Wood Purchasing News


Feature Story


This is an aerial view of Cherry Forest Products family-owned sawmill and hardwood manufacturing facility,

By Wayne Miller

Guelph, Ontario—Established by Edward Baranski as a green sawmill over 50 years ago, Cherry Forest Products, headquartered here, has remained a success by listening to its customers and focusing intensely on providing for customer needs.

Today, the family-owned sawmill and hardwood manufacturing facility is run by brothers, John, Robert and Jacob  Baranski. For more than 25 years, Cherry Forest Products has produced grade lumber, cut-to-size products and custom ripped planks. The company also expanded into sliced veneer several years ago.

Recently, Cherry Forest was awarded Chain-of-Custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The certification ensures that the firm’s quality hardwood lumber, cut-to-size dimension, cut to-size cabinet parts and veneers,
A trailer load of ripped strips is shown ready for shipment.
which are shipped domestically and internationally, are all harvested from responsibly managed forests.

Cherry Forest Products has four sawmills, additionally procures green lumber throughout New York, Pennsylvania, southern Ontario and Quebec, and processes approximately 25 million board feet of sawn timber per year. Once the logs have been processed through the sawmill, the lumber is carefully stacked, and put into one of nine kiln chambers.

Depending on grade, the lumber is then produced into either sorted-to-width grade lumber, ripped strips, dimensional blanks or pallets. Cherry Forest processes all domestic hardwoods, and produces sorted to width lumber in all grades of Hard Maple, Ash, Red and White Oak, Walnut and Cherry. The company maintains approximately 6 million board feet of inventory among five warehouses.

Cherry Forest Products operates its own delivery trucks, and guarantees swift delivery in its immediate area. The company also has over 10 years of experience in exporting lumber from the Port of Montreal in Montreal, Que.

Jacob Baranski handles international sales and marketing for Cherry Forest.
Built in 1986, Cherry Forest’s Guelph, Ont., sawmill covers 25 acres, employs approximately 130 workers and boasts up-to-date lumber handling equipment including a new Walnut steamer, combination sticker/ sorter and optimized ripped-to width line. Everything but the log yard is paved ensuring that products remain neat and clean.

The Walnut steamer, which offers 15,000 FBM (foot board measure) of capacity per charge, was added so the company could steam its own Walnut and have better quality control. The sticking/sorting line offers two grading stations, and can sort and grade 100,000 board feet of lumber daily. The machine automatically tallies all footages by computer, and includes a moisture sensor to determine the moisture content of what is produced.

Cherry Forest Products also has a dimension plant that offers numerous re-manufactured goods ranging from ripped-to-width strips to dimensional blanks. The company offers custom ripping and quality checks for international customers. Cherry Forest also hopes to install a thin kerf band mill in Guelph in the future.

Jacob Baranski, whose responsibilities include international sales and marketing, said Cherry Forest’s specialty is increasing customers’ yields and inventory roll-over traditional production methods. This helps customers increase productivity and cash flow, allowing them to focus their time on pursuing profitable orders.
Walnut is the newest species offered by Cherry Forest Products.

“No matter where you produce it, be it the most expensive or least expensive labor market in the world, wasted lumber is wasted lumber,” Baranski said. “By buying a product that is already semi-processed, you can definitely gain in efficiency. The key is to utilize your resources efficiently and to waste as little time and energy as possible.”

Baranski noted that 20 years ago, many companies were forced to use random width lumber, and are still operating on the philosophy that they have no choice but to keep doing things the same way. “The market’s changed, and now you can purchase cut-to-size lumber,” he said. “Sometimes, we have to help customers understand the true cost of trying to do it all themselves should be reviewed. We say, ‘Look, you’re using 80 percent of your resources to produce and market something you sell at a break even price just to move from inventory. Look at the intangible costs of that, and purchase something you can sell right away and make money on.’ Very few companies who understand their costs can truly say that they are better off buying random width lumber than ripped-to-width strips or dimensional lumber.”

Cherry Forest Products can offer its cut-to-size products cut, surfaced and color sorted to customer specifications, ready for moulding or S4S. The cut-to-size plant produces approximately 200 loads of high quality dimension blanks per year, and has
Pictured is Cherry Forest Products’ dimension line.
been running at full capacity for the past five years. 

A strict quality control program is in place, in which every bundle of ripped strips and dimension that is produced is quality checked on a number of variables. This system allows management to gauge the employees’ ability to make quality conscience decisions.

Cherry Forest’s veneer facility is located in Guelph, 40 minutes down the 401 Highway from the Toronto Airport. The facility produces approximately 1 million square meters of panel, door, and furniture veneers in Hard Maple, Cherry, Red and White Oak, Walnut, Ash and Hickory. The new dedicated building also provides a larger veneer showing area and ability to hold more inventory.

In addition to Jacob, key executives include John and Bob Baranski, co presidents; Brian Walsh, purchasing; Joe Abele, veneer president; and Max Yott, veneer sales and purchasing.

Jacob said Cherry Forest Products has incorporated a number of secondary processes to build the firm into a fully integrated hardwood forest products provider.

This is a photo of the Walnut steamer Cherry Forest recently installed.
“The key to our company is being able to take the log from its raw form and utilizing it in the best ways possible every time,” he said. “We can take the best quality logs and produce sliced veneer, take the higher quality sawlogs and produce ripped-to-width and sorted-to-width lumber, take the middle quality and produce cut-to-size dimensional pieces or ripped strips, and put the lowest quality of the log into our pallet plant.”

John Baranski added that Cherry Forest’s goal is to be the most efficient user of the log, and find niche uses for each dimension, width and grade. He said the company provides “relentless attention” to customer needs, and will do what it takes to make sure a client is satisfied.

“We really try to make our customers understand the value of buying something that’s semi-produced for them,” he said. “We can offer customers exactly what they need, rather than settling for something they don’t really want to buy.”

Jacob said Cherry Forest is committed to exporting over the long term regardless of market conditions. The company’s export prepared lumber is painted with orange ends, and is recognized as a high quality product by customers in China, Indonesia, mainland Europe and Italy.

“We spend a lot of time overseas, keeping track of our customers and keeping in contact with them,” he said. “It’s definitely a philosophy that we’ve followed.  You need to market worldwide in order to use your products and your resources most
This is a photo of incoming logs being tallied.

For more information, contact Cherry Forest Products at 519-763-1466, visit www.cherryforest.ca or e-mainfo@cherryforest.ca.

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