Yoder Lumber Co. manufactures standard grades and thicknesses from Appalachian hardwoods, which include primarily Red and White Oak, Cherry and Poplar. Other species offered by the firm include Walnut, Hard and Soft Maple, Hickory, Sycamore, Grey and Red Elm, Ash, Beech and Basswood.
YODER LUMBER Maximizes Efficiency
By Paul Miller Jr.
Millersburg, Ohio—Yoder Lumber Co. Inc., located halfway between Cleveland and Columbus, operates three facilities, all within eight miles of one another. On the western edge of the Appalachian region, the facilities are situated in the small communities of Berlin, Charm and Millersburg. Yoder Lumber Co. manufactures standard grades and thicknesses from Appalachian hardwoods, which include primarily Red and White Oak, Cherry and Poplar. Other species offered by the firm include Walnut, Hard and Soft Maple, Hickory, Sycamore, Grey and Red Elm, Ash, Beech and Basswood.
Throughout the years, the firm has continued to expand their operations, facilities and markets.
A new mill was installed at Yoder Lumber’s Buckhorn facility, located in Millersburg. Some of the major pieces of equipment are, state-of-the-art edger, manufactured by McDonough Manufacturing. According to President and Chief Executive Officer Mel Yoder, the firm has seen sizable yield increases since the installation. “This edger is a wiggle box edger with 3 movable blades. The USNR optimizer scanner gives us the maximum width board as well as a two-board solution if possible, which increases yield.
The company uses an HMC Corporation debarker and trimmer (shown here.)
The carriage is a Cleereman with a 17- degree slant with 4-head blocks that is also used in combination with a USNR optimizer scanner. As a result of the new carriage we are getting a great deal more yield on our logs. The biggest factor for us with the carriage is in our slabs. We are getting thinner slabs and more footage out of the same amount of logs,” he continued. “We’ve been very satisfied with the results of these new upgrades.”
A 7-foot Salem headrig and resaw has also been installed. “The headrig and resaw are almost identical,” Yoder said. “We actually found them used and rebuilt them ourselves. Because they use the same length band, we are able to utilize the blades from the headrig on the resaw and get more life out of our bands. The linebar is manufactured by PHL Industries. It’s completely automated, the operator basically turns the face that they want to cut and from there, everything is automatic. He (the operator) determines what face to cut and what thickness and the feed through is automatic.”
Yoder said they were introduced to the PHL resaw system by Martin Quanci of Mill Quality Equipment & Design, Chillicothe, Ohio, the engineer that designed Yoder’s mill, Rick Grover of Northeast Mill Services, Inc., who headed up the installation of the project, and Mike Week of Mike Week Consulting LLC, who did the PLC programming to control the automation. “They installed a similar system in a Beech mill in Germany. After talking with the mill owners, engineers and operators, we were convinced it was the way to go because of the smoothness of the operation and the speed it operates at,” Yoder added. “We feel very confident that the PHL is going to give us the quality we need for many years to come.”
Yoder’s carriage is manufactured by Cleereman with a 17-degree slant with 4-head blocks that is also used in combination with a USNR optimizer scanner.
Other equipment suppliers are an HMC Corporation debarker and trimmer. Mellott Manufacturing and Webster supplied Yoder’s material handling equipment. Currently all three of Yoder’s facilities are operating an average of 45 hours a week. “The mills at our Charm location are operating about 46 hours a week, Buckhorn is at about 45 and our distribution department is running at about 50 hours a week, and the Berlin dimension plant is at 45 hours or as needed, per week” Yoder commented.
As for lumber and log inventories, Yoder said, “We buy green and dry lumber according to what we need. With increased production from the new mill, we’re intending to cut back on purchases and do more of our own production. We’re looking forward to that. Logs are supplied within a 100 mile radius of the mill.”
Annual production, at all three facilities, is approximately 12 million board feet, this will increase to 16 million once the new mill is in full production. Predryer capacity is 700,000 board feet, 455,000 board feet for all the dry kilns and 2 million board feet of dry storage capacity with yard space for 4 million board feet.
For delivery, Yoder maintains its own fleet of trucks. The 15 trucks are used for bringing logs to the mills and delivering dimension products and lumber to customers.
The firm has approximately 165 employees. Sales representatives at the firm are: Paul Dow at the Berlin yard, is in charge of dimension, green and kiln-dried lumber and export sales; Karl Schmertzler, who is based in North Carolina markets green, kiln-dried lumber; and Mahlon Beachy and Dick Goldsmith, who are responsible for distribution sales out of the Buckhorn yard.
Some of the operation’s major pieces of equipment are this state-of-the-art edger, manufactured by McDonough Manufacturing. According to President and Chief Executive Officer Mel Yoder, the firm has seen sizable yield increases since the installation. “This edger is a wiggle box edger with 3 movable blades. The USNR optimizer scanner gives us the maximum width board as well as a two-board solution if possible, which increases yield.
Yoder Lumber has a strong history in the forest products industry. John Yoder founded the company in 1944 and began with a portable sawmill that he used to saw construction lumber for the local farmers, when they wanted to build new buildings. As his business grew, he ventured into buying timber from landowners and sawing furniture grade lumber and railroad ties. During the course of the development of his business, his sons, Eli, Roy, Mel and Syl, learned all aspects of lumbering and how to operate the mill.
In 1956, John built a facility in one of his pasture fields on the farm where he lived and began running both a stationary and portable mill. Since the 1960’s, the second generation of Yoders have been involved in the timber buying, maintenance and management of Yoder Lumber Co.
The firm holds memberships with the National Hardwood Lumber Assoc., Wood Components Manufacturers Assoc., Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Assoc., Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc., Ohio Forestry Assoc., Wood Products Assoc., Ohio Manufacturing Assoc. and the local Chamber of Commerce.
Yoder Lumber is doing what it takes to prepare for the future, not only by expansion, but also by training the third generation of Yoders. The third generation, currently involved in the business, include Nathan, CFO and Trent, Buckhorn Yard and Distribution Manager, sons of Mel; Craig Yoder, Charm yard and fleet manager, and Ken Grate, Human Resources Director, son and son-in-law of Roy; and Ryan, Timber Procurement and Land Manager, and Tony, Berlin Yard and Dimension Plant Manager, sons of Eli.
Yoder Lumber Co. utilizes a Kentwood moulder (shown here) in its manufacturing process.
Trent oversaw the new mill expansion at the Buckhorn Yard. The management team had input into the layout and equipment installed, but the equipment suppliers were picked by Mel and Trent.
With longevity, strong family ties, dedication, experience and expansion, Yoder Lumber has equipped itself to provide customers with quality products and to stay at the forefront of the industry. For more information visit www.yoderlumber.com.