Softwood Forest Products Buyer


Feature Story


Durgin And Crowell’s Service And Vision Combine For Success
By Terry Miller

New London, N.H.—Attention to detail and a constant desire to improve have been the driving forces behind the success of Durgin and Crowell Lumber Co., headquartered in New London, N.H.

Established in 1976 by Peter O. Crowell and Arthur Durgin as a small, eight-person rough green sawmill, the business today produces more than 30 million board feet of kiln dried lumber and dresses Eastern White Pine boards in more than 30 patterns. Durgin and Crowell’s growth as a company has been
Chuck Gaede and B Manning handle sales for Durgin and Crowell Lumber Co. in New London, N.H.
marked not only by increased production, but also by technological improvements in efficiency, quality and safety.

A totally integrated forest resource company, Durgin and Crowell’s manufacturing operation includes a modern two-sided sawmill, a woodwaste boiler, aluminum computer controlled dry kilns, state-of-the-art planing and distribution center and an optimized cut-up shop.

Highly efficient use of the natural resource is achieved through a combination of high quality logs to the sawmill, th e utilization of short boards at the cut-up shop and the production of 16 megawatts of electricity through a joint venture agreement in a woodwaste co-generation power plant.

The well-crafted master plan implemented over the last seven years has elevated the mill to one of the most technologically advanced in the Northeast. To achieve the most consistent grade in the sawmill, the first fully-automatic FinScan grader for White Pine lumber was installed last October. Twelve color cameras inspect each board, and then images are sen
Randy Waterman handles all operations within the fully modernized cut-up shop.
t to the computer for grading. Four in-line Wagner moisture meters were also installed in the planer mill in order to ensure the consistency of moisture content in the lumber. Each board passes through two separate detection lines prior to being dressed.

To improve quality and handling on the dressed end, a Weinig/Waco 30XL Molder was added to the 135,000-square-foot planing and distribution center. Now all paneling stock has a moulder finish, and all finished goods are stored and loaded under one roof.

These major changes have positioned Durgin and Crowell well in order to provide service to its diverse custome r base. The needs of these customers were considered in each decision the company has made.

Durgin and Crowell will continue to expand its product mix with the installation of a new eight-head profile sander and vacuum coating UV curable primer supplied by Delle Vedove. This new ASURE™ technology will produce finished ENHANCE™ paneling, ready to install and free of harmful VOC’s. Durgin and Crowell partnered with Delle Vedove, a world leader in coating application, to bring this new product to market. Eastern White Pine’s soft texture, pleasing natur
Paul Astrom oversees the planer mill filing, which includes the capabilities of producing more than 30 patterns.
al appearance and stability, combined with the latest in coating application, brings an excellent finished product to the market.

The technology at the mill is impressive, but the real key to success has always been its talented and dedicated workforce. It is both impressive and makes a bold statement about a company to have been in business for 30 years and to have many employees with more than 20 years of service. Their names and contributions are too numerous to mention, but the management of the company recognizes them as its most important resource.

Durgin and Crowell has consistently been an active supporter of both the community in which it is located, and the forest products industry. The company provides education scholarships to graduates of the three local New London high schools, is a major donor to New Hampshire Project Learning Tree and a supporter of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Timberlands Owners Assoc., as well as the Northern Logger Assoc. Each of these associations has recognized Durgin and Crowell as the outstanding forest product industry of the year.

Company sales manager B Manning has served as chairman of the grading committee and chairman of the board of directors for the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturing Assoc.

“At Durgin and Crowell,
Before each board is planed, it passes through two inline moisture detectors, which cover 110 percent of the board to ensure the best moisture content in the lumber the operation produces.
we pay attention to detail,” Manning stated. “We do all the basics well and produce a consistent product everyday.”

Other members of the sales and marketing department at Durgin and Crowell include Chuck Gaede, sales, Jason Heiser, inventory/trucking and Tracey Gonea, administration. All three staff members are certified NeLMA graders and are actively involved in the daily manufacturing process, which better positions them to understand the needs of the company’s customers.

Driven by a solid manufacturing philosophy, long-term vision for the future and wise usage of natural resources, Durgin and Crowell believes it is well positioned to support its customers. 

Durgin and Crowell has three slow-down stations in the planer mill, which gives each grader a better opportunity to find the best grade on each individual board for the company’s customers.

Once the wood has gone through the planer mill, it is kept undercover while being loaded on trucks in order to keep the product as clean and sheltered as possible.


Having 18 smaller dry kilns, the company is able to do specific moisture contents to better meet the needs of specific customers.


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