KAMLOOPS, British Columbia — Valley View Industries makes cedar lumber building products and also contracts to construct small building projects using cedar. The company has sawmill operations to process logs into lumber, and it also remanufactures rough lumber into fencing, decking, and other building products.
“Cedar is very good for its natural resistance to rot and decay,” said Nick Price, owner of Valley View Industries, which is based in Kamloops, British Columbia, about 220 miles northeast of Vancouver.
He is carrying on the family tradition started 30 years ago by his father, Norm, who founded the business. Nick is maintaining the company’s reputation for building projects like log gazebos, decks, hot tub enclosures, saunas, pergolas, sheds, cabins, fences, and more. About half of the business is custom cutting and installation and construction while the other half is stockpiling popular cedar products for retail sales.
Wood-Mizer Sawmill Boosts Production and Yield
Operating with 16 employees, which includes three installation crews, Valley View Industries generally offers installation within a couple hours of its location, but they have gone as far as Saskatchewan and the Yukon to work for customers.
The company is equipped with several pieces of Wood-Mizer sawmill equipment, which gives it the capability to produce all its own structural building components in-house. Having the capability to manufacture the components gives the company control over product quality and delivery. With a Wood-Mizer LT40 portable sawmill and supporting equipment, Valley View Industries has reduced delivery times of their building materials and structures to customer sites by a month.
Nick chose Wood-Mizer sawmill equipment because the company has a good reputation, he said. Prior to purchasing his Wood-Mizer sawmill, he used a different brand.
“With our Wood-Mizer sawmill, we can cut in three or four hours what used to take us a week,” said Nick. “It’s night and day. Even though we are so busy and we are booked for so many weeks ahead, we are still producing much quicker, at a higher volume and at a higher quality than we were previously. With its hydraulic capabilities and the price point, we just felt it was the way to go. We have been very happy with it.”
The Wood-Mizer equipment has enabled the business to evolve from only producing about 15 percent of its lumber products in-house to 100 percent, and there is also a lot less waste. “Before, with our old sawmill, we’d have really wavy cuts on some boards that we’d just have to reject,” Nick says. “We’d basically have to throw quality wood into the scrap pile. With the new mill, you know that you are going to get an accurate cut every time.”
The company selected the Wood-Mizer wide LT40 model so it can saw logs up to 36 inches in diameter. The smallest diameter log they process has about a 12-inch top, but on average logs are about 24 inches in diameter. The logs are shipped to the company’s wood yard in 65-foot lengths and then are bucked by hand. Most building materials are manufactured from logs measuring 8 to 16 feet. “We have the bed extension on the mill for longer material that allows us to go up to 26 feet long,” said Nick.
Support Equipment Adds Products and Grows Business
The Wood-Mizer LT40 portable sawmill is powered with a diesel engine and is equipped to hydraulically load, clamp, and turn logs on the sawmill bed. Leveling, clamping, and rotating logs now takes seconds compared to several minutes with the previous sawmill.
The Wood-Mizer’s Accuset 2 setworks and Command Control system manage sawing functions like automatically setting the blade location for specific cuts in 1/16-inch increments. “This is really a great feature for custom orders where a customer maybe wants a 7/16ths inch thickness,” says Nick. “We can just set the head and then knock out production.”
The Wood-Mizer sawmill also is equipped with a debarker, which Nick said is essential because cedar is notorious for accumulating rocks and mud around the base of the log. The debarker helps to extend saw blade sharpening intervals and lifespan.
Nick uses a standard, economy grade, 1-½-inch blade for the first cuts to square up logs and build a stack of cants. Then he will switch to a Wood-Mizer RazorTip blade for sawing the cants into final lumber products. “We find that by taking this approach, the blades last a bit longer, and we get a nicer finish on our products,” he said.
In addition to the LT40 sawmill, the company also has a Wood-Mizer EG200 twin-blade board edger to remove any wane or bark and cut the boards to the correct width. “From our sawing and edging process, we create a stockpile of wood measuring anywhere from 1×4 lumber to 6×6 timbers,” said Nick. “From there, our employees, who are actually working on building projects, will pick out of those piles. So, if they are building a pergola, for example, they will pick out all they need for that order, and then take the pieces into our shop for preparation.”
Producing cedar structures often involves more than simply producing dimensional lumber and timbers. Debarked and custom-tapered cedar logs are often used in projects, and they have great customer appeal as a retail product. So Nick invested in a Wood-Mizer Lathe-Mizer and tenon kit add-on. The lathe allows the company to produce tapered and specially shaped cedar logs directly on the mill that can be used for structural support components or for appearance. For example, the Lathe-Mizer can produce perfectly round, hexagon, octagon and triangle log shapes.
The Wood-Mizer equipment enables the company to produce all the necessary lumber and wood products and to operate efficiently and successfully, according to Nick.