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By Eric Wagner This year Wagner Meters celebrates the 50th anniversary of a true American Dream story – the story of a young man who founded a small company and, with imagination and vision, strong values, and a commitment to making products that outperformed all others, built it into one of the premier moisture meter companies serving the Forest Products industry. Although Wagner Meters began 50 years ago, the story of how we came to be starts a few years earlier . . . It was sometime in the early 1960s at a sawmill in Redmond, Oregon. Management was frustrated. Their traditional contact moisture detectors were giving them fits. These detectors came in big, bulky cabinets equipped with radio vacuum tubes. Hard to use, hard to calibrate, and hard to interpret, it was no wonder they were troublesome. My grandfather, Delmer Wagner, an electrician at the mill, saw this problem as an opportunity to find a better way to measure moisture in lumber. Energized by the challenge, he experimented with new designs and new technologies. What he came up with was the first in-line moisture detector using transistors. Smaller and more compact, it cost less to make, was much more reliable, and easier to calibrate. In 1963, shortly after the mill took out a patent on his newly-designed moisture detector, granddad left the company to teach at a local college. But after two years, he decided to start a business selling moisture detectors – a device he knew quite well. He named his company Wagner Electronics. The year was 1965. But to get his business off the ground, he needed a product. Working out of his garage in Terrebonne, Ore., granddad designed a second in-line transistorized moisture detector. This new, improved model was smaller than his original design. But like any new product that comes out, there’s always skepticism about its performance. Granddad overcame this obstacle with a gutsy approach. He invited the mills to try out his new moisture detector for a month at no cost or obligation. Should they have a problem with the meter, they were to call him. If not, he’d return in 30 days to either pick it up or collect payment. Not surprisingly, these new meters were a big hit. Sales took off and so did Wagner Electronics. Wagner Electronics moved from Terrebonne in 1970 to its present corporate headquarters in Rogue River, Ore. It’s here where we also design, test, and assemble all our moisture measuring devices. Innovation Fuels Wagner Meters’ Growth I believe my grandfather’s vision and creative thinking led to our company’s success in those early years. He seemed blessed with an amazing intuition that led him – and the outstanding people he hired – to create a slew of new and innovative products that greatly improved the way moisture is measured. For instance, following his invention of the first transistorized in-line moisture meter, he developed the first non-contact meter. This device never touched the wood, yet was still able to measure its moisture content. This was huge for the industry. Previously, the mills had to slide the wood over the sensors to get a reading. But this caused it to wear out quickly. And every once in a while, wood would jam up in the conveyer system and clobber the sensors. Sometimes they got hit so bad, they had to be returned to the factory to be rebuilt. So granddad’s invention saved the mills considerable time and money. Granddad also devised a way to calibrate the meters to moisture content percentage. The relative scale then in use was awkward and hard to adjust. His invention again saved time and made calibrating a lot easier. In the late ‘70s, he also helped kilns improve their operation by inventing an in-kiln moisture detector. His first unit, Model 778, revolutionized the industry. Today, we have the MC 4000. Much more sophisticated, it can interface with computerized kiln control system software packages. This gives the kiln operator an accurate moisture measurement and monitoring tool for better control over the kiln drying operation. About the same time that granddad introduced the in-kiln moisture detector, he also figured out a way to use in-line meters to troubleshoot kilns. Our series of troubleshooting tools and processes proved to be invaluable. Customers could now get the maximum value out of their wood. The amount of wood that came out too wet, with a need to be run through the kiln again, or too dry, causing it to warp, split and crack, had been significantly reduced. At first, granddad used microprocessors to aid in the troubleshooting. Later, as the information sought became more complex and the technology became available, we connected a computer directly to our in-line moisture meters. The combination of computers and in-line moisture meters told operators the moisture ranges of the wood throughout the kiln. It also enabled them to track charges throughout the months and seasons of the year. And they could also track one kiln against another to see which one performed better with specific wood species. For instance, one kiln may dry better with one species, while another kiln dries better with a different species. This allowed operators to optimize what species of wood goes into each kiln. We also devised a way to count the number of boards in different moisture categories – too dry or too wet. Kiln operators could then see if they were over drying or under drying. If they spotted a problem – for example, too much steam going into one end of the kiln – they could make adjustments and improve performance. Eventually, we kept refining that process to the point where we were able to track where each stack of wood came from out of the kiln. We also developed a histogram that showed the moisture content of boards as they were distributed throughout the kiln. Operators could see precisely where their wet/dry spots were in the kiln. And we even hooked up a printer to the in-line systems so operators could print out the histograms. Thus, based on the moisture meters’ output, they could clearly see their problems and know what to correct. Granddad and Wagner Electronics invented that whole process of kiln troubleshooting . . . a process that became a huge success. It has saved the mills hundreds of thousands of dollars. I can imagine it was an exciting time in our history to be creating new products no one in the world had invented before. From Father to Son My father, Ed Wagner, started working for Wagner Electronics in 1967 at the age of 10. It was a way for him to earn spending money after school. He wired, assembled, soldered, welded, and tested meters. By the time dad left for college, he was well grounded in all the technical aspects of the business. Shortly after earning a degree in engineering, he moved into management with his promotion to Production Manager. When granddad retired about 1987, he sold the majority of stock in Wagner Electronics to my dad. Dad was then named president and CEO of the company. Dad was cut from the same cloth as his father when it came to creating innovative products. In fact, one of the things my father invented was the hand-held moisture meter. He knew some mills were using hand-held pin-style meters, but they presented problems such as temperature sensitivity, which affected accuracy, and lack of depth measurement. This motivated him to develop an improved hand-held meter, one that was pinless. Dad spent considerable time and effort developing the technology of the pinless meter, and making sure it was highly accurate. We started selling dad’s first model, the L600, to the mills in the early ‘80s, though we didn’t market it aggressively at first. But we changed direction – and our marketing efforts – during the early 1990s recession. Hurt by the weak economy, the mills stopped buying capital equipment. This included the larger, more expensive in-line moisture detectors we were selling. Since we knew the mills needed moisture meters, we stepped up our marketing of the smaller, hand-held pinless meters which they could better afford. Our efforts paid off. The mills were quite willing and able to buy them. Fortunately, despite the recession, we were able to provide our customers with a meter they needed and could afford. So we survived. We have continued refining and improving our original pinless model. Thus, each successive generation of pinless meters we brought to market was technologically more sophisticated and sported improved features. Initially, we introduced the L600 models back in the ‘90s. Our latest model, the L622 digital recording lumber moisture meter, is a non-invasive wood moisture meter that comes standard with the Stat-Pack. This PC compatible software package enables users to create custom species lists, and to archive L622 data on a PC hard drive or external hard drive for long term storage, retrieval and report generations. Another original concept he developed is the stack probe. With this device, kiln operators could take readings in the center of the stack. Today the Model L722 Stack Probe Sensor coupled with the L622 Digital Recording Moisture Meter makes it easy to reach deep into stickered units of lumber and take accurate moisture readings without the danger of broken pins. Wagner Meters’ electromagnetic wave technology makes it it possible to take multiple readings throughout an entire stack in just minutes. For 45 years we had operated as Wagner Electronics. But we realized our name didn’t clearly address what we’re all about – moisture meters. In 2010, we changed our marketing name to Wagner Meters. The Key to Our Longevity Fifty years is a long time for a company to survive. In fact, according to the latest statistics, the lifespan of many companies is typically 15 years. So what is the key to Wagner Meters’ longevity? Several things come to mind. First, it’s the dedication, creativity, and incredible work ethic of Grandfather Delmer and all the many excellent people who have ever worked for this company. It’s maintaining a family-run, family-oriented business adhering to solid core values . . . core values that have helped us make sound, ethical decisions. It’s sustaining a culture of innovation. Throughout our history, we’ve developed more innovative moisture measuring products than any other company . . . products that have radically reshaped the Forest Products industry. It’s manufacturing reliable, quality products built to last . . . products known worldwide for their accuracy and superb performance as documented by independent third-party testing. It’s being a leader in educating our customers about the characteristics of wood and how moisture affects it. This education effort started with Grandfather Delmer and it continues today through the use of trade journal articles, our website, the Internet, sponsored videos, social media, and more. And last, but not least, it’s putting a huge emphasis on our valued customers. We excel at listening to our customers . . . understanding their needs . . . and giving them an exceptional customer experience. It’s no wonder we have thousands of loyal, satisfied customers – both here and abroad. In closing, on behalf of my granddad, now retired, my father, and the best employees anywhere, I want to thank our Forest Products customers for their unwavering loyalty and trust in Wagner Meters these past 50 years. We greatly appreciate you and pledge to continue providing you with outstanding service and superior products for the next 50 years . . . and beyond.By: Wagner Meters
2014 marked the start of a third decade serving the pine and hardwood sawmill industry and ASM continues to increase our workforce, including two additional machine designers, a dedicated CNC programmer, purchasing manager, safety manager and manufacturing personnel. Popular new ASM products include vector motor positioning Log Chop Saws with machined V-Ways, Timber Trimmer with fixed and electric actuator operated positioning saws, Automatic Package Doubler, vector-motor driven Package End Squeeze, High Speed Line Shaft Trimmers that offers standard saw spacing, precision end trimming and custom saw spacing as close as 6”. ASM offers a complete line of high-speed, custom sawmill machinery, including the heavy duty ASM Carriage with On-Board Forward and Reverse Horizontal Log Turner and Slant option, Hybrid Carriage Drive, Carriage Slabbers, patented Steady Scan Log Conveyor, Tilt Hoist, High-yield Curve Canting and Curve Sawing, Sharp Chain and conveying systems. Additionally, ASM offers reconditioned bandmills as well as the capability to cost-effectively recondition and update most sawmill machine centers to the latest technology. ASM continues to expand our plant capability and has invested an a new CNC Plasma Burn table, a 48” x 60” CNC Horizontal Milling machine with a 10’ bed, a 40” CNC Lathe with a 10’ bed, CNC metal cutting saw and Inventor design Software to compliment the Solid Works and AutoCad we use. ASM has a well-deserved reputation for manufacturing heavy-duty sawmill machinery that is designed and built to last. ASM does all our design, machining and fabrication in-house, which provides exceptional quality control. ASM and the 24 hour Parts Department can be reached at 850-537-5333 or www.asmei.com.By: Advanced Sawmill Machinery
In less than three months after taking ownership of the family sawmill business, 3rd generation owner Mike Junk and brother-in-law Shawn Fowler made a big change in order to get big results out of their grade lumber operation. By installing a Wood-Mizer WM4000 industrial headrig to replace their old circular sawmill, Mike and Shawn increased efficiency, yield, and profits for their business. Sawing hardwoods to produce grade lumber for moulding, caskets, veneer, stair treads, flooring, cross ties and pallet cants, the Pennsylvania basedcompany used a circular sawmill as the center of their operation for more than 70 years. By using old technology and inefficient production methods, Honey Grove Hardwoods was struggling to keep up with competitive timber prices and increasing industry demand. With more than two decades of experience in the lumber business, Mike noticed a shifting trend in the competitive industry. “For many years, the lumber business has been based solely on production. This is no longer the case,” he said. “The industry is changing from ‘how much you produce’ to ‘how much profit you can make’.” To keep up with the evolving lumber industry, Mike and Shawn came to the conclusion that their circular saw with conventional wide-kerf blades had reached the end of the line. “We realized we were running outdated equipment when we weren’t getting the footage and grade yields that we thought we could get with thin-kerf technology,” Shawn said. Looking to learn more about thin-kerf, Mike and Shawn travelled to Wood-Mizer headquarters located in Indianapolis, where they witnessed the WM4000 industrial headrig in action. “After seeing the WM4000, we realized the potential production and yield increase advantage over the circular mill we were currently using,” Mike said. Seeing proof that a narrow band, thin-kerf blade sawmill could produce less waste, more product and use less energy to saw, Mike and Shawn decided to move forward with their operation and installed a complete Wood-Mizer system including a WM4000 headrig, Log Deck, Three-Way Conveyor, Green Chain, and EG400 Edger. Mike and Shawn admitted to working through a learning curve with the new equipment. “We were used to operating with a log carriage instead of the log placed directly on the bed of the headrig, so we had to learn how to use the controls and setworks of the WM4000,” Shawn said. “We also had to learn the correct adjustments and mill alignments in order to keep the band finely tuned in order to produce accurate lumber. I’d like to give Wood-Mizer a special thanks for their customer support and helping to educate us on these issues,” he said. Mike says the WM4000 is the all-in-one primary breakdown and resaw for their operation. Compared to their old circular sawmill operation, Mike said their yield has improved greatly with Wood-Mizer equipment. “The much greater yields of the thin-kerf and the accuracy of the setworks are second to none and has positioned us to be very competitive on a daily basis,” he said. Being able to produce more product from fewer logs also cuts down on transportation costs and increases the profit per log. “We are getting the same amount of lumber while using 25% less timber and raw materials, which in turn, reduces transportation costs across the board,” Mike said.“We saw every log from start to finish on the headrig in order for the sawyer to get the most value out of each log,” he said. Although Honey Grove Hardwoods basically produces the same products as with the old circular sawmill, Mike says that they have reevaluated what is cut out of each log with the huge savings coming from thin-kerf Wood-Mizer DoubleHard blades. “The larger kerf of the circle mill was causing us to purchase so much more raw material,” he said. “We were just turning more dollars and sawing logs faster, but not getting the yield returns we wanted on the lumber. Although our system looked productive, it wasn’t profitable.” With their new Wood-Mizer system, Honey Grove is sawing 10,000 board feet of lumber every day. “Wood-Mizer has been great,” Mike said. “I must say, the concepts from a traditional mill to their industrial mill style are some of the most ingenious ideas. I have come to realize you can do more with less.” By utilizing the Wood-Mizer industrial system and thin-kerf technology, Mike and Shawn have positioned Honey Grove Hardwoods, LLC for success in the lumber industry for generations to come. “The WM4000 put us right back up to the competitive edge on utilizing and maximizing yields for our business,” Mike said.By: Wood-Mizer Products, Inc.
Patrick Davis says his Williamsburg-based company, CRD Metalworks LLC, flies under the radar. “We’re not trying to be too big for our britches; we’re very earnest, humble people, doing the best we can,” he said of the forestry-products manufacturing firm, which employs 15 people full-time. “We’re nestled here in the hills of Massachusetts, and we’re proud to be local employers in our industry. We’re not a household name in Western Mass., but ask someone working in the forestry industry who we are, and they’ll know immediately.” Specifically, he noted, “we are the nation’s largest manufacturer of firewood-processing equipment. Basically, a firewood processor takes a length of tree and splits the wood; it’s all mechanized.” Davis didn’t plan on working in the forestry industry; as co-founder of Montague Webworks, he was an Internet marketing professional serving clients throughout the Valley. Christopher Duval, CRD’s owner, hired Davis in 2007 to help grow his business, and in 2009, Davis sold his marketing firm to his partners to work full-time as CRD’s operations manager. In that role, Davis manages virtually all aspects of the rapidly expanding enterprise. “Since 2009, we’ve multiplied the growth of the company 15 times; we were a $300,000 company, and now we’re a $10 million company,” he said of the firm, which now ranks as the number-two company in its industry domestically, with about 400 active clients in 41 states and 12 foreign countries. “It’s been quite a ride. We’ve done that through our marketing efforts, but also because we have an exceptionally good product. It’s a family-owned company, and our market segment loves that.” Despite the challenges of his wide-ranging job, however, Davis finds plenty of time for civic involvement as well, chairing the Orange Town School Building Committee and serving on the boards of his church and area professional organizations. “I just got elected to the elementary-school board in Orange,” he said. “I live in a small community, and I was raised in a very small, tight-knit, Roman Catholic family. I’m a firm believer that you should put your resources where they can be most effective. I don’t fancy myself a politico, but if you have the leadership ability to speak on behalf of others who can’t or choose not to do it themselves, it’s important to do so.” Davis also sees civic involvement as setting an example for his two children. “I take my role as a father very seriously,” he said. “When they ask questions, it gets them involved, too, and they know it’s important to do things for others.” — Joseph Bednar Photo by Denise Smith PhotographyBy: CRD Metalworks
It’s one thing to dream about building your own home, but it’s another to accomplish this endeavor. Working as an electrician in Oregon for more than a decade, Nathan Shewchuk came to the realization one day that there must be more to life. With determination on his side, Nathan decided to ditch city living for greener pastures. “I was tired of the city and wanted nothing more than to move into a remote part of Canada and build a house, so I did,” said Nathan. With eight years of focus and hard work, along with a few helpers and a Wood-Mizer sawmill, Nathan was able to accomplish his lifelong dream of building a home. After moving from the Pacific Northwest to British Columbia in 2007, Nathan began preparing his land for his dream home. While looking for a supply of lumber, Nathan found that he had a few options to choose from. He could either buy lumber and transport it to his remote location or produce the lumber himself utilizing local resources from his land. Call it coincidence or fate, while driving up the coast one day Nathan ran into someone using a Wood-Mizer portable sawmill. “I thought that this was the only way to go, what a handy tool,” he said. “I looked into a few different sawmills but found nothing compared to the Wood-Mizer.” Shortly after, Nathan purchased an LT40 Hydraulic and was set to continue his new life chapter. Believe it or not, Nathan didn’t have any previous sawmill experience before buying his Wood-Mizer. “I just went in headfirst and figured it out,” he said. “I spent basically my whole life in the trades, framing, and Finish carpentry, so [building and woodworking] wasn’t anything new to me.” Nathan did receive a week long training from “one of the best sawyers,” he said, but with sure determination and a Wood-Mizer sawmill, the foundation was built for big things to come. After setting up necessary utilities such as roads, power, and water supply, Nathan shifted his focus to his home. He wanted 100% of the wood used in his home to be sawed on his Wood-Mizer, so that meant lots of trips to the kiln and many years of drying lumber. “It took eight years, that’s from clearing the property to the last nail,” he said. Nathan used half of the timber from his own property and sourced the other half from a friend who owns a nearby woodlot. With mostly cedar and birch on his property, Nathan needed a supply of douglas fir from his neighbor for framing and beams. With winter setting in around November and the snow sticking through April, Nathan said he had to work efficiently with the seasons in mind. The first year of construction, he completed the roof and milled all the cedar materials needed for the windows and doors of his home. Nathan’s short-term goal was to live in his new home in the Fall of the second year of construction. With help from his neighbor and master Finish carpenter, Kit, the windows and doors were completed and Nathan was able to move into his home for the first time that Fall. “The Wood-Mizer was a wonderful tool, it was perfect for the job," he said. Over the next few years, Nathan milled birch and douglas fir needed for the rest of the interior of his home and worked on all the finishing woodwork needed for the windows. He also built a rock fireplace and shower and milled all the tongue and groove wood for the walls and ceiling. When it was all said and done, eight years of hard work and sawing 100% of the 22,000 board feet of douglas fir, larch, birch and cedar on his LT40HD, Nathan had finally finished his dream home and woodworking shop. With help from many friends and neighbors, Nathan completed his home from the ground up, inside and out just how he had dreamed. “My neighbor, Kit did all the cabinets, doors and Finish carpentry and my friend Doug was there hand-in-hand for carpentry work and many brainstorming nights,” said Nathan. “Many people helped along the way, there is no way to count them all really, but I think this project was inspiring to many and I am very fortunate to have a lot of good friends and co-workers.” The living quarters are estimated at 1,200 square feet, while the shop is 1,500 square feet and the deck is 500 square feet. Nathan estimates he saved between $70,000 and $80,000 by sawing his own lumber for his home. “I get an overwhelming response to my home, but I am not sure that the average person really understands the amount of work it takes to build something like this,” said Nathan. “All in all, I had the time of my life building my home and owe many people for their knowledge and skills,” said Nathan. “This would not have happened without that.” As for the future, Nathan is looking forward to what’s next and there’s no rest in sight. “Eight years is a long time to build a house and it takes a lot of discipline along the way,” said Nathan. “It kind of became a full-time job for me and it was very enjoyable to figure it out along the way. I think I’m just very happy it’s done and can’t wait to get onto the next project.”By: Wood-Mizer Products, Inc.
Bringing World Champion Lumberjacks, Pole Climbers and Chainsaw Carvers all together in one first class and first of its kind show to South Mississippi. Once again the Sawdust and Splinters® Logging Sports Event will be held on November 7th and 8th at Shirard Grey Estates located at 1107 Grey Cemetery Road, Magnolia, MS 39652. Gates will open at 9:00 AM Friday and Saturday and conclude at approximately 10:00 PM each night. The 5K Run/Walk will begin promptly at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning. This event is host to a lineup of some of the most impressive and admirable competitors the south has ever had the honor of witnessing. All are accomplished World Champion competitors traveling from all across the country to join in a caliber of competitions new to this southern region. Both days are filled with several segments of lumberjack and pole climbing competitions. Also the masterfully skillful chainsaw carvers will compete and demonstrate their work throughout the entire event. Held in conjunction with the event this year, “A Journey of Valor” 5K Run/Walk will take place on Saturday morning and proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Registration forms are available upon request from the Saw-Axe-Spur Production Company Office or on the website. In addition, there will be a tasteful variety of food vendors and a selective line up of arts and crafts vendors producing quality and uniquely created wares. Children will also be entertained with games, activities and educational booths. A complete line up of music entertainment will be ongoing in between the competitions. Bring your lawn chairs and be prepared to be entertained. For more information and continuing updates be sure to visit our website at www.sdsfest.com and the Sawdust and Splinters Facebook page. Contact: Angela Stewart Saw-Axe-Spur Production Company, Inc. 745 Beulah Ave. Tylertown, MS 39667 Office: 601-876-9635 Fax: 601-876-9636 Email: [email protected]By: Saw-Axe-Spur Production Co Inc
Although Western Wire Products is celebrating a 100th Anniversary in 2014, its origins date back to 1904 when the uncle of the company’s founders invented a machine that made woven wire fabric. The patent on this machine is considered by some historians to be the original precursor to today’s chain link fence. The woven wire was made into door and bar mats and sold door to door by family members. Soon the wire fabric was used as a bed spring, marketed by the Great Western Wire Fence and Manufacturing Company. The “Never Sag Knitted Wire Bed Spring” gave a lifetime guarantee and was sold in several St. Louis stores and national wholesale hardware companies. In 1912, another family inventor Ira J. Young applied for a patent on a machine for forming cotter pins. He manufactured cotter and split pins under the name Wire Manufacturing Company. Subsequently the assets of Wire Manufacturing were transferred to Western Wire Products Company, which was incorporated February 26, 1914. Harry M. Young, Ira’s brother, and Alvin L. Bauman were the principle shareholders in Western Wire Products. After Harry M. Young retired as president of the company, his son H. Melvin Young took the reins. H. Melvin (“ Bus “) extended the company’s product lines and introduced innovative production methods during his tenure which lasted almost 60 years. Current family member Gene B. Young has been with firm for 39 years. Over the years Western Wire has occupied three different factory locations in the St. Louis area with its current 132,000 square foot operation in Fenton, Missouri. And while the company now operates equipment with the latest mechanical and electronic technologies including 18 CNC wire formers, some of those 1912 cotter pin machines are still hammering away to this day. Examples of the company’s current offerings are: the venerable split cotter pin, ring cotters, clinch pins, pipe hooks, perforated hanger bar, pipe straps, tie wires, tag fasteners, spring (roll) pins, hitch pin clips (AKA hair pin cotters), lock pins, hog rings, upholstery rings, J-hooks, S-hooks, V-hooks, D-rings, split key rings, lock washers, stud guards, and lock washers, and point of purchase hooks and hangers. The company also provides made-to-print wire forms, metal stampings and S-Irons. Please visit our website at www.westernwireprod.com or give us a call at 800-325-3770.By: Western Wire Products Compay
Ask anyone you know and they’ll tell you this past winter was one of the longest and coldest in recent memory. As climate changes continue to impact the way we consider seasonal heating demands, the economy has also had a major effect on how families budget—and often only squeak by—to keep a warm household during the winter months. For many Americans, renewed interest in firewood for primary heating and hot water generation has surged a marketplace of firewood producers into action. At the core of that service business is the intersection of raw material availability, production, and delivery of quality end product. This resurgence has created opportunities for many businesses across forestry, logging, lumber, tree services and landscaping to make a real impact on the heating needs of their communities- and their bottom line. Enter CRD Metalworks LLC, a family business nestled in the hills of Williamsburg, Massachusetts, who since 2006 has been manufacturing “firewood processors” under the trade name Woodbine. Chris Duval, owner and developer of the product line says he saw a real and growing need to address a shortage of firewood production for companies trying to keep pace with the demand for product. “When the economy hit rock bottom, the forestry industry was brought to its knees in many parts of the country. This created a surplus of tree-length wood that wasn’t being sawn into grade lumber or made into paper pulp. In many cases, loggers and foresters were faced with raw material they couldn’t easily repurpose. That’s a major problem—not only because it strains their livelihoods, but because waste of any kind when it comes to forest products is unacceptable.” Duval said from this excess, a new and sustainable forestry operation was born: commercial firewood producers. “Traditionally,” said Duval, a former logger and sawmiller in his own right “…firewood was something guys did to keep men busy, or for extra income. Now, there are complete companies doing millions of dollars per year of cut and split firewood alone. The demand is that huge, and the market continues to grow at exponential rates”. Although there are other manufacturers of similar technologies domestically, CRD Metalworks has become America’s second largest manufacturer in just five years, producing and selling nearly 100 units annually across North America and in other foreign markets. Integrating simplicity, durability, and safety across the entire product line, CRD’s value proposition allows a user to jump feet-first into the firewood business with a turn-key operation. The Woodbine line-up of firewood processors is designed to process log-lengths of wood into cut-andsplit firewood—as much as 5-6 cords per hour, depending on the unit specified. As part of the solution to the often beguiled logging and forestry industry, CRD’s processors turn excess or waste wood product into a consumable, renewable resource providing income for customers and heat for our communities. “The perception is that there is a massive amount of waste generated by traditional logging and forestry business.” said Patrick Davis, Director of Operations at CRD Metalworks. “In fact, the converse is very true. Those that work the land are it’s stewards- rather than leave a woodchip behind, the newer generation of logger understands the need, both environmentally and economically, to use every available piece of raw material for a viable purpose. Owning one of our processors allows them to take lesser quality wood material and create renewable energy, while meeting a real and growing demand for alternative fuel sources.” “In times of uncertainty, I think people revert to simpler, more reliable and controllable methods of living. Wood heat is definitely one of those methods”, says Davis. He explained a traditional cord of seasoned hardwood at an average price of 250.00/cord contains approximately 22 million BTU’s of heat, while 250 gallons of home heating oil contains approximately 34 million.* “Look at the cost differential”, said Davis. “Oil runs about $31.00 per BTU, where wood runs about $16.00 per BTU, reduces forestry waste, and is a renewable resource. The more people come to understand the benefits of wood fuel consumption, the more they are drawn to it.”* Doing their part as well, CRD Metalworks’ firewood processors are designed with efficiency in mind, integrating super-efficient hydraulic systems, low-fuel consumption power plant options, and cutting systems that are lubricant free. In many applications three-phase electric motors are utilized in lieu of diesel power. “Our circular saw cutting system requires to bar and chain lubrication to operate, is 30% faster than chainsaw systems, and is 30% more efficient to operate. Because of the use of carbide cutting tips, the need to replace costly consumables is cut by more than 50% under normal conditions, which is greener and meaner, all the way around”, said Duval. Davis said the New England market has been its strongest in the last 18 months, accounting for nearly 50% of total company revenue. And that number continues to rise. “In the last 4 weeks, we’ve deployed 10 machines in New England. New installations. If that doesn’t say something about the surge of popularity in firewood, and the need that popularity is creating, I’m not sure what does.” *http://nepacrossroads.com/fuel-comparison-calculator.php About CRD METALWORKS LLC CRD Metalworks LLC CRD Metalworks LLC is a family-owned and operated company, nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts. Started in 2006 by Chris Duval, creator and designer of the Woodbine firewood processor, CRD Metalworks LLC has emerged as a leader in the firewood processor, firewood tumbler, and log splitter markets doing business across the United States and in other international countries. Our understanding of the key ingredients for success in the firewood business is unparalleled. That's the kind of knowledge you learn with your hands, not from books- the kind that has helped shape the future of our products since day one. With a focus on performance, power, and profit potential, each Woodbine firewood processor is designed and manufactured to combine efficiency, ease of maintenance, and exceptional durability.By: CRD Metalworks
The Kentucky Forest Industries Association (KFIA) recently completed a successful 49th Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky at the historic Brown Hotel. The meeting was held April 2-4, 2014 and was well attended by over 350 members. The KFIA Annual Meeting serves as the premier event for the hardwood industry in Kentucky and got underway with a great day of golf that included a record turnout of over 80 golfers. Thursday started with the Board of Directors taking care of association business and was followed by the KFIA/Tree Farm Awards Luncheon. The luncheon provided an opportunity to honor a wide range of individuals that help to make forestry and the wood industry a big success throughout the state. The following people were recognized for their contributions to forestry in Kentucky: Harry & Karen Pelle, Bradfordsville, KY – 2013 Tree Farmer of the Year Allen’s Logging LLC, Shepherdsville, KY – 2013 Logger of the Year Connie Woodcock, Central Region Kentucky Division of Forestry, Campbellsville, KY- 2013 Inspector of the Year Renee Williams, University of Kentucky Forestry Extension, Lexington, KY–2013 Communicator of the Year KFIA recognized the following people for their leadership and service to the KFIA Board of Directors: Secretary Treasurer - Yvonne Bradley, Homer Gregory Co. - Morehead, KY Director – Chuck Courtney, Courtney Timber Harvesting – Greenville, KY The following people were elected to the 2014 KFIA Board of Directors: President— Darrin Gay, Gay Brothers Logging & Lumber - Oneida, KY Vice President— Tony Leanhart, Northland Corporation - LaGrange, KY Secretary/Treasurer— Amy Conley, Diamond Forest Resources - Morehead, KY Re-elected Directors: Casey Goodman, C.B. Goodman & Sons Lumber - Hickory, KY Ronnie Robinson, Robinson Stave Co. - East Bernstadt, KY New elected Directors Darryl Centers, Patterson Chip Co. - Barbourville, KY Mervin Strader, Strader Bros. LLC. - Elkton, KY Mike Gomes, Wonderfuel LLC - Somerset, KY The afternoon included meetings discussing the hot topic of the Hardwood Check-off and Sustainable Forestry Implementation in Kentucky, as usual tradition, everyone enjoyed the Robinson Lumber/Van Meter Insurance Hospitality Suite with great seafood and special cuisine straight from New Orleans. The day concluded with the Exhibitor Reception and plenty of time to see some of the latest technology and services being offered to the wood industry. Friday morning opened with a state legislative and association update by KFIA Executive Director Bob Bauer. Other conference speakers were Joe Collins, Office of the State Entomologist who provided an update on the Emerald Ash Borer and Thousand Cankers Disease plaguing the industry. Bob Russell, Brown-Forman Cooperage gave an update on the recent growth in the bourbon and stave markets and Matt Bynum, Louisville Slugger Factory explained how the Emerald Ash Borer is affecting the bat making process and how the tree becomes a bat. The meeting was a tremendous success and those in attendance gained valuable information while having time to network with others in the hardwood industry from throughout the country. KFIA is pleased to announce that the 2015 Annual Meeting will be in Lexington, KY at the Embassy Suites on March 25-27. KFIA is a trade association dedicated to serving and promoting the forest products industry of Kentucky. Founded in 1965, it has over 600 members in the areas of primary and secondary wood industry, supplier and service industries, wholesale, loggers and landowners. KFIA promotes sound forest management through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. For more information about the association contact Bob Bauer at 502/695-3979.By: Kentucky Forest Industries Association
Back in 1989, The Cleereman-Jacquet Lumber Company was doing business in Green Bay. Brother-in-law Bill Cleereman and John Jacquet were the principal players in the operation. The company purchased land in the newly-formed Forest County near Newald, and from their logging camps, logs were sawed and given a sleigh ride to the Soo Line Railroad and after a change of railroads arrived at their mill. The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was building a north-south line in the years that followed, reach Wabeno in 1897 and finally laying track through Newald in 1911. The Cleereman-Jacquet Lumber company packed everything up and moved their operation north to Newald, and built a steam-powered sawmill, housing, barns, camps and all of the infrastructure needed to run a sawmill and logging operation. Francis Cleereman was born in Newald, raised around the sawmill and all of the characters that went with a business in the wilds of northern Wisconsin. He learned much about millwrighting from a fellow named Tom Kleve, graduated from high school in Laona and went on to serve his country in the Army in the European Theatre in WWII. When his stint in the war ended, he came back to Newald and went to work. The Jacquet family was no longer involved in the business after the war, and Bill Cleereman was the sole owner. But, sawmilling had changed through the years. The business was more competitive, and according to Francis, in an interview with him 20 years ago, his father, Bill Cleereman decided in the early 1950's that it was fruitless to run the mill anymore, but Francis had some ideas. One of those ideas was to modernize the sawmill carriage and eliminate the people it took to handle a log on a carriage. No longer would there be someone riding the carriage back and forth all day long, logs were turned and positioned by an operator, the head sawyer, sitting in a booth using the buttons at his fingertips to use electricity and compressed air to do the work that used to require three men. Francis Cleereman had no idea at the time that he had started a revolution in how sawmills would be run. The beginning of this revolution came when Francis looked out of the millwright's shop and saw a man watching the carriage work. Thinking he was a lumber buyer, he stepped out to see if he could be of help. This Upper Peninsula sawmill operator had heard of the new Cleereman automated carriage and after watching it for a few minutes, decided he had to have one. Francis, however, had a different idea. He told him that they were sawmill operators and not manufacturers of sawmill equipment. A heated argument ensued, and then his father showed up. He told his son that he had plenty of time to make a mill and, after all, he was going to be paid to do it. Francis made the mill, then was accosted by another mill owner who wanted the new technology. The easy days of keeping the Cleereman sawmill were over. The word spread, and by 1969, the Cleereman sawmill carriage was the industry model of excellence that all of his competitors strived for. 1969 is also the year that the Cleereman family left the lumber business. The first Saturday of October, Bill Cleereman suddenly passed away, and Francis said they never sawed another board. Sons Fran and John joined their father in the business, and they continued to supply sawmill carriages to sawmill men throughout the United States and Canada. As the years passed, the two brothers and their father continued to work on the original design, improving whenever and wherever they could, meeting the needs of the sawmill industry. Time caught up with Francis eventually, and he passed away, leaving the business in the hands of two sons who were also very adept at making mills and designing new innovations. That is still the case at Cleereman Industries in Newald. Since then, John retired from the business, and Fran took on two new investors and helpers, Jeff Krueger and Rod Chitko. Like their predecessors in the business, they are always looking for new and better ways to serve the sawmill industry. After surviving the economic collapse of 2008, when much of the work in the shop was the repairing of used carriages for owners who might have wanted to buy new but didn't want the debt. Things have changed in recent times. When you look at the chalkboard listing upcoming projects, you are looking at a year's work building sawmill equipment. The gang at Cleereman Industries isn't done with innovation either. They now offer whole systems, not just a sawmill carriage and the saw. With any mill, there is also a vast array of machines to handle materials and keep the flow of lumber, slabs and sawdust moving away from the saw and into the proper places. They also offer a new type of mill. The new Lumber Pro model breaks with the traditions of a carriage carrying the log through the saw. Instead, the saw moves through the log. There is no longer a moving carriage, but a place to rest the log and turn it as the saw moves back and forth. The three manufacturers, Fran, Jeff and Rod explained that this system is more energy and operator efficient, with up to $600 savings on the electrical bill in some instances. The Lumber Pro is also easier and quicker to install. The 1000th Cleereman sawmill carriage milestone took 60 years to reach, and it would be impossible to estimate the board feet of lumber sawed on Cleereman equipment in that length of time. My guess is that you could build a boardwalk to the moon. The owner of this mill is W.R. Deacon and Sons from Lexington, Virginia. He is trading in a 1995 model for the new one, not because it has worn out, but he wants to leave his mill to his sons, and wants them to start out with a new Cleereman system. He bought his first back in 1987, and he knows they work. Fran said they will do some work on his trade-in and sell it to another owner. There is one exception to the technological advancements made at this Forest County company. That is the Amish market. They seem to like the Cleereman carriages very much, but they won't use electricity and always want the old designs that started this march to mill number 1000, and they use a diesel engine to power it. They still work as well as the did 60 years ago. When visiting the Cleereman plant in Newald, I thought back to when I did a history on the Cleereman sawmill carriage twenty years ago and spent time with its inventor, Francis Cleereman. He was a pugnacious man with an unlimited work ethic, but he also had a great joy in being the cantankerous old guy who loved to pick arguments with his sons, even if he secretly agreed with them. I might add that they also liked the exchange and often started the argument. I thought that Francis would be extremely proud of this company that he had begrudgingly started at the insistence of his father, but he probably wouldn't admit it. By Mike Monte, Editor, Pioneer ExpressBy: Cleereman Industries
Frank McDonough started a company to build custom made equipment that was better than anything being built at that time, with a focus on Efficiency, Production, Design, Durability, Simplicity and Strength. Today, 125 years later, we are proud to say we are continuing Frank’s legacy. On November 13th, McDonough will be hosting an open house from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm to celebrate our 125th birthday. When Frank incorporated in 1888, McDonough Manufacturing started out servicing sawmills in the Eau Claire area as well as other mills around the State. Today, McDonough’s customer list spans the globe to countries like Australia, New Zealand, Austria, France and Brazil. McDonough’s product line has also grown to include: bandsaws for headrig and resaw applications, log carriages, linebar resaws, horizontal resaws, center-splitting resaws, lineal or transverse optimized board edgers, gang edgers, manually fed edgers and industrial drill bit grinders. For more information contact McDonough Manufacturing at (715) 834-7755.By: McDonough Manufacturing Co