3 Exciting Benefits of Our New Mill Expansion

When Bernie Kondrat and Ben Organek founded Heartwood Mills in 1947, they built their first log home for just $475 on a $35 mill and bell saw. When they realized that their mill had a greater capacity than they could meet just building homes themselves, they began offering quality, mill-direct Northern White Cedar, Pine and other wood building products to homebuilders and woodworkers.

Since then, we haven’t stopped innovating or coming up with ways to offer top-notch customer service. You could say we’ve always had our eye on the future. And in the U.S., the future of residential and commercial construction looks positive, but also full of issues that potentially affect our customers.

Construction Market At a Glance

For example, FMI predicts a 5 percent increase in total construction spending from 2017 to 2018. It also determined that construction for single-family, multi-family, lodging, and commercial properties increased 5 percent or more in 2017.

Industry employment has increased by more than 710,000 jobs since its low point after the Great Recession, according to the National Association of Home Builders; however, builders are still experiencing a major shortage of skilled laborers — a problem only made worse as tradespeople follow jobs to the hurricane-stricken south. Those same hurricanes also are worsening an already problematic materials shortage that includes framing lumber and truss systems. And do we even need to mention the rise of softwood lumber prices that has been largely propelled by the lumber trade dispute between the U.S. and our northern neighbors in Canada?

All of this information boils down to this: Builders are struggling to meet the increase in product demand due to significant labor and materials shortages, which is delaying the completion of products to homebuyers and commercial clients.

How Heartwood Mills is Heeding the Call

We have been tracking these trends and talking to customers about the state of the construction industry for some time. So, in 2017 we purchased a 70th anniversary gift that better positions us — and you — for the future.

At the end of the year, we wrapped up a major sawmill expansion that has significantly expanded our production capacity. With the installation of our new, technologically advanced saw and grade resaw system, we can even more efficiently combine handcraftsmanship with 21st century technology to efficiently produce log siding, log paneling, and other wood building products.

Here’s how our new system benefits your next building project:

  • Efficiency: Our new system allows us to increase production to 35,000 BF daily so that we can quickly fill your orders. And in this case, quantity will not affect quality. You can still expect exceptional, American-made wood building products at mill-direct prices.
  • Variety: Our mill also allows us to increase the number of products we produce to keep pace with design trends in wood building materials.
  • Customization: The mill expansion makes us one of only a few mills in the country with the ability to cut large structural timbers at massive lengths — up to 30 feet to be exact. This is especially exciting when creating specialty architectural features such as our custom scribed and timber trusses.

Have more questions about our new saw system and mill capabilities? Our experienced staff would love take you on a mill tour and talk through your questions. If you can’t make it to Boyne Falls, feel free to give us a call. You can see our new saw in action in this short video.