Hearne Hardwoods Supplies a Unique Collection of Exotic, Beautiful Lumber 

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Pennsylvania company depends on Wagner Meters for reliable moisture measurement.


Family-owned Hearne Hardwoods Inc., located in Oxford Pennsylvania, has specialized in the finest collections of exotic woods for nearly 35 years. According to Rick Hearne, CEO and founder of Hearne Hardwoods, the company routinely stocks 150 – 200 species and about one million board feet of high-grade lumber. The unique collection includes Birdseye Maple, Amboyna Burl, bookmatched 40-inch plus Padauk, Rosewood, Snakewood, French Walnut, figured or unusually wide pieces, and more.

Rick, along with his son Brian Hearne, president of Hearne Hardwoods Inc., travels the world in search of the next one-of-a-kind piece of timber.

According to Rick, in order to offer the finest grades of timbers at a fair market price, Rick and Brian inspect and pick every piece of lumber purchased. Hearne Hardwoods’ goal is to offer customers the most diversified collection of rare timbers that can be found from sustainable sources, coupled with excellent customer service.

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“Hearne Hardwoods is FSC certified and strives to work with managed wood lots around the world. A healthy global environment is a primary consideration for us. We focus our searches on areas of the world where there is sound forest management,” said Rick.

Along with always trying to find new and unusual pieces, another challenge Hearne Hardwoods faces is buying logs without a specific customer in mind.

Rick explains, “Discriminating artisans and the most exclusive wood projects typically use our wood. Therefore, we have a good feel for our customer base and what they want. We sell to fine furniture makers, yacht and airplane companies, architectural millwork companies, cabinet companies, musical instrument makers, and more. One client, the New Mormon Assembly Tabernacle building in Utah, needed seven tractor loads of perfectly-clear wide cherry for their 22,000 person pavilion. Orders like these can take up to a year to fill.”

Once Rick and Brian find these treasures of the world’s forests, the logs and lumber are shipped to Hearne’s Pennsylvania lumber yard to be flitch-cut on the yard’s massive custom-built sawmills.

“We operated three different mills at the site: a 67-inch wide and 22 feet long capacity vertical bandsaw for cutting logs, an 84-inch capacity hydraulic chainsaw mill for sawing 9-feet wide, and a 16-inch horizontal resaw for sawing 30-inch wide,” Rick said.

The cut green lumber then goes into an air dry shed with Breeze Dried Stacking Sticks carefully placed between the boards. The grooves in the sticks allow air to flow between the stick and the boards, which keeps the wood from getting fungus stains. The lumber remains in the shed until it reaches 15 percent moisture content, which can take up to a year. According to Rick, this is a very important step for preventing the distortion of the unique patterns and twists of the wood.

Rick explains, “You can take the moisture out of the wood without taking the memory out of it. The slower the wood dries, the less likely the figure patterns will distort. We determine moisture levels in the lumber with two Wagner Meters: the Wagner L612 Digital Recording Moisture Meter and the Wagner L606 “Inspector” Moisture Meter.”

Rick continued, “The true moisture of the board is determined by sweeping the L612 along the length of the top of the board. The L612 measures 4-inch thick wood and is programmable. With the L612, we can obtain the reading from programming the feed into the meter – very simple. Other meters are either calibrated to a specific wood, and charts must be used to determine the readings, or they use pins that leave holes in the wood. We use the Wagner L606 “Inspector” Moisture Meter for convenience to check reference points. It can measure up to two-inch thick wood and is smaller, non-programmable, and less expensive than the L612.”

Once the wood reaches the 15 percent moisture level, it is moved into a NYLE System Dehumidification Kiln with 15,000 board-feet drying capacity.

Rick explained, “Moisture is introduced into the wood, during its first few days in the kiln. The moisture relaxes the wood, allowing moisture equilibrium to occur more easily. The wood is kiln dried very slowly to keep it from distorting. When the wood comes out of the kiln, the Wagner L612 is again used to confirm the moisture level is at 6-8 percent.”

Rick comments on Wagner’s service reliability, “Hearne Hardwoods has used three Wagner Meters over the past 25 years: the basic meter, the L612 and the L606. All three have worked flawlessly and are easy-to-use. Also, when I wanted to upgrade the software package on the L612, I called the factory and was immediately sent all the needed information and software. Wagner meters have been extremely reliable.”

For more information about Hearne Hardwoods Inc. visit the company web site at www.hearnehardwoods.com.

For more information on Wagner Meters visit www.wagnermeters.com.