You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

Logs to lumber in Livingston

Support Local Journalism


Subscribe


Sawmill, Photo Page

Sun rises behind RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

When the sun finally creeps over the Absaroka Mountains, the employees at RY Timber in Livingston have already been awake for several hours, diligently turning logs into lumber.

Sawmill, Photo Page

A hardhat hangs next to a sign in the RY Timber office in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021. The sign warns employees and drivers who are "grouchy, irritable or just plain mean" will be charged $100 for "putting up with your crap!!!!"

Inside the sawmill, streams of light filter through a haze of sweet-smelling sawdust. Over the loud noise of the saws, you can hear people laughing and joking.

RY Timber employs 86 people between their sawmill in Livingston and corporate office in Townsend. Until a year and a half ago, there was also a sawmill in Townsend but timber shortages forced that mill to close in 2020.

General Manager Dan Richards says employees at the Livingston sawmill tend to work two shifts, totaling about nine hours.

Sawmill, Photo Page

General Manager Dan Richards gives a tour of the sawmill at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

“You wouldn’t think it, looking from the highway,” says Richards. “But this is a real state-of-the-art mill.”

A new barker and planer loom over the log yard, waiting to be installed. Richards says it's unusual for a mill to put in that much new equipment.

Sawmill, Photo Page

Wild sunflowers grow next to stacks of lodgepole pine trees in the log yard at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

RY takes in logs from about a 100-mile radius of the mill. They chop up Douglas fir, lodgepole pines and Engelmann spruce into neat two-by-fours and two-by-sixes, which are loaded onto semi-trucks or railcars and shipped to Texas or the East Coast.

Sawmill, Photo Page

A truck driver straps down a load of lumber at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Sawmill, Photo Page

Saws are sharpened and straightened in the saw shop at RY Timber on Sept. 17, 2021, in Livingston. They need to be straightened and filed often because "those saws take a beating," says Head Saw Sharpener Denis Brandon who has worked at the mill for 44 years.

Sawmill, Photo Page

Scott McNeill and Ron MacRae chat in the office at the RY Timber sawmill in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Sawmill, Photo Page

Logs work their way from the log yard into the sawmill to be cut into lumber on Sept. 17, 2021, at RY Timber in Livingston.

Sawmill, Photo Page

A pile of scraps lay on the floor at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Sawmill, Photo Page

Corey Flacker, deck saw operator, works the complicated board of buttons and switches at his station at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Sawmill, Photo Page

An employee helps guide lumber into the planer at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Sawmill, Photo Page

Tim Massey operates the head rig saw at RY Timber on Sept. 17, 2021, in Livingston.

Sawmill, Photo Page

Lodgepole pines are stacked in neat rows in the log yard at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Sawmill, Photo Page

An employee works in the sawmill at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Sawmill, Photo Page

A production board shows employees the output over the past three weeks at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Sawmill, Photo Page

A complicated mass of wires and cables used to run the machines in the sawmill at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Sawmill, Photo Page

Scrap lumber is turned into wood chips at RY Timber in Livingston on Sept. 17, 2021.

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.

Rachel Leathe is a Chronicle staff photographer. She can be reached at rleathe@dailychronicle.com.

Recommended for you