"I love you guys. The turning blanks I ordered were as good as it gets, all were clear, great color, ..." - Terry (more)
The process that brings our lumber to your workshop begins long before you make the first cut. As a hardwood supplier and a sawmill, we are involved in every aspect along the way. First, truckloads of fresh logs are delivered to the sawmill and laid out by the truckers. These loads are mixed hardwoods, consisting of Hard and Soft maple, White and Yellow Birch, Black and White Ash, Red Oak, Black Cherry, Aspen, and Basswood. Each log is individually scaled using the Scribner Decimal C log rule, and graded according to the USDA Forest Service (USFS) grading rules. The logs are then sorted by species, because only one species is sawn at a time.
Next, the logs get debarked and move to the mill. The head-saw is a Woodmizer LT300. This saw makes four cuts, turning the round log into a square called a "cant". The pieces of material removed in this step are called "slabs". The slabs move down a conveyer and run through a chipper. The chipper blows chips into a large trailer to be hauled away and made into paper. Turning a log into a cant is a crucial part of the sawing process. The head-saw operator is trained to saw for grade, meaning that the final product will be better quality. Providing a high grade product is very important for hardwood suppliers. The first four cuts on a log will dictate how the cant is cut.
After the head-saw, the cants are moved to the "cant deck". The cant deck stores cants until they can be run through the re-saw. The re-saw is a horizontal, thin-kerf band saw that cuts off one board per pass. The cants use a run-around system to move back through the re-saw, while the board that was cut gets fed onto the "green chain". This is another important part of the sawing process. While many other hardwood suppliers use computerized mills, our sawmill has an actual person running the re-saw. The operator can decide which face of the cant to cut, once again improving the grade and quality of our lumber.
As boards move down the green chain, they pass by the edger. The operator decides whether or not the boards need to be edged. If there is too much wane (live edge) present, the boards are edged to provide maximum yield. The next stop is the grader. The grader is trained in NHLA (National Hardwood Lumber Association) Grading Rules by the NHLA Inspection School in Memphis. The grader has many important decisions to make. He scales and grades every board, while deciding if the board should be trimmed or re-edged to improve the grade. Fair and accurate grading practices are essential to the success of hardwood suppliers. The graded lumber is stacked in piles and banded to be sent to the dry kilns.
After the drying process, the lumber is stored in our warehouse until it is purchased by one of our customers. Keeping customers coming back for high quality lumber at a fair price is the goal of all hardwood suppliers. The most satisfying part for us is repeat orders, customer testimonials, and seeing our lumber turned into something that will last a lifetime. We are woodworkers too, and always appreciate quality craftsmanship!