Family Tree Drives Local Sawmill


People don’t seem to be bored with natural wood. It remains a top design trend, and you can see it pop up in bars, restaurants, breweries, and in homes. It’s growing into big business for a KELOLAND sawmill. SESD Rough Sawn Lumber is near Lennox, SD. The mill started as a passion, and the owner wants to make sure that’s engrained in every product he sells.

No matter how Kent Hiemstra slices into it, his saw lets him see something amazing. 

“Every log is a surprise. It’s like opening up a Christmas present,” Kent Hiemstra said, while cutting into a large log. 

Santa is usually pretty good to him. 

“You never know what you’re going to find. Some good, some bad,” Hiemstra said. 

At SESD, or Southeast South Dakota, Rough Sawn Lumber, the thrill of the find keeps Hiemstra and owner Chris DeHaan going. 

“Every time we run the mill and bring a blade over top of a log, it’s amazing the character we find and different things that are within the material,” DeHaan said. 

Wood working started as a hobby, and then DeHaan decided to branch out and turn it into a business a few years ago. Then he hired a member of his family tree, Hiemstra, who’s his father-in-law. It’s easy to see how working together keeps things light. That can be a breath of fresh air when you’re covered in sawdust all day. 

“Chris calls it his man glitter and that’s what we enjoy and that’s what we’re going to keep doing is what we’re going to do,” Hiemstra said. 

This family bond is a big reason why they wanted to build this business. When homeowners and business owners come here for mantle places, bar tops, and tables;  the duo wants them to walk away with something that lasts. 

“That era that we live in is the material you buy or whatever is a throwaway material. Whenever I talk to anybody about their grandpa or great grandpa, or whatever, and ask them about the dresser drawer grandpa had. It’s still around. It was built with quality,” DeHaan said. 

Natural edge and live edge wood can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, but DeHaan says he keeps his prices more approachable so it’s not just the super rich who will find something here. 

“We work with everybody whether it’s a do-it-yourselfer to a contractor; there’s nobody we won’t work with,” DeHaan said. 

The passion for wood goes deep, because when DeHaan looks at it, he says he doesn’t see business; he sees family.

“All of a sudden on a cold Christmas morning, or something like that, with the snow coming down and you get to sit there having cocoa with the kids or something, and that’s what you get to see. There’s so much beauty in the material,” DeHaan said.

SESD Rough Sawn Lumber has zebra wood, black walnut, hickory, and everything in between. However, if you look closely you can find something most others spend a lifetime pining for: two people who love their jobs.  

“We both enjoy what we’re doing. If you enjoy it, you want to just keep plugging away and keep going,” Hiemstra said.

No matter which way you slice it, seeing that is pretty amazing. 

To learn more about SESD Rough Sawn Lumber, you can visit its Facebook page. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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