Haessly Serves Furniture, Flooring Markets

- Advertisement -

Brunner-Hildebrand Dry Kilns Reduce Lumber Degrade for Ohio Hardwood Manufacturer

MARIETTA, Ohio — Haessly Hardwood Lumber Company is one of the largest hardwood mills in Ohio and has a reputation for excellence and high standards in the hardwood lumber industry. When the company installs new equipment, competitors take notice.

After going through a long, careful selection process to find the best drying technology for its needs, Haessly purchased three new dry kilns supplied by the German company, Brunner-Hildebrand.

The corrosive effects of tannic acid on kiln structures when drying oak is well known in the hardwood industry, and oak is one of the main species at Haessly Hardwood Lumber.

Brunner-Hildebrand’s experience in drying oak “is second to none” said Haessly Hardwood Lumber president Norman (“Jack”) Haessly Jr. “Their use of quality aluminum construction materials was a deciding factor as the tannic acid produced will damage more conventional structures.”

- Advertisement -

Some of the largest oak flooring manufacturers in the U.S. dry their lumber with Brunner-Hildebrand kilns, Jack noted. “Their low fan noise was also important to us as our office is located right next to the kilns.”

Haessly Hardwood Lumber processes a mix of Appalachian hardwood species, including red oak, white, cherry, walnut, hard and soft maple, poplar and basswood. The company buys most all of its timber from private landowners. Independent Woods Contractors are hired for timber harvesting with Haessly’s own trucks hauling a portion of the production. Log sizes typically range from 12-30 inches in diameter and from 8-16 feet long.

The company’s main product is hardwood grade lumber with much use in the furniture and flooring markets. It manufactures 4/4 lumber and thicker in random lengths from 4-16 feet and widths of 4 inches and wider, depending on customer requirements.

Bark is sold as mulch for landscaping and sawdust is sold to local farmers for animal bedding. Chips are sold to local steel factories and Smurfit Stone pulp mill in Coshocton, Ohio.

The company also operates an affiliated pallet manufacturing business on the same site, Inland Wood Products.

A Family Business

Haessly Hardwood Lumber was founded in 1941 when Jack’s father, Norman Sr., started a lumber business with a portable sawmill and a team of horses. With the help of his wife and partner, Dorothy, Norman Sr. worked in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. The Haessly family moved to southern Ohio in 1956 and in 1961 settled in its present location near Marietta, close to the West Virginia border.

Jack joined the company in 1954 out of high school and eventually took over the management of the company. His father, now deceased, did not retire until he was 80.

Jack has won several awards over the years, including an Outstanding Agriculture Award from the Marietta Chamber of Commerce and the 2001 Small Business Excellence Award, which was presented by Gov. Bob Taft.

Jack manages the company today with the help of his sons, Mark and Steve, who hold the titles of company vice presidents. They follow some of the same business principals that Norman Sr. did years ago. In order to provide customers with top quality lumber and stay in the competitive forefront, they invest in the best new technology when real improvements can be achieved. The same approach led them to make the recent investment in the Brunner-Hildebrand dry kilns.

Sawmill production averages 5,000 board feet per hour; shifts are 8 hours, so daily production is between 40,000-45,000 board feet. Haessly Hardwood Lumber has seven trucks in its fleet for hauling logs and delivering lumber and mill by-products.

All lumber is graded prior to shipping. It is usually transported in containers and picked up by the customers’ own trucks. One of the biggest customers over the years has been Baillie Lumber Company. Haessly Hardwood Lumber products are shipped all over the U.S., Canada and overseas to many well-known furniture and flooring companies.

Jack and his sons share management duties; each has his responsibilities. Mark and his assistant Jim Tidd, supervises the lumber yard, dry kilns and shipping while Steve with sawmill superintendent Lyle Binegar, supervises the sawmill operations. Total employees, including Inland Wood Products, is 72 people. Jack takes care of overall company management.

Haessly Hardwood Lumber has many long-term employees, and Jack is proud of them. Some of the leading long-term employees include:

• Lyle Binegar- sawmill superintendent (46 years of service)

• Dick Boswell- sawmill machine operator (37 years of service)

• Phil Fleming- transportation supervisor (34 years of service)

• Jim Tidd- lumber yard supervisor (over 20 years of service)

• Jack Mathers- forester (over 20 years of service)

Haessly Hardwood Lumber has gradually increased production over the years. In 1994 the company began planning improvements. “We wanted to get more from each and every log and also increase our production at the same time,” said Jack.

Mill Upgraded

Salem Equipment Inc. of Salem, Oregon designed the updated sawmill and supplied most of the new machinery. Lloyd Judson was the principal contact at Salem for the project. Construction was carried out during 1996-1997. The sawmill building was expanded to 28,000 square feet, a three-fold increase. Lumber production was doubled. The production increase was largely accomplished by changing from traditional circular saws to kerf band saw technology and computer controls. Jack summed up the mill improvements by saying, ” We are now cutting the best lumber we have ever produced.”

The sawmill uses band saw blades supplied by Simonds and Oleson. The mill has enjoyed excellent results from both, according to Jack. Saw blade maintenance is done on site in the filing room, which is situated on the ground floor of the sawmill. Head filer Darrel Wince and his assistant Dwayne Johnson, maintain the saw blades on a number of different Armstrong machines, including a leveler, a tension machine and two grinders.

The sawmill is equipped with:

• In the log yard, three mobile loaders—a Hood 2400, a Cat IT28 and a John Deere D62. Occasionally other Cat machines are used as well. Up to 2 million board feet of logs can be stored, including 1.2 million in a log watering area. Water greatly helps prevent checking and splitting in dry weather.

• An HMC rosser head debarker with two heads, one to debark and one to reduce butt flares.

• A Goring-Kerr metal detector to locate tramp metal.

• A Salem hog to grind bark into mulch. The hog is connected to a system of waste conveyors also supplied by Salem.

• A Salem 48-inch opening, 17-degree slant carriage with four headblocks, linear positioner setworks and Inovec Scanning and optimizing system, and Tyrone hydraulic carriage drive.

• Salem 7-foot band air strain head rig with 17-degree slant, running 0.142-inch kerf band saws.

• Salem 6-foot vertical air strain band resaw linebar and circular run-around deck, running 0.138-inch kerf.

• Salem bottom arbor edger with 6X42 opening and Salem picker table to separate edgings from boards and cants.

• Salem multiple-saw trimmer with 10 saws, including zero and odd length saws, plus Salem even-ender.

• Salem let-down chain system to lower boards 10 feet to ground level.

• 58-inch precision chipper with 8-foot Salem screen.

• Phelps chip loading system to blow chips into trailers. All by-products are conveyed by Webster vibrating conveyors. A Honeyville bucket elevator transfers sawdust to concrete storage silos.

• An 80-foot Salem green chain completes the lumber handling to 28 lumber carts.

Drying & Planing

After leaving the sawmill, the lumber is stacked in the storage area using a Viking custom made stacker—with stick placing by hand—for air-drying

or kiln drying. Up to 1 million board feet of finished lumber can be stored under cover, and there is room to air dry 1.8 million board feet.

“We air dry 30 to 90 days or kiln dry, whatever the customer wants.” said Jack. Kiln drying reduces moisture content to 5% – 7%.

For customers that require lumber to be planed or ripped, Haessly Hardwood Lumber has a planer mill on site in a separate building. It is equipped with a Newman S382 Planner to plane two sides and a Diehl straight-line saw for ripping.

Haessly Hardwood Lumber has six dry kilns; including three supplied by Irvington Moore and installed one at a time between 1967-1978. Two Brunner-Hildebrand kilns were installed in 2000 and a third was added 2001. Total kiln capacity is 300,000 board feet.

After more than two years of operation, Jack is very pleased with the Brunner-Hildebrand kilns. “The kiln operators love them,” he said. “Their job is now so much easier. We also now enjoy a much-improved quality of drying with less board checking, cupping and other degrades.

Each Brunner-Hildebrand kiln has 65,000 board feet capacity and is built of a special premium grade aluminum alloy to overcome the problem of tannic acid. Brunner-Hildebrand representative Rein Juergen said that the supplier has several kilns with 20 years of service drying oak with no corrosion problems.

Pallet Plant

The pallet plant, operated as a separate business and managed by Dave Paxton, has been operating since 1974. Production is about 1,550 to 1,800 pallets per day. Cants from the sawmill supply 10% of the mixed hardwood raw material. The company buys 90% from other sawmills in the region.

The pallet division manufactures standard and custom size pallets. The plant operations rely on a Cornell Industrial cut up line and a Viking Turbo 505 for automated assembly of standard pallets. (Small runs of custom pallets are assembled by hand with power nailing tools.) The pallet plant also is equipped with a Hazlethorn double-head notcher and several small ripsaws and cut-off saws. The company uses nails supplied by Bostitch, Mid Continent and Parker. Pallets are delivered on company trucks to customers, most of them located within a 150-mile radius.

Brunner-Hildebrand Features

The Brunner-Hildebrand kilns at Haessly Hardwood are gas-fired with variable speed frequency drive fans that exhaust through roof vents. The fan system is very quiet, as Jack noted earlier, which was an important factor since the office is next to the new kilns.

Drying programs are computer controlled, and now all six kilns are run from the same computer system. “We are so impressed with the controls on the new kilns that we converted our older kilns to run off the same system,” said Jack.

Brunner-Hildebrand dry kilns are built in Gehrden, Germany. The company has many installations in the U.S. North American service is available from Fort Mill, S.C., Nashville, Tenn., and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Some of the features of Brunner-Hildebrand kilns include:

• All aluminum alloy corrosion-proof construction, including the frame, roof, doors and sidewalls, using 0.05-inch thick marine grade sheeting on inside surfaces. No steel is used in the structure.

• Separate outer wall panels made of 1/32-inch V-beam corrugated aluminum alloy, stucco embossed for rigidity.

• High temperature silicon used to seal all joints.

• High-density mineral wood insulation (4 inches thick) in walls and roof.

• All aluminum fan deck covering the full lumber load with aerofoil at each edge.

• Two doors for personnel access to both plenum areas with 4 inches of mineral wool insulation.

• Heating coils equipped with aluminum fins and stainless steel pipes the full width of the kiln.

• Electric driven modulating heat control valves for accurate temperature control.

• Water mist conditioning system using stainless steel pipes and electric driven control valve. All fittings and hangers are aluminum or stainless steel.

• Aluminum butterfly-type vents operated by electric driven modulating motors for more precise climate control.

For more information on Brunner-Hildebrand kilns, call Rein Juergen at (803 547-7121.