Timber ‘re-manufacturer’ in demand
Founded 102 years ago by the Cleland family, New Plymouth’s Clelands Timber Ltd has built a reputation for providing a quick response to its customers’ needs.
Classifying itself as a timber ‘re-manufacturer’ Clelands Timber buys sawn timber from the mills, predominantly processing that timber into engineered timber products.
Daniel Donaldson, Clelands Timber’s general manager says the request for custom weather-board profiles to match old villas during restoration work is a good example of the company’s ability to provide a timely response.
“All profiles are slightly different to what they were 100 years ago but with our technology we can match up any profile, machine it and get it out pretty quickly.
“There has been significant capital expenditure over the last few years with the latest in German scanning, finger jointing and moulding technologies and a new custom designed laminating operation.”
With a history that includes some of the earliest heli-logging of native timbers in the central North Island, Clelands Timber, has specialised in finger jointing radiata pine over the last 20 years.
“We manufacture finger-jointed, treated and primed exterior products such as weatherboards, fascia, along with ‘Appearance’ grade radiata pine products in Clears & Dressing Grades, selling to all merchant chains throughout the North Island.
“There are normally 2-3 different grades you can buy from the merchant. Finger jointed will be the most expensive because it has been engineered and more stable.”
Daniel says that in recent times there has been substantial growth in the manufacturer of door-jambs and window reveals for aluminium joinery manufacturers.
Thirty percent of production is now exported to Australia—mainly in the form of structural laminated posts and beams.
Now a major shareholder in Kiwi Lumber, which supplies 40% of Clelands Timber’s needs, the company has retained the family culture that has been a hallmark of the company’s success for over 100 years.
“We have many long serving staff with years of experience in the timber processing industry, with over 50% having completed over 10 years. Three of those staff have over 45 years service so they literally started straight out of school at 15.”
“The staff take real ownership of the business and that is reflected in the quality service they provide. That culture spills over to the new people coming through.”
Daniel, who started working for Kiwi Lumber straight from school, has been Clelands Timber’s general manager for the last two years.
Recognising the challenge of change for people who have been with the business for many years, Daniel has been very impressed with the team’s willingness to consider new ideas and adopt change.
Reflecting on the use of timber in the building industry, Daniel is optimistic.
“Employing local people, the industry has a lot to offer the local economy. Timber is green, renewable, sustainable and carbon friendly material that offers numerous benefits. However, as an industry we must start to offer solutions rather than just commodity products. Perhaps rather than just selling timber weather-boards we should look at complete timber cladding solutions.”
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