The Southern Pine Lumber Company, of Texarkana, have a sawmill plant at Pineland, Texas, that a lover of sawmills could use a lot of first-class adjectives and exclamation points in describing. It is really quite some plant.
They used to have another big plant located at Hemphill, Texas, not many miles from Pineland. The Hemphill sawmill was destroyed by fire, and, since both plants were cutting into the same big virgin forest and that forest is not as large as it once was, they decided not to rebuild Hemphill. But there were many and various things about the Hemphill plant that were not destroyed by fire that were highly efficient. So they moved a lot of these units, machines, etc., over to Pineland and installed them there, in addition to the very considerable equipment already there, thus increasing both the size and the efficiency of the Pineland plant.
It was natural that this should happen because they also moved the manager at Hemphill to Pineland. Henry Temple used to live at Pineland and operate that mill, while E. G. Prud'homme operated Hemphill. After Hemphill burned they transferred Mr. Prud'homme to the Pineland management, and Henry Temple moved to Diboll, where he built a new home, and where he now looks after both Diboll and Pineland in a general way. These are both whaling big mills, and they give him plenty to do. So it was Mr. Prud'homme who brought various of his pet machines and things with him to Pineland.
They checked over the Pineland mill when they were making their changes, and, with the guidance and advice of Mr. Arthur Temple, of Texarkana, President of The Southern Pine Lumber Company, they decided on some large improvements and modernizations that would bring the Pineland mill right up to the minute, after twenty-eight years of operation. The sawmill is equipped with two hands and a gang. They put in one side of the mil brand-new new Filer & Stowell band, new gun, rebuilt the air-operated carriage, put in new live rolls, new and highly improved roller-bearing edger that edges both odd and even widths, etc. The whole one side of the mill is therefore brand-new, and tremendously efficient. When it went into operation the output of the mill jumped to the highest point in its history. The new side of the mill is the pine side.
On the other side they cut hardwoods. At the tail of the mill there is a big log pond, in which they put their pine logs, and run them up the bull chain just as they always did. The hardwood side has a chain of its own, and the hardwood logs are not put in the pond but sent up dry by means of a derrick.
When the hardwood lumber comes out of the mill it goes to the hardwood yard for complete or partial seasoning. Whatever oak is to go to their oak flooring plant, finds its way after a few months on the yard to the dry kilns, and thence to the flooring unit in the planing mill. They likewise do a certain amount of commercial drying of hardwood lumber when their orders call for same. The entire pine product of the mill goes directly to the big battery of kilns. When it emerges from the kilns on a long take-off chain, all stock that for any reason needs to be remanufactured is handled right at the end of the chain. Here they have a trimmer, a cut-off saw, and a straight-line edger, and here all crooked or mismanufactured lumber is handled, and the good cut out of it, before it goes on its way.
They are splendidly equipped with steam kilns at Pineland. They have six ordinary Moore kilns, and three Moore Cross Circulation kilns. One of the latter is reserved strictly for hardwood, and the others have plenty of capacity to take care of the entire Pine output.
At the sawmill they save out everything from the waste chains that will make either lath stock, or short end-matched Pine flooring. As the slabs, edgings, and trimmings drop into the waste conveyor and start for the burner, three men in a row pick out the usable stuff, the first man picking clear, short stock for short flooring, and the others picking out stock for the lath mill. A very efficient lath mill turns out a big output of lath daily. The short stock goes through the kilns, and then to the flooring plant.
There is just one rough shed at Pineland, but it is a big one, a special-built three-deck shed that holds 4,500,000 feet of lumber, and there is just one dressed shed, but, like the rough shed, it is a giant also, and is located on the loading dock just beyond the planer. When the lumber moves from the rough shed to the planer to be made ready for shipment, it goes into one of the most highly specialized plants in the South. No ordinary planing mill is this. First, there is an end-matched flooring machine, that makes both Oak and Pine flooring. Most of their short-clear waste becomes end-matched flooring. Other equipment in this planer and remanufacturing plant consists of 3 straight-line edgers located at various points in the big room; 5 matchers; one big sizer; one cabinet machine that will dress doors, glued-up stock, or boards of exceptional width; one double-end tenoner, an exact length machine for making door, window, and trim stock; and a double-end trimmer to make the ends of all the lumber new, smooth, and square. This latter machine is located just at the end of the planer, where the lumber moves toward either the cars or the dressed shed.
There is another and smaller shed adjacent to the remanufacturing plant that is worthy of special notice. In one corner is a grain-door plant, equipped with a grain-door nailing machine. No nailing is done by hand. The machine nails up twelve hundred in eight hours, consuming thirty thousand feet of low grade lumber in so doing. This is one unit that was moved from Hemphill to Pineland, Mr. Prud'homme having found it highly efficient and successful. In another part of this adjunct plant there is a sanding machine; and in another part an efficient department for doing build-up and glue-up work. There isn't anything much in the line of lumber working that they cannot do in this planer and remanufacturing plant.
Another recent improvement is the covering of the entire loading platform from the planer to the dressed shed, so that all the dressed lumber now is moved, handled, and loaded under cover.
Mr. W. R. Martin is in charge of the Shipping Department at Pineland. He was one of the company salesmen, traveling out of Fort Worth, but so important do they consider their shipping work that they recalled him from the road and put him in charge of the shipping. He is well acquainted with what the trade wants, and what the mill can furnish, and is doubly valuable for that reason.
Lots of space could easily be devoted to the Pineland plant. It is very large, very efficient, and in many respects very different from most large sawmills.
They cut only their own virgin timber. They buy no logs, although the supply in that territory is very great. They have plenty of fine timber of their own, and for the time being at least, cut only their own logs. While they make a certain amount of timbers, they do not specialize in this department, rather turning their attention to the cutting of their fine timber into lumber, and converting every available foot of that lumber into merchantable stock. They make almost anything that can be made of Southern Yellow Pine and Southern Hardwood, and ship it in straight or mixed cars.
They make very beautiful lumber, which is sold through their sales office at Texarkana, of which Temple Webber is General Sales Manager.