March 15, 2018 - Norbord Inc. announced today that a shortage of wood will cause it to temporarily suspend production at its oriented strand board (OSB) mill in 100 Mile House, British Columbia.  Norbord currently expects the suspension to commence on or about May 14, 2018 and to continue for approximately one month.The significant wildfires that the province of British Columbia experienced in the summer of 2017 seriously damaged logging areas surrounding the 100 Mile House mill.  Further, the severe weather conditions this winter have limited loggers' ability to access the forests during the months when the mill typically builds its annual log inventory. Combined, these extraordinary circumstances have impacted Norbord's ability to secure a sufficient wood supply to operate the mill on a continuous basis during this one-month period.Norbord will continue to supply its customers with production from its other OSB mills and the 100 Mile House mill will continue to receive log deliveries during this period. The Company currently estimates that the curtailment will negatively impact its second quarter 2018 financial results by approximately US$5 million.The 100 Mile House mill has a stated annual production capacity of 440 million square feet (3/8-inch basis).
March 13, 2018 - The re-opening of the sawmill in White River, Ont., was one of the lumber industry’s rare “good news” stories of 2013. Shuttered six years earlier, the town’s population had dwindled to nearly half its size from the 1990s. Then numbering about 600 residents, the Township of White River and the nearby Pic Mobert First Nation joined forces to create White River Forest Products LP (WRFP). Led by CEO Frank Dottori, the renowned founder of Canadian forestry giant Tembec, the new venture invested heavily in restoring the site and creating a new model of efficiency in Ontario’s north. The centerpiece of the new mill is the new saw line and the infeed deck with the new debarker. Equipped with 14 scanners to achieve dramatic improvements in the mill’s yield from every tree, the new saw line can out-produce all three of White River’s previous lines put together. The next challenge was to match that efficiency in the yard’s loading capability. For that task, WRFP has turned to Sennebogen 830 M-T purpose-built material handlers. Robert Acs, the yard manager at WRFP, recalls the effort to move wood as fast as the saw can process it. “We acquired some older equipment with the assets we purchased. We tried upgrading to another material handler but it only lasted six months. We could see it wasn’t working out.” Getting up to speed In the meantime, the yard contracted out a loading by-the-hour service with Dan Bolduc of DKR Trucking. Bolduc was operating an 830 M-T, specially designed by Sennebogen to pull a large trailer. The 830 took on the yard’s full range of loading duties: offloading trucks, stockpiling the wood, forwarding logs to the mill on a trailer and loading the infeed from the trailer.  With a front row view of how Bolduc’s machine did it all, Dottori and the WRFP board soon approved the purchase of another unit from Strongco, the Sennebogen distributor located in Sudbury, Ont. Strongco’s Danny Virgoe explains how the 830 M-T adds to the success of the mill.  “White River, located in north Ontario deals with cold and harsh weather conditions. Some equipment just isn’t designed for extreme conditions like this. And this part of the world is no place to be looking for repair parts in a hurry,” Virgoe says. “Uptime is critical,” Acs agrees. “It’s a full day for the bus to deliver in-stock parts from the Strongco branch in Thunder Bay. A week is pretty good if we need anything from the factory. But these are low maintenance machines. They work 20 hours a day, five days a week. We’ve put 13,000 hours on our machine in two and a half years; Dan has 17,000 hours on his 830 — but we haven’t had any major downtime with the machine.” On the move Surviving the cold of White River winters is just one of the challenges for the Sennebogen machines. Wicked freeze and thaw cycles in the spring leave the yard in a slippery, boggy condition: tough sledding when you’re pulling a big load. Forwarding from the stockpiles to the deck can be a trip of up to 700 yards. The undercarriage’s higher clearance is uniquely designed for the job, with dual transmissions to drive each axle and with a frame specially reinforced against pulling stresses. Sennebogen’s elevating Maxcab provides operators with the visibility to keep the site safe while unloading and stacking. The cab’s sliding door and catwalk allows safe entry and exit, especially when the yard is filled with snow and ice.  Acs notes that the high lift of the material handler further reduces any potential delays in forwarding cycles.  “We can stack more wood closer to the mill, so that saves travel time,” he says.   With the upgraded saw line, White River can produce up to 40,000 board feet per hour. Processing black spruce and jack pine logs from 4” to 20” in diameter, its chip volume has been reduced by half. The mill now yields more lumber from each tree. At full capacity, it targets 150 million board feet of FSC-certified products, with about 70 per cent in 16’ lengths of 2 x 4 and 2 x 6.The return of the mill has led to a rapid resurgence of the town. With 160 employees at the mill, White River is seeing the return of experienced workers like Acs. The town’s population has risen again to more than 1,000, and its most pressing problem these days is housing its new residents. With the 830 M-Ts in the yard, Acs is keeping up with the saw line. The mill is keeping up with today’s most advanced technology. And now, happily, the town is working to keep up with the mill.
March 5, 2018 - Conifex has recently made a $100-million investment and turned an idled sawmill into a new modern mill complex outfitted with best-in-class technology.USNR is proud to have been a major supplier on this project, and to partner with Mid-South Engineering to help bring Conifex’s vision to reality. Click here to watch a video of the Conifex El Dorado operations.
Feb. 26, 2018 - Steven Freeman recalls the trials and deliberations that led his family to purchase a Sennebogen 830 M‑T log-handler four years ago. “The decision for our second Sennebogen was a lot simpler than the first,” he says. “Our yard is tough: it’s rock, and wood debris, and some mud, and the stud yard is up the hill, 300 to 400 yards from the mill. It’s a cruel environment for a machine.” Steven represents the sixth generation of his family to manage Harry Freeman and Son Limited, located about 100 miles south of Halifax, N.S., in the midst of Nova Scotia’s white pine forests where they process spruce and eastern white pine. Operating since 1832, the Freeman mill has always taken pride in progressively updating its equipment and processes. Sennebogen designed the 830 M-T specifically for this kind of work, combining excellent reach and lifting efficiency with rugged all-wheel drive trailer-pulling capacity. Dealing with downtime Their first 830 was put to work forwarding wood for the stud mill processing 8’ - 10’ (2.5 -3.0 m) logs. Meanwhile, the random wood mill relied on a wheel loader fitted with a log grapple to bring in mostly 16’ (4.9 m) and 12’ (3.7 m) logs. “But whenever the 830 had to come out for scheduled maintenance, it was very disruptive to our production,” Freeman says. “Today, production levels are maintained using our new 830 M-T.” “We did try another make of log-handler before we bought our first Sennebogen but it wasn’t built as heavy and couldn’t withstand the application.” Keeping up with mill throughput The Freeman mill produces approximately 100 million board feet (30,480,000 m) of lumber per year. As Freeman notes, with a staff of more than 150 over two shifts, having a whole crew standing around, waiting for wood, is not a good thing. “It used to be that before we put the 830 in maintenance, we’d have to lower the tiers for the wheel loader to handle the studs and the log stacks. Our back-up plan wasn’t pretty either — we’d have to hire self-loading trucks to forward the studs from up the hill. They couldn’t keep up with it; it left the mill starved for wood.” Due diligence The family conducted its due diligence before ordering another 830 M-T to take over duties in the random yard. Consideration was given to buying a pick and carry machine instead, but the decision moved quickly to adding a second Sennebogen trailer pulling log loader equipped with a Rotobec F1250 HD rotator grapple capable of handling over 1.5 yds (1.15 m) of 16’ (4.9 m) logs. “First, we knew what we’re getting,” Freeman explains. “Getting the same machine again means we have the same equipment to service and same parts to stock. Our support from Strongco, our Sennebogen dealer, has been excellent. Standardizing on the Cummins engines are helpful. There’s nothing exotic about them for us to maintain. Plus, the 830 gives us the extra flexibility of two machines that can feed the mill, as well as forward the wood. “With the two 830s working together, we have more than enough capacity now. Our ability to move wood is not a bottleneck anymore and together these two machines have replaced the need for three pieces of mobile equipment required to meet our ongoing production needs.”
Feb. 20, 2018 - Northland Forest Products is a family-owned sawmill nestled among the oilsands giants in northeastern Alberta. In spite of the challenges of operating in the shadow of oil and gas, Northland is thriving.
Feb. 6, 2018 – The Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (BNA) First Nation’s Sawmill Manager Project is receiving $57,746 from the Ontario government to ensure the BNA has a qualified manager to run sawmill operations. Papasay Value-Added Wood Products is a First Nation-owned sawmill located in the Lake Nipigon Forest, about 180km northwest of Thunder Bay. The company’s goal is to provide long-term sustainable employment opportunities for BNA Band Members and workers from the region by utilizing the natural resources available in the area to produce rough sawn lumber including birch, cedar, poplar and SPF, as well as value-added products such as columns and posts.
March 13, 2018 - Ontario is supporting Columbia Forest Products to expand its plywood mill in Hearst and Rutherglen, helping to create and maintain almost 350 jobs and boost economic growth. The province is investing nearly $3.2 million over five years in Columbia Forest Products’ infrastructure project, which will enable the company to grow its business and increase efficiency by modernizing its infrastructure and purchasing new equipment to maximize production capacity, increase competitiveness and expand into new markets, while ensuring resources are managed sustainably. “A respectful working relationship between the Ontario government, our union partners and Columbia’s leadership team in Ontario continues to strengthen as evidenced by the ongoing expansion and modernization of Columbia’s Ontario hardwood plywood and veneer operations — a positive case study that witnesses complementary organizations working together to build a solid future for Columbia’s dedicated Ontario team members,” said Gary Gillespie, executive vice-president of Canadian plywood and decorative veneer operations at Columbia Forest Products. Columbia Forest Products is one of North America's largest manufacturers of hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer products. Columbia's decorative interior veneers and panels are used in high-end cabinetry, fine furniture, architectural millwork and commercial fixtures. “I am happy to see the investment we are making in northern Ontario, and the support this will provide to families in Ontario,” said Minister of Economic Development and Growth Steven Del Duca. By generating over $15.3 billion in revenues and supporting approximately 172,000 direct and indirect jobs, the forestry sector is a significant part of communities across the province. “Our government understands how important a strong forest products sector is to Ontario’s economy and the key role it plays in many northern and rural communities,” said Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Nathalie Des Rosiers. “The Forestry Growth Fund, under the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, is assisting the sector to increase production capacity and expand into new markets while continuing to ensure our forests are sustainably managed.”
Feb. 27, 2018 - In 1999, thousands of hours of dedicated volunteer work and more than 20 years of community input came to fruition with the incorporation of the Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative.
Dec. 6, 2017 - Every so often I get a letter from somebody asking me how they can learn sawfiling. Typically, they have a bushmill somewhere there are no services available and they feel that it’s just not cost effective for them to ship their saws out to get worked on.
Dec. 1, 2017 - Canfor Pulp Products Inc. announced today that it has taken a temporary and unscheduled outage on one production line at its Northwood Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp mill located in Prince George, B.C., as a result of a tube leak in the number five recovery boiler. Canfor Pulp anticipates the number five recovery boiler to be down for approximately two weeks, and is currently projecting 15,000 tonnes of reduced NBSK pulp production during the fourth quarter 2017, as well as higher associated maintenance costs and lower projected shipment volumes. To mitigate the impact of the incident, Canfor Pulp is continuing to operate the second production line at the Pulp mill and will advance certain mill maintenance activities previously scheduled to be performed in the first quarter of 2018. Due to mitigation efforts by Canfor Pulp the temporary outage is not expected to have a material impact on the financial condition of the Company. The company will be making a claim under its insurance program.
Oct. 23, 2017 - So you want to be a filer? Well, you’ve done the hard part and passed your pre-apprenticeship exam and secured your spot in the filing room. Now it’s time to learn the trade. Most of what you need to know will be taught in school and by your fellow filers, but here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to get you started.
Aug. 2, 2017 - As filers we do it every day but we all hate it. It isn’t hard and it doesn’t take a lot of time, but we do our very best to do as little of it as possible. I’m talking about swadging; the process of shaping flat steel into sharp teeth for bandsaws.
March 12, 2018 - Tolko is investing in a new BioVision Edger line for its sawmill at Armstrong, B.C. The new line will comprise an unscrambler, Maximizer positioning infeed with dual fetchers, 4-saw edger, and close-coupled picker tailer. The optimizer is a BioVision system utilizing data from the new transverse scanner fitted with BioLuma 2900LV vision sensors. Also included is a MillTrak lumber flow control system comprising two sensors mounted above the unscrambler.BioVision's edger grade evaluation adds overall value through re-manufacture or rip, based on the final grade of the wood. For example, a #3 appearance due to knots can be edged to #3 wane with confidence, to maximize recovery. Likewise a low grade 2x8 may be worth more as two 2x4s, one being a higher grade. 
March 6, 2018 - Wood-Mizer has acquired the Swedish company, MOReTENs AB, placing a full range of popular 4-sided planer/moulders, table saws, spindle moulders, and CNC routers into Wood-Mizer’s globally available product range. Founded in 1980, MOReTENs designs and manufactures a popular range of woodworking machinery which includes 4-sided planer/moulder combination models, spindle moulders, and a workshop table saw. In addition, MOReTENs also supplies high-end, CNC-controlled routers and log home building machinery. “Throughout our history, Wood-Mizer has been committed to providing the best quality equipment to process logs into finished wood products,” said Wood-Mizer president and CEO Richard Vivers. “The affordable and versatile moulder and planer product lines from MOReTENs have been proven worldwide for decades, and are now backed by the high-quality service and support network customers expect from Wood-Mizer.” The founder and owner of MOReTENs, Bo Mårtensson, has joined Wood-Mizer as the general director of the factory in Ostersund, Sweden. The factory in Sweden marks Wood-Mizer’s fifth manufacturing plant throughout the world including three facilities in the USA and one in Poland. “Many years ago, I was a young engineer with carpentry experience when I started MOReTENs and began building woodworking machinery,” said Mårtensson. “I’m proud to see my products in workshops worldwide, and now we are very pleased to be joining the Wood-Mizer team, which will see our existing products being available to a much wider customer base and will also accelerate our capability to introduce new products to meet our customers’ needs.” Beginning in March 2018, Wood-Mizer will offer the new range of planers/moulders through their distribution network. The latest acquisition of MOReTENs builds on Wood-Mizer's position as a worldwide manufacturer and supplier of narrow band sawmills, now offering a full range of equipment that can seamlessly convert logs into dried lumber and finally into finished wood products - all backed by Wood-Mizer's expertise and commitment to excellent customer service.
Jan. 30, 2018 - 3D scanning and inspection solutions developer LMI Technologies (LMI) has launched a new line of modular multi-point scanners called the Gocator 200 Series. The Gocator 200 Series is the latest addition to the Gocator line of smart, all-in-one 3D sensors for material optimization and 100 per cent quality control. With Gocator 200 multi-point scanners, users can create a scanning system based on a modular design that allows a mix of 3D profiling, tracheid detection, and colour vision for sawmills and planer mills looking to maximize wood breakdown decisions, the company said in a release. The G200 series is based on coplanar scanning that effectively captures both the leading and trailing edges of lumber while minimizing conveyor footprint, offers true differential profiling for accurate thickness measurement, and can scale from one to 48 sensors to cover various lumber length requirements.Based on the proven high-density profile design of chroma+scan, Gocator 200 scanners run 50 per cent faster to achieve scan rates at 3 kHz matching mills running at 300 feet per minute. In addition, tracheid scan rates are three times faster to deliver 1.5khz density for exceptional detail in wood grain detection. “Gocator 200 gives customers a modular advantage so that saw and planer mills can now create their own custom material optimization solutions,” said Terry Arden, chief executive officer of LMI Technologies. “We are excited by the possibilities the G200 offers to the wood industry including the many benefits of Gocator’s proven all-in-one 3D smart capabilities.” With the launch of the G200 series, LMI is also expanding the capabilities of its standard Gocator Software Development Kit (GoSDK) with a new Web Scanning SDK (GoWebScan). GoWebScan SDK allows users to quickly and easily implement their own solutions by taking care of common tasks like system alignment, and merging data from multiple sensors.
Jan. 30, 2018 - With many wood processing facilities demanding larger system capabilities Allied Blower & Sheet Metal has successfully certified a line of BBDs that reach sizes up to 50” (1270 mm) in diameter.  When comparing the options of using a Passive Mechanical System or an Active Chemical Suppression system the Mechanical Systems are perceived to have less maintenance costs due to simplicity in function, design, training requirements, and the low frequency of inspections.  With a mechanical BBD, mill staff do not need specialized training or tools when inspecting and keeping maintenance records for NFPA compliance, as they would require with an Active Chemical system. This results in more up-time, allowing for more production. The Allied BBDs are built in Canada and designed for easy installation, inspection, and maintenance.  The instrumentation meets North American standards to easily integrate into a plant or mill PLC system and is available in Class 2 Div 2.  The BBD can resist a vented dust collector explosion reaching a Pred of 5 psi (0.35 bar) for dusts with a Kst of up to 200 bar-m/sec. This range provides safe operation for a large range of deflagrable dusts used in industry.  A combination of Allied BDD and an Allied’s NFPA certified rotary feeders can provide NFPA compliant passive isolation for large sized systems.  Located in Western Canada, Allied is owner-operated, making for short lead times and easily available replacement components. Being familiar with North American standards and technologies as well as European technologies and systems, the knowledgeable Allied design team can support your deflagrable dust issues and help you get back into compliance. Founded in 1974, Allied supplies design, fabrication, installation and service for industrial air systems.  For more info visit
Jan. 11, 2018 -To handle growing business volumes, Carbotech has opened a new office on Québec City’s south shore.A division of the Plessiville head office’s engineering department, the new offices will mainly accommodate new draftspeople, mechanical engineering technicians, engineers, project managers and the members of the after-sales service, Carbocare.Carbotech will continue developing markets in South America, Europe, Oceania, the United States and Canada. At the same time, the company will continue to develop patented concepts for efficient lumber production. Carbotech will be launching an extensive recruitment campaign in the greater Québec City area to welcome more people to its team. Carbotech specializes in maximizing production efficiency and high-speed board handling in sawmills and planer mills. Always working on new ideas and patents, Carbotech is a highly valued partner in the industry, relying on a skilled 100-person workforce. Its mission over the past 30 years has focused on these four principles: speed, precision, know-how and durability. Carbotech has a number of business partners, parts & service distribution centres and mechanical intervention centres to serve its markets around the world. For more information, please visit 
Jan. 5, 2018 - Murray Latta Progressive Machine is celebrating a very important milestone in 2018: 100 years as a successful and growing machine manufacturing and distribution business! Murray Latta Progressive Machine was formed by a merger of Progressive Mill Supplies (est. 1954) and Murray-Latta Machine (est. 1918) after working together for over 50 years. And with the recent addition of Brunette Machinery Company we’ve expanded our forest industry presence even further by adding their products and 70+ years of machine building experience. Since 1954, Murray Latta Progressive Machine has been the trusted manufacturer and distributor of planer mill equipment, parts and consumables. We manufactured and refurbished complete planer lines and wood waste processing equipment for over 50 years, and we have leveraged this experience to develop equipment upgrades and components to enhance productivity, quality and safety. Additionally, we represent other industry leading equipment suppliers to provide the full spectrum of capital equipment, parts and repair services for all of your planer mill equipment needs. ·       Sales and integration of planer and wood waste processing equipment. ·       Planer equipment upgrades to increase productivity, quality and safety. ·       Pro Edge-Tec III – Fully automatic planer cutter head knife grinder ·       Highest quality planer replacement parts and consumables ·       In house equipment refurbishment and component repair services ·       On site installation, maintenance and training. For all these years our technical knowledge, pride in workmanship and dedication to excellent customer service have been our highest priority because this is the key to our longevity.  The mission of our 100th anniversary doesn’t solely focus on celebrating through reflecting on our proud past. We are focussing on future success while connecting with our customers from all over the world to celebrate their part in helping us become what we are today – a successful and growing company. Be sure to follow our 100th year celebration on the company’s website:
Feb. 26, 2018 - The story of Northland Forest Product’s fight against The Beast – the fire that ravaged Fort McMurray in May 2016, destroying close to 2,500 buildings – is almost hard to believe.
Feb. 26, 2018 - How many times you have heard the phrase “safety first” or “everything starts with safety”? I’m pretty sure that we have all heard some variation of these phrases at one point or another. As a safety professional at a sawmill, it can be challenging at times to know which approach is the best for motivating employees and staff to be more safety conscious in the workplace and at home.
Feb. 26, 2018 - Read all the latest information compiled by Canadian Forest Industrieson what's out there in dust control to keep your operation running smoothly and safely.
Jan. 16, 2018 - Like a wisp of smoke, a waft of alcohol, or a tiny pill, it’s difficult to measure the exact size of the problem of substance abuse in the workplace, but a group of sawmill industry experts has placed the issue firmly at the top of their safety agenda.Last June 2017, a volunteer group of subject matter experts met face-to-face for a sawmill workplace risk assessment at Workplace Safety North (WSN) headquarters in North Bay, Ontario. The group of 15 representatives from management, labour, government, and not-for-profit organizations, was facilitated by Sujoy Dey, Ph.D., Corporate Risk Officer at the Ministry of Labour (MOL).In advance of the workshop, each industry expert submitted their top health and safety concerns, and during the one-day workshop, all 80 identified risks were reviewed and discussed by the group.When it came time for the final vote on the top risks, only actual workers and managers in the sawmill industry were allowed to vote. In order to ensure an open and fair voting process, handheld electronic devices recorded votes anonymously. Both labour and management agreed: the top danger sawmill workers face is substance abuse.“As they identified specific conditions and situations that could result in injury or illness, we asked the group, ‘What keeps you up at night?’” says Dr. Dey, “And both workers and managers agreed: the number one risk in sawmills is substance abuse.” Dey notes the category includes not just alcohol and recreational drugs, but also prescription drugs, such as pain medication.Top 10 health and safety risks in sawmills1. Substance Abuse: Under the influence of drugs and alcohol in the workplace2. Training: Employees taking shortcuts3. Not properly locking out or guarding equipment4. Age: Inexperience of new, young workers who don’t see the dangers5. Psychosocial: Lack of focus, distraction of worker while performing duties 6. Slips, trips, and falls7. Occupational disease: Loss of hearing, ringing in the ears8. Psychosocial: Stress, including job and family pressures9. Working from heights: Absence of engineered anchor points10. Caught in or crushed by mobile equipmentBeing under the influence of alcohol or drugs – prescription or not – is a longstanding safety concern in the workplace, and it’s a difficult thing to measure (unlike, for example, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board statistics on slips, trips, and falls in the workplace). Even though there are issues regarding social stigma, privacy, and human rights concerns, drug and alcohol use in the workplace is an issue that’s too risky to ignore any longer. “An interesting outcome of the workshop was that the number one risk was not on Workplace Safety North’s radar as a priority concern,” says Tom Welton, WSN Industrial Director. “WSN historically uses WSIB [Workplace Safety and Insurance Board] statistics to provide a clear picture of workplace injuries and trends. “The risk assessment workshop provided direct feedback from industry experts about their perception of the workplace. By using leading rather than lagging indicators, WSN can be more proactive,” says Welton.Psychological health and safety in the workplaceThree of the top 10 risks involve psychosocial or mental health issues: substance use, lack of focus, and stress. As more workplaces gain a better understanding about the importance of taking a holistic approach to health and safety and having a supportive workplace culture that encourages both self-care and concern for co-workers, research also supports an increased focus on overall well-being. The results of the workshop were reviewed by the Ontario volunteer industry advisory committee for Forestry, Paper, Printing, and Converting sectors. The committee, in conjunction with WSN, is supportive of the next step: a detailed analysis of the root causes of substance abuse in the workplace, and the creation of an effective prevention plan. For more information, contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .This article was originally published by Workplace Safety North.
Jan. 2, 2018 - The last few days of 2017 brought along some financial damage for Kenora Forest Products. Fire crews battled a blaze at the sawmill, located in Kenora, Ont., on the evening of Dec. 29 leading into the following morning. Two kilns were completely destroyed, and damages are estimated at $850,000. There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.Despite the damage, the mill is expected to resume operations shortly. Read the full story by TBNewsWatch.
Dec. 12, 2017 - Earlier this year, the Wood Pellet Association of Canada Safety Committee (WPACSC) created a new safety working group – the Wood Fibre Storage Working Group (WFSWG) – to facilitate the development of proposed guidelines to assist employers in understanding and assessing the hazards and options for storage and infeed processes along with risk mitigation strategies and assessment.
May 5, 2017 - File Week 2017 wraps up today after five full days of coverage focused on new technology and processes for the filing room.
May 5, 2017 - The trade of sawfiling goes back to when men first started cutting wood with saws. In the beginning, filers were largely self taught and performed their mysteries behind the locked doors of their shops where even the mill owners needed permission before being allowed to enter the shadowy realm of the “Saw Doctors”. The secrets of the trade were guarded jealously and if you wanted to become an initiate, you first had to convince a master of your worthiness to be taken on as an apprentice; and then you would typically pay up to a year’s wages to be taught the trade. Your tenure as a neophyte would last years but eventually you would earn the right to wear the top-hat and tails. That was a pretty good system and it worked, albeit on a smallish scale, but the level of knowledge passed from master to apprentice was inconsistent and the demand for new filers was much higher than the ad hoc training program was able to produce.Enter the age of the organized saw school. Here in B.C. we have long relied upon our forest industry for the livelihood of our province. Sawmills were the main employer and indeed, the reason for existence of small towns all up and down the coast and throughout the B.C. Interior. You cant run a sawmill without sawfilers so the need for a school to teach new workers the technical side of the trade and to standardize the level of training became vital.In relatively modern history, going to saw school meant a trip to Vancouver to attend the well-equipped facilities at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. The early days of the school were casual to say the least; with ping-pong being a major part of the curriculum. But under the direction of veteran sawfiler Dennis Reid, the program was tightened up with proper testing put in place and the school began to crank out world-class filers at the rate of about 75 per year.The school at BCIT ran for many years but in the late 90s the forest industry as a whole suffered a devastating downturn. Mills struggled to survive and the expensive prospect of hiring new apprentices and sending them to school lost a great deal of it's appeal to mill managers who had to count every penny to survive. The number of people attending the classes dropped dramatically and since the school took up a very large chunk of valuable trade school real estate, the decision was made by the school trustees to close the school and use the space for other purposes. This was devastating news to saw filers as without a school, there is no recognized trade in B.C.A company named North Pacific Training and Performance Inc. was tasked with not only relocating the school but with revising the program and the trade itself. A group of experienced head filers from around B.C. was put together to come up with a new curriculum, one of these industry experts was John Hebert, head filer at Gorman Brothers Lumber in Kelowna. John and the rest of the team poured over the old resource material, wrote new text books and exams and set about finding a new home for the backbone of our trade. One of the things the group felt needed addressing was the fractured structure of our trade. Until recently, saw filing was split into three separate trades depending upon the level of experience of the trainee and the needs of the mill where he was employed. The designations of fitter, circular-filer and benchman were discontinued and now an apprentice goes to school twice over two years to become a sawfiler and has the option of attending a third year to achieve a benchman’s endorsement on their ticket.The program was eventually transferred over to the Industry Training Authority and Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake agreed to host the school. Greg Daykin was hired as head instructor and was given the daunting job of converting the texts into a real-world program for the eager students that were, by that time, chomping at the bit to complete their journeyman status.As with any venture of this scope, there were some misfires at the start. A disconnect between the school curriculum and the provincial testing resulted in difficulties for the students but over a year or two, exams were reworked and passing rates improved significantly. Since the new schools inception in 2013, 188 men and women have passed through the Williams Lake campus and Greg is hard at work readying the new benchman course so that full training is available.Despite the early teething-pains the new sawfiling trade school is progressing nicely. Greg would dearly love to retire, so the search is on for an instructor to fill his shoes. If such a thing interests you and you are perhaps a semi-retired sawfiler, please contact human resources at There is also an ongoing need for materials for the school such as saws, tools and at the moment, a pony edger. If you can help out, contact the school at TRU.
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 – 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 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.

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