GFM Network News


Mortise and tenon carpentry is a specialized form of building construction where large timbers are fit together. Recycled, large timbers from demolished grain elevators are a perfect resource for this building style.

Gone from the skyline, parts of Prairie sentinels live on

More than 5,000 wooden elevators are gone but some of their beautiful old-growth timbers survive

Reading Time: 2 minutes They’re mostly gone now, but parts of some of them will live on. Alberta’s first wooden grain elevator was constructed in 1895 and at the peak in the 1930s, there were nearly 1,800 of them. Today, there are only 88 left, more falling victim to demolition every year. More than 5,000 wooden grain elevators across […] Read more

Will Vohs has sawmilled timbers as large as 12x12 inch from his woodlot. Rather than converting all his land to pasture, he kept a half section as a woodlot, and is now reaping the benefits of an extra income by sawing custom wood products.

Timber is a winner for Caroline cattle producer

Custom milling trees from his woodlot pays better than just selling raw logs, says Will Vohs

Reading Time: 4 minutes Cruise the countryside in certain parts of Alberta, and there are bright-yellow signs stapled to power poles advertising that someone is ‘Looking For Wood.’ After reading what Caroline-area farmer Will Vohs has discovered, landowners may want to think twice before signing over their woodlots too quickly. That’s because Vohs says he can manufacture a 12-inch […] Read more


Many of the wooden corrals, gateposts, and log homes in the foothills west of Calgary were supplied by 
Brooks Sawmill near Cochrane. The family business has been in operation for nearly 100 years.

Family sawmill a link to the pioneer days of Alberta

Reading Time: 2 minutes It’s well known that the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Revenant” was filmed in southern Alberta. What’s not is that a lot of building materials used to create the West of 1820s came from the Brooks Sawmill near Cochrane. The film is one of several westerns the sawmill has supplied among its highly eclectic client list. […] Read more

Background of the chopped firewood

What makes the best firewood?

Reading Time: < 1 minute Pound for pound, what is the best firewood? Actually, they’re all the same. “The main variation between different species is the tree density, which means they have different calorific values (amounts of heat) per volume of wood,” said bioenergy/agroforestry specialist Toso Bozic. “A cubic foot of air-dried white birch weighs about 16 kilograms, while the […] Read more


For some woodlot owners, turning logs into boards is a hobby. Those seeking a winter source of income should invest in more expensive sawmills needed for higher volumes of production.

Thinking of buying a sawmill?

Kerf, daily production, and whether you want to saw lumber at the harvesting site are some of the key factors

Reading Time: 2 minutes Woodlot and acreage owners wanting some lumber cut can either pay someone to custom mill their trees or buy a sawmill and do it themselves. “If it’s the latter, there are several things to consider before buying,” said provincial bioenergy/agroforestry specialist Toso Bozic. “These include the size of your operation, the sawmill type you buy, […] Read more