Actually, we do not carry or produce either slabs or live edge lumber. However, we do have an associate that specializes in this material, and we wanted to be able to share a good source with our customers. I would like to introduce you to Max Greeley III, a multi-generation resident of Northcentral Pennsylvania, specifically Potter County, the only county in the state with only 2 stop lights and one McDonalds, no Walmarts or Starbucks. The folks from Potter County are mighty proud of their heritage and the rugged environment they exist in. Their trees (and their women, though they won’t admit to that) are bigger, in winter it’s colder and they always get more snow, the trout are wilder and the bucks are wilier, and it’s known throughout the state as God’s country. Living next door over in Tioga County, we get our nose rubbed in it quite often, and we just tell people that we are from “next to God’s country", and they understand.
Anyway, Max spent his formative years roaming the woods and streams of Potter County, learning the art of fly fishing from his Grandfather and his woods and hunting skills from an extended family of uncles and cousins. As a young man he made his living from the surrounding woods felling the big hardwoods for the lumber industry and running his own contract logging business. After some time off to work a real job with a steady paycheck and benefits while he raised and educated his family, Max came back to his first love, bought a sawmill, and started a specialty lumber business. I was fortunate to make Max’s acquaintance at this time, just as I was transitioning from furniture making to selling lumber full time, and it was a fortuitous meeting for me personally and for my business. Max was just setting up his mill when our paths crossed, and we were able to grow our businesses together. He was willing and able to cut lumber the way our customers wanted and had access to great material, and he quickly became our main cherry supplier, specializing in wide and matched lumber with minimal sapwood, as well as good quality heavy stock. We have worked together for 15 years and it has been a pleasure to interact with such a reasonable and dependable supplier, who has also become a very good friend. I have also learned a lot about working in the woods and about the people who have lived here long enough to really love the area and appreciate that they have something special.
Max’s real love is sawing big trees, and after the early years sawing on a small bandmill, he has the rig to saw them, and it is a beauty, a prototype custom built by Andy Riss of Breezewood Mfg. It has the throat capacity and the power to cut 45" planks and the ability to saw logs well over 4′ in diameter. He is also associated with one of the biggest log and forestry outfits in the North country, who cut their own timber and buy logs in from other sources as well, so Max has access to some exceptional native timber, regularly cutting and stocking cherry, figured maple and walnut, as well as the occasional big pine, sycamore, oak, butternut, Sassafras or other odd species. He also gets calls from other loggers and log brokers, as he has the ability to saw the biggest logs of anyone in the area so he often gets the logs that other sawmills can’t or don’t want to saw. Max keeps a large inventory of kiln dried and air-drying slabs on hand, and he has the ability to custom cut orders when he can find the right logs. This large mill has been an asset to our business as well, as we send all of our larger diameter saw logs over to him and let him figure out the best way to cut them.
Max isn’t the best marketer in the world. As a matter of fact, I really haven’t met too many people who have done less to promote their own business. He loves to see what a big log will open up like, the wilder and gnarlier the better, and enjoys figuring out how to cut each log to yield up its best features, but his interest starts to wane when dealing with selling the product and seeking the limelight. Although he is very capable of taking care of business, the sawing is what really holds his interest, and that is where he focuses his energy. He is a very astute and self-educated man, he knows and understands woodworking and fine arts, has always dealt antiques as a side business and has traveled extensively around this country and the world, but he always comes back to his roots, the hardwood forests of Potter County and the surrounding area.
We have set up this link to max’s website and have posted a number of photos of his sawmill and lumber operation, along with some examples of lumber he has produced on his mill, so you would have an idea of the scope of his business. If you are looking for a source for this type of material, I have always found Max’s pricing to be very reasonable, that he represents his lumber fairly and honestly, and that doing business with him is a pleasant experience. So, if you are looking for slabs, we can’t help you, but maybe Max can. You can go to his at www.rawood.net to his website, or you can reach him on his cell phone, 814-558-8180 or his home office at 814-544-7112. Sincerely, Louis Irion, Irion Lumber Company