Finding quality logs for a sawmill is always challenging, especially for a specialty sawmill like Marks Lumber. In the industry, facilities that turn logs into timber products are called tier 1 producers, while facilities that manufacture boards or 'blanks' into other secondary products are called tier 2 producers. As a tier 1 lumber producer, Marks Lumber has a unique opportunity to manufacture the highest quality flooring with maximum environmental benefits.
Harvesting timber is a science all its own that has changed a great deal in recent years. We will focus on the details of harvest technique in other posts, but it's important to realize that the method with which your logs are harvested is critical to the health of Montana's forests and the future of the timber industry in Montana. Marks Lumber works with foresters who deploy the best practices to ensure that forests are protected both today and for the future. Companies with roots many decades deep in the community, like Marks Lumber, realize the value in managing forests for the long term.
Quality timber harvest provides the basis for our flooring manufacturing. With modern harvest practices, a timber project will produce a broad spectrum of material quality, not just premium logs. Because of this, it becomes very important for a company like Marks Lumber to use the right log for the right product. We pay a premium for premium logs, and to be competitive we have to be careful that we use those premium logs for our premium products. Circle Sawn Flooring requires very high-quality blanks. For example, knots are a defect in wood, but one that can add character to a rustic product. However, having holes in the floor is generally considered too rustic, so blanks for flooring require that logs have limited defects. Small tight knots, no shake, enough size to not be too close to the center of a log, and straight grain make an ideal blank.
Log Yard personnel remove the bark from logs before they go into the sawmill using a mechanical debarker. This means less waste to deal with during milling, and also allows the sawyers to see more regarding the quality of the log. The log yard foreman often has a specific purpose for a log or deck of logs and communicates that to the sawyers. They know what they are doing and more often than not it works, but wood is a natural product, and sometimes it doesn't. Then it's up to the sawyers to let the log yard know they need to try again and find a new log.
If a log doesn't make the product for which it was intended, it might still work for flooring. Sawyers are always looking to see if they can turn a defective log into high-quality blanks for our flooring. One of the big reasons for that is that flooring is valuable in shorter lengths.
At Marks Lumber we have relationships with foresters we have seen operate the right way for years, and we have the expertise to make the most out of those logs to manufacture top quality flooring. We use our capacity as a tier 1 timber producer to benefit both the short and long-term health of our forests. As we will see when we discuss milling these logs further, material from these logs is only going to travel several hundred yards over the course of several weeks before it is top quality Circle Sawn flooring. Grown in Montana, Made in Clancy Montana -- it is hard to reduce the environmental impact for manufacturing any further.
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