Morning Sentinel interviews Rice about Newport woodworking company

The Morning Sentinel interviewed Bob Rice, a professor emeritus of wood physics and bioenergy at the University of Maine, about a woodworking company in Newport, Maine. The Newport Vic Firth Co., now owned by the Avedis Zildjian Co., produces about 5 million pairs of drumsticks per year through a unique partnership of Firth’s tone-pairing process and a multistage abrasive grinding process. Zildjian is one of Newport’s largest employers, and one of the top two woodworking companies in the state, Rice said. The company created about 25 jobs for Mainers in the last year, Morning Sentinel reported. “It’s different from what anyone does,” Rice said. “Others have tried to duplicate it, but they have not been able to do so.” Rice has worked with the team for about 25 years, providing a sounding board for ideas, running lab tests and training employees, according to the article. “In terms of getting the material right and making sure they get a consistent, low-defect material going into the process and a process that produces a consistent, reliable stick at the end, that’s real innovation,” said Rice. “If you go out and you consider what they’re starting with down the road — you’ve got a bumpy 30-foot-long almost cylinder with a taper, and they’re making a perfectly straight stick that stays straight, looks good, feels good and has certain tonal characteristics.” Rice said the company will be around “as long as people need drumsticks.” The Sun Journal and Times Record published the Morning Sentinel article.