Some people assume that Red River Lumber Company’s operation at Westwood was that of a sawmill. It was more than that, and was a multi-facited lumber plant. On May 2, 1924 work began on a half-million dollar veneer plant just to the north of the sawmill. As what had become customary, it too would be built on a grand scale and when completed would be the second largest veneer plant on the West Coast. The two story structure measured by 100 feet wide and a 1000 feet long, with ample room to make additions should demand warrant. Three hundred men were hired in the spring of 1925 to operate the facility.
The veneer process highlights the grain in the wood. Logs are placed in vats heated with steam and then transferred to a lathe were they are peeled into panels in a variety of widths. Red River marketed its finished panels under the label of Paul Bunyan’s Pine Plywood.
It is interesting to note that Red River also did give some thought about putting in a pulp mill to manufacture paper. They had consulted with the U.S. Geological Survey about the area’s geology as to the possibility of drilling deep wells for an adequate water supply. The Survey informed them that the chances were good if they could go through the lava cap and hit the granite strata, as it was their theory that “the line of springs run from Duck Lake to the Big Meadows and the line at Clear Creek were evidently deep fissures running thru the granite and breaking into deep water strata’s.”