DCI makes the best possible product at competitive prices because we manage the entire production process from start to finish. This unique vertical integration differentiates us from our competition and allows us to be the most sustainable company in our industry.
Logs to Lumber
We purchase logs directly from state regulated forests that adhere to the highest environmental standards. This ensures we are using the most sustainably grown and harvested timber available.
Our sawmill in Vermont processes these logs, primarily consisting of ash, oak, and maple, into rough cut lumber. The lumber is graded by tree species, thickness, and length according to standards set by the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) and shipped to our factory in Lisbon, New Hampshire.
For organizations that own standing hardwood timber, we can provide a “chain of custody” for logs harvested from the customer’s property. We’ve been doing this at Dartmouth College. To read more click HERE.
Rough-cut lumber is placed into kilns that are heated with steam, generated from wood-fired boilers fueled by wood waste. DCI has a Zero Waste Policy, so 100% of the wood used in these boilers is either a byproduct of our sawmill or plant operations. Not burning fossil fuels makes economic sense and safeguards the climate. By using a wood boiler to run our kilns, and heat our factory and offices, we save an average of 68 gallons of oil an hour. That's more than 200,000 gallons of oil per year.
The lumber is carefully dried to a moisture content between 6-8% and is then re-graded. The drying process can take up to 30 days. While our furniture facilities use much of the lumber, some is sold to wholesalers.
After the drying process, the lumber enters the rough mill where it is planed, cut, glued, and processed into panels for use in furniture making. The hardwood lumber that is not graded for panel making is used for internal support pieces in our casegoods, eliminating the need to purchase additional components. Processing raw materials from origin to finished product is what separates us from our competitors, who rely on outside suppliers for dry lumber, pre-manufactured wood panels and components.
Solid wood panels are then sent to the finish mill to be made into specific parts. The finish mill processes are carefully scrutinized and our manufacturing steps are subject to strict quality control. After passing all quality checks, the finished parts are ready for urethane application.
We use state-of-the-art ultraviolet cured urethane finishing. This is the same material and application method used on pre-finished hardwood flooring. It is more resistant to damage from abrasion and chemical exposure, as well as to the effects from temperature and humidity changes than other finishes. This finish is also applied to the interior of all cabinets to provide superior dimensional stability. Our UV finish is certified MAS Green.
It is at this point of the manufacturing process that fully finished components can enter final assembly at either our Lisbon plant, or shipped to one of our regional assembly facilities in North Carolina or California.
Upon final assembly the parts and panels are put together under pressure and glue is applied to the mortise and tenon or dowel joints. The cabinet is then clamped to ensure that all joints are tight and the cabinet is completely square before screws are driven into each joint. This is far superior to dry construction, or other methods that do not use mortise and tenon or dowel joinery.
Controlling the entire manufacturing process from origin to final product allows us to monitor quality and maximize efficiencies continually, from raw material to the sawdust used to fire our kilns and heat our factory. You can download our Guide To Sustainable Residence Hall Furniture here.