New specialized lumber maker to start up here

Company expects to begin operation in October, ramp up quickly to 35 employees

By Linn Parish

A Seattle contractor plans to start a specialized lumber-making company in Spokane this fall that he projects will employ 35 people here by early next year.

The contractor, Spokane native David Thompson, has leased 40,000 square feet of warehouse space in the Spokane Business & Industrial Park, at 3808 N. Sullivan, for the operation and expects that the company, Timberlake Forest Products Inc., will begin production this October.

Thompson, who is president and part-owner of Timberlake, says the company has four employees who currently are setting up the plant. He expects to have 20 employees upon starting production and 35 workers within three months of operation.

The company has invested about $800,000 in machinery for the plant thus far, he says.

Timberlake Forest Products will make what’s known as finger-jointed framing lumber. To produce it, the company will buy scrap lumber from Northwest lumber mills and run the boards through a finger-jointing machine, which will put sets of grooves at each end of the boards so that they can be fit together snugly. The interlocking boards then will be glued together to make 8-foot-long to 12-foot-long lumber.

“We’re kind of a green company, because we’re putting scrap to good use,” Thompson says.

Timberlake plans to sell its products to wholesale lumber companies throughout the western U.S., with specific emphasis on the Southwest, Thompson says. He contends finger-jointed lumber is especially popular in Arizona and neighboring states, because it doesn’t twist and bow in extreme heat as conventional lumber can.

Thompson has worked in Seattle as a residential contractor for 13 years, building mainly single-family homes and townhouses.

He plans to stop working as a contractor soon and to move back to Spokane to oversee Timberlake.

He owns Timberlake with a silent partner who lives in the Seattle area.