Saw mills used to dot the Maine landscape. As some operations grew larger, many of the smaller, family owned mills ceased to operate. However, in the Mallet family, the saw mill roots run deep.
G. A. Mallet, Inc. operates a custom sawing mill in Lee. A piece down the road, another branch of the family operates a mill that specializes in cedar.
The custom sawing mill is owned by the father-son team of Gary and Andrew Mallet, 3rd and 4th generation sawyers respectively.
The mill specializes in custom orders. They do not generally stock finished lumber. Their clients may be looking for timbers for a timber frame building. Or perhaps wide plank flooring for a restoration project. They may be building a new home or outbuilding and want to use lumber harvested from their own property. Whatever their reason, Gary and Andrew will meet their lumber needs. And usually at prices lower than commercial lumber yards!
Not all custom sawing uses the customer’s logs. The Mallets own and manage several hundred acres of area woodlots, and can generally provide the necessary species and size logs to meet the needs of any order.
The father/son duo started their mill in 1996. Gary located an available saw mill formerly used by International Paper in western Maine. They traveled across the state to disassemble the equipment and bring it back to their mill site in Lee. After pouring a slab and re-assembling the equipment, they went to work sawing.
“We didn’t get a roof on it [the mill] until late in that first year,” reminisced Gary when recalling how busy they were when they opened for business. During their first full year in operation, in 1997, the mill sawed more than 100,000 board feet of lumber.
When sawing lumber, there are many by-products. The Mallets have developed markets for the bark (landscaping mulch), the slabs (which are chipped and sold), and the saw dust (which makes its way into the paper making process). Nothing is wasted.
Customer requests and markets change over time. Currently the mill processes a lot of hemlock into beams, bridge stock timbers, and strapping that is used to install metal roof systems. They also process a lot of wide pine boards that are used for both custom flooring and table tops. Cedar decking and posts are also commonly requested items.
Pricing for custom sawn lumber is generally less expensive than lumber bought from a commercial lumber yard. If a customer has a building project, they can often save a considerable sum by ordering their lumber locally.
For more information on custom sawing, G & A Mallet Custom Sawing is located at 32 Dam Road in Lee. They can be reached at (207) 290-2824 or (207) 738-2693.