Our Process

Our Process

Our process at M. Bohlke Corp. is environmentally conscious and consistently produces the most beautiful wood veneer and lumber. It’s a tried and true methodology – one that continues to guide us, ensuring we offer exceptional products to you for your projects.

 

 

Log Preparation

Grading the Log

We have logs delivered daily. Each log that has been purchased in the field or in the woods is weighed and remeasured to ensure accuracy. We mark the log for flitching with spray paint. After we mark the log, we place the log into a parcel based upon its characteristics of species, quality, length, size or intended customer. A plastic barcode tag accompanies the log throughout the entire process of production.

The Sawmill

We scan the logs to begin the production process. First, we remove the bark from the log. Next, the log passes through a metal detector to verify that there are no bullets, nails or any other metal. The log is sawn into halves or quarters and then re-banded. We refer to these halves or quarters as flitches.

Cooking the Log

We then put the re-banded logs into a large steel vat. We add water to fill the vat and submerge the logs. The temperature steadily increases to 80-90 degrees Celsius.

Much like a chef’s recipe, cooking times are industry secrets and vary by specie. Temperature and time are two critical factors for determining veneer color and cutting quality.

Cutting Veneer

Prepping the Flitch

At this time, we remove the flitches from the steel vats. The flitches pass through an automated cleaner called the FlitchPrep. The FlitchPrep ‘planes’ the outside of the log. This removes any excess bark or irregularities. Once clean, the flitch is smoothed on the bottom by rotating planer blades to achieve a flat surface.

Attaching to the Flitch Table

There are two ways to hold a flitch on a slicing machine. The first is by holding it with a vacuum. We have equipped all of our vertical slicers with vacuum tables to create negative pressure. This holds the logs to the table without clamps. When half-round slicing, small clamps and grooved teeth hold the flitch in place.

The Slicer

The slicer slices up to 100 sheets per minute, squeezing a thin sheet of veneer between the knife and knife-bar. These sheets are then stacked off of the back of the machine or fed into the veneer press dryer.

Post Cutting

Stacking & Drying Wood Veneer

The sheets that come off of the slicer are in sequence. We feed the sheets by hand through the veneer press dryer. This step removes the moisture in the wood and helps the veneer lay flat. The radiators in the dryers use hot oil circulation that emit heat to dry the wood. This automated process allows the operators to control the speed and temperature, as well as the humidity within the dryer.

When the sheets exit the dryer, we again catch them in sequence and bundle the sheets into groups of 24.

Clipping the Veneer

After drying, we then send the bundles to the clipping line. The clipping line is where we trim the wood veneer to dimension.

Measuring the Bundle

Each bundle runs over an electronic measurement eye, which measures the bundle length and width. These lengths and widths are used to calculate the surface area of one bundle. After we have completed this process on all of the bundles, we calculate the total area of that log.

Burls

Cleaning the Burl

After a burl has cooked, we clean the burl and prepare it for slicing. Because of their irregular shape and because burls originate in the ground, they must be cleaned by hand. The bark is removed and the burl is pressure washed to remove any excess sand or dirt.

Slicing a Burl

We hang each burl in the center of the lathe. It is essential to have the burl’s “eyes” perpendicular to the knife. We score the burl near a defect to have the veneer sheet make one full revolution. Burl veneer requires very delicate handling.

Burls are then dried and clipped similarly to traditional wood veneer.

Grading Veneer

We grade wood veneer into specific product categories. There are universal standards for grading, however wood veneer is subjective. You can experience the Bohlke difference in our grades with the attention to detail, consistency and quality, unsurpassed in the wood veneer industry. In fact, our graders average over 25+ years experience in the business.

Standards for Grading Veneer

First, we sort each log into a product category:

  • Furniture
  • Door
  • Panel

Second, our team gives the veneer a grade. Within each product category we have several grades:

  • AA/Architectural: This wood veneer is the very top grade. Good, uniform color and structure, consistency and minimal natural characteristics are key. This type of grade is used in lobby areas, boardrooms and on executive floors.
  • A: This wood veneer is consistent, has uniform structure, good dimension and contains minimal natural characteristics.
  • AB: This grade is more of a commodity grade that contains only a few natural defects.
  • B: This wood veneer grade allows more traditional natural characteristics like gum, pin knots, figure, sugar, etc.
  • C/Sound Grade: This grade is used for the backs of plywood, or interior parts of furniture or cabinets.

Cuts

Within each specific product category and grade, we also sort our veneers by cut type. Traditional veneer production, or plain sliced, produces plain sliced wood veneer with developing half-heart and quarters. In some cases, we sell complete logs. On certain species we separate plain sliced from quarter cut, per customer and/or project requirements.

Figure Types

Figure is the wavy texture across the face of the wood veneer, giving the impression of an uneven surface although smooth. The effect is because of reflected light on the uneven arrangements of the fibers. Figure may be caused by the wrinkling or bending, in wave formation, of the growth rings due to wind, uneven bark pressure, indention on the surface of the tree by vines, fungi, etc. The value of wood increases greatly when figured.

Veneer Procurement

Traditionally, veneer selection is completed after numerous meetings between the client and our team. Factors such as scope, budgets and applications, as well as physical requirements are defined. Your sales associate then selects options which meet your specific requirements.

The veneer approval process, one of the most important steps in ensuring a successful project, can be accomplished in 3 traditional ways:

Photographs

We have our available inventory photographed with a high definition digital camera. These photos can be sent for design/client review and initial approval. We attach measurement tallies for each log to the photo.

Samples

We pull live samples to show quality, consistency and range. Our team provides detailed measurements, along with the specifications on every log. Please note: we can also send samples for overnight delivery.

Veneer Inspection

We inspect the material bundle by bundle to ensure quality. This method is the most accurate and effective way to control the quality of your project. This allows the client, the general contractor, the woodworker and the veneer supplier to select and agree to the material.

Accurate wood veneer procurement is one way to ensure a successful project. By using one or all three of the veneer selection methods, the architect or designer can achieve their vision. This process can be secured by citing exact, approved, M. Bohlke Veneer log numbers into your project’s specification.

Splicing Veneer

In the M. Bohlke Face Department, we have a variety of options for splicing veneer into faces and layons. We have equipped our facility with three cross-feed splicers with automatic trimmers, one longitudinal splicer, two double knife bundle guillotines, and an inline glue applicator. Our advanced setup allows for MB Face to produce high quantities of faces with the precision to take on small custom orders.

Parallel Clipping Veneer

We sort the bundles of veneer in sequence and then trim the bundles on both ends. The wood veneer is then put onto the double guillotine knife and trimmed parallel on both edges. We also clip off any natural defects that are not desired in the finished face.

Gluing Veneer Bundles

After trimming, we send the veneer through an automatic glue applicator. This machine coats a very fine layer of NAUF glue onto the edges of the whole bundle. The glue dries for a few minutes until it is ready to be activated.

Splicing & Trimming Veneer

Once the glue is dry, we feed the bundle sheet by sheet into the veneer splicer. This process joins the edges of the sheets together, creating one continuous finished face/layon. Once the sheets are the desired width, the sheets are released from the splicer. Finally, the sheets ends are trimmed, making a square sheet.

In addition to the spliced faces, MB Face also warehouses a large stock of engineered, or reconstituted veneer (Vtec), as well as our Bamboo faces.

We excel in the cut-to-size face business. With many current programs existing where we are cutting and splicing a variety of shapes and sizes from car dash parts to skate board decks, we have the flexibility to produce many odd sizes or requests that you may have. Contact our offices to see how we can help you with your obscure shapes and designs.

Lumber

M. Bohlke Corp. can provide you with high quality, imported lumber for any project. Most of our lumber comes from the same forests where our veneer trees come from. This helps ensure color and grain harmony between veneer and solid surfaces.

We receive lumber by the container and grade our lumber in our warehouses. Photographs and tallies are available for the customer to see. When we receive a shipment, we remeasure the lumber to ensure accuracy in quantity. Our team also closely monitors moisture content.

Square Edge

Our inventory of imported square edge lumber includes various species and thicknesses. For accuracy, we measure each board for board footage and sell our inventory board by board. We also have a vacuum dry kiln to aide in sawing and purchasing of ‘green’ or ‘wet’ lumber. This gives us control of the drying process to the specifications best fit for the specie and customer.

Boules

We also specialize in a large inventory of boule form lumber. A boule is an entire sawn log that is held together in sequential form for purchase. This guarantees same color, grain and size from one board to the next. Because of its stellar consistency because of each board coming from the same tree, high-end woodworkers and yacht builders prefer boule lumber.

Live Edge

In addition to square edge and boule form lumber, we also have an impressive live edge slab inventory. We stock a variety of indigenous and imported slabs for individual sale. We are happy to help you pick the perfect slab for your project. Please click here to see a portion of our current inventory.

Carving pieces, reclaimed lumber and more

Our reclaimed and salvaged wood inventory is a treasure trove for woodworkers. From unique table bases to salvaged wood, our inventory has something for everyone. We also carry an assortment of tree roots and trunks.

Shipping

We offer various shipping options and the assurance that we properly package all material. We crate our material with certified lumber before shipment. Before delivery, we first secure the crates with straps and then drape the crates in plastic wrap.

Most of our overseas customers purchase their material from us by the container load. In order to secure the pallets in the container, we add airbags to avoid shifting of the crates during transport.

For smaller quantities, we use LCL (less than container load) shipments. With LCL, we combine our pallets with other material from various suppliers into one container going to the same destination. We also prepare material for air freight for our overseas customers when the need arises.

Our domestic customers are serviced via truck, or when material is needed urgently, by air freight or courier service.

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