From Dentist to Wood Mill Enterprise: The Remarkable Journey of Barry Lasko

In the world of woodworking, there are those who craft, and then there are those who create art. Barry Lasko, a retired dentist turned woodworker, undoubtedly falls into the latter category. His journey from the world of dental surgery to crafting intricate wooden masterpieces is as inspiring as it is unexpected.
Barry’s story begins in the arid landscapes of Southern Nevada, where trees were scarce, and the concept of sawmills was alien to him. Yet, at the tender age of 12, he started his foray into woodworking, laying the foundation for what would become a lifelong passion. High school woodshop and access to a community woodshop at BYU further nurtured this budding interest.
But it was a twist of fate that would truly shape Barry’s woodworking destiny. During his time at BYU, he met a captivating woman from New Zealand, and their love story led him to a land abundant with towering trees. It was during this visit that Barry purchased hardwood, packed it onto an airplane, and flew it back home. Little did he know that this wood would be the first building block in his woodworking odyssey.
Life continued to unfold, leading him down the path of dentistry, where his skilled hands, fine artistry, and work with resins and epoxy honed the dexterity and precision that would later define his craftsmanship. Barry’s dental career spanned three decades, encompassing complex cosmetic and surgical procedures. Remarkably, this skill set would seamlessly translate into his woodworking journey.
Upon retiring from dentistry, Barry and his wife made the life-changing decision to relocate from Henderson, Nevada, to Idaho. The decision was not merely about leisure; it was about realizing a dream. Idaho’s lush landscapes offered an abundance of trees, making the ownership of a sawmill a tangible reality. His well-equipped workshop, accumulated over the years, transitioned from being a hobbyist’s haven to a full-fledged woodworking studio in Emmett, Idaho.
Barry’s transition from dental surgery to woodworking was more logical than one might assume. Both fields demanded precision, artistic vision, and a keen eye for detail. His equipment arsenal grew, evolving with his expanding woodworking ambitions. Starting with a Wood-Mizer LT40 Wide sawmill, he eventually upgraded to the Wood-Mizer Super70, each step enhancing his capabilities. Not stopping there, he added a Lucas dedicated slabbing sawmill to tackle logs with a whopping 76″ diameter. And, as if that weren’t enough, he plans to bring home another Wood-Mizer sawmill with a capacity to cut logs up to 55″ in diameter.
Barry’s dedication to his craft extends beyond milling. His Wood-Mizer MB200 surfacing machine allows him to flatten slabs up to 6′ wide and 13′ long. From milling and surfacing to finishing, Barry realized the need for wood drying. To this end, he acquired two full-sized commercial wood dehydrators capable of accommodating beams up to 25′ in length.
While the journey might seem like a departure from his dental roots, Barry emphasizes the similarities between working with wood and working with teeth. The precision, patience, and attention to detail are constants in both domains. His learning process was largely self-taught, with YouTube serving as a valuable resource in his quest for knowledge.
With an ever-expanding array of tools and machinery, Barry’s humble two-car garage in Emmett was soon dwarfed by his ambitions. He constructed additional shop space to house his growing equipment collection. What began as a small garage has now burgeoned into an 8000-square-foot woodworking haven, soon to be expanded further to eight more mill locations.
Idaho’s rich offering of hardwood, including Oak, Maple, Walnut, Elm, and Douglas Fir, serves as the canvas for Barry’s creations. Occasionally, he incorporates Ash, Russian Olive, Honey and Black Locust, and Alder, all of which boast workability and lack toxicity. Oak holds a special place in his heart, with its beautiful grain and ease of processing.
For Barry, the journey is not just about crafting wooden marvels; it’s about passion, creativity, and the joy of making others smile. He values the experience of his clients over maximizing fees, understanding that satisfied customers become his best promoters. His woodworking journey has brought him therapeutic benefits, both mentally and physically, keeping him active and engaged in a rewarding second career.
In a world where retirement often means a sedentary lifestyle, Barry Lasko stands as a testament to the rejuvenating power of pursuing one’s passion. From healing smiles in the dental chair to crafting smiles through his woodworking artistry, Barry’s journey is an inspiration to all. His legacy isn’t just the stunning pieces of woodwork he creates; it’s the joy he brings to others and the fulfillment he finds in his craft. Barry Lasko has carved his place in the world of woodworking, and his creations are nothing short of works of art.








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