July 21, 2013

Maine company reclaims sunken logs

Maine Heritage Timber Co. retrieves the logs from a 1,000-acre lake in Millinocket for wood flooring, wainscoting and furniture.

By Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Tom Shafer’s company, Maine Heritage Timber Co. in Millinocket, dredges timber from lakes and rivers like the raw tree trunks pictured above and uses the wood for flooring and furniture, pictured below.

Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Additional Photos Below

Maine Heritage Timber, which also supplied wood for oars to L.L. Bean to mark that company's100th anniversary last year, isn't the only company recovering lumber from Maine waters.

DeadHead Lumber, which began in 2007, retrieves hardwood from Moosehead Lake. Its products are used mostly for industrial purposes such as flooring or tabletops in restaurants and stores.

DeadHead's owner, Todd Morrissette, said he doesn't see any problem with two companies competing in Maine. "DeadHeads" is the nickname for the sunken logs that collected along the bottom of Maine's lakes and rivers during the log drives.

"It is a niche market, but the potential is so huge," Morrissette said. "I don't see us bumping into each other. I don't see us as competition. We both benefit each other."

Educating customers is a challenge because most people don't know Maine's logging history, Shafer said.

To broaden the product's reach, Maine Heritage Timber rebranded itself from its original name of West Branch Heritage Timber, which was a nod to the West Branch of the Penobscot River. That was a little too localized to gain national or regional recognition.

"Maine is a powerful brand. We need to leverage it," Shafer said. "Everyone loves Maine."

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:



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Additional Photos

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Todd Bernier operates a long reach excavator at Quakish Lake near Millinocket as the company harvests its raw materials.

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Todd Bernier uses a long reach excavator to grab a load of sunken logs at Quakish Lake near Millinocket.

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Kris Willard and Joe Arsenault select and pack wainscoting.

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