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Newsletter: January 2015
Sawmilling SA
Barry Collier
Sawmilling South Africa News
Happy New Year!

Well, here we are in the New Year! I expect that all you sawmillers are rearing to go after a good rest over the Christmas and New Year period and that you all got through the maintenance work that you had to do. We hope that you all had a great time and that you are well rested for what promises to be an improved year.

2015 is looking like it should get off to a better start than 2014 as all predictions are that the domestic building industry is on the up and, as we all know, that means better sales of structural lumber. Let’s hope that the predictions and the forecasts are accurate so that we can look forward to a year of growth in the sawmilling industry.


2015 also brings some significant happenings onto the calendar, led by Ligna in Hanover, Germany, from 11 to 15 May, an age old favourite of the SA sawmilling industry; we also have Interzum in Cologne, Germany, from 5 to 8 May. Interzum is, of course, the showcase for the international furniture industry and will be of interest for those of you who supply into that segment. Then, on the sporting front, we have both the Cricket World Cup and the Rugby World Cup; these two just in case the sawmilling seen bores you.

So, I guess that if we can match the uplift in the market together with some interesting shows in Europe and a little success on the sports field we could be in for a great year. Let’s hope that Eskom and the politicians play along.

On the technical front, we are pushing hard to get the SABS to complete the review process of the additional grading system that was drafted by Peter Muller and Dr Brand Wessels and that many sawmillers are eagerly awaiting. Once this is all in place, it will be of great value to many sawmillers, especially those who feel they have a superior resource supply.

Your Exco will also be considering a more equitable funding proposal for the association that will be presented to members at the AGM in June. Talking about the AGM please diarise the 18 June 2015 as this is the scheduled date for the SSA AGM. There have also been some interesting developments with the Sawmilling South Africa website and the Executive Director together with the site developer will be touring the country on a ‘road trip’ in the first quarter to present to you the developments with the site and to explain how we feel these could assist your business. We will be in touch with you in this regard soon.

We would also like to add a paragraph to this newsletter each month that deals with both good and bad news related to the poeople who work in the sawmilling industry. Issues such as births, deaths, transfers, atcheivements and the like as we feel we need to bring the milling community closer together. So please feel free to send to us here at SSA any news that you feel your fellow sawmillers would find interesting, just mail it to .

Well, that’s about it for the first edition in 2015, we don’t want to overburden you with useless information so until February, cheers and keep cutting straight.

Roy Southey
Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa

National news
New vision for KZN agriculture


There was a new vision for agriculture in the province, MEC Cyril Xaba said on Tuesday, 27 January 2015.

At the heart of it was a coordinated approach - and a plan to create a million jobs by 2030.

Xaba was speaking at a meeting between his department and various commercial agricultural organisations and role players when they discussed issues such as land distribution and how they could forge a working relationship.


Trade in illegal timber to end soon


Trade in and the use of illegal timber and products in Ghana would soon become a thing of the past as its government puts in place measures to tighten its grips on controlling the sector.

To show its commitment and leadership in addressing illegal logging and trade in timber, as well as support the development of sustainable forest management, government has developed a Public Procurement Policy on timber and timber products for the domestic market.


International news
New material provides increased design flexibility and a lower carbon footprint


In a state famous for its timber industry, a new form of lumber is making its debut at an Oregon Zoo construction project. A visitor centre at the Oregon Zoo's under-construction Elephant Lands habitat is believed to be the first in Oregon to use cross-laminated timber.

Made from planks of wood cross-hatched together into large sheets, the strength of cross-laminated timber offers flexibility in design not achievable with standard wood construction.


Sawmill expansion for Rotorua


Red Stag Timber is spending $60 million to expand its Waipa Sawmill in Rotorua into a ‘supermill’ and says there'll be further investment if the government uses more wood in its buildings.

The former state-owned mill sold from receivership for $1 in 2003 and currently employs about 330 people.


Turning Toronto’s felled trees into lumber


Someone has finally realised the 20 000 trees Toronto cut down last year could have a better fate than mulch. In the days of ‘Muddy York’, before it became Toronto, sawmills speckled the local landscape, sawmills lined the Don River, for instance, in Todmorden Mills near what is now Pottery Road and in York Mills, drawing their power from the Don River.


Stobart wins its ‘largest ever’ waste wood fuel deal


Stobart Group has won its ‘largest ever’ fuel supply contract after securing a 14-year, £110 million deal to supply waste wood to a biomass plant near Margam in South Wales.

Announced 26 January 2015, the deal will see Stobart Energy source, process and supply 250 000 tonnes per annum of recovered waste wood to the Margam plant over 14 years, equating to 3,5 million tons over the life of the agreement.


84-year old sawmiller designed and built one-man sawmill


PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: Most retirees cut back their hours and take up a hobby. But for 84-year-old sawmiller Ralph Affleck, his hobby and his work have always been the same thing.

At the age of 60, he designed and built a sawmill which could be run by just one person - him. Locals around Killarney in south-east Queensland think he's a legend - and they're right.


Video: X-raying wood - how to saw optimum timber

Scientists have found a method of cutting the waste generated by timber milling and creating better-quality timber for furniture making and construction by using X-rays.

Watch the video here

Video: The beauty of traditional Japanese wood joinery

You know the old saying — measure twice, cut once. We don't want to think about how many times these traditional craftsmen had to measure in order to get this multi-part joint exactly right.

Watch the video here

Equipment update


  Wetmill Production Manager Southern Cape
Upcoming events
Working with Wood: sharing the passion for wood


On 24 March 2015, Working with Wood demonstrations will be held at E Hard Build in Swakopmund from 14h00 until late.


On-line business directory

FREE listing in the Sawmill Directory for all sawmills.

Sawmill Directory – We would like to thank the following Sawmills for listing in the FREE Sawmill Directory:

Franklin Sawmill

"Take advantage of listing in the Sawmill Directory and get direct quote requests for your timber products"

For FREE registration please contact Craig Schütte on +27 (0)79 5222 637 or email
Smile: it's free!

A travel agent looked up from his desk to see an old lady and an old gentleman peering in the shop window at the posters showing the glamorous destinations around the world. The agent had a good week and the dejected couple looking in the window gave him a rare feeling of generosity.

He called them into his shop, “I know that on your pension you could never hope to have a holiday, so I am sending you off to a fabulous resort at my expense and I won't take no for an answer.” He took them inside and asked his secretary to write two flight tickets and book a room in a five star hotel. Then, as can be expected, they gladly accepted and were off!

About a month later the little old lady came in to his shop. "And how did you like your holiday?” he asked eagerly.

“The flight was exciting and the room was lovely,” she said. “I've come to thank you but one thing puzzled me. Who was that old man I had to share the room with?

Advertise in the newsletter. Contact Lee Raath Brownie. +27 (0)82 371 0190
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