Monday, June 18, 2012

Emerald Ash Borer

Here is a recent photo of our forester giving a talk to local elementary school students.  The question raised by one very well informed 1st grader was: were the ash logs on the load cut because of the Emerald Ash Borer?  Impressive for a 7 year old!

The answer is no.  Luckily we have not seen too much of the Emerald Ash Borer in our area...yet, though some of our surrounding counties in New York have reported incidences of this Asian beetle.  Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and has since spread rapidly throughout the northeastern U.S., infecting and killing millions of Ash trees - a sad situation for the health of our forests.

Emerald Ash Borer

To learn more, please visit The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website where regular updates on the status of the Emerald Ash Borer within New York are posted. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lumber manufacturing (continued)

Recently we've talked a lot about our sawing processes, but what happens to our sawn lumber after this step?

The next step in our manufacturing process is drying the boards of lumber.  This is accomplished by placing lumber into large drying kilns where circulating air allows the excess moisture in the boards to evaporate and the wood to be brought down to the correct moisture content for finished materials.  This is a critical step as wood with too much moisture will cause problems in the final application (ie. swelling in wood floors, bowing of boards used in furniture making, etc).  Different species of wood require different amounts of time to dry down to the ideal moisture content (hardwoods, 6-8%).

Lumber being loaded into drying kilns

Once lumber comes out of our drying kilns it is processed through our grading facility.  This step separates the nicer boards from the more rustic boards.  The grading of lumber is actually a complex science with strict requirements that have been set by the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA).  Our graders have passed rigorous NHLA coursework and are regularly updated of new developments in lumber grading standards.

Grading kiln dried lumber

Once our lumber is graded it is either sold in the rough form in wholesale lots to cabinetry and furniture making companies, or processed through our finishing mill to create the wood materials that you might use in your home.

Finishing mill

Thursday, June 7, 2012

What lies within

What is found inside of a tree?  Wood of course, right?  

Turns out that's not all you might find. 

Unknown metal object found in log

It's amazing what we have found inside some of the logs that we have processed through our plant over the years.  Whether we realize it or not humans have had a great impact on forests and their trees throughout the course of time.  From sap spiles used to tap maple trees for syrup to metal brackets used for clothes lines, it's incredible the amount of metal objects that become embedded in trees over the course of their life.  Take for example the forests of Europe:  many of the trees in these forests have permanent scars from the effects of bullets entering the wood during both World War I and II.

Arrowhead found in log
For a sawmill metal materials can severely damage sawing equipment should they come in contact with the sawing blades.  For several years we have had a metal detector in place which scans each log before it enters our sawing facility.  We recently installed a new detector which has been even more effective in identifying the presence of metal materials in our logs before they are sawn.

Metal detector that logs pass under at our facility prior to entering our sawmill