Lindar Industries, which had been granted a logging concession to cut pine trees on Abaco, started logging in the pine forest North of Treasure Cay in October, 2013. The trees cut were located on an area reserved for commercial and residential development. Logging is to resume in Treasure Cay and later near Spring City. Abaco pine is a high end product with wood as hard as maple.
Abaco was home to extensive logging operations by Owens-Illinois in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Owens-Illinois and the logging industry were responsible for the creation of the Great Abaco Highway and also the government’s impetus to move the capitol of Abaco to Marsh Harbour from Hope Town.
Owens-Illinois produced pulpwood. Lindar Industries harvests and markets whole planks and finished wood products from Abaco pine.
The cut trees are hauled to the Marsh Harbour area where they are processed to fill orders for flooring, ceiling panels and crown molding intended for Nassau. A state of the art computerized sawmill slices the logs into flooring planks.
Another machine produces the crown moldings and quarter-round moldings made of scrap pieces.
The wood is planed by another sophisticated machine and further processed into tongue and groove boards with a width of four, five or six inches and in lengths starting at two and a half feet up to ten feet.
Before this final step, the sliced wood is dehydrated through a combination of air conditioning and heat. AC units and kilns are used for this process.
Flooring is sold by square feet with the lowest quality sections going for $3.00 per square foot.
Owner of Lindar Industries, Robert Roman, came to Abaco on January 16 for one of his regular visits to the island. Although based in Nassau, he supervises the Abaco operation and is aided by the field manager, Jeff Bonnet. Mr. Bonnet oversees the daily operations and the proper maintenance of the equipment.
Meeting with Mr. Roman on the site, this reporter saw the crew busy feeding logs into the sawmill. Among the pine trees there was also a huge Genip tree that Mr. Roman rescued and shipped to Marsh Harbour to use it in a productive way rather than have it rot away.
Mr. Roman explained that the logging in Treasure Cay was to resume momentarily, and later on in Spring City. Logging in Buckaroon Bay will follow, probably in February.
“I want to get everything set-up, organized and working properly. The first priority is to fill the order for Nassau.” he said.
Asked about the challenges facing such an operation, he explained that because Abaco Pine is a high end product, its marketing is more difficult. Abaco Pine (Pinus Caribaea Bahamensis) is a wood as hard as Maple. Its high resin content, which causes it to be resistant to termites, makes it a prime wood for indoors projects, such as flooring and cabinet making.
“The first hurdle to overcome is the acceptance of the local market,” he explained.
“Internationally, it is more tricky. Because it is a new product, people have to become familiar with it. Also the FDA requirement concerning wood import to the United States have to be respected. A certification from the Department of Forestry is needed, attesting that the wood has been heat treated at 140 F.
The owner has confidence in this endeavor. He thinks the quality and the uniqueness of the product will allow him to make a success of an operation which had previously suffered a few setbacks in 2010.