This is one of two log decks, large flat areas where logs are stockpiled. Big Creek owns some timberland but only enough to provide maybe 10% of the company’s needs. Most of the logs come from private landowners—who are paid based on the expected yield from each log delivered.
David Frane_ToTT This is one of two log decks, large flat areas where logs are stockpiled. Big Creek owns some timberland but only enough to provide maybe 10% of the company’s needs. Most of the logs come from private landowners—who are paid based on the expected yield from each log delivered.

Several months back I was on the phone with Mike Hartrich, a contractor in Northern California. Mike was telling me about a group he belongs to, The Santa Cruz Construction Guild, and mentioned in passing that one of its members was a lumber company that had its own redwood mill. I said “Really—I’ve wanted to see the inside of a lumber mill since I was a kid.” Mike called someone he knew at the lumber company and the next thing you know I was invited to tour Big Creek Lumber’s mill in Davenport, CA. The tour took place in March and I wrote about it after and posted an extensive set of photos. I also shot some short video clips, which I recently turned into a mashup of my trip. It does not contain every part of the production process but shows enough to give you a sense of what it’s like in a mill. The other thing it’s missing is the wonderful smell of freshly cut redwood. Well, you can’t have everything. But you can see the video below and the original (more detailed) story here.