Little River Dry Kilns has more than doubled their existing Cerulean Road operation in the past few months, with future expansion planned down the road.
“This is a tremendous undertaking by our company,” said plant manager Steven Biggs. “Everyone involved has worked hard to make this happen.”
Midwest Hardwood Corporation of Maple Grove, Minnesota purchased the 13-acre lumberyard from Midwest Lumber Dimension of Jeffersonville, Indiana in 2003. Before that, Bailey Lumber Company operated there for several decades.
The current operation employs 25 people, but Biggs said that number could increase to 30 in the new few months and swell as high as 50 once the full expansion is realized and a night shift is added.
Little River Dry Kilns purchases different types of lumber from saw mills and dries the wood to assure well conditioned, stress relieved lumber. Biggs said the process brings out a richer color in the wood and guard against drying defects such as “sticker shadow.”
When they opened two years ago, they had three dry kilns with a total capacity of 115,000 feet.
Construction was recently completed on four additional kilns that have added 190,000 feet of capacity to the site.
“That’s a huge jump since January in the amount of wood we can dry and get on the trucks for shipping,” Biggs said, adding that more kilns will likely be added in an additional expansion phase in the future.
The kilns operate on steam heat, produced by fans that blow across a series of coils and heat the inside to around 170 degrees. Depending on the type of wood, the stacks of lumber, which do not touch, stay in the kilns between one and two weeks.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.