For five generations, this family has been working in forestry ever since Jurica’s great grandfather bought his first forest tract from the local aristocrat in the 19th century.
Today, the Spoljar family owns forests on 3 ha and when Jurica was 25 years old, he decided to begin developing a plan for processing this family resource.
"One of our neighbors had visited the AMBIENTA show in Zagreb and there he saw a Wood-Mizer mill on wheels. He brought an advertising booklet and told with a great enthusiasm how this mill operated and what an excellent business was possible with such the machine, especially in our forested Zagorjie region", recalls Jurica Spoljar.
Intrigued by the possibilities and after further discussion with his father who is an experienced forester, Jurica decided to buy a mobile gasoline-powered Wood-Mizer LT20 sawmill with a hydraulic system for log loading. This is completely independent machine that can operate in the forest and cut precise boards even if the sawmill is positioned on uneven ground.
The cost of the sawmill was € 22.000, and his parents helped Jurica to collect the money.
"Usually I work at the house or tow my sawmill with our tractor to the forest – which is not far away, only about 3 km", explains Jurica.
Operating the Wood-Mizer sawmill isn’t difficult, but as is the case with most jobs, there are a few professional secrets, and Jurica "lost" about 3 or 4 blades before he learned the tricks and became a skilled sawmill operator.
He started using 32mm wide Wood-Mizer blades but later switched on to the wider 38mm Wood-Mizer blades. At the same time, he installed new blade guide rollers. But he finds that the advantage is significant because wider blade have longer runtimes and can be sharpened more times as well. Jurica sharpens his blades himself and as a result his blades provide him with a long life: he buys a box of new blades only twice a year, although the sawmill runs almost every day.
During the summer, the majority of his products are roofting construction materials. In Zagorjie, houses have their own style, and Jurica knows precisely what timbers are preferred by his customers.
His business is seasonal, but during the winter Jurica still has something to do: he likes to work with wood and he makes beautiful tables and chairs as well as wooden sculptures for the garden. News of his talent comes from word-of-mouth and there are orders for sawing almost all the time. There are only two months in winter that give Jurica a time of "rest" and he is considering the possibility of producing pallet wood during this time to keep him busy.
In perspective, Jurica plans to build a kiln dryer.
"I shall build a barn, isolate walls, set vents and install the solar panels on the roof to operate my kiln from the renewed power source", explains Jurica regarding his plan.
When I asked him how he learned all these details, Jurica just shrugs his shoulders and smiles. In the genes probably… His parents live nearby in a wooden house which they built 10 years ago. They are proud of their so
n and take an active role in all his advertures.
When he has free time, he enjoys spending time for his two hobbies: snowboarding in winter and playing paintball during the summer. For the paintball field he built wooden shields and shelters – this is his personal touch in his favorite pastime.
With regard to his future, he shared, "Now I want to build my own wooden house".
Well, with his Wood-Mizer sawmill, he will be able to build it for sure!Photograph: Jurica with his parents, Darinka and Zvonimir Spoljar