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Wood-Mizer Debuts LT50 Production Mill; 25th Anniversary Tour Successfully Opens
Wood-Mizer kicked off its 25th Anniversary Tour in North Carolina, and the TimberLine staff was there
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 4/1/2007
Wood-Mizer kicked off its 25th Anniversary Tour in North Carolina, and the TimberLine staff was there. Although it was a cold winter day, nearly 300 people showed up for the event. Current customers as well as those thinking about getting in the sawmill business came to see how Wood-Mizer products could help them achieve their dreams.
The Wood-Mizer tour features 17 live events scattered across North America. It’s not too late to attend a live event. See the accompanying schedule to find the closest event to you. The Grand Finale is scheduled for Oct. 13 in Indianapolis, Ind.
Hands-on technical sessions and demonstrations as well as a good time of food and fellowship made the event very memorable.
Workshops gave visitors ideas and solutions to consider as they try to make the most out of the wood they cut. Topics included: log size and its impact on production, quarter/rift sawing, best board sawing techniques, dimensional sawing and stress relief, custom sawing site layout and pricing options, and Wood-Mizer blades, profiles and applications.
Talking about the event, Lane Carter of Cypress Creek Millworks said, “I learned a bit about quarter sawing — more dollars for your cut.” Lane bought a Wood-Mizer LT40 portable sawmill last June, and it has worked great for him. He said, “I looked at other mills and decided that Wood-Mizer is the best on the market. And their service is second to none.”
Based on the questions asked, it was clear that the North Carolina audience included both novices and seasoned professionals. Wood-Mizer staff demonstrated various models and attachments. They showed how to use the Lathe-Mizer with the Tenon Kit to make wood bed frames. The event closed with a customer panel, local prize drawing, live entertainment and a reception.
Wood-Mizer unveiled some new products, too. Most notable was the LT50, a high production sawmill capable of handling heavy logs. It has some of the best features of the LT40 and the LT70 in one model. The LT50 features full hydraulic log handling controls and combines a bi-directional chain turner and vertical side supports.
According to Wood-Mizer, the chain turner works twice as fast as a typical steel claw turner and can move in either direction. The LT50 comes with a CAT 51 hp diesel engine. According to Wood-Mizer, the LT50 sawmill can produce up to 650 board feet per hour.
Options include a command control operator station that gives sawyers easy access to all hydraulic controls and cutting functions. This package also comes with the Accuset® setworks and AutoClutch option. An on-board debarker is optional. Adding a Wood-Mizer twin blade edger provides customers with even more production options.
Wood-Mizer also unveiled new hydrostatic controls for the LT40 at the Carolina event.
The company also demonstrated a test product that it believes could revolutionize the wood fiber market. TimberLine and Pallet Enterprise will be the first independent trade magazines to report on this new Wood-Mizer product when it is launched later this year.
Through the years, Wood-Mizer has sold more portable sawmills than all the other manufacturers combined. It has helped develop the market for portable sawmills. And as a result, many of their customers are fiercely loyal to the company. Many of these people had interesting stories as well as a deep passion for wood products.
Casper Tart of Cypress Creek Millworks talked about how his father sold lumber to the Army in the 1920s. His father sold railcars of lumber to the Army for $4.75 per thousand board feet. What took 40 men to produce back then can be done by only a few workers today.
One man I met at the event was Robert Shinn of Concord, N.C. He bought his first Wood-Mizer portable sawmill 20 years ago. It would be hard to forget Robert because he is well up in years — the age when many would be thinking about retiring and taking it easy. Not Robert. He is much heartier than most senior citizens.
Robert said that the thing he loves the most about custom sawing is that it was an activity he could do with his father, Ralph. Until recently, Ralph, 90, worked alongside his son on a manual mill.
Robert recently bought a Wood-Mizer LT40 fully hydraulic portable sawmill. He upgraded to a newer model because it eliminated a lot of labor. Ralph operated the remote controls up until sometime last year.
Robert pointed to outstanding customer service as the reason why he bought a second mill from Wood-Mizer. He said, “The thing that I like about Wood-Mizer is its service. If I had a problem, I would call the 800 number and talk with a technician who would help me fix it on the spot.”
Robert operates a contracting business that clears land for utility rights-of-way. He uses the Wood-Mizer portable sawmill for custom sawing trees that his company removes and trees from his land.
His story echoes why Wood-Mizer has been successful. It pioneered a market that emerged at the time and offered top quality service. That explains why so many people showed up on a cold day in early February to learn about sawing, celebrate Wood-Mizer and dream about the future.
Wood-Mizer’s slogan for the tour is ‘Making Dreams Come True.’ It appears to be more than just a slogan because many people point to Wood-Mizer as a key reason why they have gotten so much out of the portable sawmill experience.
After working on a number of different inventions, Don Laskowski and Daniel Tekulve developed their pinnacle product, a portable sawmill, and unveiled it to the world in 1982. This new portable band sawmill, called the Wood-Mizer, made it easy for one person to saw logs.
The features that set Wood-Mizer sawmills apart from traditional circular mills, both then and now, were portability and thin-kerf sawing. These features increased lumber production and allowed sawyers to take their mill to the logs.
The original model was dubbed the LT30. Wood-Mizer sold more than 1,300 sawmills in the first three years on the market. The company opened a Canadian division in 1988. As the customer base expanded, Wood-Mizer established regional sales centers to provide enhanced customer service. The company now has 13 centers across the U.S. and Canada in addition to six company owned and operated branches.
Wood-Mizer innovations to its sawmills include a debarker, autoclutch, Accuset® setworks, laser sight, operator seat, LubeMizer™ and LatheMizer®.
The company also developed other products, including vacuum dry kilns, solar dry kilns, a twin blade edger, moulders, and multi-head band resaws. Wood-Mizer eventually started its own blade division; it sells two distinct brands, DoubleHard™ and SilverTip™.
The company opened a manufacturing division in Poland in 1992 to service its European customers. To date, the company has sold more than 30,000 portable sawmills worldwide.
As thin-kerf bandsaws became more popular in the industrial side of the market, Wood-Mizer launched an industrial division in 2001. The industrial division was renamed AWMV Industrial Products in 2004. AWMV offers the LT300 head rig, a high production band sawmill designed for top-end users. AWMV also produces moulders, edgers and band resaws.
Throughout its history, Wood-Mizer has sought to give back to those in need due to the founders’ deep Christian faith. The company regularly donates mills to good causes around the world. Wood-Mizer also hosts mission trips for employees, which gives them an opportunity to personally make a difference in places like Sierra Leone, Belize, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
You can find out more about Wood-Mizer by visiting www.woodmizer.com.
The following tour dates are upcoming:
April 14 - Wisconsin
April 21 - Missouri
May 5 - Pennsylvania
May 12 - New York
June 9 - Maine
June 23 - New Brunswick
July 7 - Quebec
July 14 - Manilla, Ontario
July 28 - Thunder Bay, Ontario
Aug. 11 - British Columbia
Oct. 3 - Indianapolis (Grand Finale Event)To register, call 800/553-0182, ext 1232 or visit www.woodmizer.com
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