New sawmill offers custom cuts

By: 
Lisa Ingebrand, LRnews@frontiernet.net

Cole Van Horn operates the large saw as it slices through a large pine, producing boards. (Lisa Ingebrand photo)

The whir of the hydraulic saw and the smell of sawdust in the afternoon makes Cole Van Horn smile.

The retiree lives and works at his own pace, doing what he enjoys—and what he enjoys doing is sawing trees into beautiful, useful pieces of lumber.

Van Horn opened Montgomery Sawmill, located just south of the City of Montgomery on Highway 21, a couple of years ago. The mill specializes in custom log sawing, cutting logs up to 3’ in diameter and 20 1/2' long.

“It’s not so much a business as it is my hobby,” he stated with a laugh. “I like helping people create—make their ideas a reality—and I like seeing things get used. Too much goes to waste these days, and chopping up a beautiful piece of wood and using it for firewood just seems like a waste.”

Just recently, Van Horn erected his official Montgomery Sawmill sign, which declares his for-hire sawmill work.

“I’m actually retired,” he said with a shrug. “I had a home improvement business in Shakopee for about 30 years—raised the kids doing that. Then, in 2000, my wife and I moved out to a farm, northeast of Montgomery… And, about six years ago, I bought a saw.”

He acquired the saw for his personal use, but word soon got out that he had the tools and the know-how to do custom log cutting.

“People started asking me if I’d do it for them, which was fine, but then, more people started inquiring,” Van Horn shared.

Around the same time, the Van Horns decided to relocate to a vacant, 32-acre farm on the south side of town, and Van Horn used his saw to cut lumber for the repair work that was needed on the property. Fresh cedar siding was cut for the house and hardwoods were cut for the remodeling of the home’s interior. Then, Van Horn got to work sawing his own lumber to repair and raise the barn and the historic granary.

“I raised the barn five feet so I can get in and

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