John King, owner of King Forest Industries, located in Wentworth, N.H., has had a sawmill in Wentworth since 1975.
KING FOREST INDUSTRIES Expands Service
By Terry Miller
Wentworth, N.H.—King Forest Industries has been a leading provider of Eastern White Pine (EWP) lumber for many years. That has not changed even though recent economic challenges have been experienced industry-wide. In response to those challenges, this venerable firm’s leadership guided its team by thinking “outside the box.”
John King, president and owner of King Forest said, “I refer to us now as a high production specialty mill and that’s really what we are now. You can go into our mill on any given day and we may be sawing 4/4, 5/4, 6/4 and/or 8/4, as well as a variety of timber sizes. You do not survive these kinds of economic times without mental toughness and a good team. We have both.”
To accommodate the necessary changes in the industry, King Forest has thickened and widened its raw materials in order to achieve a broader market share. “There is a segment of the market that requires thicker lumber than making a ¾-inch board, and we’ve gone that route,” King said.
Eastern White Pine lumber stands ready for shipment by trucks. King Forest’s products cater to the distribution system with all items plus the industrial market for the production of such items as furniture, cabinets, window and door parts, and flooring.
King Forest’s products cater to the industrial market for the production of such items as furniture, cabinets, window and door parts, and flooring. “It doesn’t really matter what the size of the lumber is that the customer needs, we try to find a way to do it,” King said. “If it is valuable to the customer, then it is valuable to us. We do a variety of special sizes and grades to accommodate whatever special needs the customer has.
“It seems to be a growing trend for a lot of the manufacturers’ customers, for example, to be able to bring in a whole trailer load of 5-1/4 and turn that into a product. It makes their operation more efficient. The traditional way was for a company to bring in random width lumber and rip it up. But it seems to be going more and more away from that and customers are wanting more specified widths and lengths now,” added King. “We have adapted in order to fulfill these market driven needs. We are a proactive and responsive EWP manufacturer.”
To accommodate orders, King Forest operates its sawmill 45 hours weekly and 50 hours weekly in its two planing mills. One planing mill is a 16-knife machine and the other is an 8-knife machine. “We do pattern work and specialty products on the lower production line,” King said. King Forest’s target moisture content is 8 to 10 with an in-line moisture meter to ensure that nothing over 12 percent leaves the mill. The kilns are fueled by wood waste, and the firm this year invested one quarter million dollars on kiln improvements. A 600-horsepower steam boiler produces steam and electricity for the kilns, in addition to heat for the building.
King Forest wraps all lumber in a high quality, fitted paper cover prior to transport at no additional charge to customers, and prides itself on its ability to ship well-packaged lumber on time.
Scott Hamilton and Jerry Bixby at work in the planer mill overseeing quality control.
The King Forest team is comprised of 80 employees. Several key personnel, in addition to King, are: Jerry Bixby, planer mill supervisor; Kevin Godfrey, sawmill manager; Anita Latulippe, controller; Pam McGraw, office manager; Steve Albaugh and Chuck Sackett, boiler/kiln operater; and Scott O’Meara, computer technology.
King attributes having a well-assembled team as a key factor in the company’s ability to remain successful. “We have a good team and that’s a necessity to run a business. In challenging times like these it comes down to mental preparation. You’re not going to survive unless you’re mentally ‘fit,’ ” he said. “We are customer-motivated and open to inquiries outside the box if it makes economic sense. Ultimately we are in the business of finding solutions for our customers.
“We’re cognizant of all these things because we’ve shipped lumber for a very long time,” he continued. “All of my people have been in tune with correct moisture content and doing things right the first time for a very long time. For example, it doesn’t show it’s face when you plane a board on four sides because you’re taking off roughly equal amounts on each side, but when you start ripping lumber and especially into small pieces, etc., it shows up. So everybody’s equally aware of things like that. We have discussions on those kinds of things all the time. We’re constantly asking what can we do to do it better. This year we spent a quarter of a million dollars on kiln improvements and in other areas to bring a higher quality product to the market. We’re constantly looking at how can we do something both more efficiently or make a better product. All of my people are into that kind of thing, so it creates an interesting workplace for them when it’s a challenge for them to figure out how to do these things.”
King Forest Industries lumber loaded and ready for prompt shipment.
King Forest is an active member of the North American Wholesale Lumber Assoc. and NELMA.
“We’ve been here in business a long time and we intend to be here for a long time in the future,” King said, “because we can provide a consistent product over a long period of time.”
Lumber shown here is ready for scanning and optimization.
The kilns at King Forest are fueled by wood waste, and the firm this year invested one quarter million dollars on kiln improvements. A 600-horsepower steam boiler produces steam and electricity for the kilns, in addition to heat for the building.