Building Shephard Cabins with Wood-Mizer Machines in the French Alps

By Wood-Mizer, Europe

Building Shephard Cabins with Wood-Mizer Machines in the French Alps


Alongside building quality log cabins for the shepherds, Aleksander Salicis, a carpenter from Plan du Verdon in the French Alps, uses local wood to provide carpentry services and products for his customers. Aleksander operates multiple Wood-Mizer machines for his sawmilling and woodworking company, Salicis Charpente.    

“I started my business when a fellow customer asked me to help him build a small log cabin in the mountains. He needed a place to live in the summer to watch his flock of sheep while on the grazing land. It was challenging work, but also rewarding, as I watched a helicopter lift the wooden frame, which I had made on my LT40 sawmill, and carried it up to the top of the mountain,” explains Aleksander. 



Aleksander began his woodworking career when he was 16 years old. In the beginning, he used to work along with other sawyers and foresters. “We live in the mountains at 1900 m above sea level where living conditions get tough sometimes. That’s why we always support and help each other in the local community,” explains Aleksander. Now, with his own company, he can supply his clients with good-quality wood products, especially shepherd cabins built from logs. 

“My log cabins are recognized and appreciated by the local community of shepherds because they are very well made, and they are made of local wood,” points out the carpenter. “How do I make them? The process of making these cabins is simple. First, I saw the logs, I dry the slabs in the kiln, then mould and plane them, and next, I prepare the structural elements for helicopter transport. We must be careful about the weight of a single module because the helicopter can only pick up a maximum load of 750 kg. We assemble the cabin there once the material is on the mountain.”



The successful woodworking business that Aleksander runs is only possible with the involvement of Wood-Mizer’s wood-cutting equipment. “I recommend Wood-Mizer products to all fellow woodworkers because they are useful, especially for small carpentry businesses like mine,” says Aleksander. 

“The most important machine in my workshop is the LT40 sawmill with the bed extension for converting long logs,” admits Aleksander. “I enjoy working on this machine because, with its hydraulic functions, it is easy to operate. I remember working on the sawmill without the hydraulics, and I often hurt my back. The LT40 sawmill is faster and more stable in sawing, so I can produce more timber in a single day.”

Even the best sawmill will only work well with properly prepared sawmill blades. Aleksander helps to maintain his blades using the BMS250 sharpener and the BMT150 tooth setter. “I work mainly with softwoods, so I have to sharpen and set the blades correctly; otherwise, they will break during cutting,” explains Aleksander. 

Aleksander purchased an accessory machine for his LT40 sawmill, which would help him regain as much valuable material from each sawn slab as possible. He used to throw out much leftover material and realized he needed a solution– the EG100 board edger. The edger optimizes timber production because it adds value to smaller, irregular wood slabs. 



Aleksander uses the MP360 planer/moulder from the Woodworking series to make finished wood products. It allows him to make everything from flooring to cladding, including long beams and carpentry elements. “I decided to extend my services with the MP360 planer/moulder because this machine takes up little room in my workshop and does not consume much energy,” explains Aleksander. “I can offer my customers grooved deck boards, various mortise-and-tenon joints, or cladding with a desired profile. I can also make perfectly squared timber from softwood.”

Aleksander installed a dry kiln beside his workshop to make quality finished products on the MP360 planer/moulder. “These days, the kiln is important to dry the wood quickly. We don’t have much time, like 20 years ago, when people used to season timber out in the open air,” says Aleksander. “The kiln lets me quickly prepare the wood for planing and moulding on the MP360. This way, I can offer quality woodworking products to my clients.”



Aleksander Salicis learned about Wood-Mizer almost ten years ago from the internet, and ever since, he has been using the original Wood-Mizer machinery and tools, including the LT40 sawmill, the MP360 planer/moulder, the EG100 board edger, and the blade maintenance equipment. “What I love about these machines is that they are versatile and useful for woodworkers like me,” he points out. In the future, Aleksander would like to expand his business by adding more speed, efficiency, and automation to his workshop. With more land around his company, he is considering building an industrial sawmilling line based on Wood-Mizer Systems solutions. 
“I appreciate working with Wood-Mizer because they support small woodworking businesses’ growth and development. My company Salicis Charpente is a family-run company that coexists with my wife’s horse-riding school Le Sabot du Verdon,” Aleksander explains. “Our businesses are interconnected – I build various wooden additions to the stables and barns, while my wife’s horse-riding customers are attracted to my timber products.” 






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