Timber Processing’s March issue spotlights Housewoods, Inc. of Salem, Ind. for building a new sawmill to more efficiently address an unstable hardwood resource. Forks, Washington is the subject of a new series, Our Town, USA. Forks native Ron Shearer leads forestry tours in an effort to promote the industry and the town.
The ongoing confrontation between Weyerhaeuser Co. and Willamette Industries is of heavyweight proportions. Weyerhaeuser, with annual sales of $16 billion, is more than three times larger than Willamette, with annual sales of $4.7 billion. Weyerhaeuser’s purchase of Willamette would create a $20 billion-plus annual sales company.
Most sawmills specialize in hardwood or softwood, many specialize in a certain range of species and some find niche markets. Snider Industries has done all three and gone a step further, specializing in 4⁄4 pine boards. Snider is likely the largest mill in the U.S. that is specialized in boards.
Scott Justus knows what it’s like to live in a town that has a sense of community. The 36-year-old ex-logger turned elementary school instructional assistant and head coach of the high school basketball team has lived in Forks all of his life. Justus could have been the poster boy for the “All-American” story.
If the old adage about investing in good times means anything, then Robin Wilber and his team at Elmsdale Lumber Co. (ELCO) should be sitting pretty. The spruce, pine and hemlock producer just outside Halifax has spent much of the past few years upgrading its mill, including a new planer mill, state-of-the-art dust collection and chip handling facilities, and an electric carriage unusual to the industry.
Increased production and recovery are the results of a major mill rebuild at Housewoods in southern Indiana, where John House and his brother, Bill, own and operate a highly diversified operation that produces hardwood grade boards and pallet and timber material, as well as an adjacent barrel stave and cooperage operation that does extensive West Coast wine country and export sales.
In the words of Rusty Wood, Chairman of the U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, “It’s a wild rush to the finish line.” Wood, who is also President of Tolleson Lumber Co., which operates two southern pine sawmills in Georgia, is referring to negotiations for an agreement of some kind between the U.S. and Canadian governments concerning the movement of Canadian softwood lumber into the U.S.
For as slow as the market is supposed to be, things are happening rapidly in the sawmill industry. Louisiana-Pacific, never known for operating highly modernized sawmills, is in the middle of a modernization program at several of its mills, including its Chilco, Id. sawmill, which, if there was such an award, would be up for “comeback sawmill operation of the year.”