The Oldest Peterson Portable Sawmills in Operation

Gary and Elizabeth Basher’s Standard Frame Peterson Sawmill – March 1990

Gary Basher - The oldest Peterson in operation

Image courtesy Beef & Lamb NZ

Gary and Elizabeth Basher from Nelson, New Zealand own the oldest known Peterson Sawmill still in operation.

Gary purchased the family’s Standard Frame Peterson in May 1990, it was only the 33rd Peterson mill in production. 

28 years on, Gary is still extremely happy with his purchase, with simplicity and accuracy being his favourite features.

Owning a Peterson Sawmill has enabled the family to undertake many projects including cutting timber for three hay sheds, a workshop, a two-bedroom cottage and tongue and groove flooring for two homes.

“In this time, we have had to do very little maintenance on the Peterson, with just a few adjustments here and there and sharpening the blades, which I do myself,” said Gary.

“I have only had to purchase two new blades which are re-tipped by a saw doctor when necessary. I have also purchased a planer blade.”

Gary and Elizabeth are currently milling Douglas Fir that they planted fourty years ago with the aim to build new deer yards. They have also milled Kahikatea, Macrocarpa, Red Beech, Silver Beech, Pine and Sitka Spruce, with all native timbers being harvested under a sustainable management plan.

Recently, Gary has had the pleasure of helping his neighbour unpack and set up his new Peterson Sawmill which was purchased after seeing Gary’s mill in operation.

In return for sharing their story with us, Peterson HQ have gifted Gary and Elizabeth with a brand new blade enabling many more years of happy milling.

Dominic Hill’s, Jack the Giant Killer Peterson Sawmill – November 1990

Dominic Robert - the oldest Peterson in operation

Dominic and Robert Hill from Sustainable Forest Products in New South Wales, Australia, also sent us information about their sawmill which was manufactured in November 1990. 

Dominic and Robert purchased their Peterson Sawmill second hand in recent years and are most impressed by the light-weight yet strong and durable design. Dominic also finds the mill to be very cost-effective with the two blades that were supplied with the mill still in good shape. Now, as part of sharing their story with us, Dominic and Robert have also received a new blade direct from Peterson HQ.

“My father and I have dealt with numerous sawmill companies over the years, and we can safely say that the team at Peterson Sawmills are the best,” Dominic said. “Their attitude, attention to detail and dedication to overcoming any issues that may arise is second to none!”

Do you have an older model Peterson Sawmill? We’d love to hear your story. Please contact our marketing department with a brief description of your mill, your serial number and a recent photograph.

4 comments shared

  1. Alice l brashears says:

    Where can I order a catalog

  2. Stew Barcham says:

    I have recently bought parts of a “‘Jack the giant killer””
    mill from a Mr John Kirkpatrick who i think would have purchased it about 1990/91.The serial no is 0391062.
    Model No 20.I have the main carriage,running rails and assorted pipes and am waiting for another box of goodies his son thinks he has in a shed somewhere.I was wondering if I can still get parts for it if anything is missing.
    Thanking you.
    Stewart Barcham.

    • Hi there Stewart! Thank you for your message and congratulations on your purchase of one of Peterson’s original designs 🙂 I have forwarded your request on to Rachel in our parts department. Rachel will get back to you soon on price and availability of JtGK parts. Cheers, Layla

Share your comments


Offering a fresh layout, vastly improved navigation, easier access to more resources, less fodder and more important information. Be among the first in the world to access our new website when it arrives very soon, by joining our mailing list today!


Petersons export worldwide from our factory in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Encountering fluctuating freight, raw materials, currencies and export costs, therefore we have tailored pricelists pertaining to each country. We also have over 40 different mill options to suit all applications, so it often helps to call and speak to us about your particular needs.
If you would like to recieve a copy of our digital Info Pack and Price List, please click here.