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Cardwell Lumber Inc. Commences with Large Expansion

Cardwell Lumber Inc. Commences with Large Expansion

By Crystal Howerton

Cardwell Lumber Inc. initiated a large expansion on Wednesday morning, September 10, 2008 with the placement of a 12,000-pound boiler by Dille, Macon, MO, which will aid in the cost of fuel in production.

According to owner Leroy Cardwell, the previous dry kiln had a 35,000 board feet capacity, which burned approximately $45,000 in fuel last year. With the purchase of a new kiln, the capacity has been increased to 245,000 board feet. The subsequent waste-fired system has been replaced with a sawdust burner, which will be more fuel economic. In addition, Cardwell’s son, Mark, has developed a firebox and feed system. He has also began construction on a 100 x 180 ft. steel building, which will house the machinery for molding and the heated sawdust burner.

Since the beginning, Cardwell’s has been producing rough, green staves for barrels. Cardwell’s currently produces wood for 35,000 barrels each year. They are in the process of purchasing a jointer from Southern Cross Cooperage, Adelaide, Australia, which they expect to take delivery of the first of next year. This significant purchase will allow the company to finish their product in house, increasing its value 30-40%. In doing this expansion, an additional 8-10 jobs will open up in manufacturing, adding to the approximately 65 workers employed by the company.

Also, within the last six months they have begun to seriously market a line of doors, windows, trim and moldings, recently hiring a full-time salesman. They have a large assortment of hardwood sheet goods for cabinet and furniture manufacturing such as oak, cherry, walnut, birch and many others. There are plans to expand into the hardwood flooring market and have species like hickory, walnut, hard maple and other species as well as oak.

“We are very fortunate here with the caliber of people we employ,” admitted Cardwell. “In 1990, we started marketing ends for the scotch whiskey industry. That year we made about 8,000 ends. This year we will make approximately 120,000.