All News & Blogs
Kinsale company hoping new sawmill will revive American lumber sales
Travis Matyiko, nephew and son of the owners of Expert House Movers, surveys rollers used
to move a 140,000-lb. sawmill.
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 4/25/2004
William T. Carden skipped over the steel catwalks of the vast sawmill in Westmoreland County like a boy on a playground.
"This is when I'm happiest--when we're building and changing. This is excitement like Christmas Eve for us," said the 63-year-old president of family-owned Potomac Supply Corp. in Kinsale.
Carden beamed at the sight of his new industrial toy: a gigantic, green, four-bladed bandsaw that filled a huge doorway to the mill.
Jim Matyiko and his crew from Expert House Movers Inc. in Virginia Beach scurried about the saw, which towered 20 feet above them.
It wasn't its 153,000 pounds that worried them. After all, over the years they have moved a 138-foot-tall smokestack, a 2,000-ton lighthouse, a 10,000-square-foot mansion and the whole town of Rhineland, Mo.
"But it's going to be tight getting this thing into the building. We might need an extra five-gallon bucket of Vaseline to slide it in there," joked Matyiko, as his men inched the 62-inch McDonough Quad Mill through the door last week.
Machinists, computer programmers and other workers are scrambling to ready new, state-of-the-art machinery by May 3, the date Carden has decreed that the new equipment will roar and Potomac Supply will return to its sawmill roots.
The company shut down its mill in 2001 when lumber prices dropped so low that Carden could buy South American yellow pine sawed to American specifications cheaper than his old mill could cut it.
"South America has timber galore. They can grow marketable Southern pine in only 15 years at a fraction of what it costs us to grow and saw it. On any given day they can sell it for less, but their biggest obstacle is the logistics of getting it to us," he said.
"We realized that if we were going to be successful we had to retool to have a new mill that could compete in the current global environment."
For Carden, there also was an element of national pride in the new sawmill shipped in pieces from Eau Claire, Wis.