The Story of Amber Creek Farm Sawmilling, their Southern Blue Gum cladding and why we love what they do.
We often say Fair Food and Fair Wood are intrinsically linked. It’s small-scale farmers who have small lot timbers to move and that need a market. So much of this type of timber historically, and indeed still today, doesn’t have an outlet to be sold. There is where Fair Wood comes in and indeed is one of our major reasons for being, to create a market for this amazing timber that will otherwise, often, become a waste product.
Dan and Amelia Bright are situated out on 165 acres near First Creek, South Gippsland. Dan and Amelia do what they like to call hogs and logs, pork and sawmilling. They are a young couple wanting to regeneratively work with the land to create an ongoing and sustainable life for themselves, their plants, and their animals.
Their operation is one that includes revegetation on their property as well as innovating across the two enterprises to support a sustainable approach to both. Dan has worked hard over many years revegetating their gullies and creek by fencing these areas off and planting out native trees, the forest is back! Their pigs are free to roam and waste from their sawmilling enterprise is incorporated into their hog operation by providing material for pig pads.
The sawmilling business came about after Dan bought a sawmill to mill timber for the buildings he was planning for their property. It was through this that he discovered how much he enjoyed sawmilling and began a business doing it regularly. Dan now has a steady stream of local people needing their small lot timbers milled. He works directly with many small-scale farmers, helping to facilitate and grow this much needed niche in the market. He has been working over the last few months to get the equipment and infrastructure set up on the farm to do the log bit better and it is about ready to go.
Working with Dan is like a breath of fresh air. He has boundless amounts of energy and plenty of good will that keeps the partnership ticking along. The timber he supplies us is also top notch. Dan cares and you can see that in his work.
We have been excitedly anticipating the arrival of a new product, the Southern Blue Gum cladding, and we are happy to say it’s now in stock.
This Southern Blue Gum is from Frank and Sharon Hirst’s agroforestry farm at Ranceby, near Korumburra in South Gippsland. They were planted in the early nineties and pruned and thinned by Frank and Sharon. We love their approach of using a wide spaced planting pattern so that there is still quite a lot of pasture growing under the trees and the tree paddocks are still used for grazing cattle and sheep.
Amber Creek Sawmilling worked with Frank to develop a low volume harvesting system to harvest the trees in small batches that suit Dan’s mills production capacity, rather than the larger volumes generated by the clear fell in one hit methods more commonly used in the industry. This also means that the Hirsts are able to capture most of the mill door price generated by the logs as they are doing most of the work and management themselves.
Southern Blue Gum is a beautiful looking timber and is durable (class 2) as well as being hard and tough (F27 for structural use with a BAL19 rating). It’s a tree often selected for agroforestry in the southern states because of how quickly it grows and its wide array of uses. For a fast grown tree it’s remarkably dense and it looks good. Being well managed it has a low level of defect and we have it available in good lengths. Looking over the stock you won’t see much, if any at all, sapwood. Dan has graded most of the sapwood out at green milling stage then subsequent gradings (out of drying rack and after machining). So it’s gone through a 3 step identification process for removal. Dan says “There may end up a tiny bit on a very small number of boards but I am confident it will not be enough to ever compromise the boards more than a few millimetres”.
We have it available in the following dimensions:
– 130×19 (115mm cover)
– 110×19 (95mm cover)
– 80×19 (65mm cover)
With the intention to style it with different dimensions. Hayden and Louis mocked us up some boards below to give you a sense.
We have been working with Amber Creek and the Hirsts to secure this an ongoing product to ensure we have this well into the future.
Find out more and get in touch with us here.