Mike Junk and Shawn Fowler
Mike Junk and Shawn Fowler chose Wood-Mizer sawmill equipment to increase production and profits for their business.
In less than three months after taking ownership of the family sawmill business, 3rd generation owner Mike Junk and brother-in-law Shawn Fowler made the changes necessary to compete and thrive in the lumber industry. By installing a Wood-Mizer WM4000 industrial headrig with thin-kerf technology to replace their old circular sawmill, Mike and Shawn increased efficiency, yield, and profits for their business.
Sawing a variety of hardwoods to produce grade lumber for moulding, caskets, veneer, stair treads, flooring, cross ties and pallet cants, the US based company used a circular sawmill as the center of their operation for more than 70 years. By using outdated technology and inefficient production methods, Honey Grove Hardwoods was struggling to keep up with competitive timber prices and increasing industry demand.
With decades of experience in the lumber business, Mike noticed a shifting trend in the competitive industry. “For many years, the lumber business has been based solely on production. This is no longer the case,” he said. “The industry is changing from how much you produce to how much profit you can make.” To keep up with the evolving industry, Mike and Shawn came to the conclusion that their circular sawmill with conventional blades wasn’t cutting it. “We realized we were running outdated equipment when we weren’t getting the footage and grade yields that we thought we could get with thin-kerf technology,” Shawn said.
Thin-kerf technology is a forward thinking approach to an industry that tends to think bigger is better. Not only do thin-kerf blades produce up to 30% more product from logs, but businesses that have adopted thin-kerf technology have reported lower costs for labor, blades and blade maintenance, electric bills, and transportation when compared to circular or wide-kerf blade sawmills. Reducing waste and increasing yield is exactly what Junk and Fowler wanted to accomplish in improving their business. “After seeing the WM4000, we realized the potential production and yield increase advantage over the circular mill we were currently using,” Mike said. Seeing proof that a narrow-band, thin-kerf blade headrig could produce less waste, more product and use less energy to saw, Mike and Shawn installed a complete Wood-Mizer system including a WM4000 headrig, Log Deck, Three-Way Conveyor, Green Chain, and EG400 Edger.
Honey Grove’s WM4000 headrig produces up to 10,000 board feet of lumber daily.
Compared to their old circular sawmill operation, Mike said their yield has improved greatly with Wood-Mizer equipment. “The much greater yields of the thin-kerf and the accuracy of the setworks are second to none and has positioned us to be very competitive on a daily basis,” he said. Being able to produce more product from fewer logs also cuts down on transportation costs and increases the profit per log. “We are getting the same amount of lumber while using 25% less timber and raw materials, which in turn, reduces transportation costs across the board,” Mike said.
Thin-kerf blades (L) produce up to 30% more product from logs compared to a circular or wide-kerf blade (R).
Even though Honey Grove Hardwoods produces the same products as with the old circular sawmill, Mike says that they have reevaluated what is cut out of each log with the huge savings coming from thin-kerf Wood-Mizer bandsaw blades. “The larger kerf of the circle mill was causing us to purchase so much more raw material,” he said. “We were just turning more dollars and sawing logs faster, but not getting the yield returns we wanted on the lumber. Although our system looked productive, it wasn’t profitable.”
With their new Wood-Mizer industrial sawmill system, Honey Grove is producing 10,000 board feet of lumber every day. “The concepts from a traditional mill to Wood-Mizer’s industrial mill style are some of the most ingenious ideas. I have come to realize you can do more with less,” Mike said. By utilizing the Wood-Mizer industrial system and thin-kerf technology, Mike and Shawn have positioned Honey Grove Hardwoods for success in the lumber industry for generations to come. “The WM4000 put us right back up to the competitive edge on utilizing and maximizing yields for our business,” Mike said.
For more information, visit www.woodmizer.com/industrial.
Wood-Mizer WM4000 Headrig in Action
See the Wood-Mizer WM4000 Industrial Headrig in action! The low cost of ownership and maintenance combined with high productivity makes the WM4000 industrial sawmill an ideal machine to start building your bottom line.