I went over to Hull Forrest Products and took a tour of the facility. It
was a very interesting hour+ tour from tree coming in the front door to
boards going out the back door.
Most interesting was watching the mill cut the tree, taking off just enough
to expose what will be a good board on the next cut, then the saw returning
to make that cut. Damned fast. It was a 40' long double sided blade that
takes a 1/4" kerf.
The flatsawn board then go to the grader. This is a $900,000 machine that
takes the image of the board, determines the best way to cut the sides give
the size, grade, the dollar value, board feet, and then sends it through the
saw. I asked about accuracy compared to hand grading. He said that test
they ran with the trained professional graders are about equal, but the
human cannot do 15 boards per minute.
After cutting off the better outside board, the inner core is sent to
another machine where it is cut for lower grades for furniture frames,
They sell green as well as dried lumber. Their kilns each hold 220,000
board feet and take about 31 days to dry a batch to 7%. It is the regraded
(they remove any splits, etc) bundled, stored, shipped (much to export).
The heat for the kilns as well as the buildings is from steam generated in a
sawdust fired boiler.
Overall, a very interesting morning.
Well of course I though of that! Pulling away down the driveway.
I mentioned he bandsaw blades. They change them daily after 8 hours of
cutting and sharpen them. The room for sharpening and repairing blades is
about the size of my shop and keeps two guys busy. Blades are about $1000
This weekend and next, all the communities in northeast CT have walking
tours, nature talks, festivals, art shows, etc. This was a one day open
house. Normally, they do not work on Saturday, but they worked today in
exchange for a long weekend in November. Good PR with the community,
educational for anyone that went.
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