Those of us who have been lucky enough to know about this gem of a service, know that Jeff Hayes has been providing beautifully milled wood to the ship modeling community for many years. I’ve relied on Jeff for supplying strip woods for a number of my projects, and also for supplying wood sets that I’ve purchased from Admiralty Models for their Echo Cross Section project.
It was just announced by Jeff today that he will be shutting down Hobby Mill. With other businesses, shutting down often means that business hasn’t been good enough to support the operation. In the case of Hobby Mill, it’s more about being too successful and of Jeff not having enough time to enjoy life and to build his own ship models. So, like Warner Woods West, who was once a great supplier of strip woods for ship modelers. This is sad news for ship modelers, but Jeff Hayes is a great guy and deserves to enjoy his retirement.
For the rest of us, there is The Lumberyard. Pricier and more limited in operation is Steve Goode’s operation S.H. Goode & Sons. If you only need basswood and cherry, I’ve had very good luck with Northeastern Scale Lumber.
Of course, the ultimate ship modeler’s solution is to develop the capacity to mill your own wood. You can carry this to varying degrees and can start anywhere from buying logs or chunks of hardwoods where you’ll need to start with a bandsaw, or you can buy small boards of proper thickness that you can just cut strip woods from using a table saw. The latter is of course the easiest route and requires the fewest tools. I recommend the table saw from Byrnes Model Machines. This is the same saw that Hobby Mill uses to cut strip woods. In fact, Jeff Hayes put a very nicely detailed description of how to get the most from the Byrnes table saw on his Hobby Mill website: http://www.hobbymillusa.com/byrnes-saw-operation.php
I’ll miss Jeff’s great business, but his break is well deserved and maybe we’ll get to see some of his projects now.
I forgot to mention that Jeff will be taking orders through the end of the year. So, if you want something from Hobby Mill, make sure you get your orders in while you still can!