The Northwest Illinois Forestry Association will be touring two wood processing operations north of Freeport on Saturday morning, June 20th. The first is a large firewood and mulch business, and the second is a sawmill, kiln, and woodworking operation.
The tours start at Bob Evans firewood and mulch operation at 9:00 am. He produces a blend of hardwoods including oak, cherry, hickory and walnut in either a premium hardwood mix or straight 100% oak, cherry, hickory, or birch. Priding himself on the quality of his products, he offers kiln dried firewood for the driest product possible. They have a very fast-drying kiln that reduces wood moisture to 5% within 24 hours. Any bugs and larva are destroyed by the kiln process creating a clean firewood that is easier to light and burns well.
In addition, Bob produces a variety of mulches. He delivers firewood and mulch up to 100 miles away.
About 10:30 am, we will proceed to Hogback Hardwoods, the Elsasser family business, where they turn standing timber into flooring, cabinetry, custom molding and high-end furniture. The family has been working with wood for almost 15 years and turning it into a full-service logging and woodworking operation with a bigger, more powerful sawmill and two kilns to dry lumber. The Elsassers have also expanded their services to include installing and finishing the custom hardwood flooring they make.
Scott Elsasser said that he prefers to work with burr oak, which is native to northwest Illinois.
“People are more interested in a rustic look, and that is best accomplished with the burr oak,” he said. “We also do a lot of work with hickory, white and red oak. If people are building a house and they have their own trees, we can log and then custom mill their flooring and the trim from their own wood for their house.”
Hogback Hardwoods added custom millworking several years ago. “We do base, shoe, quarter round, casing for doors and, again, if a customer has standing timber we can log it, saw and dry it, then mill it to the design they prefer.” He said that they also do farm lumber and custom sawing for trailer decks, fence posts and border boards for raised gardens.
This event is free and open to the public. However, we ask that you register so that we may contact you in case weather or other circumstances cause a schedule change.Directions:
From US 20 at Freeport, take Illinois 26 north 13 miles (2 miles past Orangeville) to the intersection with Winslow Road.
Bob Evans location is about five miles north of this intersection on Illinois 26, which becomes Wisconsin 69. Drive four miles north of the Illinois/Wisconsin border (two miles north of Route P). On the east side of the road, not readily visible from the south, look for a driveway and sign set back from the road - “Bob Evans Quarry.”
To get to Scott Elsasser’s saw mill operation, from the Illinois 26 intersection with Winslow Road, go west 100 feet on Winslow Road and turn south onto the Alta Road frontage and drive about 1/2 mile. Turn west onto Kundert Road and Scott’s lane is the first on the right. Drive all the way back to the large shed.