While the phone is ringing off the hook and the saw is buzzing Skaneateles' Steve Becker is calling it quits.
Mike's Millwork on Route 175 (3703 Lee Mulroy), which he has owned and operated since 1997, is officially for sale. It's not for lack of business or interest; instead it's physical.
This lifelong athlete has met his mightiest opponent - rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosed within the last six months. He said doctors think it is hereditary, but there isn't a history in his family. Becker is finding it difficult to be outside in the cold.
"Until you get it, you don't know what a black science it is," he said.
On the job at the millworks
Becker purchased the sawmill after many years as a councilor with the Veterans Administration where he worked with homeless veterans. He said he had a lot of success out west but was discouraged with the programming when he moved back to New York.
"After mental health for all those years it was nice to have a end product (at the mill)," he said.
He'll likely go back to an inside job. The mill has an office, and there is a lot of wheeling and dealing, but it is mostly in and out, rugged work and fresh air. There is finesse as well as in furniture making, but a large part of what they do is sawing boards.
"We do a lot of custom cutting," Becker said, "pretty hard to go into a lumber store and order a 10 by 14 by 20 foot beam."
The products are made from any indigenous tree and include lumber (all sizes), and wood products that are built. They manufacture more than 200 picnic tables a year, about two and a half sheds a week and Adirondack-style furniture including the rustic pieces, which Doug Cormack of Snell Fence puts together.