What do steel log staples, the NHLA Convention, and a $2.8 million country ham have in common? NHLA member EZLOG Company, Inc. produces steel log staples. And the ham? Well, it isn’t an ordinary ham. It’s a Broadbent Traditional Cured Ham. Broadbent hams have been sold at charity auctions for as much as $2.8 million, but you can win one at the NHLA Convention by simply registering at the EZLOG Company’s booth!
EZLOG produces Hog Nose Steel Log Staples (hence, the drawing for a ham). They are a part of S&D Holdings, which began with Spalding & Day Tool and Die and was started in 1947 by Dan Day’s father, Jay Day, and his uncle, Bill Spalding. Dan recalls, “I already had a business that dealt with sheet metal, and I had a friend in the logging business. He noticed that there had to be a better way to stop end splits on logs, so we designed the Hog Nose Staple. Since I was already producing sheet metal components for all types of businesses, steel staples fit nicely into my business plan.”
The Hog Nose™ Staples are designed to fight split ends on logs and are primarily used on high-end veneer logs. There are a lot of products out there to control end splits, so Dan knew he had to design something unique, saying, “Basically we built a better mousetrap; a staple that works better than other options that would also be easy to remove without damaging the log. That’s the key. No other products are easy to remove without sawing about 3-4 inches off the end of the log or ruining your dust bi-product with plastic. Those inches add up and hurt a mill’s yield and profit margin. On top of all that, the easy removal of EZLOG Hog Nose Staples ensures saving valuable saw blades, veneer knives, and other equipment damage.”
Dan continues, “Lumber mills face a problem when an end split or check on a log goes too deep into the log and catches the veneer knives. So, it can cause problems in the final processing that go beyond the loss of wood. EZLOG Hog Nose Staples™ are designed to apply pressure in the direction that you want it to go, and that’s what helps to fight the split and keep it from growing.”
Mike McCrea serves as EZLOG’s Business Development Manager. He explains, “Our Hog Nose™ Staples, so named because the staple looks like the snout of a hog, are superior to other options like S-Irons (SI) or plastic inserts. S-irons are not easily removed, so mills end up cutting off the end of the log. Using a SI is similar to driving a wedge at the end of the log. Yes, they will hold the crack, but sometimes they make the crack a little worse while you are installing them because they displace so much material. So, S-Irons can actually split the log more! Hog Nose Staples typically cost about 20-30% less than S-Irons, and they are more effective.”
Dan adds, “While the plastic inserts are cheaper, and mills don’t necessarily have to remove them, most do because they don’t want their blades to hit the plastic. Plus, if a mill is selling their scraps as a fuel source or selling it to the pulp and paper industry, plastic is a terrible idea because they cannot sell it with plastic dust in the scrap. Also, the plastic staples do not hold as much strength as our Hog Nose™ staples, especially when working with red oak.“
A lot of different factors affect how successful a business is. Location, pricing, customer service, product quality, and awareness all play a part. Dan goes as far as to say that his secret to his success is producing a superior product. “In my opinion, a superior product often sells itself. When people use Hog Nose Staples, they become loyal customers. For example, we had to apply a small price increase on the staples due to the rising cost of steel. We were a little nervous about increasing the price, but our loyal customers remained true. Hopefully, the price increase is temporary, and once steel prices come back down, we plan to adjust the price again to lower the cost for our customers.”
EZLOG does not suffer the common problem of turning new customers into loyal customers. According to Mike, their biggest challenge is getting NEW customers through positive exposure. “We need to get our product out there for people to discover. Our biggest hurdle is to inform the industry that we provide a superior product. Mike adds, “We are very excited about the upcoming Convention. We decided to join NHLA after taking a trip to Memphis, where we were given a complete tour of the Inspector Training School and the NHLA headquarters. We love the fact that we can advertise to such a specific market and get real value for our money. Our NHLA membership and advertising have proven well worth it.
That is one of the reasons we look forward to exhibiting at the 2021 NHLA Convention and Exhibit Showcase in West Palm Beach, Florida. We’ll be the booth making all the loud racket. We’ll demonstrations on installing and removing staples, plus, we have a cool giveaway (the Broadbent World Champion ham) for people who stop by.”
Dan wraps it up nicely, “The future of EZLOG is bright. We plan to spend more time on the export business because the international market is so big. We also have some possible new products on the horizon. We are looking at the rail tie industry, live edge market, and others. It’s going to be a great year for the EZLOG Company!”