Timber to Art: Peterson’s Mills and Woodworkers Unite

At Peterson Portable Sawmills, our commitment to optimizing mill efficiency and maximizing the potential of logs has led us to forge strong partnerships with local Woodturners and woodworking professionals. One such collaboration introduced us to Pete. With 25 years of experience in wood processing, Pete’s foray into woodturning commenced when he received a lathe from a local Woodturners club as a gesture of gratitude for providing timber slabs used for countertops. Though the lathe initially sat idle in his shed for a year, Pete eventually embraced woodturning in 2014 and has since been dedicated to the craft, sourcing timber through working with Chris, here at Peterson’s.

“As soon as milled timber started coming off logs, I realized Woodturners and woodworkers would utilize more of a log if it was milled, instead of chopped up with a chainsaw. Parts of the log previously used only for firewood could become sellable timber and slabs or turned into woodturning blanks – The firewood became the off product instead of the main selling piece.”

Pete milling a huge Burl at our factory in Rotorua!

Pete’s association with Peterson’s traces back over two decades when he delivered a large gum log gifted by the local council to our factory. It was unloaded with a 30-ton crane and milled into garden sleepers – lots of them!

“Being portable is such a blessing!  Both woodworking and woodturning, you need wood, lots of wood.  Sawmilling provides builders, joiners, cabinetmakers, woodworkers and Woodturners locally sourced timber, which I have.”

Since working with Peterson’s, Pete has been able to utilize test mills for processing logs and deploy portable mills to access timber that cannot be transported to the factory. He actively participates in woodworking events like the National Wood Skills Competition in Kawerau, where he not only demonstrates his woodworking prowess but also champions Peterson’s mills.


Pete working away in his home workshop

“People attending the Wood skills event often ask me where my milled timber comes from, and I always take the opportunity to promote Peterson’s mills. Peterson’s mills are great for Woodturners, I think every woodturning club should own one!”

He has been able to supply timber milled at Peterson’s to a variety of local woodworkers and even the council sculpture symposiums.


Some of Pete’s incredible work displayed at a recent Peterson Demo Day!

“The yield from small or large logs is impressive, their speed and reliability, the training and after sales service is worldclass. Assisting at their open days I have seen the interest and amazement people get from watching a Peterson in action, and what we are able to produce during the milling process.  Woodturners who have experienced a Peterson in action often comment that they should have bought one years ago!”

Pete’s story highlights the symbiotic relationship between Woodturners and Sawyers. It is our privilege to see our mills transform ordinary logs into extraordinary works of art. If you have any questions about how Woodworkers and Sawyers can work together, feel free to contact us or Pete.

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