturday morning flight home.

In spare moments Jim also showed us how to make "glued-up" counter tops and    cutting boards and how to make pens using his lathe for the wooden parts.  Daniel and Elizabeth worked on these projects anytime they had some time.  We usually stopped work about 5:30 or 6 but they worked in his shop until 8:30 Thursday night.

Jim is a superb teacher and obviously enjoys it. His forest shows the efforts of good management.  His products prove that he is a radical with a great cause in the timber business and that he is succeeding in spite of the monolithic IndustrialTimber/Government Complex.  If you can manage it, you and your wife should spend a week with Jim as soon as possible. 
We're all excited and inspired!  Talked nonstop about our week at Timbergreen on our journey home, if not to each other, then to whomever happened to be seated next to us in the airports and on the planes. When we finally arrived Saturday evening, we shared stories and all the pictures (took a while) with our family here.

Thanks to you, Shawn and your parents, we felt comfortable and welcome throughout our visit."  Wallace, Frances, Daniel, and Elizabeth Baird