Oak Creek Sawmill grows out of Randy Edmond’s passion for woodworking | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek Sawmill grows out of Randy Edmond’s passion for woodworking

Michael Schrantz

— Randy Edmond has been a woodworker for a long time. The South Routt resident has been doing chain saw carving for years and got started with making his own lumber while living in Alaska.

North of Fairbanks, Alaska, and downstream of the Dalton Highway, also known as the North Slope Haul Road for its use to supply the oil fields on the slope, Edmond used a small Wood-Mizer sawmill to build a 24-foot-by-60-foot dry cabin — without running water — in the remote interior of Alaska.

Now living outside of Oak Creek, Edmond recently purchased another Wood-Mizer sawmill and is turning his woodworking into a small business. Enter Oak Creek Sawmill.

The model Edmond has now is bigger than what he used to build his cabin in Alaska. It can take logs as long as 20 feet and produce any number of sizes of rough-cut lumber.

He bought the new unit in September to mill some lumber for projects around his house. That turned into milling lumber for the people who'd stop by with requests.

"I was just going to work it on a part-time basis," Edmond said. "We had enough people stopping by and buying lumber, we decided to turn it into small business."

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He keeps his stock of raw logs full by offering to remove beetle-killed trees from people's property and charging only for cleanup. He said he has about 1,200 to 1,500 acres of property he has yet to clear of beetle-killed trees.

He took out an ad in the Steamboat Today offering custom cut lumber and has been selling rough cut and planed pieces to those completing residential products as well as for uses such as custom cabinetry.

Edmond also has begun selling wood to a company that makes gift boxes for wine bottles.

"They like the color of the wood when it’s all planed out," he said about the blue color of beetle-killed pine. "It's beautiful."

A man from Denver was visiting Steamboat, Edmond said, when he saw the ad in the paper and asked to come out and visit the mill.

Edmond now is producing 500 to 1,000 boards per week for wine boxes.

From the first query, Edmond has sent samples to a few companies in California that also produce wine boxes.

"We're going to try to expand it," he said about trying to grow his business into regional lumber yards. "I'm probably going to buy a bigger mill."

"Woodworking always has been my passion," Edmond said. "I try to turn a good quality product for people."

Edmond's mill will be in action from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus for the local forest products expo in the lower Bristol parking lot. He said a representative from Wood-Mizer also will be there with a mill about the size of what he used to build his cabin in Alaska.

Trent Jones, of Mountain Pine Manufacturing; John Twitchell and Carolina Manriquez, of the Colorado State Forest Service; Jim Ficke, of Natural Resources Consultants; and Colorado Mountain College sustainability studies students also will be at the expo.

There will an informational talk by Twitchell, Ficke and Jones at 11:30 a.m. in Room 213 of the academic center.

During the demonstration by Edmond, attendees will get a chance to try the mill themselves.

Lumber made by Edmond during the day will be donated to Steamboat Springs High School students to produce class and community projects such as bluebird boxes. Boxes made from beetle-killed lumber donated by Joe Bond will be available at the expo.

"We're trying to get people involved and let people make some lumber," Edmond said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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Oak Creek Sawmill and Randy Edmond can be reached at 970-846-4900.