Harvesting And Manufacturing

Using a sustainable harvesting process, Black Bear Flooring contributes to the protection of the hardwood forests of Southern Ontario, Canada. This process selects only mature trees and leaves the younger ones with an open canopy, which accelerates their growth.

Did you know there is no shortage of trees for harvesting?

In fact, more exist today than 100 years ago! In fact, we are unable to keep up with the growth of the new ones. Many of our wood lots have been logged twice and in some cases 3 times over a span of 40 years. This truly is an example of a renewable resource.

All of our trees are harvested in southern Ontario and processed at the hardwood mill in Thedford.

These trees come from individual landowners that enter into a contract with us on a negotiated price for the trees. In rare cases, we have even used horses to remove trees on environmentally sensitive sites. However, most trees are now removed with a crew using chain saws and skidders and then hauled by log trucks to the mill.

At the mill, the logs are sorted by species and also by log quality. The better ones are sold for slicer veneer and rotary veneer to companies that manufacture your veneer plywood’s for various uses.

The lower quality logs remain at the mill and are sawn into different thicknesses and then graded for various lumber uses. In some cases, the lumber is sold green in truckload quantities to industrial customers.

Other lumber is dried to 6% – 8% moisture content and sold for a number of applications worldwide and shipped in 40’ containers.

The lumber used for our flooring is all sawn green at 1 1/16 thickness so that after kiln drying it will be a full one inch after drying. Some of this will be processed into our solid 3/4 inch thickness flooring and into widths of 4.0, 4.25 and 5.0. The wider widths are chosen to be processed into our engineered flooring.

As you can see there is a top layer which is called the wear layer or called in the industry a “lamella.” These are produced from our frame saws that are a series of thin band blades, sawing the one-inch boards into various set thicknesses. 

It is important to note that a proper layer thickness should be 4mm so the floor can be refinished at a later date and wear properly for many years. Cheaper engineered floors can be as thin as 1mm thickness and thus wear quickly and need to be replaced just a few years after being installed.

The second layer is a stability layer constructed of vertical grain ash which is designed to keep the wear layer from moving. This is especially important in wider widths of flooring and in environments where humidity is a problem.

The third layer is again a hardwood ash layer to finalize the stability and make adhering to the subfloor secure. Our hardwood construction is unique in the industry of engineered floors whereby most are produced with a baltic plywood backing. 

Given all wood is susceptible to moisture and humidity, woods tend to shrink and contract at different rates and we have learned that these rates best work together when the construction is entirely made with hardwoods. Our all hardwood construction allows for the moisture variants to move in tandem with each layer, as opposed against each other when using a hardwood and softwood combination (plywood back) where the moisture variation is fighting one another.

This is why we regard our floor as highly durable, all sourced and proudly produced in Canada.

A row of hard maple logs at our sawmill in Thedford, Ontario.

Falling a hard maple tree near Stratford Ontario. Notice the smaller trees ready to grow in their place.

An award for our stewardship.

Square edge flooring ready for shipment.

Lumber being feed through a multi saw to produce 4 mm wear layers for flooring.

The slow process of lamellas being processed and the surfacing of boards prior to slicing.

The wear layers before sanding.

A very large white oak tree being felled.

Large white oak logs to be processed into rift and quarter lumber for furniture and flooring.

A grapple skidded used to haul logs out of the bush.

Wear layers after being sawed.

Our character-grade white oak produced from the white oak logs.

A rare black walnut 60 inches in Dia to be live sawn for table tops.

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