Timber Processing’s March issue spotlights WKO, where near-constant mill renovation has been an operating philosophy for thirty years. A tiny town in northern Idaho is mentioned for setting its sights on a diverse future while keeping timber a vital part of the local economy. Also, the Woodville mill is the crown jewel in a family enterprise.
Besse Forest Products Group has purchased two northern Wisconsin hardwood lumber mills. In September, Drummond Lumber Co. at Drummond was added as a division of Besse Wood Products, Inc. The Drummond mill was acquired from Aspen lumber, a division of Khoury, Inc. The mill employs 20 and has an annual capacity of 4MMBF of kiln dried lumber. Besse also acquired Algoma Lumber Co.’s Abrams hardwood sawmill in January.
Mill improvements are a way of life at the family-owned WKO sawmill here on the crest of the Cascade Mountains in south central Washington. “Our philosophy has always been to continue to upgrade the mill at a moderate rate, never too much in one year, to keep it modern,” says WKO President Bill Wilkins. “As time has progressed, every single year we’ve added or replaced something to the point that we’re continuously updating.”
Like many communities in the region, Priest River’s history and name are traced to America’s great Western expansion in the late 19th century and the railroads that accompanied the establishment of markets and conduits of commerce. The original town sprang up in 1888-89 east of its current location on the west bank of Priest River. The name of the river is derived from the Native American term “Kaniksu,” meaning “black robe,” the name that Indians gave the Jesuit missionaries who worked among them.
Improving to survive. That’s been the business philosophy of Charlie Netterville, third generation in the Netterville lumber business and co-owner of Fred Netterville Lumber Co. He picked up that philosophy from his dad, the late Fred Netterville. This point of view has proven itself as expansion and upgrades have helped to list the south Mississippi hardwood mill as one of the top hardwood lumber producers in the U.S. at 25MMBF annually.
The sawmill industry of the mid-20th century faced a major need for retooling. The last of the available large diameter timber resources were being harvested, and existing mills could not process small diameter logs profitably. This change in the resource coincided with the advancing development of computer technology and more efficient machinery, leading to major technological developments in the industry.
Perhaps you have seen the sign in manufacturing operations. It states: “If we do not deliver what the customer wants, someone else will!” Back in my Procter and Gamble days, a book on our reading list was “I Know It When I See It,” subtitled “A Modern Fable About Quality” by John Guaspari. The book starts “Once upon a time...” and is written at a level even I understand.
Timber Machine Technologies introduces the patent pending V1 Scan-N-Saw combination edger optimizer system. The system processes either boards or cants through the same linear system. The system combines a simple infeed table, scan belt, combo edger and outfeed picker. TMT’s DS board/cant turner system indexes boards and cants onto the linear scan belt.