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Sawing and Sustainability: How one man turned his passion into his business motto

Mark Miller of Trail Ridge Timber Frames uses Wood-Mizer LT40 Super Hydraulic Sawmill to help turn his passion into his business motto.

By Jenna Gehlhausen
Date Posted: 2/1/2011


            If you’ve ever been curious about Timber Frame housing, Mark Miller is your man. He puts it best by saying, “I have been working with wood all my life…but not with those undersized sticks you normally see at the hardware store. I like really BIG pieces of wood.” 

            Mark’s passion for wood working began in his youth when he worked with and learned from his granddad during summers spent at his shop. “Another strong influence was visiting the woodworking shops on the backstreets of Taos, New Mexico,” he adds.

            “I’ve always found enjoyment from carving wood. When I was a small boy, I once drug a log 12 miles behind my bicycle so I could have wood to carve a black bear. Later, I took 2nd place in a wildlife­carving contest.

In the past, I have worked many facets of construction and carpentry. During this time, I began to educate my self about timber frame construction. I poured over timber frame books and magazines. I began doing small timber frame projects such as saw horses, furniture, and trusses.”

Mark has also been involved with a number of timber frame workshops and is a member of The Timber Frame Guild. After visiting and studying timber frame homes and barns throughout the U.S., Canada, and Germany, he eventually built his own timber frame workshop which is known today as Trail Ridge Timber Frames, Inc.

In 1997, Trail Ridge Timber Frames, Inc. built their first shop and are currently building a state­of­the­art timber frame shop designed by Mark. The building will feature trusses replicated from a 17th century cathedral roof system, and will be energy efficient in all possible aspects.

 “My passion is to design and build quality, handcrafted, timber frame homes,” says Mark. “I take great pride and ownership in each project no matter how large or small. It is my goal to work alongside each homeowner and create an inspiring, comfortable, and lasting home.”

Mark’s company takes a hands­on approach to working with customers and has set high expectations for his performance. “Our goal is to handcraft a home for you and with you,” he explains. “We want it to be created with your needs and desires in mind. We also want it to bring a sense of comfort, pride, and inspiration to you. We started building custom timber frames in 1997. It is our desire to promote responsible and sustainable buildings through the beauty, functionality and craftsmanship of timber framing.

Additionally, he integrates his personal philosophy into his company’s philosophy in regards to the impact we all have on the planet.

 “We feel if we can get the majority of people to start doing a little towards promoting good stewardship of resources; human, natural and manmade, we will make a bigger overall impact on the building industry and our communities at large.”

Mark and his company will use any wood species his customers wants, but typically works with Douglas .r, pines, spruce, and oak, using a combination of hand tools and power tools including an LT40 Super Hydraulic.

Mark purchased his sawmill in 2004 when he was asked by Paul and Mitzi Franklin to build a three­story, 6,000 square foot home in Steamboat Colorado. The home features recycled timbers from a Navy hangar, an Oregon bridge, and a dry dock in Washington. “I had 80,000 board feet and it had to be very exact,” explains Mark. His company specializes in tightly­joined, creative frames which start by getting a good, quality cut. Mark considers his mill “state­of­the­art” and brags that “it really expanded and opened up our options.”

Trail Ridge Timber Frames builds everything from trusses to complete homes, entries to great rooms, and porches to outdoor spaces.

No matter what Mark and his crew build, their main priority is to provide “a well­crafted living space that brings comfort and inspiration to everyday life.”

As for the future, Mark says, “Besides [my customers’] projects, I keep telling my wife that I will start on my own home. The frame will be made from oak timbers that I have been logging in Missouri.” He also plans to continue his stewardship and dedication to sustainability by using his new shop as a space to educate and promote sustainable building through timber frame craftsmanship.

 

“Editor’s note: The preceding is paid advertorial by Wood-Mizer.”




 






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