Twenty years ago The Sabine Tram Company cut the last of their once great stand of Long Leaf pine at their big mill at Deweyville, Texas, and shut down the mill. At that time A. J. Peavy of Shreveport was in the zenith of his lumber manufacturing career, and having a lot of timber in Deweyville territory, he bought the big mill for his Peavy-Moore Lumber Company. They had enough timber to supply the mill for a few years, and that was all they figured on. The plant has been operating ever since, and expects to continue doing so for an indefinite period.
O. N. Cloud worked for Mr. Peavy as one of his right-hand men for many years, then went to New Orleans as manager of the very important Long Leaf Pine manufacturers association. Three years ago, Mr. Peavy got him back in his organization, as assistant to the president, and he has been a very busy man since that time. He went down to Deweyville to look things over and figure on the future of that plant. He and Cecil Smith, who has been manager at Deweyville ever since the Peavy interests bought it, got their heads together with excellent results. Since that time the plant has cut more than 30,000,000 feet of lumber annually, yet today Messrs. Cloud and Smith announce that they have considerably more timber at Deweyville than they did three years ago, and their reserve seems to be growing, rather than diminishing. They are going farther after it than they did in the old days, but they are getting in a class of what Mr. Cloud refers to as "young, thrifty, sound timber" that enables them to make a class of lumber of which they are as proud as they used to he of their big timber stock years ago.
For example, when THE GULF COAST LUMBERMAN visitors dropped in unexpectedly one day with notebook and camera, they found large quantities of very remarkable lumber in the sheds, sold and ready for shipment. There was more than 150,000 feet in one shed of longitudinal car siding, which is straight, clear 2 x 6's, 18 feet and longer. It was an impressive display of very beautiful clear lumber. Another item, of which they had accumulated a fine stock, was clear 1 x 6-22, cut for special uses by special buyers. Another unusual accumulation of very attractive lumber they call "pole stock," selected and manufactured especially for industrial manufacturers in the North, made up of thick and perfectly straight-grained clear dimension, of various widths and lengths. This clear, straight dimension is made into poles for agricultural implements mostly, and for other uses that require that high quality of lumber. They had a considerable quantity of that beautiful lumber on hand. Which furnishes something of an idea of the kind of lumber they make at Deweyville.
They do not go in heavy for timbers because their theory is to cut all the clear, straight lumber they can get from the outside of the log, rather than square it into timbers which sell for less money than the clear lumber.
And everything they load out from Deweyville they stamp on the end with the Peavy name, in big type, so that no one can doubt where the stuff comes from. From the log deck at the entrance to the sawmill, to the time the lumber goes into the car, there is manifested an intense interest in making something good out of that stock. They have made it their business to drill into all the key men in their organization the thought that the future of Deweyville depends to a very large extent on their making the best lumber that human ingenuity can contrive out of their timber, and it is entirely safe, after a visit to Deweyville, to make the declaration that the entire organization is studying the subject of better manufactured lumber in a way that they never dreamed of before, and that this particular and significant effort is bringing splendid results.
There are two separate and distinct sawmills at Deweyville, a big Yellow Pine mill, and a good-sized, well-equipped hardwood mill. They are located at opposite ends of the big plant. In the Yellow Pine sawmill, there are two double-cutting bands and a gang, two edgers, an air set trimmer, and every auxiliary of a very practical and efficient sawmill. The band mills cut going and coming and are highly efficient. They save all their good shorts and slabs and edgings that will make short, clear lumber. They take it over to the dry kilns, pile it on kiln cars, and dry it. Then they stack it in their dry shed, and at their leisure they put it through the cut-up department in their planer. This department is the biggest part of the planer, with six separate units for re-working all their clear shorts into valuable items of stock they can sell. They rip, trim, edge, dress, resaw, the stuff until they get the merchantable clear stock out of it, and then they make it into a variety of small items, including lawn furniture stock, table stock, toy materials, bed materials, and box and crate stock. They ship worlds of crate and box stock, cut to measure and ready to nail up. They make lots of coat hanger stock. They have a special shed along the loading dock where they store this cut-up stock while it awaits shipment, and a visit to this shed generally shows at least thirty different uses to which this short and otherwise wasted lumber has been put.
They put all their Yellow Pine product through their battery of seven double and one triple steam kilns. They also kiln dry a certain amount of their hardwoods, and find that they can dry thick sap gum down to 6% moisture content, and leave the lumber in perfect shape and condition.
The hardwood mill at the other end of the plant is equipped with a single band mill. There is always a tremendous pile of hardwood logs waiting for the saws, and the mill is served by a great crane that unloads the cars, and likewise lifts the logs to the log deck of the mill. The gum and magnolia are dipped in Dowicide as they leave the mill, and then the entire product goes to the big lumber yard for seasoning. They have a hardwood loading dock and shed separate entirely from the pine loading dock. Their hardwood timber is all virgin stock, and is big-bodied, sound timber that enables them to serve even the most exacting and particular hardwood demands.
There are three big major sheds used for storing their rough Yellow Pine, and three dressed lumber sheds, so that they keep all their pine under cover. They have a special loading dock for trucks, covered so that all loading is done dry.
The Deweyville plant is kept in splendid repair, the tramways are solid and well planked, and the entire aspect of the plant is one of businesslike efficiency.
The Yellow Pine product of Deweyville is sold through the sales offices of the Peavy-Moore Lumber Company, Inc., of Shreveport, La., of which Wm. A. Peavy is sales manager. The hardwood product is sold by the Southern Pine & Peavy-Moore Sales Agency, of Texarkana, Texas.
The Peavy interests also operate a big Long Leaf Yellow Pine sawmill at Holopaw, Florida, under the ownership of the Peavy-Wilson Lumber Company.