Phone: 715-674-2700

Cleereman Industries

Cleereman Sales, Inc. has been building the highest quality sawmill machinery for more than 66 years. We specialize in carriages - Linear Positioning, Set Shaft & Tilt carriages. At Cleereman, we have a carriage to fit nearly every size sawmill operation.
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As it is with most successful lumbermen, Ohio Valley Veneer had humble beginnings. Starting out in 1986 with a two man logging crew and the passion to excel, Ed Robbins was on a mission. That mission, mostly unknown to him at the time, was going to revolutionize the forest products industry in Southern Ohio and beyond. Being a fourth generation lumberman provided Ohio Valley Veneer with a deep appreciation for the people and understanding of the tradition and the lifestyle, but most of all it prepared Ed by instilling what was most important: hard work, honest dealing, quality products and the vision to excel.


Founding Ohio Valley Veneer in 1990 to buy, sell and export logs, Ed soon found himself hiring mills to custom saw where it fit market conditions. In 1992 he was able to purchase the land where his father and grandfather had operated sawmills since 1958 and in ‘94 built his first mill on that hallowed ground. The heart of that mill was an eighteen year old Cleereman Model 36 purchased at auction and they ran it every day until 1998 when it was replaced with a Cleereman 36 Proportional carriage. Now Ohio Valley Veneer mills produce more than a million board feet of lumber monthly as well as exporting lumber and some of the world’s finest hardwood veneer logs from the hills and hollers of rural southern Ohio. Those mills now include five linear positioning carriages, four LP42’s, one LP48, and a HS36 Proportional.


Ed’s original mission to bring passion and professionalism to the lumber business now directly employs over four hundred and shows no sign of slowing down. He credits a portion of his success to making sound decisions when it came to major equipment purchases, and he’s proud to say that Cleereman carriages have been instrumental in that growth because, as he puts it, “they just run”. Now purchasing an average of one million dollars in new machinery annually, Ed shared why he continues to run only Cleereman carriages. “A company’s salesman can sell you the first of anything, be it a sawmill, loader or whatever, but that company’s service and parts departments will sell the second one”. Over the course of his career Ed has purchased sawmills from numerous manufacturers and one thing is constant, if that mills stays in production for Ohio Valley Veneer, it gets upgraded to a new Cleereman. It’s that simple.


According to Ed, choosing Cleereman has been one of the greatest moves of his career and credits Cleereman’s low cost of ownership as instrumental in his ability to continue to grow Ohio Valley Veneer. As he often says, “they just run, they seldom break down and when they do the parts are reasonable AND AVAILABLE WITHIN 24 HOURS”. In addition to a superior sawmill carriage, low cost parts and fast breakdown service, the one thing that most impressed Ed was how Cleereman does business when a Cleereman mill experiences a fire and Fran Cleereman and the entire team do whatever is necessary to get that mill owner back in production. In many cases saving the company and hundreds of jobs with it. That kind of dedication to insure family businesses thrive is one of the many things that separate our industry from so many others. In any other industry, whoever put their deposit down first would be ahead of the burnt mill, but doing what is right – not what is expedient is what separates companies like Ohio Valley Veneer and Cleereman from hundreds who produce similar products.


Growth at Ohio Valley Veneer shows no sign of slowing down as the proven formula of efficiency, superior quality and passion to produce the very best lumber and timber products continues. Aggressive, but patient, acquisition is part of Ohio Valley Veneer’s growth plan and Ed is targeting areas known for quality logs such as East Tennessee, Southern West Virginia and Indiana. Following the efficiency path, Ohio Valley Veneer is scheduled to take delivery of their first Cleereman Lumber Pro. Chosen specifically because of its proven low cost of ownership due to reduced electrical consumption, thin kerf, low maintenance requirements, double cut capacity, modular design and its ability to serve as both headsaw and resaw. The Lumber Pro, with its single operator, is expected to replace three or four thin kerf narrow band sawmills greatly reducing overhead and allowing those employees to move into more productive positions.


The paths to success in the lumber business are as varied as the patterns on an oak leaf. So was the foundation and growth of Copiah Lumber Company of Crystal Springs, Mississippi. Founded by Craig Pyron in 1986, this prosperous and growing hardwood mill grew out of a small short pulpwood trading operation. Ever the forward thinker, Craig began buying standing timber, with brother, John Pyron, taking charge of harvesting operations.

Always seeking ways to maximize utilization, the brothers installed a Hurdle Portable sawmill in 1990 and began producing ties, cants, matts and lumber. Successful by any measure, by 1996 the ever increasing cost of standing timber and gate logs ushered in the next major growth phase. To improve yield by reducing kerf loss. Bob Rose, of Rose Machinery, a well-respected sawmill equipment dealer who represented Cleereman in the Southeast, assisted with the design and installation of a Cleereman LP-42 with the latest linear positioning and seven foot McDonough band headrig. Over two decades later that original Cleereman carriage is still sawing lumber every day.

Not one to shy away from innovation, other efforts were made to realize the ever expanding benefits of thin kerf technology, Copiah Lumber installed a West Plains 660 Resaw system and at one time even attempted primary breakdown with 1 ½” thin kerf systems. These proved incapable of producing the quality and volume of lumber required. So when Cleereman Industries of Newald, Wisconsin, introduced the first modular double cut Lumber Pro ST 54 the die was cast. But there was one thing missing, size of band to maximize capacity. Craig’s experience with smaller band systems made him skeptical of smaller sized band saws, so after several discussions with Fran Cleereman and Rod Chitko both companies agreed to create the largest Lumber Pro mill ever built with a LP-42 lineal positioning carriage and 62” double cut McDonough head. In addition to the larger carriage and headrig, the Lumber Pro at Copiah is also capable of sawing up to thirty foot timbers, offering Copiah Lumber another avenue of maximizing profit with the added capability of sawing the very longest matt and crane pad timbers of any high production mill in the southeast.

The Cleereman Lumber Pro design is unique in many ways, from the speed and efficiency of its thin kerf double cut moving head, to drastically reduced electric requirements that have proven to cut long-term overhead costs. The compact modular design coupled with the Lumber Pro’s moving saw head reduce the footprint required and installation time. This deeply reduces installation expense by delivering a truly modular machine that installs in just a few days, not weeks or months. In Copiah’s case their maintenance team worked with the Cleereman staff to handle the installation. Every Lumber Pro comes complete with an infeed log deck built to the customers required length, smooth log charging system that greatly reduces carriage wear by gently placing logs with a minimum of inertia, integrated off-bearer belt, dust and scrap conveyor, multiple setworks choices that includes several optimization selections, set shaft or LP carriage and a comfortable and spacious sawyers control cab that allows for a clear uncluttered view of the log during the entire sawing process.

Mill manager, Pee Wee Smith, described the Lumber Pro as a “log eating machine” that line for line was consistently producing the same, if not more, lines per day than the original conventional Cleereman running a shotgun feed and 7’ band headrig. Pee Wee attributed the impressive production rate to the Lumber Pro’s double cut design that eliminates back gigging to load logs onto the carriage, turn the log and setting for the next cut, all of which can be accomplished from either end with the Lumber Pro. In addition to the double cut headrig’s efficiency, production has also been enhanced by well-designed downstream material handling and nearly zero downtime.

Within two weeks head sawfiler, Lee Stockton had the double cut saws under control and operating at peak performance. Lee stated that it really isn’t any more difficult, as long as both sides are set to cut straight lines there’s not a problem. Craig and Pee Wee Smith agreed that the combination of properly prepared saws and a mill that came aligned and ready to saw put the ST 62 Lumber Pro in full production immediately. Transitioning periods for the sawyer proved just as smooth as the install, within days Copiah Lumber had trained a resaw operator to assume sawyer duties on the Lumber Pro and within just a few weeks he was up to 85-90 percent of capacity.

As with any major mill innovation or expansion there really is only one question that matters, would you do it again? Co-owner Craig Pyron firmly stated, “Absolutely, absolutely…over the long-haul with the cost of logs and cost of production we’re going to be way ahead, way ahead.”