Junior Peterson – A Stepping Stone for Young Sawmillers

The Junior Peterson portable sawmill is the perfect fit for 28 year old Zane Rous from Mangawhai, at the top of New Zealand’s North Island.

Zane has always had an interest in timber and slabs, and his skills have developed over the past 10 years working as a landscaper. With a focus on building decks and retaining walls, as well as pruning and felling trees, Zane is truly in his element in the outdoors.

New Zealand is home to many small farm forestry blocks and on Zane’s family block, they grow Pine, Gum and Lusitanica trees. This enabled Zane to turn his passion for trees in to more than just a hobby. He purchased a chainsaw mill and entered the world of milling, cutting slabs for future sale.

When Zane came across Peterson Portable Sawmills’ entry-level mill, the Junior Peterson (JP), he saw the opportunity to own a quality sawmill for a realistic price. But he didn’t make the decision lightly. Zane did his pre-sale research with an open mind by comparing different brands and models and talking with other millers.

Based on feedback from those in the industry, and the good reputation of Peterson Sawmills, Zane purchased his JP in September 2018.


“The JP is the perfect sawmill for a part-time miller. It’s a simple machine really, and easy to use. For me, it was the logical first step to blade milling”.

With Zane landscaping full-time, his sawmilling work is restricted to the weekends but he can get plenty done in a small amount of time!

“I’ve done about 10 on-site jobs since I got the JP. I’ve cut Pine 4x2s and 6x2s for a shed on the farm, and Eucalyptus tree stakes which I’ve sold to local tree growers.”


diy tree stakes


Recently, one of Zane’s contacts sought quotes from professional tree companies to remove large Macrocarpa trees from their property. As the quotes were rather high, they offered the job to Zane and in return, he would get to keep the logs! Of course he said yes.



“The logs are up to two meters in diameter”, said Zane. “I’ve started felling them and I’m really excited to get milling and turn them into useful products such as slab furniture and framing.”

Zane’s future goal is to eventually phase out his landscaping job and become a full-time sawyer milling his own logs. His parents support his ambition and welcome his help and expertise when it comes time to mill the trees on their forestry block.

“I’d like to build cabins and big sheds with my own cut lumber, and possibly even a house one day”, he said. “Sooner or later I would like to upgrade my mill to a larger model or possibly a Dedicated Wide Slabber. But for now, the JP is perfect.”

Petersons offer a number of accessories for their mills including a planer blade and sander disc which Zane is considering, so that he can dress his slabs.

Now that word is spreading that Zane has a portable sawmill, he has a backlog of projects to work on in the weekends. The JP is proving to be the perfect stepping stone for Zane to progress on to full-time milling.

milling your own timber

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