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Sawing …in the bleak mid-winter!

Sawing …in the bleak mid-winter! Winter is the season for logging and cutting wood. Due to the cold there is no risk of your logs becoming blue. However, some operators report problems related to the sawmill cutting in the frost.

Wood-Mizer is one of a few manufacturers whose sawmills operate well and trouble free even in winter. Consequently, it is worth offering some recommendations for your sawmill’s maintenance in these difficult conditions….

Two sorts of problems can appear in band sawmills when the weather is extremely cold. First, the hydraulic system might operate only intermittently; second, blades can break, especially if the log is partly frozen.

Hydraulic system
With a view to ensuring that hydraulics work trouble-free in winter, it is worth taking into consideration the following….

It is important to check the level of hydraulic fluid every 50 hours. The correct level is 19mm below the top of the hydraulic tank when the engine is switched off. Should you need to add hydraulic fluid, Exxon Univis J26 ‘works’ in wide temperature variations, from –28С to +37С.

If you operate your sawmill mostly in cold weather the ideal hydraulic fluid is Exxon Univis J13 in temperatures between -34С and +15С. Otherwise, in mostly hot weather, say +38С and above, Dexron I or Dexron III are recommended. If a sawmill cuts in extremely humid conditions it is advisable to drain two litres of hydraulic liquid and replace them every six months. If the environment is rather dry four litres may be added at the same time every year. After each 600 ‘motohours’ it is necessary to replace the inevitably dirty filter.

Follow the above recommendations and the hydraulic system on your sawmill will operate trouble free over many, successive seasons.

Wood cutting
During the cutting of frozen logs the main issue is blade tooth set. The rule is simple – the harder the wood, the less setting you require. Remember: softwoods should be cut like hardwoods if they are frozen.

Usually the most difficult operation in wood cutting is converting a log that is just partly frozen. It is important not to be aggressive with the head-feed, on the contrary, cutting speed should be gradually decreased and a blade tooth-set for hardwoods employed.

When sawing in weather below 0°C special ‘unfreezable’ liquid Windshield Washer should be used for blade lubrication or a little detergent usually used for washing-up added. When sawing completely frozen logs, water or other special liquid for blade lubrication must be avoided.

‘Winter’ blade
Wood-Mizer has designed a special blade for frozen log cutting. This so-called ‘winter’ tooth profile 9/29 has a width of 32mm and 4/32 38 mm width. The ‘winter’ blades can be supplied to any length by request. Frequently they are used for cutting dried, wide hardwoods, too. They are ideally used on sawmills with diesel engines of 16HP or more and electric motors of 11kW or more.

Generally, Wood-Mizer wishes you successful sawmilling in any season!

This article was published in the 'Wood-Mizer Today' company newsletter.

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