Special Product Sawmills, NEC

SIC 2429

Industry report:

This industry classification includes mills, not elsewhere classified, that make excelsior (wood shavings used for packing or stuffing), wood shingles, and cooperage stock; or mills that make specially sawed products. This category also includes companies that make pads and wrappers made from wood excelsior, and makers of all types of wood shingles and shakes. Cooperage stock is comprised of the staves, headings, and hoops used for making barrels, although barrel construction is classified in SIC 2449: Wood Containers, Not Elsewhere Classified.

The value of sawmill product shipments in 2007 was $22.0 billion, down from $26.0 billion in 2005 and $24.4 million in 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Cooperage stock also is included in this industry classification. This includes stock for both tight (used to hold liquids) and slack (for nonliquid use) cooperage, including buckets, hot tubs, storage vats, and barrels. Another industry segment is excelsior, also known as wood wool.

Beginning in the early 1990s, the use of wood shingles came under attack in areas prone to fires. In California, for example, several local governments banned new roofs made of wood products, due to the number of homes lost to fire during summer droughts. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported that an average 172,848 acres were destroyed annually by fire in the mid- to late 2000s. On 1 January 2008, the state incorporated into state building codes new requirements for construction in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fire areas. Due to such regulations as well as environmental concerns, wood shingle producers also faced competition from companies that made shingles from nonwood materials, including asphalt, metal, slate, and even recycled plastic. Throughout the 2000s, these alternatives to wood shingles continued to gain market share.

Industry leaders included Shakertown 1992 Inc. (Winlock, Washington), previously known as Shakertown Corp. Shakertown made cedar shakes and shingles in addition to siding. It had 50 employees and annual sales of about $3.6 million in the mid-2000s. Another industry leader was the Brown-Foreman Corp. (Louisville, Kentucky), with 200 employees and yearly sales of $26 million. This subsidiary of Brown-Forman Corp. made white oak whiskey and wine barrels. Independent Stave Company Inc. (Lebanon, Missouri) made the majority of the wine and liquor barrels in the world. Using mostly oak in its barrels, the firm had 1,000 employees and sales of $43.8 million in 2008. By the late 2000s, one of the largest firms in the industry was Miller Shingle Company Inc. (Granite Falls, Washington), with 150 employees and estimated sales of $36 million. In addition to shingles, the firm made cedar logs, lumber, and shakes.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 3,582 sawmills operated in the United States in 2007, down from 3,750 in 2004. Together these establishments employed 89,507 workers, as compared to 100,978 in 2004. During the 2000s, the majority of shakes and shingles were made of red cedar, grown mainly in the Pacific Northwest. Other woods used for shakes and shingles were northern white cedar, bald cypress, and redwood. Accordingly, Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) reported that of the 156 special-product sawmills not otherwise classified by the U.S. Census Bureau, 36 were located in Washington in 2009. Kentucky was home to 11 and Missouri, 10. About 80 percent of these establishments employed fewer than 10 workers. Specialty sawmills generated $73.5 million in revenues in 2008, according to D&B's Industry Reports, and Washington accounted for 20.4 percent of total sales.

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