This is a summary of the discussion at the Working Wood Session held on February 21, 2015, Bancroft and of conversations held beforehand. The purpose is to match wood users with wood producers and grow the local market for local wood. The Ontario Trillium Foundation sponsored the session.
The Role of Government
Government should show leadership. In Ontario, forestry has moved from Northern Mines and Development to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRF). Ontario Wood is trying to change public attitudes about buying local wood rather than imported wood. Quebec supports the forest industry and subsidizes forest roads and forestry trucking. In Ontario the government could subsidies local sawmills, transportation costs and forest roads. Saw mills have to adapt to the changing requirements of the Ontario Building Code. County of Hastings Economic Development Action Plans and the Strategic Plan identify the natural resource sector as an area to focus on, as it is vital for the local economy. Municipalities should specify local wood in building contracts.
Mills in Hastings County
The mills are family owned and are often long established. Some sell lumber wholesale graded or ungraded, air or kiln dried, for processing elsewhere, and also have retail outlets. Some concentrate on selling locally. The sawmill industry is a cut throat especially at the commodity end of the market. Lumber and byproducts are shipped long distances.
Freymond Lumber, Bancroft, processes maple, pine and oak and sells wholesale. Lumber is kiln-dried elsewhere and sold in the USA, Europe and China. Spruce goes to Quebec. Freymond Lumber grades spruce if required locally by a contractor.
Chisholms Lumber, Tweed, kiln-dries hardwood and softwood lumber selling mainly in the Ontario, Quebec, northeastern US market and internationally. Hardwoods are graded under the National Hardwood Lumber Association rules and Chisholms use the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and The Rainforest Alliance certification.
Murphy Lumber, Eldorado, sell kiln-dried, graded hardwood lumber both wholesale and retail. Murphy Lumber specializes in white pine for the timber framing and the log home building.
Empey Lumber, Stirling-Rawdon, specializing in Eastern white cedar and pine. Timber for inside use is air dried and then kiln dried. Empey custom kiln-dry lumber for clients. They grade pine for construction. They custom cut cedar for decks and deliver to Toronto and Hamilton.
Quinn Lumber, Trenton, handles hardwoods from the local area and some pine, selling from the yard kiln dried and ungraded. They serve local cabinet makers.
Wilson Forest Products, Madoc, grade hardwoods and sell wholesale, but do not sell graded soft wood. There is demand for ungraded lumber for farm buildings. They deliver pine for log homes throughout an area from Bracebridge to Cobourg.
Northwood Lumber, Harcourt, retails both rough and dressed lumber. They do custom planing, sawing, and re-sawing, and make traditional, hand-hewn timber. They are planning a kiln. They ship white pine to a local building supplier.
Woodlot owners can harvest wood and get it custom saw, kiln dried or planed locally. Shane Mumby, Mumby Mills, Cooper, has a portable sawmill and travels throughout the county.
Amish sawmills, Centre Hastings, do custom cutting and planing as well as retailing wood.
China can not supply “just in time” products, which creates opportunities for wood processers.
Value Added Products
Some wood artisans focus on demand-driven products, such as walking sticks, screen doors, tool handles, paddles, firewood, kindling, and fire starters. A number sell products such tool, handles, cedar barrels and paddles to big outlet stores.
Buying high quality, custom made items such as furniture is not a spur of the moment decision. Will Ruch, Ruch Canoes, finds customers demand a quality product with a story.
Wood turners, furniture and other artisans look for burls and unusual woods and will pay for them.
Other Forest Products
There is scope to expand maple syrup production and potential for harvestings other forest products, especially on Crown Land where management focuses on timber production and wildlife habitat.
Challenges with Selling/buying Wood Locally
Seasonality of wood production: customers do not understand that supplies fluctuate.
Lebel Cambium, wholesales pressure treated lumber to the TimBr Market, Rona, Cashway, etc. and cannot undermine this by selling directly to the public.
As an independent dealer Garrett Rollins, Rona Store, Stirling, can work with whichever wholesale distributor he wants. If he were buying larger volumes, he could buy directly from the mills as it would be cheaper. He is not at that level yet.
Local home builders buy from lumber yards. Convenience and price are important. They need graded spruce, which is not available in quantity locally. Log home builders buy from mills. There is a need for better communication between mills and lumber yards.
Linking Wood Users, Producers and Customers
The Local Wood website localwood.harvesthastings.ca links producers and users. People can email with specific requests. Ten per cent of visitors to localwood.harvesthastings.ca are from Toronto. There is a role for social media, but people can get frustrated with the inter net. Word of month and face to face conversations are important for building relationships. There is potential for a Central Point to showcase wood where people can see and touch.
Signs on the highway telling people about the importance of forests and the availability of local wood could reach some of the 2,583,107 visitors to Hastings County last year.
Promoting Quality in a Diverse Region
Quality starts with sustainable forestry practices and goes through to the finished wood product. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification is a barrier for small woodlot owners as it is expensive.
Promoting quality through training could improve business practices, sustainable forestry, design and production. There is potential to work with Loyalist College and the Small Business Centre.
The Local Wood Initiative brands the whole of Hastings County
• Bancroft links north to Algonquin, west into Haliburton and east to Renfrew and the Ottawa Valley.
• Central Hastings links west to Peterborough along Highway 7, and to Campbellford, but more south to Belleville and Trenton, but not to the east.
• Belleville and City of Quinte West’s links lie south of Highway 401, to Prince Edward County and east and west along the Highway 401 corridor.
Marketing to Cottage Owners
Focus on the cottagers and seasonal residents as locals may not want expensive value-added and artisan products. Early retirees are moving to Hastings County.
Advertise in to the Lake Association newsletters.
For More Information
Local Wood Initiative
251 Goods Road
Stirling ON K0K3E0
Participants of Working Wood Session
John Olsen Wood turner, phone 613 332 61248 jolesen1bellnet.ca
Steve Tubb, woodlot owner and furniture maker, Stirling Rawdon (613) 395-4388, stevetubb.ca
Andrew Redden Hastings County Economic Development Manager, (613) 966-6712 reddenahastingscounty.com
Larry McTaggart Lebel Cambium pressure treated lumber, (613) 332-4500. lmctaggartlebelcambium.com
Mayor Bernice Jenkins, Town of Bancroft
John Forman, hand hewer, (613) 332-3689, johnhandhewing.com
Jody Peters Ontario Maple Syrup Association, Ontario woodlot Association (613) 334 5184 jodypeterswoodlothotmail.cm
Peter Hynard, forestry consultant, (705) 286-1071, hynardinterhop.net
Matt Caruana, energy consultant, LWI Co-ordinator (613) 395-1166, infohastingsstewardship.ca
Louise Livingstone LWI Co-ordinator, landscape ecologist, (613) 395-4388, infoharvesthastings.ca
Ernie Demuth, Forestry Technician, Bancroft Mindon Forest Company, (613) 332-6890 ex 203
Virginia de Carle BAFIA LWI Co-ordinator, Forestry Technician, (613) 338-1137, virginiadecarle2014gmail.com
Wayne Quibell, General Contractor, timber framers. chainsaw carver, Highland Creek Builders Wilberforce, Ontario (613) 334 -1914 infohighlandcreekbuilders.ca
Allan King - Sales, Highland timber mart (715) 653-8049
Will Ruch, Ruch Canoes (613) 332-6650
Roger Kelly, Kellys Wild Berry Farm, Bancroft Area Stewardship Council vice chair (613) 338-2535, 2ukellysgmail.com
Ilda Furtado, Links to Health http://www.linkstohealth.ca, (613) 332 3115, ildafurtadolinkstohealth.ca
Sea Lee-Pophan, Nurse, woodlot advisor (613) 334-6045, slptao.ca
Jeff Wells Furniture Maker, Tin House Wood Working, Coe Hill, (613) 474-2590
Paul D’Aoust, Project Facilitator, North Hastings Economic Development Committee (613) 332- 0085, pauldaoustnhedcgmail.com
MaryClare Haley, Bancroft (613) 334 0758 (226) 802-4083
Shane Mumby, Mumby Mills, Carpenter, www.mumbymills.com, (613) 473-0490, scmumbyhpedsb.on.ca
Contributors: not present
Garnett Rollin Rona Stirling
Nicole Bosiak, Farmworth Construction
Robert Empey, Empey Lumber
Mark Pilgrim, York Valley Fine Woodworking
Red Tail Paddle