Two Russian brothers are launching a sustainable timber frame house building operation using techniques perfected on timber sawn on a pair of small, narrow kerf band sawmills. The brothers Ryabushev’ wooden windows and doors business in the 700-years-old Russian city of Vereya, 100 Km from Moscow, has expanded seamlessly into ‘green’ housebuilding.
Eugene, 46 and Alexey, 38 followed a family tradition, with their father serving as the local forestry officer. In 1997 they built a workshop for making cottage windows and doors, supplying eighty windows and eighty doors monthly. Good quality products are produced for a discerning, re-emerging middle class.
Their versatility reflects the fact that when they started they had virtually nothing in terms of capital or equipment. However, early on they did raise the money to acquire a small, narrow kerf band sawmill and
Alexey Ryabushev explains:
"A friend operated a Wood-Mizer sawmill for 15 years and didn’t repair it for its first five years –– the best recommendation for us.
"We need 100 m3
of sawn timber every month but as the local pine is not high quality because of WWII shrapnel we cut between 300-400 m3
of logs and extract the required quality timber from them.
"I chose the LT15 sawmill because it seemed the most trouble free and easy to operate at a good price : quality ratio.
"It paid for itself within 2,5 months", he adds.
Indeed, the LT15 series of band sawmills demonstrate solid construction and a cutting head which moves on two bed rails. Logs are loaded onto the bed with cant-hooks. The 7,5 kW engine consumes minimal energy yet powers the small mill to cut 10 m3
of pine logs in 10 hours.
Alexey Ryabushev further explains:
"Board quality is high. We don’t experience ‘wavy’ cutting because we properly maintain the mill. Each log generates about 700 roubles (?18) profit."
Six months after the LT15 started Alexey bought a second and says:
"In the spring we cut more logs quickly to avoid using pine when it seasonably turns blue. Furthermore, having a second mill makes our production line more safe and reliable because should one break down the other continues. It is important to keep 20 workers active."
Now the brothers are planning their housebuilding venture and Alexey Ryabushev elaborates:
"It started when a friend decided to build a house. We advised a wooden house with walls heated by sawdust.
"It’s a departure for us and we need to do more research. Even so, our preliminary calc
ulations show that we can build a 6m x 9m house with floor, ceiling, roof, windows and doors and sell it for ?9500.
"In Moscow one would get a three-square-metres house for that", he concludes.
The brothers Ryabushev are on to a good thing. People in Moscow want to move to the provinces. They want fresh air and a calm lifestyle. They know they can meet this using the same production techniques with boards and cants sawn on their Wood-Mizer sawmills making windows and doors –– and enjoy yet more high-margin revenues.