Logs have a unique character, a character that Town + Country translates into custom log and timber frame homes. Every component of a Town + Country building system comes straight from our Boyne Falls sawmill. Our expert craftsmen personally oversee production of the building materials that will go into your home so you can be confident in their quality.
During the winter when the Northern White Cedar of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is harvested, Town + Country builds up our inventory so we can serve customers throughout the coming year. Vast acres of Northern White Cedar, a species which grows only in this area of the United States and Canada, is readily available. Yet Town + Country is always concerned that new growth is allowed to take place in areas where harvesting has occurred. We utilize professional harvesters who are environmentally conscious. Nothing is wasted. The bark is used for landscaping, limbs for railing, saw dust for horse and dog bedding, and the log core produces our sap free and paneling.
There are two stages of sawing. The first is “canting,” where the log is cut into a square and the first layer of sapwood, if any, is removed. Next is “re-sawing,” when the cant is sawed into dimensional sizes needed to obtain the appropriate end-product and inventory mix.
Kiln drying is an extremely important step in the production process. Removing moisture from wood to reach the point of “product stabilization” is only accomplished through kiln drying, and the importance of this technique is seen in the finished product.
We insist that our materials are dried to very specific moisture contents. We have two large kilns, the same type used in the furniture-production business. Each kiln dries about 70,000 board feet of material, with the process taking from four days to two weeks depending on the size of the white Cedar logs or cants being dried and how much moisture they contain.
The time and effort put into kiln-drying are worth it, for many reasons. Because our products are dried under controlled conditions, vs. air drying, we are able to reduce the amount of defects that occur. Once the products are dried to specific moisture levels consistent with their end use, we are able to visually inspect the wood and remove any defect that may have occurred.
It’s important to note, too, that wood changes in dimension as it dries until it reaches its “equilibrium point.” We prefer this to occur in our kiln (rather than on your house) to eliminate checking, warping and shrinkage after installation.
Kiln-drying also ensures that our molding and planning processes will be accurate, thus producing the highest quality log home product and a sufficient stock to meet increasing demand.
The production line is where all the meticulous and careful efforts in harvesting, sawing and kiln-drying come together.
Here, the wood is shaped to provide the size and profile of the various log siding and paneling products and each piece is hand-hewn to add the final character and desired look. Critical to this phase is the ability of our craftsmen to transform all of our log or timber home products to the exact standard required by the design, builder and the construction process.
Town + Country combines handcrafting with 21st century technology, efficiently producing a range of products large and small. A computerized controller oversees the entire machining phase to ensure error-free home building products at the lowest possible cost.
Efficiency and accuracy are built into all phases of production. Log siding products, for instance, are passed through a peeling line, where three large custom machines with multiple settings work with any size of log to present a finished piece that meets our expectations. Additionally, our end-matching process puts the tongue-and-grooves on the ends of each piece in quick fashion.
This investment in technology is a benefit to both the end user and Town + Country. It increases capacity and lowers costs for clients and ensures we will deliver on our 100% usable material guarantee for faster installation and greater satisfaction.
But machines don’t do all the work here. Each kiln-dried Cedar product also goes through a defecting step; this is done by hand to ensure each piece of finished log siding, paneling, trim or other products meets our rigorous grading standards.
Ecologically friendly processing means nothing is wasted. One inventive example: The sawdust and shavings from our log siding production line are blown into a silo and collected for use as horse and dog bedding. Horse farms and kennels prefer our byproducts because white Cedar repels fleas and ticks, just as it does termites in a home.
We take unique approaches, too, like heating our production facility in the winter with the excess steam from our kilns piped underground.
As with all our processes, our green goal is to keep our manufacturing costs and your building expenses as low as possible.
Watch our video about Town + Country’s long history working with White Cedar and get a peek inside our mill.