Thursday, March 21, 2019
“Our company uses nearly 100% natural ice,” Says Thomas. “The difference between natural and artificial ice is that you can really see that it’s natural - there are bubbles, special cracks and shadows. Especially when you put light onto the ice, it’s more spectacular to look at. The life inside makes it unique.”
During a normal winter, Thomas harvests all his ice from a nearby lake, having all the needed permits from the local government to do so. He harvests the ice with a tractor-mounted saw and chainsaws.
Each block of ice is 1 meter wide and 2 meters long. These blocks are stored by the hundreds in his refrigerated workshop, until they are used in a project.
Once Thomas and a client have planned out a project, Thomas first cuts his ice blocks to the approximate size needed on his Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill, which he has modified specifically for ice cutting. The sawmill bed has a plate added to the rails to make it easy to slide the ice blocks on and off.
Since the workshop is always kept at -5 degrees Celcius (23 degrees Fahrenheit), the blades and belts need to be kept above freezing to avoid ice buildup, so Thomas added two small heaters to the sawhead.
According to Thomas, ice is not complicated to cut. “As long as the blade is sharp, the Wood-Mizer is good for cutting ice.” In a full day of cutting, Thomas changes the blade 2 times a day.
The sawmill even goes with Thomas when he certain projects that require on-site ice sawing. “I’ve brought it north of the arctic circle several times for projects.”
“When I have some problems with my WM saw, I just call WM, and they support me by phone and I can get parts by the next day. They are a reliable supplier.”
After the sawmill, the ice blocks are then shaped with Thomas’ Kuka robotic CNC robot, which he can use to scan any object and make a 100% copy in ice.
“A lot of farmers are interested to do things with their own hands and could benefit from a Wood-Mizer sawmill. It’s not expensive, it doesn’t take a lot of space. It’s easy to run. Great for someone who wants to build their own small cabins!”
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