Trumbull Creek Times Dec 2007.pu

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					Trumbull Creek Times
VOL. XV, No. 2 F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company December 2007

Manager’s Message
The Little Mill that Could!
F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company began construction of a mill at Half Moon in 1918. There had been planning as early as 1911, as drawings for the Generation Plant (Boiler Plant) show this date. There were also plans being made in 1917, to close the State Lumber Company on the Whitefish River and move parts of the mill and buildings to the Half Moon site. Some of the parts of the mill and original crew came from Frazee, Minnesota. Beginning in 1906, Mr. Stoltze began purchasing timberland in the Whitefish area. Stoltze completed a survey to Second Creek and Trumbull Creek in preparation for building logging railroads in 1910. By 1920, he owned about 10,000 acres in the Haskill and Trumbull Creek areas. The Shay engine, seven miles of track, and ten log cars were purchased in 1923, from Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company in Eureka. Tracks were laid and eventually five logging Camps were established. The first carload of logs was shipped in 1924. A small town was established with thirty-two homes for workers and their families, a bunkhouse, a cook house and a general store. Electric lights came to the community in the early 1930’s from a generator at the Generator Plant (Boiler). Power was turned off at 10:00 PM. In those early years, logs were produced in the winter for the sawmill to run during the summer. During the depression years the mill operated on a sporadic basis. The store allowed folks to purchase on credit. Many families survived because of this policy. In 1910, Mr. Stoltze, D.B. Barber and A.L. Eakins formed Empire Lumber Company which ran a mill at Kila as well as putting a string of twenty-five line yards along Great Northern rail line from Great Falls to Shelby and East of Shelby. These yards sold lumber from all four mills owned by Mr. Stoltze. In 1907, Mr. Stoltze granted easements for the Whitefish water system on First, Second and later Third Creeks in Haskill Basin. The twenty acre Whitefish reservoir site was sold in 1920, for the grand sum of $10. It was common for workers and families to ride on the Shay to the woods for berry picking and hunting. The community today still enjoys the open lands policy and generosity of the Stoltze family. Because there was much more residue, sawdust, slabs, and shavings produced than could be used in the boiler system a waste burner was purchased in 1926, from a Calgary, Alberta manufacturer. This may have been the first waste burner in Montana. The late 1930’s and 40’s brought better times and the mill and logging operations began to operate all year. A very wide range of products were produced: dimension lumber, one inch lumber, timbers, flooring, molding, 4x6 tongue and groove roof planks, grain doors, paneling, posts, shingles, lath, piling, poles and snow fence etc. The sawmill and planer were powered by steam which made fire an ongoing problem. The planing mill burned on August 30, 1945, but was rebuilt and back in production by early 1947. Because of the War efforts, equipment was difficult to find so such a short period to rebuild was remarkable.

THIS ISSUE News From The Plant Page 2 Logging & Forestry Page 2 From The Toolbox Page 3 Sales Office Page 3 Editors MessagePage 4

F.H. STOLTZE LAND & LUMBER CO. Lumber Manufacturers P.O. Box 1429
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

Phone: 406-892-7000 Fax: 406-892-1612
info@stoltzelumber.com

Continued on Page

Page 2 ~ Trumbull Creek Times

From The Plant
Perfecting the Process The lumber market was very poor throughout 2007. This gave us the opportunity to concentrate on upgrading our facility and fine-tuning our existing equipment. Instead of working on new projects, we concentrated on making existing equipment work better. We did not stop at simply making improvements around the plant. We used the sluggish market conditions to find ways to more efficiently and economically produce a quality lumber product that is desired and appreciated by our loyal customers. Upgrading the plant is an ongoing process that takes place in many areas. Here is a sample of the types of improvements that were made. The most obvious upgrade is the new office building. That structure is a source of pride for all of the Stoltze community. It is also a symbol of the commitment the Stoltze family has to their Montana business. At the boiler plant, boilers #1 and #3 were repaired and new refractory was blown into place. The shop office was remodeled. The shop also upgraded to a new office computer. The planer upgraded its ticket printing and inventory control systems. Several fire sprinkler systems were replaced. Another important project was experimenting with various configurations of trimmer saws to improve the appearance of the finished product. In October, a new #1 planer hoist was fabricated and installed. The #2 planer, the Stetson-Ross, underwent an extensive overhaul. In addition, both planers #1 and #2 were run at the same time on most 2” lumber, with a significant increase in overall planer production. At the sawmill, the controls for the old resaw were upgraded, the operation of the small log cut-off saw was reprogrammed and new controls were designed and installed for the chipper conveyor systems. Mechanically, a new outfeed rollcase was built and installed at the old resaw, a new chip conveyor was installed to feed the chip bins, a new scavenger chain conveyor was constructed for the shaker screen infeed, and the air-end of the main air compressor was replaced.
Continued on Page 3. . . . .

Logging & Forestry
Stump Speech!
Notes from the Resource Department Robert H. Schuller once said “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Well that pretty well sums up the position we find ourselves in here at Stoltze. As you have probably heard on the news and in the papers, lumber markets are down, housing starts and prices are in a slump and according to the “experts” there is no certain end in sight. Luckily, these are not the first “Tough Times” that Stoltze has been through in its ninety-five year history, and while Tough Times are not easy, we as a company are Tough as well and will persevere. The present lumber markets are very low to say the least, most say it is as bad as in the early 1980’s. As usual, log markets have not followed the same trend as lumber markets. Log prices in Montana are generally driven by availability or more specifically, scarcity, and generally do not follow the same roller coaster that the lumber markets are on. We recently were forced to reduce the prices we are able to pay for logs. Even with reduced log prices, it seems any reduction in log costs continue to be outpaced by the reduction in lumber values. We sincerely appreciate the understanding and cooperation from our landowners, contractors and log suppliers in working through these tough times. Operating costs such as fuel, parts and insurance continue to increase both for Stoltze and our contractors. We feel the impact, as do all of our contractors. It is costing almost $650.00 a day in fuel cost alone to run our 988 log loader in the log yard. These are times for conservation and reflection in our businesses. We need to pinch those pennies tighter than ever and be constantly on the look out for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Getting through these tough times must be a cooperative effort. We constantly reevaluate how we operate and how we can do better and are asking all of our employees and contractors to do the same. You may be aware of the 30,000 acre Brush Creek Fire that burned north and west of Whitefish this summer. The good news is, we did not lose any Stoltze land in that fire, the bad news is; about one half of the Gregg Plume Timber Sale that we purchased from the Forest
Continued on Page 6. . . . .

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News From The Plant continued from Page 2 . . . . Other improvements of note include extensive repairs and cleanup of the plant’s rail siding. There was a new concrete crossing constructed and installed in the north log yard. A new 4” water line and fire hydrant were added north of A-Shed. Finally, the leaking underground 8’ water main was repaired in September. Many newer machine centers use advanced technology systems. These include complex electronic systems, computer enabled optimization solutions for precise product control, pneumatic and hydraulic set-works to move logs, lumber and machinery. There are the various lasers, photo eyes, cameras and other sensors that are used to “see” the dedication material and to sequence the manufacturing processes. In 2007, we devoted much time and energy to learning more about the theory of operation of these systems and to using this knowledge to improve cutting accuracy, lumber quality and product flow. Improving the Product A tight lumber market demanded that we look very closely at our product mix and our lumber quality. Our first challenge was to improve our lumber length distribution. To meet our customer’s demands, we enlarged and lengthened the opening faces on our small logs. This change resulted in more of the key longer lengths and fewer short lengths. Our next challenge was to preserve that longer lumber all the way through the drying and planing process. To achieve this, we paid very close attention to any manufacturing defect that would cause planer trims. When the cause of these defects was identified, corrective actions were taken. At the planer, the lumber graders’ trimming instructions were refined to favor the premium lengths. The results were good. The finished lumber tallies improved. As an added bonus, the trim loss at the planer was significantly reduced and planer production rates greatly increased. Next, we made the decision to produce a cleaner, higher quality lumber mix. This was accomplished in several ways. We became more aggressive in cutting for value in the mill. On recent Englemann Spruce & Lodgepole Pine runs, we selected premium logs and cut them for a 2&better 1” board product. Lower quality logs were cut into 2x4’s, 2x6’s and 2x8’s. This choice was made because the sales department’s market analysis clearly Continued on Page 7…..

S

ALES OFFICE

A couple of weeks ago I manned the Stoltze booth at the NAWLA Traders Market in Dallas. It is the largest lumber show in North America with hundreds of producers from across the country, Canada and even some producers from Europe displaying their products. Also there were about 1500 lumber buyers from again all over the country, Canada and elsewhere including representatives from over sixty-five of our current customers. From conversations with customers I am happy to report that our customers are very pleased with the quality of our products, especially our ESLP boards. The 2&btr eased-edge ESLP boards were the most talked about of our products, not only with current customers but with potential new clients. Your hard work at the sawmill, kilns & planer to produce these quality boards is being noticed by our customers and their repeat business is proof of it. This ESLP board program would be dead in the water without our foresters procuring a good resource to make these quality boards and the loggers and log haulers getting the logs to the mill in good shape. Thanks to all involved for making this program work. I am sure that all of you are aware that the housing market has been on its ear for a year and a half now with no relief in sight. Housing starts across the country are a little over a half of what they were in 2005, and are expected to stay there at least until next summer and quite possibly much longer. With 70% of lumber consumption in this country tied to the housing market it has been and will continue to be a tough road ahead for lumber producers. We have had to sell some products at prices not seen since 1992. Many dimension items have been hovering around these low levels for several months now. One would think that with these low prices that buyers would put in a little extra wood, just in case the market for some reason jumps a little. Not a chance! They are pickier now than ever. Since their business is slow they do not want to buy any more wood than they need because they may have to inventory it for a few days. Buyers are also very tally sensitive, buying only the key lengths and refusing to buy loads that contain less desirable lengths. They are able to accomplish this because if one supplier will not Continued on Page 6…..

Page 4 ~ Trumbull Creek Times Manager’s Message continued from Page 1 . .
Slide Ass Jammers (Ledgewood loader), Caterpillar tractors and logging trucks became part of the logging equipment used in the early 1940’s. Two “Caterpillar 60” tractors were being used in 1933. Because trucks were scarce during the 1940’s some of those used at Half Moon came from Maple Island, a dairy owned by Mr. Stoltze in Stillwater, Minnesota. In the afternoon of August 16, 1929, about 3:00 PM, smoke was noticed by the logging crew near Trumbull Creek. Conditions were very dry with a southwest wind. By 9:00 PM the fire was at the top of Teakettle Mountain. In four days this fire burned 100,000 acres. There was concern that the fire was started by the Shay, however it had not been near the ignition point since early morning. No claims were ever filed. Areas on Company Lands that were burned by this fire to the point of being clear cuts have had selective harvest of 14 to 16 inch diameter trees in the last 10 years. During the construction of Hungry Horse Dam in 1947 to the early 1950’s, most of the sawlogs came from Reservoir clearing. Stoltze was part of a group of five companies that had one of the contracts to remove timber prior to clearing. On March 22, 1956, the entire sawmill was destroyed by fire. A replacement mill was up and running by late 1957. With the increased demand for lumber and paper “modernization” became the norm. Stoltze purchased the first wheel loader for handling logs, a 966B Caterpillar, in 1964. A debarker, chipper and chip bins were installed in 1968. At this same time Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Satterlee began to expand the timberland base. This program was carried on by Rem Kohrt, Mike Lyngholm and myself so that we now have 38,000 acres of timberland, providing 25% of our sawlog needs. In addition to the following list there were numerous additional forklifts, feller bunchers, La Tourneau and KW log stackers, skidders, log loaders, Hahn Harvesters, pickups, and other smaller pieces of equipment and tools purchased. Today we have a very modern, high tech, computerized sawmill and planer facilities, a top notch mechanized logging department (crew) and forestry department. An additional nine well equipped and professional contractors complete the operation. All of the above could not have been accomplished without the support and guidance by Mr. Stoltze, Mr. O’Brien and the Stoltze Family, Greg Johnson and the many talented managers, staff and employees of Stoltze past and present. This little Company put $29 million plus into the local economy last year while asking very little in return from the community. Our continued survival is dependent upon management of our National Forests. If only one load of logs were removed from each acre burned in the Chippy Creek fire this summer, it would supply our log needs for 18 plus years. It is my hope that all of the Stoltze crew will continue to follow our Mission “To maintain and expand F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company as a successful, profitable, productive and quality oriented sawmill and forest landowner”. I would like to thank all of the current and past employees and staff for all their help and support over the past forty-three plus years. It is greatly appreciated! I am looking forward to retirement but the Stoltze operation will not be forgotten. Ronald Buentemeier, General Manager Continued on Page 5 . . . . . . .

Trumbull Creek Times ~ Page 5

Continued from Page 4 . . . .

Highlights of succeeding year’s improvements:
June 1970 - Started small log mill using AdCo West Chipper heads and Company logging using Feller buncher (2nd West of Mississippi) and grapple skidders. 1972 - Purchased Clark Canyon Lumber Co. at Dillon. 1973 - Built Edge sorter and new sticker machine. August 1974 - Rebuild small log mill installing twin band saws. November - 1977 LSI Sorter became operational. August 1978 - Purchase First FMC Skidder in Montana. October 1978 - Purchased Del Conner Lumber Company at Darby. August 1979 - Log Deck Fire. October 1979 - Teepee Burner shut down. November 1982 - Install computer controlled set works on carriage on headrig. November 1983 - Installed edger shift controls. September 13, 1984 - Exploratory oil well drilled on Company Lands by Spectra Energy. January 1985 - CTL Stress grade machine installed at Planer – still the only one in Montana. March 1989 - New Planing mill became operational. June 1990 - Operations closed at Dillon – Lack of Logs. June 1992 - New trimmer optimizer. October 1992 - Support purchase Hahn shear for thinning – 1st in West. November 1992 - New small log debarker. March 1993 - Install double arbor edger and twin slabbers. June 1993 - Sold Stoltze Conner Mill at Darby – Lack of Logs. January 1994 - New bark and sawdust conveyors-began selling bark and sawdust. August 1994 - New small log debarker outfeed. October 1994 - Removed Steam shotgun and installed hydraulic drive on carriage. July 1995 - New Boiler fuel bin. April 1996 - Purchase Utah Aspen Mill. Sept 1996 - Purchase Little Wolf fire salvage by flip of a penny. Sept. 1996 - Purchase new 980 Caterpillar log loader. May 1998 - New small log infeed system. August 2000 - Major rebuild of Sawmill – Curve saw gang and robo edger. November 2001 - Closed Aspen Mill – State sold timberlands to U.S. Government. Sept. 2003 - New trimmer and optimizer. Dec. 2004 - New Comact computerized log infeed system-1st of its kind. Oct. 2005 - 988 Caterpillar log loader. July 2006 - Began construction of new office, completed May 2007. March 2007 - New computer controls for Planer sorter. July 2007 - New refractory in Boilers that were built in 1909.

Page 6 ~ Trumbull Creek Times
Sales continued from Page 3. . . . cover their tally another one will just to get a sale. Some undesirable lengths such as 14’ in many items stack up at mills and are only purchased at huge discounts. This is why we have been tweeking in the sawmill and trimming at the planer to produce key lengths that the customers will buy and minimizing the undesirables whenever possible. I would like to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication this past year, we will need it again from you in the coming year to make it through these tough times in the lumber industry. All of you, your families and friends have joyous and safe holidays! Dean Another change that we will be dealing with soon is the retirement of Ronald Buentemeier as our General Manager. While he has been General Manager for the last five years, Ronald is still and always will be, first and foremost a Forester. We in the resource department especially appreciate all that Ronald has done for Stoltze and the excellent steward of the land that he has been. Ask anyone and they will tell you that Stoltze is a different type of timber company. Much of that reputation can be attributed to Ronald’s hard work. The Foresters for Stoltze count ourselves as very lucky to be able to work for a company that is truly interested in “doing the right thing for the land”. Most of Ronald’s fortythree years with the company have focused on establishing and maintaining the Stoltze paradigm of Stewardship Forestry, both on company lands and many of the private lands that we have helped manage over the years. While I am sure Ronald is looking forward to spending a little less time on the phone and in meetings, I have no doubt that he will continue to keep an eye on us and give us some much needed feed back on how we are doing. So, congratulations to Ronald on his much deserved retirement and Thank You from all of us here in the Resource Department for all that you have done. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Sure, we have to buckle down and make hard decisions to get through these tough times. These tough times too will end. With our concerted effort, cooperation and hard work we are confident that Stoltze, our family of contractors, suppliers and cooperators will be here to ride the next upswing on the roller coaster we call the lumber market. Paul McKenzie

Logging & Forestry Continued from Page 2. . . . Service last spring was burned! We are currently negotiating with the Forest Service to start salvage operations on this sale. It has been quite an experience for everyone involved. As the Forest Service sees a reduction in timber sale activity, they also have lost some “institutional knowledge”, especially when it comes to the more obscure terms of the contract, like “catastrophic damage” clauses. Due to a concerted effort on behalf of the Forest Service as well as by Chuck Roady and Chris Damrow of Stoltze, we should be salvaging burnt logs and shipping them to the mill by the time you read this article. We hope to complete the majority of the salvage harvest this winter before log quality deteriorates. Unlike the ski areas, we are NOT praying for too much snow! On a more positive note, we do have some very good news to report. It is a long standing goal of Stoltze to continue to grow our timber land base. By taking advantage of the strong demand for residential property in the Flathead Valley, we were recently able to sell 273 acres of timberland adjacent to residential development and all the associated headaches and purchase 1,560 acres of very productive timberland from Plum Creek Timberlands in the north Ashley Lake area. This purchase increases our total land holdings to 37,960 acres.

ry Mer s! tma is Chr

Trumbull Creek Times ~ Page 7

News From The Plant continued from Page 3 . . . . showed that higher-grade logs would have a higher sales return as a 1”, board high-grade product. However, lower grade logs were worth much more as a 2’ dimension product. Through this process, we were able to produce record volumes of 2&better 1x4, 1x6, 1x8, 1x10, and 1x12 at the planer. Perfecting the process and perfecting the product are never-ending goals. With dynamic market conditions, varying log supplies, new and modified processing equipment, the variables are too many to drift into a comfortable but indifferent routine. The People Everything that has been accomplished in 2007, has been the result of the bright, committed, hard-working employees at F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. Without their dedication, contributions and understanding, our company would have continued in a business as usual mode. With the very poor lumber market that we have experienced for such an extended period, doing business as usual simply would not have been enough. In Rich Donnell’s column in the November issue of TIMBER PROCESSING magazine Rich gives us the following quote from a lumberman named Billy Griffin, president Griffin Lumber, Cordele, Georgia. It reads:

You’re Invited. . . .
To an for Ronald Buentemeier’s Retirement Friday, January 4, 2008 2 to 6 pm

Open House

“You can throw as much money as you wish at a sawmill. But unless you have the quality people who care about it and make it work, it’s a waste of time and money.”
Well said! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All our Employees and Friends. Joe O'Rourke Plant Manager

At the

F.H. Stoltze Office 600 Halfmoon Road Columbia Falls

Congratulations!

Page 8 ~ Trumbull Creek Times

Editorial
We had many long articles this time, so I will keep my comments short. Please see the notice about the open house honoring Ronald to be held Friday, January 4. As I do every year, I ask that you take a moment and give thanks for family, friends, health, a good job and a great place to live. Merry Christmas. Jeff Clausen Editor

Merry Christmas And Happy New Year!

F.H. STOLTZE LAND & LUMBER CO. Lumber Manufacturers P.O. Box 1429 Columbia Falls, MT 59912


				
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