D.R. Johnson Wood Innovation Works with New Cross Laminated Timber
D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations: Quality Wood Products since 1967
D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations, located in Riddle, Oregon, is seeing tremendous potential for engineered wood products in modern construction, where concrete and steel have been the construction materials of choice for many years. One new product, cross-laminated timber (CLT), holds tremendous promise in this regard and is already changing the way architects and engineers are designing high rise commercial buildings.
“We’ve entered into the CLT market and our panels are proving to be more than capable alternatives to traditional building materials in construction applications,” said COO John Redfield. “CLTs are opening up doors into commercial building projects and provide design options for engineers that weren’t previously available to them. The CLT project pipeline is very promising.”
“Yep, we have dedicated personnel manufacturing V1 Grade Cross-Laminated Timber Panels on a daily basis,” added Plant Manager Don Mitchell. “We have already extended our USNR Panel Press Length, added a Hundegger PBA CNC Machine, and have conditioned our manufacturing space to optimize panel production. We are geared up to handle multiple mass timber projects that may be under construction at the same time.”
In the Beginning
D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations has built up a substantial amount of expertise with laminated wood products. “Riddle Laminators was founded in 1967,” Redfield explained. “The founder of the company, Don Johnson, started it up. They’ve been making glue laminated beams from then through January 2015 whereas the DBA was added for D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations.”
“Don founded Riddle Laminators as an entity on its own,” Redfield added. “I’ve been here since 1999.”
“We’ve made a lot of curved beams, utility poles, utility cross-arms, and the like. You tell us what you want and we can make it.”
“All of our engineered wood products are made project specific-custom,” said Mitchell. “We don’t manufacture any stock products.”
Moisture and Quality Control
Quality control is a big concern at D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations. “That’s where moisture meters come into play because certain beams/panels take certain moisture and if you have too much you can have problems with your products,” Mitchell explained.
“We’re definitely tracking the moisture on that wood – it’s got to be down around 12% ± 3%,” Redfield said. “Moisture meters are an important part of our operation. We need dry wood to put our beams and CLT panels together.”
And moisture meters are used in every step of the production process, as Mitchell explained. “We have a moisture meter outside where we pre-sort our lumber, we have one in-line that we also check our lumber on, plus handheld ones, so there’s a lot of moisture checking going on.”
“You make a good product and people will buy it, whether it’s a good market or a bad market,” Redfield observed. “If you make a bad product or a not-so-good product you might sell in a good market, but in a bad market they’ll look for the guy with the good stuff, so you create your own opportunity by putting out a good product.”
“The folks who own this company say ‘let’s do it right and make sure our customers have a quality product and we’ll have return customers.’”
Wagner Meters Plays Its Part
Wagner Meters’ products have been working reliably at D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations for many years. It is amazing that one in-line system has been in service for more than 25 years. Just ask Don Mitchell from D.R. Johnson about their longevity.
Larry Loffer is a senior technician at Wagner Meters, where he has over 30 years of experience in wood moisture measurement. With a degree in Computer Systems, Larry is involved in both hardware and software development of wood moisture measurement solutions.