Softwood Forest Products Buyer


Feature Story

Bill Scott serves as sales and marketing manager, and Henri Appy works as general manager for Simpson Timber Co. at the firm’s California operations in Arcata, Calif.

SIMPSON –Redwood, Doug Fir, Now Cedar
By Wayne Miller 

Arcata, Calif.—Simpson Timber Co. was founded over 100 years ago in 1890, and has grown into a corporation whose main goal is to provide customers with quality wood and excellent customer service, according to Bill Scott, sales and marketing manager of the California Lumber Division. Four years ago, the company opted to separate its manufacturing operations from the resource base. Simpson Timber emerged as the manufacturing entity, while Green Diamond Resource owns the lands and timber.

The Simpson Timber Co. California sales office and headquarters are located at Arcata where dry kilns, a manufacturing operation and storage sheds are situated. At the Korbel, Calif., mill, one of three locations owned by Simpson Timber Co., the company manufactures Redwood and Doug Fir. Henri Appy, general manger of Simpson Timber Co. California Operations, said that the company is the largest producer of dry Redwood decking, and the company sees a large portion of its products used in the Western area of the country.
Joel Hamel, Lisa Trout, Mike Cameron, Rich Giacone, Loren Justice, Rhiannon Wood and Bill Scott are the sales force at the Simpson California Division.

“We have certain areas that are good for us, like the Colorado region, Utah, Montana—a number of the mountainous areas use a lot of decking,” Scott added.

The company dries 90 percent of its products coming out of the Korbel sawmill, where a majority of the stock is cut into two-inch dimension lumber. Scott also said that the Korbel mill produces 130 million board feet of Redwood and 120 million board feet of green dimension Doug Fir a year.

Although the Korbel mill is capable of manufacturing up to a 32-inch log, the majority of logs over 24 inches flow to the Orick large log sawmill. At the Orick facility, the company rotates between the Redwood and Doug Fir timbers, and now has added Cedar. Scott said Cedar fits the company because the processing is similar to the Redwood business.

The Orick sawmill, which features two headrigs, operates one shift and produces between 40 to 50 million board feet of high-quality dimension lumber and timbers. Most of this lumber is sorted and dried at the Brainard remanufacturing plant in Eureka, Calif.
A truckload of Cedar lumber arrives at the Brainard Remanufacturing plant in Eureka, Calif.

“Cedar produces the same kinds of products as Redwood, and a lot of our customers handle both Western Red Cedar and Redwood,” Scott said. “It may be new to us, but we have an advantage because we are here in California and we can provide this to our customers instead of them going to another source.”

For the past 50 years, the California division of Simpson has been striving for the goal of providing customers with quality Redwood lumber. Scott said that the company is always looking to achieve a certain quality for competing in the high-end decking business.

“That quality expands into the relationships we like to have with our distributors, and our customers,” Scott said. “We like to be the same people day in and day out, and we like to work with people—their problems are our problems. We have been in California for 50 years and we think that we have a clear vision of the future and how to continue those relationships.”

Appy said that Green Diamond Resource only harvests around 1 percent of the trees  growing on the land. He sai
A truck is being loaded with some of the company’s Redwood Collection for shipment to a customer in the Midwest.
d this is a big part of the business, being able to reinvest in the land by planting more trees as the company operates in a sustainable fashion.

The company is constantly looking to improve upon its products, and Appy feels that the products the company manufactures, the focus on customer service and the addition of Western Red Cedar makes the company more distinguishable from their competitors.

“The real drive in our business is to make quality products and to work with quality distributors who follow that vision through to their customers,” Appy said. “Simpson has a vision of being a stable, quality company and it comes from the family who owns the business and is reflected in each employee.”

Scott and Appy agree that with the Redwood and Cedar production, the company will only continue to grow for the next 100 years.

“We are optimistic about the future here at Simpson, and we feel that our production will increase over the next five years,” Appy said.
The company provides Doug Fir like this lumber, which is waiting to be shipped to one of the company’s customers.

Simpson Timber Co. employs 400 people between the three facilities the company operates, with a majority of those working at the Korbel facility. This is in addition to the number of employees at the Green Diamond division, who handle the growing, marketing and promotion of the trees.

The 100-year-old Korbel mill, which has been remodeled many times over the years, according to Scott, is equipped with a 35-inch and 60-inch debarker, an automated bucking station, a site clamp log quad that can run six logs per minute, an 8-inch gang edger and a cant quad. The company also has a Newnes optimizing edger that handles the sideboards off the logs and a twin horizontal 5-foot bandmill. After the lumber goes through the edger and bandmill, it is sorted in a 60-bin sorter and single stacker.

Simpson is also working on increasing the planing capacity at the plant. It currently runs on a Newman 990 with a 20-tray sorter. The Korbel mill has 13 kilns for drying the Redwood lumber that goes through the mill, and air-dry facilities. The Brainard remanufacturing plant has another 17 kilns, while 6 more are available on the Samoa site. Brainard and Samoa also air-dry significant volumes of lumber.
Redwood lumber is kiln-dried at the Korbel, Calif., facility.

Simpson ships logs and lumber out on trucks from Korbel, Brainard or Orick. The ability to reload, mainly for the dry decking products the company manufactures, is also available.

Appy said that at Simpson, as well as Green Diamond, being involved in the community is an important part of the company. Each company focuses on involving the employees, and both spend a significant amount of money on philanthropy. 

Scott said the main reason that Simpson has begun to market Cedar is to please customers who often cannot get the Redwood items they want and want to substitute Cedar. Through listening to the customers’ wants and needs, company managers know what to do to take the company to the next level of customer satisfaction.

“As far as adding Cedar to our line of products, we have the facilities, we know how to dry products, and it falls right in with the Redwood,” Scott said. “With some of the old-growth Redwood products going away, Cedar can replace some of that and it fits in well with what we are doing.”
Logs are transported to the Korbel sawmill to be processed.

Simpson is a member of the California Redwood Assoc., Redwood Inspecting Service, California Forestry Assoc., North American Wholesale Lumber Assoc., Lumber Assoc. of California and Nevada and Forest Products Commission in California.

Simpson Timber Co. continues to grow with the industry, and adding Cedar to its line of products is just one way the company is doing so. By maintaining SFI certification on the half-million acres of forestland the company owns, expanding their line of products and adapting to the ever changing needs of their customers, Simpson plans to stay in business for another century…or longer.

Joan Draper, a Green Diamond Resource employee, works on Redwood seedlings at the Korbel nursery.











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