At the factory, we were captivated by the scale – raw lumber coming in the door, plunging down a huge conveyer belt, and being processed by computer-controlled saws. But even more impressive was understanding the amount of sophistication that goes into the process. For example, every single log is scanned and analyzed to optimize the cuts. This analysis evaluates each log’s characteristics, then determines which cuts make the most sense. It’s an impressively speedy, and very sophisticated process that was an eye opener to us. Overall, it maximizes use and minimizes waste. Even the byproducts are used as much as possible.
We’re also especially appreciative of Kalesnikoff’s approach. They are distinct from huge lumber manufacturers, uninterested in spitting more lumber out into the market, but instead focused on creating a quality product, responsibly. Their philosophy, which is aligned with most mass timber manufacturers, is to treat lumber, and forests, with extreme care. (They call this process “Seedlings to Solutions.”) They’re committed to getting more out of each harvest, and finding utmost value in the timber they are producing.
This is entirely different than the greater market, which emphasizes speed and quantity. Since the lumber produced needs to be suitable for their CLT and Glulam products, the mill optimizes their processes specifically with that use in mind – including moisture content, structural properties, and visual grades. At times it requires slowing down, even when the tendency for some producers is to speed up. For example, when drying the cut pieces in the kilns, they have to slow down their process, otherwise, the wood won’t be suitable for the mass timber plant. The experience gave our team a great picture of how it all comes together.