Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Arguably the most eye-catching was the WB2000 wide-band saw which drew significant interest from large millers based across the UK.
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One visitor was so impressed by the demonstration that they ordered the machine. It will be installed in August at a large mill in Canonbridge, Dumfries.
Scottish Wood-Mizer agent Keith Threadgall said it wouldn’t be the last WB2000 to be sold in the country.
“At the open day there were four or five people who came to look at it who were serious buyers. We expect it to go really well in Scotland as well as the rest of the UK,” he said.
“It’s a good fit because you get a lot of sawmills which are run by people who are used to wide-band mills and the fact we now have one shows that we’re active and continuing to move in the right direction.”
UK general manager Dave Biggs said the machine will suit large millers.
“There are a lot of old wide-band saws around but they are getting older and sourcing replacement parts is an issue,” he said.
“Businesses that are milling a lot of timber will be looking to replace those old machines with the WB2000. It’s far more versatile as well as being easier and safer to use.
“This is opening us up to the wide-band market and Wood-Mizer is supplying the medium to large operators with this machine.
“A lot of our customers are single man operators but it gives us the chance to expand and now we’re going to get it out in the market.”
It was one of a number of mills and accessories on show at the Graythwaite Sawmill next to Lake Windermere in the Lake District.
Also making its UK debut was the LX450 – a twin-rail design which expands the available cutting width to 86cm while the depth of cut is 41cm.
“There was a good level of interest in this new sawmill, and the one demonstrated was actually purchased by our hosts for the open day who are replacing a very old Stenner,” Dave added.
“It offers 10cm more cut width than the LT70 which has opened it up to more people. Running on twin rails, it’s got a huge frame and should give very good returns.”
A first look at the LX150 was also a big draw for visitors. The mill is not yet available in the UK but is likely to be launched in early 2018 once the design has been fine-tuned and CE accreditation has been achieved.
“People want to be able to cut big logs easily and this is for the smaller guy, perhaps a furniture maker, that wants to cut large chunks of chesnut for example,” Dave said.
“Currently you have to cut logs down with a chainsaw before milling but the LX150 will be a big step forward.
“It’s a manual mill and is likely to be very affordable for those customers who want to be able to cut big logs.”
Wood-Mizer was supported by Jas P Wilson,who specialise in wood handling,extraction and chipping and processing equipment for the professional market.
The company’s director John Wilson said: “We do not sell mobile sawmills but many of our customers ask us for advice on where to go for one. As we have long term relationships with estates and contractors throughout the UK we recommend Wood-Mizer, who in our opinion offer the same high quality products as us and by doing this help customers to come to the correct purchase decision for their application.”
Wood-Mizer UK has had a buoyant past 12 months, due in part to a lot of interest being generated at the APF 2016 event last September.
Machines and accessories at a variety of sizes have been sold to new and existing customers.
Keith added that interest rates and a willingness from finance institutions to lend money to milling business was helping.
“Generally money is cheap to borrow at the moment, and finance is helping people to do their sums and make good decisions about which mills they can buy.”
PANEL: Livestock farmers see benefit of milling diversification
A number of farmers from across the UK drove to Cumbria to see Wood-Mizer’s latest product developments.
David Davies from Pengwern Farm at Abrangell in mid-Wales attended to discuss investing in his third mobile LT40.
The beef and sheep farmer has 500 acres but has grown his mobile milling business from a winter operation to a year-round offering.
He said: “I’ve had an LT40 for 17 years and it works well for me. A bigger mill would be too large and heavy for the tight roads I drive along. It does everything I need it to do.”
James Gibb from Threepwood Farm at Galstone in Ayrshire built a cattle shed on his 400-acre unit using his electric LT40.
“I milled all the timber for the trusses and cladding – it did a great job and I was delighted with it.
“Since I got the Wood-Mizer, it’s opened up the doors for selling timber for fencing, raised beds garden landscaping and other things.
“Every minute I’m not farming, I’m sawing timber and I really like it.”
Neil Girvan from Gateshaw Farm in Kelso has an EG300 edger, a shingle lapsider attachment and an electric LT40 which he bought two years ago.
He built a 160ft x 30ft cattle shed from scratch using Douglas Fir and Larch, having never milled wood before.
The shed generated a lot of interest locally and has led to Neil cutting timber for other people.
“I tend to be cutting for other people making log sheds, bike sheds and furniture. It has opened up a whole new thing for us,” he said.
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