If Wayne Schmitt, owner of Wisconsin’s Schmitt Timber, had his way, every oak, ash or maple board he slices off the log would be top grade; clear-grained, free of knots and blemishes. Those cuts are usually kiln-dried, sold to small manufacturers or tradesmen to be transformed into furniture, cabinets, trim, molding and flooring.
But nature isn’t perfect. So Wayne and sons Jeff and Greg have built their wood-processing business around transforming what they call “offal”–a Dutch word usually associated with inedible parts of a butchered animal–into wood products needed by someone in the region.
A large volume of the timber they buy is transformed into components for shipping pallets, crating lumber or cribbing–such as those purchased by Roberts-based County Concrete. Pallet components, cut to various dimensions unique to each end-user, are sold to jobbers who do the final assembly. The center cuts of many logs are sold for railroad ties.
Portions of some logs become wood lath, used for fencing, surveying and by contractors. Each spring, the Schmitts find a niche market for sharpened stakes–a task they accomplish with a special machine that can whittle a sharp point onto oak stringers. Bark from each log, mechanically stripped after each has been run through a metal detector, is sold for landscaping mulch. Sawdust, collected throughout the mill, is collected and sold for use as a component in manufactured doors or sold for animal bedding.
All remaining cut-offs and trimmings are sold for firewood or chipped for use as bedding, mulch or fuel for large boilers. Chips are also sold to Wisconsin Rapids-based Nekoosa Paper for pulp. The Schmitts also dabble in overseas markets. They’ve shipped prime walnut veneer logs to Europe, maple to China and Indonesia, and basswood to Japan and Korea.
From the Pierce County Herald: http://www.piercecountyherald.com/content/tenacity-innovation-fuel-growth-schmitt-timber