Our Pennsylvania Sawmill Process

Horizon Wood Products combines current technology with traditional saw milling methods to create the great hardwood products that are our claim to fame. Our lumber and wood manufacturing process has been fine-tuned over the years to efficiently and logically produce an ongoing supply of quality lumber. Check us out:

Step one

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Log buying

Years of experience has taught Horizon’s buyers where the good supplies are. Their skilled eyes are also very adept at reading the raw material and making a good educated guess at what’s inside. Some of the best logs available travel through Horizon’s log yard. While we make every effort to use the material we buy for our own production, occasionally we offer logs for sale. Our customers consider themselves lucky.

Since its very beginnings, Horizon has recognized the critical role procurement has in being able to provide a high quality, highly desirable product. Thirty years of experience has taught where to turn to find the best producers and suppliers. Horizon’s familiarity with the geography and topography of their often traveled buying area provides a clear understanding of the subtleties in quality and species dictated by how mother nature has impacted different parts of the country. The fact that the Horizon leaders were born, raised, live and are raising their own families in the heart of the American Black Cherry belt of NW Pennsylvania only helps to strengthen their bonds with the forest and the special commodity that it produces.

Step two

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The log yard

Where the wood manufacturing process begins.  Logs come to Horizon through the gate and to the yard.  They are laid out and re-evaluated by Horizon’s log experts to make sure they are utilized in a way that optimizes everything they have to offer.  As with all things Horizon, housekeeping is a highlight.  The paved work surface keeps our treasures clean and free of mud and debris. After re-eval process, the sorted logs move ahead through Horizon’s tracking system and are watched closely as they travel through production.  We keep a good eye on our kids. 

Step three

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The saw mill

Horizon operates very precise, large, modern, imaginative equipment at a production rate other companies just can’t understand. We do not brag about how MUCH we saw. We do brag about the QUALITY of what we saw. To do the job correctly we need the right people, the best tools, a clean environment and time spent per log.

We are not just sawing boards here. We are sawing logs and keeping each piece of each log together as a family. Perfect color, texture and tension matching- positively! Would you want to rush your surgeon?

Step four

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Air-drying rows of perfectly stickered, wide, thick, flat, sequenced flitches and lumber organized like a wine cellar. This is what we do, and we know it takes time. We truly appreciate the sight, the smell, the ability to touch the material as it seasons prior to final drying. Horizon operates 8 large, modern, hot waterbased kilns (not the harsher, faster steam kilns used by most), along with a new Swiss vacuum kiln for custom items. We also generate all our own energy to heat these kilns by burning our waste. No, it is not cheaper than burning gas, but we believe it is our responsibility as good environmental stewards. 

Step five

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Grading line

This is just one more place where the extra effort to get it right comes into play. Material that has moved through the dry kilns does more than just lose moisture; it also loses dimension. We sell our products based on a true-after drying scale.  It all moves through the grading line after leaving the kiln for the most accurate measurements possible.  We take a good final look and make sure the wood lives up to our standards.  Once all the tests are passed with an A+, the wood is prepared for shipping, moved to the loading dock, and ready to move on to the next leg of the sawmill process: delivery to the customer.

Step six

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Special inventory

We start all production with good logs, and we recognize great logs when we see them. Our specialty inventory is a treasure trove of curled, quilted, fiddlebacked, and bird’s-eyed pieces, unique crotch patterns, and exceptional widths and thicknesses. Sets can easily be browsed on our website, but that’s just a portion of what we have in stock. For a special project, we can help you find the log that will make your project shine.

Step seven

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The nerve center.  Due to Horizon’s technological basis, all systems lead to the office.  Sure, the routine office duties are handled there, but in addition, the inventory tracking is all networked through the office.  Handhelds recording data from the log yard, the mill, grading area and log buyers on the road are programed to zap their information to the office.  From there the pieces are sorted out, the puzzle is assembled, and it all ends up making sense.