NEW AUGUSTA, Mississippi – Seeing mills reject valuable wood fiber simply for cosmetic reasons is difficult. So difficult that one company, Glenn Henderson Logging and Trucking, decided to purchase a sawmill and saw the rejected logs and lengths.
Glenn Henderson Logging and Trucking was started by Glenn Henderson in 1985. Jonathan Henderson, Glenn’s son, joined the family-owned company in 1999.
“Hurricane Katrina came through in 2005,” said Jonathan. In the aftermath, damaged tracts of standing timber were sold as part of the cleanup effort. “We bought a bunch of national forest timber that had been damaged.”
The plan was to harvest and sell the timber to mills. The problem is the “sawmills were rejecting the logs,” explained Jonathan. The mills did not want timber that had been injured by the storm because it had a blue hue.
That’s the point at which Henderson Logging decided to begin cutting the logs for lumber. In 2006, Glenn located a used double-cut band sawmill manufactured by Select Sawmill Co. and purchased it. Select Sawmill is based in Plantagenet, Ontario.
Before buying the used machine, Glenn and Jonathan did their due diligence. Their research supported the positive reviews they had from the prospective seller. To resolve some mechanical issues with the used machine, they turned to Select Sawmill itself and began a sustained relationship with the manufacturer.
The original purchase, the used portable mill, was diesel powered, which was important because at the time three-phase power was not available at the site where the mill would be installed. Henderson Logging planned to use it as a stationary mill.
In 2010, Henderson Logging purchased a new double-cut band sawmill from Select Sawmill. The newer mill is electric. The site for both mills now has power from the grid. The original, diesel mill is still owned by the company, although not generally in use.
Deciding to purchase a mill from Select Sawmill was not difficult. “We were impressed with the double-cut technology,” says Jonathan.
Select Sawmill offers two models of double-cut band sawmill. The high-output Select model 4221, which has a six-inch blade, cuts up to three feet per second. The Select model 3620 has a four-inch blade.
The back-and-forth movement of the double-cut band sawmill gets noticed for its smooth or seamless rhythm. Jonathan said that with an electric power source, the mill runs at optimal performance. (The older diesel-powered mill can experience a bit of slowdown now and then if the engine sputters in any way.)
At Henderson Logging, the Select double-cut band sawmill runs with a two-person team. In addition to the operator, there is a team member who loads the log deck using a forklift made by John Deere.
“We produce around 15,000 board feet a day,” said Jonathan. The Select mill is cutting approximately 50 percent hardwood species and 50 percent pine.
Once cut, the 8-inch hardwood cants are sold to companies that bolt them together for mats that head to pipeline and related builders. Southern yellow pine (SYP) is cut to 12-inch timbers and 2- and 3-inch rough-cut lumber. The timbers and rough-cut are sold to companies that dry it and treat it.
In the future, Henderson Logging may begin to dry lumber. “We looked at SII Dry Kilns,” said Jonathan. “We haven’t decided.”
The numbers still must be run on the kiln venture and how it would fit together with upcoming changes to the mill. “We are in the process of putting in a whole new system,” said Jonathan.
The system is expected to be in place by September. With the decision-making still underway when we talked with Jonathan in early July, there was one certainty: The new mill and ancillary equipment will be purchased from Select Sawmill.
In addition to double-cut band sawmills and log decks, Select Sawmill makes heavy-duty board edgers, rosserhead-style debarkers, chopsaws, conveyors, blades and sharpening equipment. High-production layout design services are also available from the company.
Working from the premise that each mill has a unique character, the team at Select Sawmill aims to understand the mill and meet its specific requirements. Being attentive to customers allows Select Sawmill to provide the best possible advice regarding layout and customization, as well as to gather useful feedback that informs improvements in its equipment.
As for staying with Select Sawmill, Jonathan said the choice was easy. From the start, the equipment has been running well. “It gave us very little trouble” from the beginning and through the years, he said.
The team at Select Sawmill has also been a good partner to Henderson Logging. “They always help you any way they can,” said Jonathan. “I’ve worked mostly with Luc [Carrière].”
Of course, the Select double-cut band sawmill itself is the biggest factor in the determination to stay with Select Sawmill. “It’s a very versatile product,” said Jonathan. The cost-effectiveness of being able to saw hardwood and SYP on the same mill and with good speed speak to the versatility of the machine.
The Select model 4221 is capable of cutting logs as big as 42 inches in diameter and 22 feet long. It can also be extended as needed to accommodate longer logs.
The thin-kerf saw and horizontal mill on the Select sawmill are supported by a heavy-duty frame that makes the machine as durable as it is dependable. The Select model 4221 also has computerized setworks for preset thicknesses. The presets – governed by hold and recall memories – speed the cutting of hardwood species. Diesel or electric power options are available on both the Select model 4221 and the Select model 3260.
User-friendliness is a quality that Select Sawmill strives to build into its equipment. The less time a sawyer requires to do changeovers, the more time can be spent making product. Among the user-friendly features standard on the Select double-cut band sawmill is automatic blade lubrication.
The seven logging crews that Henderson Logging operates do both tree-length and cut-to-length (CTL) work. The breakdown is roughly trees for pulpwood and CTL for saw logs. Ninety percent of what Henderson Logging harvests is pine.
Manuel Henderson, Jonathan’s brother, oversees all the logging crews. The crews use Tigercat feller bunchers, Tigercat skidders and Prentice loaders. Tigercat 724E feller bunchers with 5500 felling saws are used for clear cutting; the Tigercat 718E feller bunchers paired with 5000 series bunching saws are used for thinning.
All the Tigercat skidders are model 630D, which have a Turnaround feature that allows them to maneuver backwards. The equipment roster also includes six John Deere dozers that are used for site preparation and road construction.
“We have about 40 pieces of logging equipment,” said Jonathan. There’s also a robust list of equipment on the trucking side of the business.
“We own approximately 25 trucks – all Peterbilt tractors,” said Jonathan. “The trailers are mostly all Magnolia.”
Henderson Logging cuts on private and federal land. It owns 6,000 acres of timberland. The company completes jobs for other companies and it also buys and cuts its own timber.
A 120-acre site in New Augusta, Mississippi is home to Henderson Logging and Trucking. “We try to work within a 100-mile radius” of home, said Jonathan. That applies to logging and trucking.
New Augusta is located in Perry County in the southeastern part of the Magnolia State. The town has approximately 800 residents.
Glenn was motivated to start Henderson Logging and Trucking by a desire for autonomy. “He wanted to be on his own,” said Jonathan. “He had worked for Scott Paper Company. And had a variety of other jobs, including logger, although he had never operated a sawmill.
“My father oversees all operations,” said Jonathan. In addition to Glenn, Jonathan and Manuel, another family member is an integral part of managing the day-to-day at the company. She is Jackie Henderson, wife of Glenn.
Jackie has been working in the business since its inception. “My mom is the bookkeeper,” said Jonathan. “She has the most difficult job.”
Henderson Logging employs 60 people. A priority for Jonathan is employee retention.
“We’re going to try to keep doing good work and keep good employees,” he said.
“We’re a family-owned company,” said Jonathan. “We want to keep it going.” He would like to see his own children someday join the business.
Jonathan long anticipated he would join his father’s business. “I always worked summers for my father” while in high school, he said. “I was into sports, high-school football and baseball.”
Throughout his youth, Jonathan was grounded in Henderson Logging and Trucking. After a short time at college, he joined the business on a full-time basis.
Being immersed in Henderson Logging provides a great professional setting. “I like the challenges,” said Jonathan. “I like the products – all the products wood can make. I like the people we work with.”
In his free time, Jonathan enjoys travelling to the beach. With the Gulf Coast just 50 miles due south of New Augusta, saltwater shorelines are within easy reach.