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Logging and Sawmilling Journal October/November 2011

February/March 2012

On the Cover:

From the filing room to the sawmill floor, forest companies are now investing capital dollars to maintain their cutting edge in production and efficiency. Read about how Canfor tackled a major upgrade at the company’s Polar sawmill in this issue (Photo courtesy of Del-Tech Manufacturing Inc.)

Spotlight

A recent resource conference in B.C. highlighted the huge growth the forest industry has seen in lumber exports to China—and that there is still more growth to come.

Tigercats taming steep slopes

B.C. logging contractor Mike Closs has recently made investments in some new equipment, including a Tigercat 635D six-wheel skidder and a new Tigercat L870C leveling buncher, both of which are now ably taking on steep slopes in the B.C. Interior.

Debarker in the bush

B.C.’s Timber Baron Contracting has carved itself a market niche selling timber to Asian customers, and to meet Asian health standards they have developed and designed their own portable debarker to peel the logs in the bush.

Learning from experience

Canfor’s Polar sawmill in B.C. learned from the experience of a sister mill in planning its own upgrade, and opted to do the $20 million project in two phases, to assist in the start-up curve.

From paper to wood pellets

A new $19 million wood pellet facility has opened at the site of a former Smurfit-Stone paper mill in Quebec. Trebio Inc. has achieved the ENPlusA1 standard for its wood pellets and is looking to serve domestic and European markets.

Bringing biomass to the Beast

Transporting their Bandit 2680 Hybrid Beast Recycler to the biomass—rather than bringing the biomass to the recycler—is paying off for Ontario logging contractor Don Tucker.

Fink’s Sawmill carries on logging —minus the mill

The sawmill in Fink’s Sawmill is long gone, but the company continues on as a logging contractor in the B.C. Interior, tackling beetle-infected lodgepole pine in the Bulkley River drainage.

Turning the wood residue power switch on

Using European technology, B.C.’s Nechako Lumber will soon have a new plant to capture surplus heat created through the utilization of wood residue, and convert it to electrical power.

The right exit strategy for you and your business

Logging glory days relived on Vancouver Island

The Edge

Included in The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories on Canadian Wood Fibre Centre /Natural Resources Canada and Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions research projects.

The Last Word

Tony Kryzanowski says the Burns Lake sawmill tragedy is a safety wake-up call for the forest industry.

Tech Update

Supplier Newsline

 

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Debarker in the bush

B.C.’s Timber Baron Contracting has carved itself a market niche selling timber to Asian customers, and to meet Asian health standards, they have developed and designed their own portable debarker to peel the logs in the bush.

By Jim Stirling

The small companies, those exploring the niche markets, the survivors and those players that don’t readily fit the conventional profile, help make the forest industry both interesting and innovative.

Timber Baron Contracting Ltd., is based in Terrace in northwestern British Columbia and it’s carved out a role for itself, presently selling timber to Asian customers. “We have no secure fibre, no secure markets or anything else,” explains Matt “Mike” Thomson with a smile.

Mike and his dad, Lee, are principals with Timber Baron. Lee has been keeping busy in the B.C. coastal forest industry from Vancouver Island to Haida Gwaii since about 1985, says the younger Thomson.

Lee—Timber Baron’s president—started getting serious about the Chinese and other Asian markets like Korea and Japan about seven years ago. That was before China developed into the important market it’s become. He has made many trips to Asia to help develop contacts and customers there.

They’ve got a full time salesman over there and have developed some long term customers, notes Mike Thomson. The predominantly small scale timber buyers use the wood, which varies widely in quality, to make dimension lumber products, he adds.

Matt “Mike” ThomsonMatt “Mike” Thomson (left) explains that Asian market phyto sanitary health standards require that logs are peeled before leaving their country of origin.

Asian market phyto sanitary health standards require that logs are peeled before leaving their country of origin. That was one of the persuasive reasons why the Thomsons developed and designed a portable debarker. “We can take it where it’s needed—Stewart, Prince Rupert—to peel logs on site. We’re like a travelling carnival.”

Timber Baron takes advantage of containerization to get its products overseas. The container port in nearby Prince Rupert is the closest major outlet to many key Asian markets. Containers arriving from Asia are transshipped via CN Rail to major portals in central and eastern North America. The B.C. and to a lesser extent the Alberta forest industries have used those returning, often empty, containers to supply lumber and other wood products to Asian customers.

“We use containerization because it’s the only way for us to do business,” points out Thomson. “And there’s a scheduled ship sailing from Prince Rupert to Asia each week.”

At the other end of the process, Timber Baron procures its logs through various sources. These include through B.C. Timber Sales, from private wood holders and making deals for timber with forest licence holders in the northwest region. Timber Baron was running two company-owned logging trucks and had a road building side comprised of three older hoes, a bulldozer and rock truck available for contract work in the rugged region.

One of the beneficial aspects of an operation like Timber Baron is its ability to quickly react to change. ‘Head office’ decisions can be made whenever father and son get together. On the flip side: “Trouble is, there’s no stability,” says Thomson. And constantly dealing with Asian markets means currency fluctuations can and do throw a spanner in the works of an often fragile viability.

Baron Contracting
Baron Contracting obtains its logs through various sources, including B.C. Timber Sales, from private wood holders and making deals for timber with forest licence holders in the northwest region.

 

 

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