Innovative Methods & Technology

We call it optimal resource utilization. Our commitment to making the highest and best use of every log has led us to explore the world for new ideas, innovations, processes and technologies that help to minimize waste, increase productivity and enhance the quality of the products we produce.

Vaagen Brothers utilizes state-of-the-art lumber scanning technology to help assure product quality, strength and consistency while optimizing the use of each log. Debarking and log chipping equipment produce wood fiber for the paper products and landscaping industries — as well as fuel for the production of green energy that offsets power costs and produces steam for the manufacturing process. A Scandinavian style hewsaw specially designed to handle small logs, produces dimensional lumber with minimal waste and maximum efficiency.

By putting the industry’s best practices in place and adopting proven new technologies, Vaagen Brothers has created a flexible, forward thinking and continuously improving business that’s always looking for new ways to work smarter, faster and more efficiently. 


Vaagen Brothers Lumber eliminates waste and creates engergy through a partnership with Avista in which woody debris are chipped and hauled to a biomass facility in Kettle Falls, where it produces enough electricity to meet 37,500 homes’ needs for about eight hours.

Transforming slash piles or left over wood product such as branches or tree tops into clean, green energy is a collaborative effort between Avista, Vaagen Brothers Lumber, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Avista burns bark and other leftover wood products into superheated steam of 950 degrees.

The result – a giant firebox that heats water for steam, which turns electricity turbines with limited emissions or harm to the environment.

For year’s, environmentalists have wanted an alternative to burning “slash” that can create smoke pollutants. Turning waste into energy is a much more viable option. It’s an evolution of the use of material from the forest. 

The Portable Mill

The recent addition of a fully operational portable mill makes it possible to harvest and process timber at a variety of locations, increasing both efficiency and productivity. Vaagen’s portable mill allows the company to process timber in areas where the small log resource was previously unutilized — and expands the company’s ability to determine what new areas might support permanent small log milling facilities in the future.


Today, in addition to operating a flagship facility in Colville, Washington, Vaagen Brothers Lumber operates a sawmill in Usk, Washington. With the addition of a portable mill and reopening a sawmill in Midway, B.C., Vaagen is expanding their forward thinking practice of optimal resource management. At each Vaagen operation, quality lumber begins with quality trees. High quality small trees yield good small logs, starting at 4 and half inches on the small end 14 inches on the large end. Species range from Dougless Fir, Larch, to Pine, and Hem Fir.

Log supply comes from private, state, federal, and tribal land. Once logs arrive at the Colville operation, they are weighed and unloaded by the companies 128 foot P and H crane. Towering above the mill, the crane feeds all logs into all machine centers and handles 500 bites of material per day.