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The show must go on: BC Saw Filers convention back in Kamloops


May 10, 2022
By Maria Church


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Photo: Annex Business Media.

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the BC Saw Filers Association Convention and Trade Show is back on the calendar this year with nearly 30 vendors confirmed to show off their latest saw filing wares. 

The convention is happening May 27-28 at the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre in Kamloops, B.C.

Organizer Bryan Glaister and association president Marty Vatkin are expecting a good turnout, especially with the province recently dropping mask and vaccine mandates for indoor gatherings. 

There could still be challenges for unvaccinated international travellers. Federal travel restrictions remain in place as of publication, requiring proof of vaccination or a 14-day isolation period. 

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But for domestic show-goers, organizers are hopeful the all-clear will stick around. And with a few pressing issues in the world of saw filing felt more keenly over the past few years, it’s high time filers and mill management alike to come to the table and discuss the future of the trade.

Filer shortage

For many years the convention has included conversations about the filer shortage felt across B.C. and beyond. This year the issue is back on the agenda, but with a new concern to flag: 

“I know of seven head filers now who have stepped down in the last five years,” Vatkin says. “Twenty or 25 years ago, head filer was a prestigious job. Now it’s not. It’s more a scapegoat job now and that’s a big issue.”

Vatkin says there is a perceived (or real) disconnect between mill management and the filing room that can lead to head filers stepping down. He’s hoping to bring both parties together to air those issues. 

“It’s been going this way for some time, but it seems to be getting worse,” Vatkin says. “We want somebody to share from a management perspective, why they are making some of their decisions. And then from a head filer point of view, what the difficulties are of training new people when your hands are tied.” 

Filers will also hear an update from the sawfiler program at Thompson Rivers University’s Williams Lake, B.C., campus – the only school in Canada to offer a sawfiling program.

Agenda highlights

The convention kicks off Friday, May 27, with the trade show beginning at noon and running until 6 p.m. The show will open again Saturday from 1-6 p.m. 

The conference portion of the event will be on both mornings. Vatkin is expecting to have speakers on supply chain and labour shortage issues as well as new technology advancements including innovations in lube systems and a camera bandsaw tracking system.

Friday night will see the usual buffet dinner and entertainment, this year featuring hypnotist Wayne Lee followed by a dance with music from live band Shattered Blue.

This year’s convention is the last one for both Glaister and Vatkin, who are stepping down from their respective roles. 

Glaister has retired after 40 years as a filer. His father was a filer and owned a saw shop where Glaister was trained at 19 years old. He holds fitters, circular saw, and benchman tickets. He has worked as a filer in many mills across B.C. for Weyerhaeuser, Terminal Forest Products, Interfor, Tolko Industries and Gorman Brothers. 

Vatkin recently closed the chapter on a 25-year head filer career to focus on his consulting firm, Sawline. He is also now a sales representative for Saw-ADD. He is stepping down as president of the BC Saw Filers Association after six years at the helm. 

“We’ve been pretty successful the last half a dozen years,” Glaister says. “We’ve been able to bring in more equipment and it’s been a good run. I think we’ve done well. It’s time for new blood.” 

Vatkin agrees. “It’s time for some younger people to grab the torch and move in a direction that they see it evolving in.”

File Week 2022

CFI is excited to be attending the 2022 Kamloops show and will be sharing live updates and product news from the show floor as part of our annual File Week coverage. Follow along on File Week’s landing page or on social #FileWeek for all the cutting edge action.

Show vendors

  • Brunson
  • Andritz
  • JD Saw and Supply
  • DK-Spec
  • Williams & White Equipment
  • HMT Machine Tools Canada
  • Saw-ADD
  • Thode Canada
  • Industrial Autolube International
  • Wood Fiber Group / USNR
  • Streifel Industries 
  • Promac
  • Precision Machinery
  • Peerless Saw
  • Hodgson Saw
  • Voestalpine
  • Fuchs Lubricants 
  • Chevron – Northern Metalic
  • Supersaul Chemmex
  • Key Knife
  • Optimil
  • Sharp Tool
  • Premier Bandwheel & Equipment 
  • Western Forest Products
  • SiCam Systems  
  • Canadian Forest Industries
  • Logging and Sawmilling Journal
  • Star West Petroleum
  • Petro-Canada
  • Tru Sharp

To register to attend the show or for vendor inquires, contact Bryan Glaister at bryan.glaister@gmail.com.