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A collection of stories and articles about Wood-Mizer sawmills in use around the world, new business ideas, and available market niches in the wood industry

Polish industrial band saw delivers an extra board from every log

Polish industrial band saw delivers an extra board from every log A good imagination is needed at the moment to visualize the new and modern plant that is being constructed – instead of the new building there is sand and gravel, concrete mixers, welding sparks, loader warning signals and much shouting of instructions.

Mr Bogdan Zuraw is from Dobroszyce village situated in the south of Poland. He has been involved in wood-working for 9 years, although his profession is in the railways.

Mr Zuraw started with a rack bench system and then, in the early 90’s he bought a Wood-Mizer LT40 band saw, a kiln and started to produce furniture elements.This year is an important year in the company’s development – new investments to upgrade the plant have recently been completed.

New Polish Kilns manufactured by Luka – giving a total capacity of 500m3
A Wood-Mizer LT300 Industrial sawmill. "I realized that I needed to increase my sawn timber production. I traveled to various different European woodworking equipment shows – Austria, Czech Republic and even to Ligna in Hannover. From the design point of view I wanted to buy another Wood-Mizer, but I wanted the boards to be removed straight onto a conveyor, not having to be handled by the operator. I told Mr Krzysztof Kropidlowski, domestic Sales Manager for Wood-Mizer (whom I know very well having bought a lot of blades from him) of my needs. Krzysztof told me "we have a sawmill that exactly fits your needs."

This is how Mr Bogdan Zuraw became the first LT300 owner in Poland.

LT300 – A new design
In fact Wood-Mizer not only offers a sawmill, but also a complete sawmill layout including the handling equipment and Edger allowing a production of about 3m3 per hour. One operator manages the complete cutting process utilizing joystick controls and setworks.

A "cruise control" function also maximizes productivity by ensuring the fastest cutting speeds possible for the species and dimension being sawn. The main Wood-Mizer features such as the cantilever head, narrow blade technology and belted wheels are all maintained, but the LT300 also has many innovations

Wheel size is increased to 635mm
Blade tension is maintained in all cutting conditions by pneumatic pressure
New roller double block guide system with EZ-glide blocks
Pressure blade lubrication system
New blades of 1.27 or 1.4mm thickness
Improved log-handling abilities such as a chain turner and vertical side supports. LT300 Sawmill Installation
While the new building is being completed the new sawmill is situated in a temporary wooden hangar. Bogdan Zuraw only ordered the infeed log deck for Wood-Mizer. He uses a simple roller conveyor for the board removal. Two laborers brush the sawdust from the boards and separate them into 4 grades. The new workshop should be ready in two weeks.

"I am going to install an air compressor for the whole workshop and this will enable me to use the built-in LT300 blow-off system to blow the sawdust from the boards as I cut.

His operators work in comfort. He has three LT300 operators who work 5 days a week in three shifts. The operators control the sawmill functions in an insulated cabin and so he has installed a PA system for communication with the workers outside.

Only valuable species like Oak or Beech are processed here. Bogdan Zuraw buys them locally. He buys debarked logs because he has calculated that this is much more profitable than logs with the bark on. A side effect of the decision is that his blade life is increased.

‘I bought 25 Wood-Mizer blades with the sawmill and I am still using them – none have broken after 1000m3 of production.

Every sawmiller knows that Wood-Mizer technology saves wood – hence the name. The economies are made due to the 2mm k erf of the narrow bandsaw, as opposed to the 3-5mm taken by a wide band or a circular saw. These other technologies produce more sawdust and waste and less valuable sawn timber. Mr Zuraw used to own and operate a rack bench and so he knows what he is talking about.

‘With my Wood-Mizer I produce one 40mm board extra for every log sawn. Each board is worth about 16 euro. On even only 7 to 8 logs per shift I make about 345 euros per day – or about 6900 euros per month – simply by using the right sawmill, Mr Zuraw grins.

The key element for him is not cutting speed or production – but timber quality. Sawn boards should be straight, smooth, and dimensionally accurate to exact customer specification. The LT300, after only one month of operation, was achieving 23m3 of logs per shift. Before the LT300 installation the bottleneck was the sawmill, now it is the kilns.

There is currently over 1500m3 of sawn timber waiting to be dried. The plant actually cuts about 1 000m3 per month and about half of that volume is for other customers.

‘I have completely stopped using the rack bench, there is no need, now I am limited by kiln capacity and I intend to build new chambers. ‘The main profit is in drying, Bogdan Zuraw explains. Green Beech costs about 175 euros per m3 and nobody wants to buy it. After drying, the value is doubled, and I have a line of customers! I do not have one dry board in stock.

This is why Mr Zuraw is looking for ways to decrease his drying time. From his own experience he has learned that pre-steaming Beech reduces the drying cycle by about 20%.

Now he also steams Oak, which gives more even colour, reduces defects and the timber becomes even more durable.

He is what he was – Mr Bogdan Zuraw, a former railway man who has created his own business and found the secrets of profitable woodworking himself.

How much is his business worth now??

Bogdan Zuraw laughs. ‘I wouldn’t sell my plant for the world. I have two sons, both working here. This is our family business.

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