Sawing in Scotland with Scottish Timber | Wood-Mizer Customer Spotlight


The UK has a history with its empire of importing its timber and not making good use of its own and neglecting the management and general husbandry of its own woodland, especially deciduous woodland resources. My name is Jim Birley. The company is Scottish Wood and we are in Fife, west Fife, central Scotland. We are a social enterprise in Fife, Scotland. This is Scottish charity. The charity owns a sawmill and the sawmill covenants its properties to the charity. People now realize, that to buy a piece of hardwood a piece of wood actually contributes to woodlands. It doesn’t diminish, it doesn’t mean the tree is cut down. It means the tree is being used, and that gap is being refilled with more trees. So it’s very much a good environmental story and a good story for using local, not importing from the tropics to unsustainable areas where things are getting cut down where they shouldn’t be. We have to know a lot about the individual properties of different hardwoods – Who is going to want what, what the markets are. And then we have this alternative bread and butter which is a great gap filler of larch. Probably 50% of what we cut is for the immediate market. So that is oak frame beams, external uses and a whole range of external uses for oak, using green oak, fresh sawn oak. And then the other 50% is kiln dried. We simply kiln it and supply it to craftsmen and to makers as kiln dried boards. And then a proportion that we take on to the finished product like flooring or facing. We started I guess about 20 years ago, and actually, we started without a saw at all, and called ourselves a sawmill with only a kiln and a chainsaw. We’ve had two or three LT40s, now we’ve had two LT70s. We like to operate with two saws. It meant you had a standby saw and it meant if you got really busy you have saws going at the same time. It meant you have an older saw for people to learn on and train on, and not take over the primary saw for that role. So it filled the number of roles and was definitely a good thing to have. Once you get to know a saw and you get to see what the competition is, there is no clear reason for me ever to want to try an alternative product. Wood-Mizer fitted the bill for us. The saw helps with the recovery because you’re upclose to the log and you are seeing what the log can produce and you’re cutting it in order to get the best from it. But also our system of grading and utilization – what markets the offcuts, bits, and pieces can fill – help the recovery. Our latest purchase was an LT70 Remote line and that is geared towards production, so that is cutting our stock sizes. That consists of a log deck, a saw, a conveyor and a transfer table – that is our production unit. Then we have the second saw, another LT70, which is more for our cutting lists. We have a machinery shed with two four cutters and various planers and cross-cuts. We actually have two edgers. One edger is set up with the remote line on the stock sizes, and the second edger is for all our orders that require dimensioning before they get further machining. So we use that a lot, and that is a very useful piece of kit. That’s the new one, much more accurate, much quicker to change sizes, so it’s very good if for example, you have an order for oak facings, you get good accurate blanks out of it, ready to go to the carpenters. It’s a small industry in Scotland, especially the hardwood industry. Wood is a lovely material to work with. People that want to buy our wood tend to be nice people.

6 thoughts on “Sawing in Scotland with Scottish Timber | Wood-Mizer Customer Spotlight

  1. Congrats on a great wood business. When we travel to Scotland this summer, I would love to see your business in action.

  2. Please check product availability in the video description.

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