File Week

Canadian Forest Industries is highlighting innovations in the filing room, from new processes and techniques to new technologies, during File Week 2018 from April 30 to May 4!

For the second year in a row, our File Week coverage is serving as a hub for saw filers and sawmillers to learn best practices and find the latest information on advancements in saw filing technology.

We’re posting cutting edge content both from our archives as well as brand-new stories and product news from the BC Saw Filers Association convention that took place April 26-28 in Kamloops, B.C.

We are highlighting:

  • stories from the filing room
  • technical articles on saw filing automation
  • equipment spotlights on the latest saw filing gear
  • columns from long-time contributor and filer Trevor Shpeley, head filer Josh Penner, and Modern Engineering’s Udo Jahn
  • strategies for employing the next generation of filers, and more!

Stay tuned to this landing page and our social media (#FileWeek) for the latest stories and videos during File Week 2018!



May 4, 2017 - “The world as I know it will never be the same!”

This was the thought running through my head as I wrapped up the last section of the mechanical aptitude test, so sure of myself that I had passed. I had grown tired of sorting boards, flipping cants, operating tilt gates, and had decided that I would sign the next apprenticeship posting when it became available. I was about 22 years old, had done various jobs on the mill production floor and knew I needed a change. As a high school dropout, I didn’t have a lot of options in front of me either.
May 3, 2017 - The LK Pro from Kirschner was in action at BGR Saws booth, showcasing its ease of use for saw tip removal and retipping of circular saw blades. Dan Betteridge, senior manager of west coast sales/equipment sales for BGR Saws, gives a rundown of the LK Pro features. 

CLICK HERE for more File Week 2017 stories.
May 2, 2017 - Michael Kohnle, managing director of iBlade, introduces the SAWCONTROL 800V2 at the BGR Saws booth at the BC Saw Filers Association convention trade show in Kamloops. The measuring tool rotates the saw blade automatically and analyses every tooth with four cameras at different angles.

CLICK HERE for more File Week 2017 stories.
May 2 2017 - Virginia Myrfield, operations manager for Saw+ADD, talks the latest updates to the unique anti-deviation device for bandsaws at the BC Saw Filers Association convention trade show in Kamloops. 

CLICK HERE for more File Week 2017 stories.
May 2, 2017 – Canadian Forest Industries takes a look at the new filing room technologies and processes on display at the BC Saw Filers Association convention and trade show that took place in Kamloops on the weekend. 
May 1, 2017 - Richard Comer, president and co-owner of saw plate manufacturer GrascheUSA, at the BC Saw Filers Association annual convention trade show sharing highlights of GrascheUSA’s saw bodies, from extreme flatness to grind quality, with blades ranging from two to 40 inches. 

CLICK HERE for more File Week 2017 stories.
May 1, 2017 - Cut Technologies’ Mike Weckel at the BC Saw Filers Association annual convention trade show highlights the Vollmer CHP 840 facer-topper that is able to sharpen v-tops. 

CLICK HERE for more File Week 2017 stories.
May 1, 2017 - File Week 2017 has arrived and Canadian Forest Industries has all the coverage to keep you in the loop as we highlight innovations and accomplishments in the file room every day this week!
May 1, 2017 - Saw filers from Canada’s largest forest products companies down to small family-owned mills in B.C. mingled and shared best practices at the BC Saw Filers Association annual convention that took place in Kamloops, B.C., over the weekend.
March 31, 2017 - Everyone has good days and bad days. The other day was a bad one for me. No, I’m not ill, but I received some very bad news from a friend. He’s not ill either, but he told me there’s soon going to be a lot of upset people in local sawmill communities. There are rumours going around that a few mills may be closing. I don’t know where they’re located, but I know it will be unpleasant. The question we must always ask ourselves when faced with a failing business is, “Why?”

I can speculate all I want about the reasons behind a mill’s closure, but it comes down to one thing: economics. Yes, this term has been flying around for decades and has been used to justify a wide range of decisions, from closing a business to releasing employees. I use the term “releasing employees” after going through firing, terminating, send packing, and some other words. I figured “releasing” would have the least amount of emotional response, though delicate language cannot disguise the life-changing turmoil this causes for many families. But, the cause at the centre of all of this is still economics.

I must digress and tell you a story. We had a piece of equipment in my machine shop serviced about eight months ago. The machine had been working perfectly fine for several years, but just like the parts of your car, they require regular service and maintenance. The service technician noticed some sparking on one of the components . . . after he was poking around in it. Here the story turns unpleasant. 

The machine was immediately taken out of service for safety reasons. A necessary evil, but it’s not like I had a spare of this giant thing sitting around, ready and waiting to jump into the production line. My objective was to get this critical machine up and running again as quickly as possible.

Well, it did. But it took eight months. Let that sink in. Is that an acceptable timeframe for a vital piece of equipment to be out of service in your machine shop, or sawmill. Now this is when the story takes an even more dismal turn.

The service company wanted payment for the repair call that started this whole thing before they would send us back the fixed piece of equipment. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my face quite the same shade of tomato. I couldn’t believe they wanted to be paid first, before they’d send our machine back. The nerve!

Now, remembering how upset I was about my equipment being out of service for eight months, I started to think about a sawmill in trouble. Some mills run poorly for years before they eventually shut down. Yes, years!

My own ordeal was only eight months by comparison, and it was completely unacceptable for my business. I can think of another word to describe it too. It’s eight letters, starts with B and ends with ULLSHIT.

I can’t imagine enduring a severe productivity issue, such as malfunctioning equipment, for years. Unfortunately, many sawmills regularly endure this for months or even years: a problem everyone can see and that is never properly dealt with.

There are many reasons those problems stick around in a sawmill, from just plain ignoring the problems, or because only minimal fixes are made in an effort to save a few dollars. Eventually, economics will catch up. When that happens, “Surprise!” the sawmill is shut down. The mills that close are the weak ones that can’t seem to ever conquer their problems. If you’re in the sawmill industry, you know the weak ones.

In my case of the broken machine, I was crushed that I had to wait eight months for it to be fixed. I felt like my business was in limbo while this was going on. Many sawmills are too weak to make it out of their limbo state, or have been in a downward spiral for so long, they reach a point where they can no longer stop it once they’re dealt a critical blow. 

I believe you can always turn a business around with the right solutions, and by doing everything in your power to prevent problems in the first place through maintenance, investment and innovation.

So next time you make a business decision, ask yourself if you’re really just putting another nail in your future economic coffin.

Udo Jahn is a general manager at Modern Engineering.
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