Institute for Sustainable Forestry


A Small, Sustainable Mill in Humboldt County


by Susan Nolan

September, 2021

ISF is a big supporter of small mills. We were really disappointed when last year's trip to the K-P & Sons mill had to be cancelled, as the corona virus crisis deepened. But when things opened up this year, we were able to reschedule for June 18. There was a great turnout, including curious and supportive friends and neighbors, potential customers, young people looking to get into the business, and a couple from our kindred group, Roots of Motive Power in Willits.

A log's journey through the mill begins with getting trimmed to usable lengths and then being brought to the 1972 debarker. As the log is rotated, bark gets ground off, leaving spiral grooves. KP's debarkers can handle up to 36" logs; anything bigger is debarked with a backhoe. KP is one of the few mills left that can still handle really big logs.

Next, logs are brought to the LT-40 to be cut into cants. Cants are big beam-like cuts, intended to be sawed down further into smaller lumber.

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KP and Sons Mill
Photos by Ann Constantino
KP and Sons Mill