Brad Corkill is president and owner of Whiteman Lumber Company, in Cataldo, Idaho. The mill was started in 1928 by Harry Whiteman, and is now the oldest continuously-operating sawmill in the state. Whiteman Lumber supplied mining timbers for Sunshine and other Silver Valley mines until the sagging mineral market and environmental regulations caused the decline of silver mining in Silver Valley. Brad and his wife Mary purchased the sawmill in 1988. They have grown the business despite the decline of the mining customers by selling their timbers to individuals, timber framers, contractors and wholesalers. In 2013, Whiteman Lumber was honored in the Congressional Record of the U.S. Senate for it ability to endure through difficult economic times. As it says in the Record, Whiteman Lumber is “a small family business that has survived recessions and fires but continues to thrive and enhance the lumber industry.”
Brad Corkill has been involved in the timber industry his entire adult life. He has a degree in Forestry from Oregon State University, and has experience working in just about every aspect of the industry: as he says, “logging, timber cruising, surveying, road and bridge building and now sawmilling.” For those who may be curious, a timber cruise is a sample measurement of a section of forest that is used to estimate the amount of standing timber that the forest contains.
Whiteman Lumber is a full service sawmill. Their equipment includes a planer and two dry kilns for providing timbers custom dried to any requested moisture content. As Brad says, “We specialize in custom orders for homes and commercial buildings. We use a circle saw which on our rough timbers leaves a very appealing saw mark. No order is too big or too small.” Their products include beams, rafters, mantels, stair treads, bridge decking, and mining timbers.
One of Brad’s favorite projects, and one of Whiteman Lumber’s first timber frame orders, was producing the timber for the frame of the base lodge at Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho. Built by Wil Wilkins of Timberhouse, at the time it was one of the largest timber frames in the U.S. As Brad says, “it was built in 1990 and today it looks fantastic.”
One of Whiteman Lumber’s biggest challenges was in January 2009, when the mill burned to the ground. Brad saw it as the chance to build a better mill, which is what he did. He created a more efficient layout and had his employees back to work within a year. As he says, “I tell people that the old mill would have died with me. This new one will last for several more generations.”
Brad and says that Whiteman Lumber tries to facilitate the sometimes complex process of constructing a timber frame. They do their best, when it’s possible, to organize an order according to the building’s components, such as which room or area the timbers will construct, making it easier for the framing crew to get the job done.
Brad is proud of the quality of work his mill does. As he says, “When someone deals with us they are dealing with people who follow the process from when the tree is standing in the forest to when the beam is loaded on a truck. We are hands on, we speak the language and if there is ever a problem we solve it. We were here yesterday, we are here today and we will be here tomorrow.”
Whiteman Lumber can be found on the internet at https://www.whitemanlumber.com/
The mill is located at 32859 E Canyon Rd, Cataldo, Idaho 83810
Call them at 877-682-4602
Contact by email at: [email protected]