Sawmillers cut timber boards from tree logs that have been prepared earlier. The sawmill process is mechanised, refined over the centuries, as cutting timber logs by hand is a long, painstaking process. Both softwood and hardwood timber is used at a sawmill, varieties including pine, red gum and cypress.
Sawmills are often located close to a tree plantation (for log gathering and cutting) while timber suppliers, providers of raw and finished wood materials, are often located closer to consumers, typically in metropolitan regions where the hours of operation and payment methods are similar to most retail businesses. The process of sawmilling has become an essential and expensive (multi-million dollar) process in today’s society. Not only are the end products used in the building and construction industries, but pulp is also created from trees for use in the creation of paper, with both timber and wood pulp often shipped internationally.
Sawmillers can belong to a large sawmill trading company, or run their own smaller private operation. Where once sawmilling was part of a large process, it is now possible to cut logs using small portable sawmills for smaller batches. Today sawmills are operated by computerised processes to handle large batches of timber, when in years past the process may have been water or steam operated. A sawmill can be co-located with a timber yard, selling products direct to the public.