Remington Pallets Relies on a Cook’s Sawmill
Remington Rose got into the sawmill business at an opportune time. Rose owns Remington Pallets & Crates, and he needs a steady, reliable source of low-grade hardwood lumber for the pallet mill, that''s why he chose Cook''s Saw.By Tim Cox - Timberline Magazine
Date Posted: 1/1/2011
VINTONDALE, Penn. – Remington Rose got into the sawmill business at an opportune time, it turns out.
Rose owns Remington Pallets & Crates, and he needs a steady, reliable source of low-grade hardwood lumber for the pallet mill.
In the current market, with tight supplies of raw material, having a sawmill has been a plus to provide his business with the lumber it needs.
Rose has been in the pallet business since he bought an existing company, C&C Pallet, in May 2001. He bought the company’s customer accounts and equipment and moved operations to his home.
“I was looking to diversify or get something else started,” Rose explained.
Rose, 42, is a truck driver, and still does truck driving under a lease agreement to another company. He relies on a foreman to tend to the day-to-day operations of Remington Pallets.
Remington Pallets manufactures strictly hardwood pallets. The company employs four full-time workers and some occasional part-time labor.
“We do a lot of special pallets,” said Rose. Common sizes for the company are 29-1/2x73, 36x96, 35x50, 36x78, and other custom sizes, about 20-30 in all. Production varies, he said, because of the unusual sizes. The company has annual sales of about $350,000, according to Rose. Remington Pallets has customers in such industries as metal coatings, furniture, sand and gravel, brick manufacturing, and a sign business.
When Rose purchased the company and ran it the first several years, he bought cants and remanufactured them into pallet components.
“We slowed down two years ago,” Rose said, with the recession. He wanted to keep his employees working, so he decided to invest in a sawmill to produce lumber. “We still buy some cants,” noted Rose. The company processes about 7,000 board feet of raw material per week.
Vintondale, a little over 60 miles east of Pittsburgh, is in a region with paper mills, so there is competition for pulp wood or low grade logs, Rose acknowledged. The competitive market for low-grade hardwood has been exacerbated by the closings of sawmills in recent years.
“The economy has shut down so many sawmills, pallet lumber is hard to get,” said Rose. “It’s good that we’re able to produce what we can. I didn’t realize there was going to be a shortage.”
Nevertheless, business is on the upswing, according to Rose. It started to pick up in late 2009. Now, it is just as strong as it was before the recession if not better, he said.
Rose considered a number of different manufacturers when he decided to invest in a sawmill. He chose a Cook’s Sawmill Mfg. model AC36, which is equipped with complete hydraulics and is the company’s high-production model.
“The thing that sold me,” said Rose, was co-owner Tim Cook’s knowledge and expertise of sawmills and blades.
“From what I understood, he was even able to help other sawmills saw better by getting their blades better aligned,” said Rose. That kind of expertise gave Rose confidence in Cook’s company as a manufacturer of sawmill equipment.
He had conversations with Cook by telephone and also reviewed the company’s catalogue. He also compared another sawmill at the Richmond Expo.
Cook’s Sawmill Mfg. offers a number of different ‘packages’ with its sawmills, and that was how Rose made his buying decision. He bought a package that included an edger and other equipment.
“It came with 20 of Cook’s blades,” said Rose. He experimented with other blades, too, before deciding to rely on Cook’s as his blade supplier. “They last longer,” said Rose. He also found that, as the Cook’s blades wear and begin to wave in a cut, “I can control Cook’s blades easier than I can anybody else’s.” The sawmill runs 16-foot-10 blades, 1-1/2 inches.
“It’s done just fine,” Rose said of the sawmill. “It’s done everything Tim Cook promised me it would.”
Rose also has a Cook’s sharpener for the sawmill blades and a smaller Cook’s sharpener for servicing blades for his resaw. He also has a blade flattening tool from Cook’s. “It’s very critical,” he said, for straight sawing.
The sawmill has complete hydraulics, including a log lift. Rose chose the Perkins 51hp diesel engine for the sawmill and a Perkins 38hp diesel engine for the edger. Rose runs Cook’s circular saw blades for the two-saw edger.
Both machines are set up under a three-sided shed adjacent to Rose’s house. The pallet mill is housed in a 50-foot by 110-foot building on his property.
The company buys low-grade logs in lengths of 8, 10 and 12 feet and some hemlock logs in 16-foot lengths. The company also buys some 3-1/2x6 cants and uses 4/4 boards coming off the sawmill.
In addition to making pallets, the company also produces cribbing and heavy blocking for a customer. It makes cribbing 6x8 by 1 foot, 6x6 by 4 feet, 3x4 by 10 feet, and 8x8 by 4 feet.
One worker normally operates the sawmill. When the edger is in operation, two men usually run it. Two workers are always assembling pallets using Paslode nailing tools.
Since buying the company, Rose has updated or replaced all the original equipment with the exception of a Morgan resaw. For cutting material to length, the company is equipped with a Trace Equipment chop saw. It also has a Trace Equipment single-head notching machine, the Morgan single-head band resaw, and a radial arm saw. It has a home-built pallet stacking machine, too.
The company makes its own deliveries. Rose has a 24-foot box truck, a 1-ton pickup truck that can pull a 22-foot trailer, and a 14-foot stake bed truck.
Rose grew up in the area and has been a truck driver since 1995. He still does trucking, driving about 100,000 miles a year. He works about 20 hours a week in his pallet business and is mainly responsible for sales. He is not aggressively marketing the business at this time in order to pick up more business, but he is interested in expanding the business after his equipment is paid off. “I don’t really advertise,” he said, but occasionally picks up a new account largely by word of mouth or referrals.
Rose, an elder in Pike Grace Brethren Church in Johnstown, about 20 miles away, enjoys hunting. He has a boat and a camper that he enjoys using on nearby Lake Raystown with his wife, Traci, and 18-year-old daughter, Kelley. The couple also had a son who was killed in an accident at age 15 in 2004.
Rose went to Alabama to pick up his sawmill from Cook’s. “They spent a day with me going over the equipment with me,” he said. “Anytime I have had a problem, they are only a phone call away. They have always worked with me to remedy any problems.”
Rose also singled out a Cook’s employee, Bill Gaultney. “He’s been a big help,” said Rose.
The foreman at Remington Pallets, Eric Rudnik, has worked for Rose for four years. Rudnik and the other workers all joined the company after Rose bought it.
Rose considered other businesses, too, before buying C&C. He has operated several trucks in the past but found that a multi-trucking business “didn’t work for me.”
“I knew someone that had a pallet business and knew it was for sale,” he said. He inquired about it and ended up being able to make a deal.
Cook’s Sawmill Specializes in Bandmills and Blades
Cook’s Sawmill Mfg., based in Newton, Ala., offers band sawmills plus edgers, resaws, and ancillary equipment, such as sharpeners, setters, and its own line of bandsaw blades.
The company offers three sawmill models, and they are available in various ‘packages’ that include ancillary equipment and options.
The Cook’s Accu-Trac 36 (AC36) is a fully hydraulic portable sawmill. Designed for high production sawing, it is the company’s best selling production sawmill.
The Cook’s AC36 sawmill weighs 7,000 pounds and can handle logs up to 10,000 pounds, but it has dual axles with electric brakes on both axles for easy transport.
The log loader is designed and built to pick up big logs with no hassle, and the sawmill features a solid four-post design. All four corners work as one solid unit, allowing the blade to cut smooth and straight into and out of the log. Hydraulics power the sawhead forward (two speeds) and in reverse and up and down, the guide, log clamps, squaring arms, log turner, and the log lift.
The Cook’s AC36 can saw logs up to 36 inches in diameter and up to 21 feet long. It also features a board drag-back system, dual lube-wipe system, an engine idle switch, and more. It runs metal 26-inch band wheels and comes with a gravity feed roller for board off-loading and a remote operating station.
Power options include 30hp or 40hp three-phase electric or a Perkins 51hp diesel or 62hp turbo-charged diesel.
Other options include computer setworks, a debarker, a resaw attachment with return, additional squaring arms and mill bed extension, and a
1-1/2 or 2-inch blade.
Cook’s Super Sharp™ line of bandsaw blades is available in the following sizes: 1x.035, 1-1/4x.042, 1-1/2x.042, 1-1/2x.050, 1-1/2x.055, and 2x.050.
The Triple Metal Matrix™ proprietary blend of chromium, silicone, and magnesium is coupled with the wood penetrating abilities of the Super Sharp™ tooth design. The result is a long-lasting ability to continually saw at production speeds. The blades are highly durable and stay sharp. The extra rigid body powers its way through logs, allowing the use of all available horsepower. The blades also excel at producing clean lumber, removing 95% of the sawdust off the board, according to Cook’s.
The company says its bandsaw blades are so efficient that engines burn less fuel, and electric motors pull less amperage while cutting logs.
Tim Cook and his brother, Stephen, have been in the sawmill manufacturing business for over 35 years.
The company’s website, at www.cooksaw.com, features videos for sale (free to purchasers of certain mill models), articles, information about the company and its equipment lines, catalogs and an online store. Articles available on the website include “How to Get Started Sawing,” “Owning a Successful Sawmill Business,” “Increase Portable Sawmill Profits & Production,” and “Sawmill Blade Insight.”
For more information, visit the company’s website or call Cook’s Saw Mfg. at (800) 473-4804.