Frank and Dan’s unusual relationship
Dan Bright’s sawmill came about when he milled some trees to build his house in South Gippsland.
A steady stream of locals wanting their own logs milled was the impetus for Dan to launch Amber Creek Sawmilling.
A few years ago, needing saw logs, Dan began working with Frank Hirst, a tree farmer up the road in Korumburra (that’s Frank and his trees above).
Together Dan and Frank developed a system to harvest Frank’s Blue gums in small batches.
The idea was if Frank did the harvesting himself bit by bit and Dan bought the logs directly from Frank then most of the tree’s value would stay on Frank’s farm.
The small volumes of logs suited Dan’s sawmill and so both of them would come out winners.
What Dan and Frank were planning was a very unusual arrangement.
Dan says usually a tree grower like Frank has nothing to do with the harvesting and selling of their trees.
Usually a forest manager comes in, organises contractors with big machinery to harvest all the trees in one go. They then take all the logs and a big slice of the money as they leave.
To make their plan possible Dan built Frank a trailer especially for the job. Frank cut a few trees at a time, hauled them out with his tractor and loaded them on Dan’s trailer.
When the trailer was full a local trucking company took the logs to over to Dan’s sawmill.
“We found we liked working together, I came to find Frank to be very trustworthy and I think he has found the same to be the case with me.”
For Frank it makes the 25 years he’s spent nurturing his trees worthwhile. For Dan the relationship guarantees a steady supply of logs.
The same need to secure log supply between Frank and Dan applies equally to CERES Fair Wood when it comes to timber.
And so Fair Wood have joined the arrangement agreeing to pay Dan 50% up front to supply Frank’s Blue gum shiplap cladding for the next two years.
With banks not keen to loan money to small sawmillers, this means Dan can pay Frank and also invest a bit in the sawmill, meanwhile Fair Wood gets a guaranteed supply of Franks farm-grown Blue gum cladding.
The first load of Frank and Dan’s Blue gum shiplap cladding has just arrived at the Fair Wood warehouse.
If you’d like to know more get in touch with Hayden.
Have a great week