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Lonnie Kollander, sawmill supervisor, reviews rough thickness while Brian Ward uses the L-size at Limington Lumber, headquartered in East Baldwin, Maine.
Limington Lumber Maintains Steady Growth Through Technology

By Terry Miller

East Baldwin, Maine—For nearly 50 years, Limington Lumber Co., headquartered here, has been committed to providing the highest quality Eastern White Pine available. During the last seven years, the company has reinforced that commitment through a series of technological upgrades and refinement of its quality control program.

“We are focused on providing the best possible product that we can, on a consistent basis,” said Win Smith Jr., president of Limington Lumber. “We have made the investment in the newest technology throughout the mill. We have a long-standing, experienced workforce, and we are 100 percent committed to putting out a product that’s going to work for our wholesale customer in their marketplace.”

Brian Ward, quality control technician, inspects finished lumber prior to packaging.
After gaining experience in retail and wholesale sales, Win Smith Jr. joined the family-owned firm, founded by his father in 1961, in the winter of 1993. He previously served as a store manager for P.F. O’Connor in Revere, Mass., and in the Portland, Maine, sales office for North Billerica, Mass.-based Hood Distribution/McQuesten Group.

Limington Lumber has 40 employees, nine of which are lumber graders. In addition to Smith, some key employees include Gretchen Terrio, office manager; Jim Henderson, operations manager; and Brian Ward, who oversees quality control. Henderson manages the day-to-day operations of the mill, and oversees the company’s technology.

Ward, an experienced grader, who was trained as a filer, monitors the quality of the products manufactured.  Through use of equipment such as L-size technology on the rough and physical inspections on the finished lumber, the product is being inspected throughout the process. Brian has trained several employees to become certified graders. He also placed 2nd in the Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Assoc. (NELMA) Eastern White Pine grading program.

Limington Lumber produces 16 million board feet of Eastern White Pine annually, which is available in
Olin Thomas, maintenance supervisor, adjusts the Hurst 250 wood-fired boiler.
4/4 and now 5/4. The company offers 5/4 in S4S, but can manufacture virtually all patterns of 4/4 due to the investment in a state-of-the-art WACO Maxi Moulder. The moulder, which allows unique patterns (including in 12-inch) for certain markets or customers, is part of an overall facility upgrade and expansion that the company began in 2000.

Other improvements have included an Autolog grade trim line, bin sorting system and optimizing edger, all made by PHL out of Canada, as well as a Lewis 3-D scanning system on the headrig. “We have put in three more Irvington-Moore dry kilns and increased production space in the planer mill,” Smith said. “All knife stock is cut on the premises using both a Weinig Rondamat 960 and 980 in the grinding facility.”

The company’s nine dry kilns, which carry 360,000 board feet capacity per charge, are programmed with the latest version of the Irvington-Moore Kiln Boss Technology, a Windows-based platform that allows for schedules and monitors drying.

Gretchen Terrio is office manager for Limington Lumber.
“Our philosophy has been to maintain a steady well-managed growth,” Smith said. “Each step of the way, it’s important to be able to master the technology and get the systems in place before going on to the next project.”

Smith said the company continues to focus on providing its customers with the flexibility to mix and match patterns and grades on single loads. The 5/4 allows an even greater flexibility when building loads. “This service has never been more important to our customers than it is today,” Smith said. “Markets dictate lower inventory levels, but at the same time it is critically important that our customer has the product and the grade their customers are looking for. Our production is almost exclusively produced on a milled-to-order basis. This model minimizes the multiple handling of the product that sometimes occurs with milled inventories. We feel that this gives our customers the best chance at a fresh, bright product free of handling defects. We do everything we can to provide what our customers need in the time frame they expect.”

In 2005, Limington Lumber switched to a 250-horse-powered
Gretchen Terrio is office manager for Limington Lumber.
Hurst boiler, which utilizes sawdust and grindings generated from the planing mill and helps to control operating costs. The company initially installed two Cleaver Brooks oil-fired boilers before the cost of oil began its recent meteoric climb.

“We initially wanted a very stable heating system for the dry kilns, especially as the dry kilns were new to us,” Smith said. “We wanted to make sure that we had a system that had a minimal amount of interruption in the drying process. We kept both Cleaver Brooks oil boilers online for a backup so, if something happens to the wood-fired boilers, we can maintain a steady heat source for our kilns.”

Limington Lumber is located in southwestern Maine, in what is known as the Saco River Valley. For over 300 years, the region, which extends from New Hampshire down through the coast, has been known for high quality Eastern White Pine.

Jim Henderson, operations manager, reviews the kiln schedule with Alton Harmon.
“We have been committed to Eastern White Pine since 1961,” Smith said. “One thing that’s always been very important here is the commitment that we make to our customers. We make sure that our products are shipped on time and are the type of products that the customers need and expect.”

Limington Lumber markets its products through wholesale/wholesale distributors throughout North America. All shipments are paper wrapped and transported via truck or van. The firm is a member of the North American Wholesale Lumber Assoc. (NAWLA), NELMA, Maine Forest Products Council, Small Woodlot Owners of Maine (SWOAM) and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

The company ships its products primarily east of the Mississippi River, from New England to the southeastern states of Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Some customers are also located overseas.

Win Smith Jr. is president of the second-generation company, which was founded by his father in 1961.
“We’ve loaded containers here for years, even for shipments to the West Coast,” Smith said. “With the proper loading technique, there is no damage to the product. We take the time to use multiple steel banding, which holds the integrity of the load as it goes into the container. We try to minimize any disruption to the units prior to them being removed from the containers.”

Smith said Limington Lumber has received many benefits from participating in the annual NAWLA Traders Market®, which the company has participated in for more than a decade.

“The Traders Market has provided us an excellent venue for not only meeting new customers, but also re-enforcing relationships with existing customers,” he said. “It allows us a platform to present some of the new products that we have. It’s a format that works very well for us.”

The WACO Maxi Moulder allows unique patterns for certain markets or customers.
Limington Lumber also recently became just the second sawmill in Maine to receive the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Safety and Health Achievement Program (SHARP) award, which recognizes health and safety in the workplace.

“We worked extensively with the Maine Dept. of Labor in order to get to that level and receive that award,” Smith said. “The credit for that award goes to Olin Thomas, our safety director, and to the hard work of all of the employees. Their commitment reinforces that any time you have a safer work environment, it improves morale and ultimately builds a stronger work force.”

For more information, call 207-625-3286, fax 207-625-7399, e-mail or visit

Pictured is an Esterer Sash Gang Saw.



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