The Man Behind the Machine

Sticks Custom Portable Bandsaw Milling, located in Woodland, WA, serves southwest Washington and northern Oregon.  We have been in operation since 2003.

Brian Trembley‘s expertise includes:

  • BS in Metallurgical Engineering
  • Working history includes: Oregon Cutting Systems, Warn Industries, Southwestern Laboratories in Houston, TX
  • Beekeeper
  • Santa Claus

How I got to where I am today: In 2003, I decided to try something different with my life, something I would be happier doing. I traded in a regular paycheck as a Metallurgical Engineer for the uncertainty of self-employment doing something entirely new to me. At that time, my wife and I happened to have a few fir trees, which we cut down and sent to the mill. We were extremely disappointed with the proceeds and figured others must have had a similar experience. I thought that I could focus custom cutting to the small landowner niche. I purchased the largest mill Wood-Mizer made so I wouldn’t have to do a 10 horsepower job with a 5 horsepower machine.

I have been milling lumber for over a decade and met many wonderful people with a multitude of talents. I have cut in a wide variety of locations from Washington County, to Clark and Cowlitz counties, to Lewis County. My name has generated a reputation in the milling world as someone who is extremely conscientious about product quality, getting the best boards possible out of each log, and working hard to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time. For these efforts, nearly all of my customers pay the final bill with a smile, often with a tip, and form a genuine friendship. In fact, some of my past customers still keep in touch with me and repeat customers are frequent. Much of my business comes to me by referral from previous customers.

In 2012, I was seriously injured (NOT while milling). Although this event was not advertised by me or anyone in my family, somehow some of my customers heard about it and sought me out to check on my progress. One way they discovered this was a forum my daughter found (after the fact) in November 2014. During this time, I couldn’t work the sawmill, but customers needed cutting done. One previous customer hired another sawyer, used him for one log, then decided to wait for me to do the remainder. The sawyer he hired had the same type of mill as mine. Lesson: It’s not the machine that makes the boards – it’s the man. My other customers ALL waited for my recovery rather than hiring someone else.

Milling is seasonal. Therefore, winter is a slow time for portable sawmilling. I have been playing the role of a professional Santa Claus since 2008. This is another job I have been thoroughly enjoying. I spent the first season at a small log furnishings store in my town just for fun. I realized I enjoyed it so much that I decided to pursue a seasonal occupation as Old Saint Nicholas. So, my next two seasons were spent in Stockton, California. I asked if there were any jobs closer to home so the company placed me at the Lloyd Center Our 25th wedding anniversary. Photo credit: Bryce Phelps.in Portland in 2011 and I was there for five years. Last year, I was part of the Jantzen Beach Toys “R” Us. If you’re ever in the area in December, come and visit!

I am still married to my one true love and we have two fantastic daughters. We have been building our Victorian Dream Home (scroll down to the second project) since 1999 with lumber I have milled. Upon its completion, we plan on turning it into a Bed and Breakfast. I hope to provide milling services to the public for many years to come.