Beavercreek, Ore.—When it comes to Cedar, Ralph Schmidt seems to know what it takes to make his sawmill one of the best Cedar manufacturing facilities in the industry.
He and his wife, Merry, started Lazy S Lumber Co. in 1981 after purchasing the old Fir sawmill from the family estate, taking the Lazy S name from the family cattle brand of Schmidt Brothers Farms. In 1998, they purchased an old Fir sawmill in Kettle Falls, Wash., and named it Columbia Cedar. Both facilities have undergone constant change and improvement since their inception to ensure that their customers get the highest quality Cedar products.
“It just keeps evolving. It’s great,” he stated. “This year we had customers come back to look at the facility, and they couldn’t believe how much our operation had changed since their previous visit.”
Tom Meyer works in local sales at Lazy S Lumber in Beavercreek, Ore.; Todd Fox serves as sales manager for both Lazy S and Columbia Cedar; and Dave Duncan is in sales at both companies.
Since the purchase of Columbia Cedar, Schmidt rebuilt most of the entire mill, making the 1940s-era mill into a modern, state-of-the-art facility for manufacturing Cedar products. He added kilns, upgraded the planer mill, put in a shavings and compactor/bagger and mulch bagger, and a 100-foot by 200-foot dry storage building. By the end of 2006, Schmidt hopes to add another storage building and more asphalt on the 25-acre operation. Future plans for Columbia Cedar include a second planer line, a new sticker stacker and an automated packaging facility.
“There will be more projects after that,” Schmidt predicted. “You can continue to grow if you have good people working with you and we have some of the very best. It allows you to continue to improve and make better products more efficiently. I really enjoy this. It’s not about getting bigger, it’s doing a better job for your customers this year than you did last year.”
Schmidt recently installed two propane-fired kilns at the Lazy S Lumber in Beavercreek, Ore., which added 2 million feet of kiln capacity per month. They recently completed a second planer line at Lazy S that doubles capacity, improves the product flow and ex
Tony Maben serves as chief operating officer at Lazy S Lumber.
pands the number of products the mill can produce.
“We buy the best logs,” Schmidt explained. “You can’t make good products out of bad logs, so the quality of log here ensures that our customers are going to get a better product. For what we make, our logs up here are perfect. We produce tight knot, high quality products and our log supply meets our needs very well.”
He added that his company manufactures with less wane allowances than some, and the upgrades in computer optimizers has helped the company become very good at quality control.
The sales team at Lazy S and Columbia Cedar work together to market products, and Schmidt is very pleased with their work. Chris Retherford works out of the Columbia Cedar office and Todd Fox and Dave Duncan work from the Lazy S office.
Two new kilns were recently installed at Lazy S Lumber.
But Schmidt explained, “They work as a team and enjoy what they do, and it shows.”
Lazy S Lumber and Columbia Cedar produce 50 million board feet of Cedar per year, with the primary products being 27 patterns of bevel siding, 1x4, 1x6 and 1x8 paneling for interior use in homes. They also manufacture S1S2E kiln-dry boards, kiln dried decking and channel siding. Schmidt’s oldest son, Jake, is working in the planer facility, learning the ropes and in the early stages of starting his business by manufacturing his own brand of Cedar cooking planks and thin pattern, tight knot Cedar tongue and groove paneling for garage doors and interior décor.
Lazy S Lumber Inc. is a member of the Western Red Cedar Lumbermen’s Assoc. and the North American Wholesale Lumber Assoc.