Sawmilling

Nov. 17, 2017 - Tolko Industries Ltd. said it is committed to rebuilding its Lakeview mill in Williams Lake, B.C. after it was damaged by fire.
Nov. 17, 2017 - Eastern Canada’s first continuous kiln has found a welcome home in Timmins, Ont., at EACOM Timber Corporation’s sawmill operation. Mill manager Marc Fleury says the kiln has removed a bottleneck in the mill’s production.
Nov. 6, 2017 - Tolko Industry Ltd's Lakeview Mill in William's Lake, B.C. was shutdown over the weekend after a fire broke out at the sawmill on Thursday. The fire was declared officially extinguished on Friday. There were no injuries.Tolko said in a release on Friday that structural engineers were to be on site assessing the fire damage on Saturday. "When we have a better understanding of the impact, we can begin to develop a recovery plan to return the sawmill to full operations," Tolko said.A Tolko representative told CFI on Monday afternoon EST that efforts are still underway to get operations back in order and to get the planer running again.
Oct. 25, 2017 - Veteran custom cutter and log broker Dave Chalmers has more than 25 years of experience eyeing up freshly cut logs, shaking hands and making cuts.
Oct. 24, 2017 - In my last column (May/June issue), I gave folks a bit of my back-story: how I managed to go from a production level grunt to the prestigious role of master and commander, all-knowing demi-god of the saw shop kingdom. That’s at least how I see myself. Or how I used to see myself . . . maybe that’s how others see me? At any rate, I seem to be the first one they ask, and the last one they tell.
Oct. 13, 2017 - To further secure the supply of quality fibre for Québec sawmills and processors, Solifor continues its expansion outside Québec with the acquisition of Ste-Aurelie Timberlands, a 24,910-hectare forest property in Maine. The $36 million deal is Solifor's second outside Québec, bringing its out-of-province investments to $65 million.Located at the border of Maine and Québec, this property, subject to forest management, is characterized by a mixed forest cover (coniferous and hardwood) and is in full development. The territory's main customers and users are Québec companies, including Maibec and Groupe Lebel. Transportation being an important cost for Québec sawmills, this transaction will contribute to a better bottom line. "By prioritizing forestry as a sector of excellence, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ is showing its clear support for this vital industry and its 160,000 workers," said Janie Béïque, senior vice-president of Natural Resources, Industries, Entertainment and Consumer Goods at Fonds de solidarité FTQ. "This second investment in Maine offers an innovative solution for our forest industry and will drive job creation and preservation here at home." An initiative of the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Solifor has invested $200 million to date to acquire 153,000 hectares of forest land in Québec, more specifically, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Lotbinière, Charlevoix, Saguenay, Portneuf, Mauricie and Abitibi regions, as well as 46,000 hectares in Maine, near the Québec border."Solifor is planning other acquisitions to further secure the fibre supply for Québec companies, making it a partner of choice for the Québec forestry industry," said Solifor president Raynald Arial. It will be recalled that Québec's forest industry is one of the province's four economic sectors of excellence prioritized by the Fonds in its strategic planning.
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.
April 13, 2017 - You know the old saying that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress, and how they present themselves? The same rule applies to business.  I had lunch with a friend the other day and like usual, we were talking shop. He seemed agitated, like he wanted to say something but kept stopping himself. Eventually I blurted out, “Just say it already!” As it turns out, he wanted to suggest a topic for me to write an article about. Something that he’d been noticing for awhile about sawmills, and it needed to be said. I love receiving topic suggestions from people. Usually when someone in the industry sends me a topic, it’s something a lot of people want to hear about and is very relevant. My friend wanted me to write about hygiene in sawmills; how clean and organized they are. He told me he could tell the financial state of a sawmill by its cleanliness. I paused for a moment and thought about all the sawmills I’ve been to over the years (hundreds!). I hadn’t looked at it from that aspect before. Looking back, I realized that yes, when mills looked dirty, disorganized or otherwise unkempt, they were often struggling financially. Why a dirty sawmill is a failing sawmill  I hadn’t considered the correlation between the financial health of a sawmill and its emphasis on cleanup as being related. But, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  For the people working in sawmills, or the forestry sector, you’ve been there, right? I’ve heard of many people not wanting to go back to certain mills because they felt uneasy. It just seemed like there was something wrong there. I get it. When you enter a sawmill, there is literally wood flying everywhere. There’s lots going on, people bustling about. The more productive the mill, the more wood flying and bustling people. Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch productivity at work! It’s so nice to see a mill running smoothly. The problem is when you go into a mill where what looks like productivity, is actually chaos in disguise. What your dirty sawmill says about you When you visit someone’s house, or business, and it’s dirty or cluttered, it tells you a lot about that household or business. Often it can mean not having pride in their surroundings, or themselves. Personally, I wouldn’t go back to a house that’s dirty. I’m not talking about a few newspapers left out, I mean like really filthy! This is what my friend was implying when he suggested the topic of sawmill hygiene. More than just appearances, when you go into a business that’s dirty and unkempt, what does it say about them? Do you think they have an emphasis on safety? Are their employees their number one concern? I can’t imagine that any disheveled business would have a good safety record. If they do, they’re on borrowed time until a real disaster hits. And in a business like a sawmill with powerful equipment and human machine operators, that disaster could mean someone’s life. My friend had another great point. He truly believes that companies who don’t emphasize proper cleanup or organization probably also don’t care much about maintaining their equipment. This stands to reason that if their maintenance is as bad as their filth, the company isn’t going to be around for the long term. It reminds me of those old, rundown stores you see when travelling around the world. One day they are just gone, but nobody wonders why. It was just a matter of time. Here, we analyze and overanalyze and fret. We ask ourselves, “Why did they fail?”  It was just a matter of time. Keeping your sawmill organized and productive A productive facility can make quite the mess! Mess doesn’t always equal a downward spiral. The real measure of a company, or sawmill, is how they deal with the mess. It shows their commitment to themselves, and the safety and health of their employees. Next time you’re walking around your shop, think about how you’d perceive it if you were brand new and it was your first visit there. Look around, see what could be organized better, or cleaned up better, or what needs maintenance soon.  You can’t make a product with a broom in one hand. But after you’re done making a product, then pick up a broom! Another great old saying is ‘everything in moderation’. I believe in that. A little mess, a little cleanup, they go hand in hand.  With sawmills, and all other businesses, first impressions are important. Many companies are having trouble attracting good skilled workers. Well, maybe a factor in that is how those companies present themselves. Potential employees will see that mess and think, “No way, I’m not working here, it’s not safe.” Your customers will see the mess too, just like a rundown roadside store. Don’t let your customers think it’s only a matter of time for you.
Feb. 13, 2017 - Several years ago, Foothills Forest Products had a difficult time finding a home for the shavings being produced by its planer mill operations at its sawmill in Grand Cache, Alta.
Feb. 13, 2017 - For as long as mill workers have been running wood through saws we have understood the importance of having every part of the machine positioned at exactly the right pre-determined location and angle to facilitate the smooth passage of the log and the straightest cut possible. A very small change in the inclination of a roll can mean the difference between a good day and a disaster. A slightly off angled saw will heat up and destroy itself in short order.
Feb. 13, 2017 - Warp can be the result of both the inherent characteristics of wood as well as a number of introduced (process-related) variables. Through proper handling and management of the drying operations we can have an influence on the severity and amount of warp occurring from either cause. This article will highlight a number of specific ways in which those losses can be minimized to have a positive monetary impact on your operation.
Oct. 23, 2017 - CFI has a rundown of new kiln technology for drying Canadian lumber.
Oct. 3, 2017 - Quebec-based timber drying company Secovac has partnered with KBI to launch their Kiln Booster system in Western Canada and the USA. Secovac launched a year ago their innovative drying technology in Eastern Canada, mainly Quebec, and already has 10 installations. The Kiln Booster system (patent-pending technology) is supported by multiple field tests that demonstrate that the system accelerates the drying of the lumber, improves quality of the dried lumber, and is cost-saving for the mills. The Kiln Booster system maximizes heat transfer within the dry kiln to enable low temperature drying while reducing the drying time of traditional high temperature drying schedules by up to 25 per cent. A lower drying temperature means radically less drying defects resulting in a higher percentage of premium and MSR grades lumber as well as an increase in the productivity of the planner. The Kiln Booster system is easily installed on existing kilns and integrates seamlessly with current control systems. As part of the launch, KBI will be offering a promotional free 30-day trial* of the Kiln Booster system to mills interested in purchasing the technology. *Installation costs included. Some conditions may apply. For more information about the Kiln Booster system, please visit www.kilnbooster.com.
Sept. 13, 2017 - This month, Brunette Machinery will launch their newest in log singulation technology. The patented Retract-to-Load (RTL) Log Singulator. With the patented pre-stage log positioning, robust design, heavy duty torque tube drive assembly, re-enforced steps, RTL Log Singulator has already proven to reduce maintenance costs and will give a mill tighter log gap control.
Sept. 5, 2017 - The Simonds 095 AB is the newest model that can level, tension, adjust the back, and set the tire line. And unlike other auto benches, the Simonds AB has a new “Learning Mode”.
Aug. 28, 2017 - Modern Engineering's general manager Udo Jahn has launched a YouTube series focused on topics affecting machine shops and sawmills today: automation, the skillsgap, and innovation. 
Aug. 9, 2017 - CFI has a rundown of the latest scanning and optimizing equipment available for sawmills in Canada.
Nov. 17, 2017 - WorkSafeBC said it is upholding its decision to impose more tha $1 million worth of penalties against Babine Forest Products for a major explosion and fire at its Burns Lake sawmill in 2012.The explosion killed two people and injured more than 20 others.WorkSafeBC determined the cause of the explosion and fire to be wood dust. Read the full story by the Prince George Citizen. 
June 30, 2017 - Dust Safety Week 2017 is wrapping up today after five days of coverage on new developments and processes to help sawmills and pellet plants manage combustible dust.
June 29, 2017 - In the last few years we’ve hosted introductory dust collection courses across Western Canada for dust producing facilities. Regardless of size of the facility or dust particulate produced there are a few key things to look for when evaluating whether or not your system is a fire or explosion waiting to happen.
June 28, 2017 - There are several regulations (NFPA) and health & safety standards (CSST) that govern dust collection in the woodworking industry. 
June 26, 2017 - Earlier this spring 2017, 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.
June 27, 2017 - In 2016, WorkSafeBC continued its focus on combustible dust and undertook formal inspection initiatives to verify compliance with combustible dust requirements and to ensure the presence of effective combustible dust management programs in all B.C. sawmills.
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 http://www.tru.ca. 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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