John and Geri Newell founded Primal Woods because they wanted to further their lives in a way that brought them closer to the earth, their community, and each other. They left the corporate world, the city and the suburbs, and moved to a rural home in Southwest Michigan. There they are living the Primal Woods Life.
“Beyond a physical move, this was also a move towards greater self-sufficiency, a reliance on local resources and people for those things we cannot or choose not to provide for ourselves,” says John Newell. “It was also a move toward a business that serves the community, including suppliers, employees, and customers, as well as ourselves.” If you want to know more about us, or what we are up to, check out the following blog posts:
- How To Build A Simple Trellis
- Blog Subscriber Update
- Well Pump Pressure Switch Repair
- Wellpump Failure!
- 2017 Year in Review – 2018 Goals
- Cleaning the Central Boiler Classic Edge Reaction Chamber
- Homestead Maintenance Planning
- Central Boiler Heat Exchanger Maintenance
- Resilient and Sustainable Fresh Water Systems
- Sustainable Heat – Year 2 of Our Journey
The homestead includes a sizable woods, and our early experiments included gardening, beekeeping, maple syruping, hunting, wood products, soap making, and an ongoing exploration into forest products and forest management in general. Some of these experiments have come to form the three facets of Primal Woods, the Sawyers (including portable saw mill and Alaskan chainsaw mill services), the Sugarers (including Pure Michigan Maple Syrup and raw honey), and the Soapers. Click on any area above to learn more. And after learning about our services, Contact Us to see how we may serve you. We are a Veteran Owned, BBB Accredited Business.
Testimonials regarding Primal Woods products and services. With many thanks to our Customers for taking the time to share their experiences with us.
To share your experience with us, please click HERE.
An excellent milling experience with John. Timely, professional, efficient, and highly detail-oriented. John took great pains to maximize the yield from each log while making sure he knew exactly what I was after in the process. I would highly recommend John to anyone requiring on-site milling. — Jeff F., Holland, MI
I initially contacted John Newell from Primal Woods over a year ago when I first started looking for someone who could bring a portable saw mill to our property. Our forester was putting together a timber sale for our property with a primary goal of habit management, and we knew we were going to have some nice oak and maple available for milling. We had not done any logging or millwork before, and John provided some valuable advice along the way regarding the types of trees to select, how the logs should be sealed, where they should be staged, etc., which was greatly appreciated.
The loggers finally came this past winter, and John drove out last weekend to mill the logs they set aside for us. John did an outstanding job with the millwork, taking great care with the set-up of each log and providing solid advice on how to get the best type of lumber from the logs. He milled plain sawn red oak, white oak, and red maple as well as quarter sawn red oak and white oak from twenty-two, 10+ foot long, 15” – 22” diameter logs. My wife, son, daughter, and I all pitched in to help move the lumber, broom the sawdust off, sticker it, and stack it, and even with all of this help, we could often barely keep up with John.
After two solid days of work, we had 2,190 bf of some really nice hardwood boards. I have purchased a bit of rough-sawn lumber over the last twenty-five years of woodworking, and John produced some of the best milled lumber I have seen.
Not only was John great to work with, but he was also a delight to talk with and get to know a bit over the course of the weekend, and I hope to have more logs for him to mill for us in the future. Thanks, John!
My friend had several large trees cut down on his property. He was willing to give me the logs if I hired somewhat to cut them into boards. There was some huge red oak logs, two smaller white oak logs, and three smaller maple logs. I didn’t know how to go about getting these boards cut up. I found the Wood-Mizer website, which lists sawyers with a Wood-Mizer mill around the state. I called a few and there was no response. Then I called John Newell at Primal Woods, LLC. He immediately eased my anxiety by letting me know he would be able to come on site and saw them up for us, no problem. This was in March. He was making maple syrup for his other business and couldn’t make it until the season was over some time in April. This was no problem. We were in no hurry. As the season ended, we worked out a date in mid-April that turned out to be a cold, sleeting, snowy rainy day, and we all agreed to put it off a few days. We had a very beautiful Saturday, in mid-April to say our logs.
John came on site, set up his portable sawmill and was sawing by 09:00. I requested he saw the white oak quartersawn and gave him the cut list for the thickness I needed. He was very easy to work with, and provided the boards as requested. We cut up the two large oak logs, too. By then, it was getting late in the afternoon and we decided to do the maple logs at another time. There was also another large oak log to do.
John worked hard all day. We could barely keep up with him, cleaning the boards and stacking as they came off the portable sawmill. John really knew what he was doing regarding how to mill logs into boards. His mill was in good condition and had some optional bells and whistles to make the milling more accurate and productive.
I was impressed with the whole experience from the beginning when I first called. I sent him an Xcel spreadsheet of the log sizes and my calculations for board feet. He welcomed the information and confirmed my calculations, somewhat, and corrected as necessary.
I highly recommend Primal Woods for any sawing needs you may have. This was a very quality experience right from the start. John was a pleasure to work with.
The Maple syrup is to die for. Naturally sweet and delicious my family loves it. It is great in oatmeal, on pancakes and French toast.
Primal Woods Maple syrup bottles were a hugely popular present for those people that have everything… But I did keep a couple of bottles for myself to make pecan and maple syrup granola: another well received gift for the holidays
I was faced with the difficult task of having to cut down two mature Sugar Maple trees that my great-grandfather planted 70+ years ago. These were located near a house and other trees, so they had to be taken down carefully. I wanted to put these sentimentally-valuable trees to a higher use than just firewood, so I knew that Primal Woods’ portable sawmill service was the way to go.
John was an absolute professional, he showed up early, laid the trees down with care and precision, then cut the tree into pieces based on the optimal use of each portion. The trunks branched out fairly low, so they weren’t ideal “saw logs,” but John was still able to maneuver them onto the WoodMizer and milled up a bunch of beautiful slabs that we’ll use for tables and other furniture, and 1x maple that we’ll use for hardwood flooring in the new house we’re building. The WoodMizer was an awesome machine to behold, buzzing through hard maple with ease and with a much cleaner cut than a circular-saw or chainsaw type mill.
John worked all day in the summer heat (90+) and was on-site until dusk, making the best use of the mill in the time that he had there. I would heartily recommend Primal Woods to anyone and look forward to having them come back to mill up some other trees that I have to remove!