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Process converts fast-growing trees into structural lumber.

Kenora to be the site of one of three laminated lumber strand plants in NorthAmerica

In less than two years, Kenora will have the only Timber Strand plant utilizing hardwood resources in Canada, one of only three in North America.

A few environment approvals need to be cleared before construction can begin on the $255-million laminated strand lumber (LSL) plant, says Trus Joist official Terry Brennan, who will be plant manager;

The approval process is going well, Brennan says, with construction on the 300,000-square-foot plant expected to start later this spring and the plant to be operational by mid-November 2002.

Kenora was chosen because of the available wood supply, its location close to Canadian and western U.S. markets, and the available workforce, Brennan says. The only other TimberStrand plants are in Deerfield, Minn., and Hazard, Ky. and were built in the early 1990s.

The plant, to be built on a 65-hectare site on Jones Road will employ about 190 workers in the mill and another 200 in woodland operations and related work. Spinoffjobs have been estimated at another 180 to 200 positions.

Trus Joist, a Weyerhaeuser company and leading manufacturer of engineered lumber products, developed the high-tech, proprietary TimberStrand LSL process in the early 1990s to utilize small-diameter, fast-growing trees such as poplar and birch, seldom used as structural materials. The process uses most of the tree, leaving little waste.

TimberStrand replaces traditional sawn lumber products. The lumber replacement, as a structural material, is strong, straight and consistent, said Brennan, and not subject to twisting, warping or bowing.

The hardwood logs are conditioned and debarked before being sliced into strands about 13 inches long, an inch to an inch-and-a-half wide, and between 0.03 and 0.05 of an inch thick.

After drying, the strands are coated with adhesive and wax in a blender, and conveyed to the forming lines, aligned and deposited in a mat of the required mass. The combination of alignment and mass controls the mechanical properties of the thickness produced.

This continuous mat or billet is approximately eight feet wide and is cut to 35- or 48-foot lengths. The billet is pressed using a heated process where densification and adhesive curing occurs.

After pressing and cooling, the billet proceeds through a sander for final sizing and is cut into finished dimensions. The thickness ranges from 1.25 inches to approximately 4.0 inches.

LSL is used in window and door headers, wall studs, rim boards, and in industrial uses such as core material for windows and doors, furniture framing and concrete forming.

None of the value-added processes will be done in Kenora, he says.

"But Trus Joist could put in an I-joist plant down the road" if things go well, Brennan adds. The company already manufactures engineered wood products in Delta, B.C., and Claresholm, Alta., as well as at plants in the U.S.

The plant was first announced in November 1999, but the takeover of Trus Joist by Weyerhaeuser, already a shareholder due to its purchase of Canadian lumber giant MacMillan Bloedel, delayed the process.
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Title Annotation:new lumber plant to be built in Kenora, Ontario by Trus Joist
Author:SITTER, KEN
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2001
Words:513
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