When Ben Hokum Senior and his son, Ben Hokum Junior, struck a partnership in 1956, they started out with a small circular sawmill and produced about 2.5 million board feet of lumber per year. Today, the company continues to be family-run and employs as many as 145 workers directly in the mill, 100 local contractors in forest operations, and is capable of producing 40 million board feet annually.
Hokum’s operates two sawmills on site in North Algona Wilberforce, as well as North American Sawmills Machinery, which specializes in fabricating sawmill machinery and parts, and steel distribution. Hokum’s are constantly looking for new ways to be innovative. In 1997, the company invested in automating their small log mill, increasing production capabilities and efficiency, but was able to maintain employment levels within the mill. More recently, Hokum’s has made use of technology to help things run smoothly, even using voice-to-text programs to streamline the wood grading process.
Like other wood producers in the Valley, Hokum’s strongly believes in the importance of sustainably managing the forests we rely on. About half of their wood comes from Crown forests in Eastern Ontario and is FSC certified. The remainder comes from responsibly managed private woodlots in the area. The company recognizes the important link between sustainably managing for a healthy forest and ensuring a continuous supply of wood to the mill. Utilization is also a high priority – every bit of each tree gets used, from timber to sawdust. Getting the highest quality product from each log is something the company prides itself on.
Hokum’s specializes in white and red pine lumber and square timbers – they are the largest supplier of air-dried white pine in Renfrew County. They also produce aspen lumber and small quantities of various hardwood species. They generally aren’t set up for retail drop-ins but will work to meet the needs of customers purchasing larger quantities. Most of their lumber goes to wholesale, so be sure to ask your local hardware store for Ontario Wood. Hokum’s has made use of the Province’s Ontario Wood branding initiative and each piece is stamped with the Ontario Wood logo and the location of manufacturing. As Dean Felhaber, currently president and 4th generation of the company, puts it, “We are capable of supplying ourselves with lumber in Ontario”. Consumers can be assured that wood produced from our forests is sustainably managed, harvested and produced – a truly green option.
- 1x8 board and batten (red and white pine)
- 1x10, 1x12 rough sheeting (grade 4 common)
- Framing lumber (rough red pine, unstamped)
- Red and White Pine lumber in a variety of thicknesses, widths and lengths
- Red and jack pine squares (4x4, 6x6) rough-sawn, dressed or treated (off-site)
- Aspen lumber in a variety of thicknesses, widths and lengths
You can also find Hokum’s value-added, pressure treated red pine 4x4 and 6x6 at RONA stores in Pembroke, Renfrew and Arnprior.
Services from North American Sawmills Machinery
- Machine shop
- Steel sales
- Steel fabricating