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Logging and Sawmilling Journal November 2014

May 2015

On the Cover:
B.C.’s Valley Pulp & Sawdust Carriers Ltd has hauled a lot of different materials in its decades of operation—but the company has now expanded its operations to hauling logs in the B.C. Interior, and it is working for several forest companies operating in the region. Watch for the story on Valley Pulp & Sawdust Carriers in the next issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journal (Photo courtesy of Valley Pulp & Sawdust Carriers).

Prince George: a century
of sawmilling

The City of Prince George—home to the Canada North Resources Expo—is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2015, and it has a rich sawmilling heritage over that century.

Seizing the moment —in logging
Log Commander Enterprises, owned by the Webster Brothers—Ryan and Curtis—of Quesnel, B.C. has chosen to seize the moment in the logging upturn, expanding their fleet of logging equipment by a factor of four in the last 18 months.

Back to the future—with phase logging
Forest company Tolko Industries is revisiting the past with its Innovative Phase Logging program in the B.C. Interior, and it is delivering detailed—and valuable—information on logging equipment performance and production.

Recipe for recovery
A major planer upgrade at Tolko’s Soda Creek Division stud mill operation in Williams Lake, B.C. is going to help expand its range of products and improve grades and recovery at the mill, a solid recipe for improved competitiveness.

The latest in logging tools
Northeastern B.C. logging company Hi-Sky Enterprises has introduced some new Komatsu machines into its logging equipment line-up to provide their employees with the latest in logging tools, and make sure they are able to keep moving wood efficiently to meet the needs of their customer, lumber giant Canfor.

Going full tilt
New logging operation Full Tilt Contracting is looking forward to doing exactly that—going full tilt—in the not too distant future, helped along by solid logging equipment and an experienced crew.

Cranking out the lumber at Idaho Forest Group
Attendees at the recent Small Log Conference got a first-hand look at Idaho Forest Group’s new Lewiston, Idaho upgrade and its focus on a HewSaw SL250 3.4 installation that is already cranking out six million board feet a week—with room for more production.

Energy—but with a green footprint
A new wood-fired district energy system in the B.C. Interior is delivering multiple benefits, including solving the issue of residue disposal from a local sawmill using a Bandit 1390 XP 15 inch drum chipper, and in the process delivering energy that has a greener footprint.

Taking charge on the marketing side
Having had success manufacturing and marketing red pine product, Ontario’s Heideman sawmill recently made some acquisitions, and has now taken charge of marketing its finished white pine product.

The EDGE

CLICK HERE for the Canada North Resources Expo Showguide

DEPARTMENTS

Tech Update: Skidders

Supplier newsline

The Last Word

 

 CLICK to download a pdf of this article

Ontario’s Heideman sawmillTaking charge on the marketing side

Having had success manufacturing and marketing red pine product, Ontario’s Heideman sawmill recently made some acquisitions, and has now taken charge of marketing its finished white pine product.

By Tony Kryzanowski

Given its solid success manufacturing and marketing red pine products, Ontario’s Lavern Heideman & Sons Limited is now in the driver’s seat as a manufacturer and direct supplier of finished white pine products with their recent purchase of International Lumber and the Pembroke Lumber Company.

A Cat M322D log loader for the yard is one of the newest purchases at the Heideman sawmill, located near Eganville, Ontario.

Previously, Heideman sold its green, rough, white pine lumber to these re-manufacturers and distributors located in Pembroke—but with these recent acquisitions, they will also directly control the lumber’s finishing, drying and marketing. White pine lumber is traditionally used in appearance applications.

A common thread among forest product businesses located in the Ottawa Valley is history; the businesses Heideman recently purchased in Pembroke trace back their roots to 1891. Lavern Heideman & Sons celebrated its 40th year in business in 2014. It was launched in 1974 with Lavern Heideman and four of his sons at the helm. Today, one of the sons, Eddie, is the owner of the company along with his son, Kris.

The Heideman operation in the town of Eganville is one of a number of small to medium size, family-run sawmill businesses located in the Ottawa Valley region, and like the Heideman family, many specialize in specialty wood products.

“International Lumber was one of our bigger white pine customers and the opportunity came up to purchase them,” says Kris. “It was a natural progression for our company to vertically integrate and it was important for our mills to have an outlet for that white pine lumber. This purchase assured us of that.”

Kris HeidemanKris Heideman has joined his father, Eddie, at the family-owned Lavern Heideman & Sons sawmill. The company celebrated its 40th year in business in 2014.

He anticipates that the purchase will increase sales for the company by about 25 per cent. It also adds about 25 employees, bringing their full complement in both Eganville and Pembroke to 110 employees. As the company re-orients itself, Kris says that employees have been very supportive with their mobility, filling production positions wherever they are needed.

Lavern Heideman & Sons is a member of several Sustainable Forest License (SFL) groups located around their sawmill, including the Ottawa Valley SFL. Experience and adaptability working in the area’s Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest environment are critical to maximize use of this very diverse forest resource, which includes white pine, red pine, spruce, oak, maple, poplar, basswood, ash, white birch and yellow birch.

“There’s a large diversity of wood species in our area and that is both good and bad,” says Kris. “It was good through the downturn in that usually you had some species that you could fall back on and saw because there was a little bit of demand for them. But it also leads to some of the highest wood costs anywhere.”

One of the challenges they experienced during the downturn was that they were competing against cheap American wood imported into Ontario; but now with more housing starts in the U.S., Ontario lumber producers can once again depend more on local markets for sales. The company’s higher grade hardwood products either become flooring or are used in appearance applications both in domestic and export markets. Lower grades are sold primarily for industrial applications such as pallet stock.

A Valmet 911 harvester/processor is an important tool in the Heideman sawmill business as it allows the company to harvest red pine in plantations without damaging surrounding wood fibre that can be harvested in future.

Lavern Heideman & Sons operates two sawmills at their location south of Eganville. The first was established in 1976 and then re-built in 2005, featuring a new state-of-the-art band resaw and other plant upgrades provided by TS Manufacturing. The second scragg mill was established in 1997. Their products consist primarily of boards, squares and timbers, with current annual production in the 28 to 30 million board foot range while consuming about 125,000 cubic metres of fibre. The sawmills are organized so that the band resaw mill processes logs measuring 10” diameter and over, while the scragg mill processes logs under 10” diameter.

On the large log line, logs first encounter the original circular headrig and carriage, which essentially creates cants that are then processed through the band resaw. After the resaw, boards are conveyed through a board trimming and Autolog grading and tally system. It scans and measures each board for thickness and length, while a grader visually inspects each board and manually inputs the grade on a computer screen. Based on the system’s measurements and input from the grader, a number is printed on each board. The lumber is manually stacked based on these numbers. Boards can be redirected through a resaw channel prior to the trimming and grading station.

A numbering system generated by an Autolog measuring and tally system helps manual sorters place lumber in the proper stack.

“The number of sorts varies from species to species, but we usually have a minimum of 20 different sorts,” says Kris. He says that when the mill investment was made in 2005, their lumber grades and yield increased significantly, and it also increased their flexibility to manufacture a wider range of products to meet customer requirements.

Most recently, they have upgraded their mobile equipment in the mill yard with the purchase of two Cat 950K loaders and a Cat M322D log loader.

In addition to growing the company through acquisition, another local opportunity the Heideman family recognized back in 1992 was capitalizing on the many red pine plantations established in the area by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Initially, the purpose of the program, started in the late 1960s was to put abandoned and vacant farmland back into production. Over one million red pine stems per year were planted in the Renfrew County area alone over a 10 year period. Red pine is a native species that grew naturally on many of these land parcels prior to them being cleared by settlers. MNR discontinued the plantation program for a time, but resumed it about five years ago. Lavern Heideman & Sons noticed that the plantations weren’t being particularly well maintained due to a lack of a viable commercial market.

“When the plantations were reaching about 30 years of age, there really wasn’t a market at that time,” says Kris, “and at the start, MNR was just going in and falling every second or third row and leaving the trees to rot.”

So in 1992, the company developed a program and started bidding on contracts offered by local governments that owned the red pine plantations to harvest first thinnings. This not only resulted in a new fibre source and business opportunity for the company, but also healthier pine plantations.

“We are one of the largest producers of red pine timbers in Ontario and that is still a key part of our business,” says Kris. “Red pine treats very well and it makes a very nice product for the 4” X 4” and 6” X 6” timber landscaping market. That business has grown significantly since we started.” The company produces 12 to 14 million board feet of this product annually.

They use a careful, select logging approach in the red pine plantations, consisting of two mechanical harvesting teams working with a Valmet 911 harvester/processor and Puma forwarder. They have also hired two contractors to harvest and deliver wood from the red pine plantations. Each tree is completely processed at the stump, with the forwarder transporting the logs to roadside. By using this logging method, the harvester is able to reach in several rows into the plantation and capture logs without damaging other trees around them. An added benefit of working within these plantations is that after eight to ten years, the company can return for a second thinning. In addition to its Crown allocation through its SFLs and sourcing wood from logging in Algonquin Provincial Park, the Heideman sawmill also manages over 100 private properties. Its scragg mill was built specifically to focus on processing smaller diameter red pine in high volumes in dimensions favored by the landscape and pressure treated wood market. Once the red pine is processed at the sawmill, much of it is sold to Pastway Planing in nearby Combermere, which specializes in preserved wood products and millwork.

A Hood slasher prepares logs in the Heideman millyard for processing through one of their two sawmills.

The company aims for 100 per cent fibre use from their sawmills. High quality chips are sold to the pulp market. Wood residues are sold into the landscaping and animal bedding markets, with a portion currently finding a home with Ensyn Corp., a bio-oil producer located in nearby Renfrew.

However, against this backdrop of opportunity are regulations like the new Endangered Species Act, which is an attempt by the province of Ontario to preserve species deemed at risk from such activities as logging in this shade-tolerant forest environment.

“It’s placed a lot of restrictions on harvesting and taken away a lot of the available land base,” says Kris. “It’s turned us into a very seasonal industry with regard to harvesting and that is one of our main concerns as far as maintaining contractors going forward.”

New restrictions—particularly on where and when logging can occur—sometimes leave only a four to five month season to harvest logs on Crown land. This has had a noticeable impact, particularly on the number of available local loggers and log haul contractors. Not knowing when and where they will be permitted to log and with the recent industry downturn, many have packed it in because it’s hard to make payments on existing equipment or finance the purchase of new equipment in such an unpredictable business environment.

Kris says that given this situation, they are having to increase their relationships with key contractors to better maintain fibre flow to the sawmills.