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Newsletter: September 2015
Sawmilling SA
Barry Collier
Sawmilling South Africa News
SSA regional meetings

August has been another busy month for us here at SSA but the most enjoyable thing about it was the fact that we got to visit the majority of our members whilst on our annual road trip to hold the regional meetings. A big thank you must go to Sappi Lomati, Tekwani Timbers, CJ Rance and Saasveld, all of whom hosted us whilst on our travels.

It was great to hear from virtually all sawmillers who attended the meetings from Limpopo to the Southern Cape, that things in the industry are looking up in 2015. This was born out by Mandy Allpass of Crickmay whose presentation clearly showed that all millers are experiencing a better year than last. Mills operating in the industrial sector are not entirely convinced of this but it would appear to be true for the structural segment, anyhow. Let’s hope that it stays this way for the foreseeable future.

Of the presentations that were made, Mr Barry Muller’s presentation on ‘Wet Target Sizes’ was extremely well received. Barry was able to demonstrate how accuracy and attention to detail is becoming a non-negotiable for those sawmillers who are serious about getting improvements in recovery despite the type and age of sawing machinery employed in the wetmill.


Eastern Cape Millers at the Kubusi session in Stutterheim

Robert Welsh was also able to impart some of his wisdom and experience with regard to organising an efficient sawshop and we are grateful to these two gentlemen for supporting us this year and leaving us with some useful information.

This month also saw us meet with the people of Biligom up in Tzaneen and it was interesting to hear that this initiative is gathering momentum and looks to be going from strength to strength. Suppliers of structural pine should not be afraid of the development as much; rather wood than steel.

It would appear as though the 2015 fire season thus far has not proved to be as devastating as past years, this despite one of the driest years on record. We had better touch wood as it is not over just yet.

Keep cutting straight and drying flat until next month!


KZN Millers at the Tekwani presentation

Roy Southey
Executive Director: Sawmilling South Africa

Barry Muller's presentation Wet target size


National news
The Wood Foundation holds annual general meeting (AGM)

Wood Foundation

The Wood Foundation held its annual general meeting on 11 August 2015 at the SAFCA offices in Isando, Gauteng. Roy Southey, chairman of The Wood Foundation, said in his report that 2014/15 had been a year in which the Foundation had once again been in a holding or ‘shelved’ situation as a result of efforts to establish permanent financial support for its envisaged activities.


Southern African states work to save forests


The first collaborative workshop on forest management and timber trade between Namibia, Angola and Zambia ended last week, on 7 August 2015, with agreement reached on developing a time-bound action plan for collective forest management and timber trade. Directors of forestry and support staff from the three countries met at the workshop, hosted by the Directorate of Forestry of Namibia and supported by Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), a Namibian NGO, and Traffic under a Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) timber project. Timber is by some margin the most valuable wildlife commodity traded, according to Traffic. In the early 1990s, it estimated that the global timber trade was worth about $104-billion (R1.3-trillion today), approximately 65% of the total worldwide wildlife trade. By 2009, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the US estimated the annual turnover at more than $200-billion.


5 African countries agree to combat illegal timber trade


The governments of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar and Mozambique have agreed to work together to combat the illegal timber trade that is plaguing East and Southern Africa, reports WWF. The declaration, signed today at the XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa, takes aim at the burgeoning trade in illegal timber in the region. Madagascar, Mozambique, and Central African countries are generally the source of illicit timber, while Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania are major transit points through which contraband is sent to overseas markets. Mozambique is both a source and transit country.


South Africa's State giants hobble economy


The state-run corporations that have shaped South Africa's economy and been part of its everyday life for nearly a century are mostly in a state of collapse, threatening to crush already weak growth. Economists estimate that underperformance and inefficiency in state-owned firms ranging from power utility Eskom to South African Airways (SAA) to the postal service is lopping 2 to 3 percentage points off annual growth. "If we do all the calculations, most probably a lot of the missing growth in the economy is because state companies are not working," said William Gumede, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Governance.


Public and private sectors engage at Cape Construction Expo 2015


The Cape Construction Conference and Expo kicked off yesterday with a high-level panel discussion featuring key players in both the public and private sectors of the local construction industry. Chaired by Wesgro CEO Tim Harris, the public sector was represented by Donald Grant, MEC: Transport and Public Works, Bonginkosi Madikizela, MEC: Human Settlements, Alan Winde, MEC: Agriculture, Economic Development and Tourism and Lance Greyling, Director: Trade and Investment, City of Cape Town.


Arch Wood seminar promotes wood preservation in East Africa


The East African wood preservation industry and its partner, Arch Wood Protection South Africa, have taken a giant leap forward in the promotion of quality treated timber in East Africa. A seminar - ‘The Future of the Utility Pole in East Africa’ - was presented by the Tanalised™ team at Arch, together with the Kenyan Wood Preservers Association and local distributor Express Company Limited, on the 25 June 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya with the vision to set in motion a series of steps to improve the quality of treated timber and ultimately increase the lifespan of utility poles.


SA, Mozambique enhance Forestry trade ties


South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) hosted a delegation of government and private sector officials responsible for the forestry sector in Mozambique. Mozambique Ministry of Land, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development for the inward trade and investment mission to the neighbouring country. The purpose of the mission was to explore business opportunities in the forestry value chain between Mozambique and South African businesses. South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, said a bilateral value chain development within the region was an important part of the regional development strategy for Southern African Development Community (SADC).


Atholl Towers scoops Green Star rating


The Atholl Towers office development in Johannesburg, received a 5-Star Green Star SA Rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) for its energy and water saving initiatives. This included optimised air conditioning, a central heat recovery system and motion sensor light fittings. The domestic hot water system was integrated with the air conditioning system to receive recovered heat during cooling or simultaneous cooling and heating modes. When cooling was not required by the air conditioning system, it acted as an air-cooled heat pump to efficiently deliver heat to the domestic hot water system.


Western Cape leads national construction, but residential market drives its growth


While the national construction picture may not seem too rosy, prospects for the construction sector in the Western Cape are set to continue to grow over the next few years, helped by a good dose of residential construction. This was according to Industry Insight senior economist David Metelerkamp, who told the Cape Construction Conference and Trade Expo in Cape Town that the construction sector would be one of the biggest drivers of the Western Cape economy over the next five years. The sector was expected to grow at around 4% in 2015, rising to 4.5% in 2017. Metelerkamp’s analysis was based on building plans, which gave a good indication of what was happening in the market as around 80% of building plans moved to the construction phase. “The Western Cape definitely outperforms the national average, with fantastic growth in new residential construction in excess of 70% over the past year.”


Winners of Treehousing International Wood Design Competition announced


The winners of the Treehousing International Wood Design Competition were announced on 10 September 2015 at the XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa. More than 200 projects by teams from 60 countries were submitted for the contest, which was jointly organised by the Canada-based DBR | Design Build Research School and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The competition challenged architects to produce innovative and sustainable designs for a growing urban population in Africa and beyond. Architects were required to use any sustainably harvested wood material or product as the primary material for their designs.


International news
Experts say timber industry has regressed 25 years due to the govt's land grab exercise


The country’s once vibrant timber industry has regressed 25 years in less than a decade due to government’s chaotic land reform programme which made some plantations ungovernable, an official has said. Timber Producers Federation CEO, Johnson Mhungu, said timber rotation cycle was disturbed by illegal settlements in the plantations as well as shortage of seed due to economic challenges. “As a result, timber is being harvested without replanting. This situation is unsustainable considering that the future generation needs the same resources,” said Mhungu.


Ta Ann Tasmania to source timber from private forest industry for its $16m plywood mill in state's north-west


Ta Ann Tasmania says the private forest industry will be a vital source of timber as the company ramps up production at its new plywood plant in the north-west. The new $16.4 million-dollar Smithton mill was co-funded with a $7.5 million-dollar Commonwealth grant and has created 37 new jobs so far. Executive director, Evan Rolley, said the plywood plant, which has an installed capacity of 36,000 cubic metres a year, will be sourcing timber from private growers.


Swedish pulp company invests $7 million in biomass boiler


Waggeryd Cell in Sweden has invested 60 million SEK ($7.1 million) in a biomass boiler in order to replace liquid propane gas (LPG)with bioenergy as energy source for the flash dryer. The ground work is just about to start. The mounting of the boiler will begin during March 2016 and the start-up is scheduled for September. The mill’s emission of fossil carbon dioxide will be reduced by 85 percent.

Waggeryd Cell produces bleached chemi-thermomechanica softwood pulp (CTMP) and since start-up in 1989, the whole production has been flash dried using LPG as heat source. When the new boiler has started in September 2016, LPG will be totally replaced by bioenergy. It is a grate boiler with an effect of about 12MW. The supplier is Urbas, an Austrian company specialising in systems designed to extract energy from wet and coarse wood fuels from sawmills, woodworking factories and general forestry thinning. It is a turnkey project and Urbas is responsible for the whole delivery, including projecting, mounting and start-up.


Big opportunities for prefabricated timber products for high rise buildings, professor says


There are hopes Tasmania's timber industry may find a new path to profitability, with the increasing use of prefabricated timber structures in major building projects. Associate Professor Greg Nolan from the University of Tasmania said European and US builders were using prefabricated timber in major projects already, some up to 14-storeys high. He said using timber reduced the need for steel and concrete, which requires large amounts of energy to be transformed into useable materials.


UK's Timber Trade Federation backs sustainable sourcing campaign


The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has pledged to buy only timber from sustainable sources by 2020 as it signs up to the WWF UK’s Forests Campaign. TTF’s 300 members include sawmills, manufacturers, distributors and retailers, and account for two thirds of the £8.9 billion UK timber industry.


Theatre of dreams


It was the unique location of the National Theatre of Bahrain that inspired French architects, as.architecture-studio, to situate this 12 000m2 theatre facing the artificial lagoon of the National Museum, so as to preserve its views and, more importantly, its majestic profile towards the sea. Set between land and sea, the first distinguishing feature of the National Theatre of Bahrain is its roof canopy, a weave of openwork aluminium that is of major importance in this desert country climate. This structure not only filters sunlight, it also keeps the high temperatures in check. Inspired by the country’s traditional wicker rooftops, this immense sunshade also provides natural ventilation for the extensive outdoor walkway.


BC duo turns wood into furniture instead of letting it go to the chipper


For wood lovers like Eric Savics and Danny Hagge, there’s nothing worse than seeing a giant fir or elm tree come down in the city – except when it gets hauled away and chopped into chunks of firewood. “There’s so much wood out there that could be saved,” said Hagge, who partnered with Savics to found Vancouver Urban Timberworks, which turns reclaimed wood from the Vancouver area into furniture and unique slabs of timber to sell. “A lot of these arborists, they just don’t even have a place to dump this stuff off.”


Newport-based timber business on course for Chinese trade


One of the UK’s biggest suppliers of timber to the British furniture trade has turned the tables on the traditional supply chain. Newport-headquartered timber and panel importer and distributor Premier Forest Group has struck a deal to supply Orientated Strand Board to the furniture manufacturing sector in South China. Premier has teamed up with its partner in Romania to deliver the OSB after being approached by Chinese manufacturers to help them source the product. An initial trial order for 20 containers of the product and a further two containers of Scandinavian timber worth a combined €250 000, heralds the start of what could be an extremely large export business.


Lumber OK for tall buildings


The Quebec government is hoping to give a shot in the arm to the province’s forestry sector by allowing lumber to be used in the construction of buildings up to 12 storeys tall. Premier Philippe Couillard says regulation changes were developed in consultation with the provincial agency responsible for the building code and with FPInnovations, a research institute. Quebec said it is the first province in Canada to allow wood construction in taller buildings while still ensuring public safety.


Timber production may soon increase in C-NNF


A big expansion of timber cutting in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin may be on the horizon. The state Department of Natural Resources and US Forest Service are expanding their partnership to speed up timber sales in the national forest that covers much of the northern part of the state. Officials hope the so-called Good Neighbour Authority will boost the amount of timber to be offered for harvest by 25 percent next year. But Chequamegon-Nicolet supervisor Paul Strong said that won't the forest will get damaged.


South African Saw Doctors Educational Association (SASDEA)


15 and 16 October 2015

The South African Saw Doctors Educational Association (SASDEA) will hold its 2015 Saw Doctors Convention on the 15 and 16 October 2015 in Benoni, Gauteng.


Knysna Festival 2015 to celebrate timber history


8 to 10 October 2015

The Knysna Timber Festival 2015 was festively launched at the Premier Hotel on Thursday, 13 August 2015, when several like-minded guests mingled while enjoying sponsored Mitchell's Brewery beer and tasty snacks. The 2014 Working with Wood Festival has been refreshed with a name and venue change, but definitely promises to offer the same successful format as the first 2014 festival. The festival will be held over the school holidays from 8 to 10 October 2015. "The Knysna Timber Festival belongs to Knysna, as it should, and promises to be bigger and better than before." said Jock McConnachie, of the festival organising committee.


Green Building Convention 2015: Inspiring better buildings


2 to 6 Nov 2015 at CTICC, Cape Town

Leading the movement for a greener built environment in Africa, the Green Building Council of South Africa’s (GBCSA) Annual Convention to be held in Cape Town from 2 to 6 November 2015will provide a programme of top-notch speakers and thought-provoking topics. The convention will go beyond simply finding ways to cope with the country’s current energy crisis, and help move South Africa towards more innovation and future-orientated thinking to “Inspire Better Buildings”. Anyone who wants to effect environmental transformation in Africa’s built environment should be there.


Equipment update


  Chokerman x2 Nelshoogte Plantation
  Chainsaw Operator x 2 Nelshoogte Plantation
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:

1. Guy Payn Sawmills (Pty) Ltd

2. Surejoy Industries (Pty) Ltd

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

For FREE registration please contact Bronwyn Hayes on +27 (0)82 333 3112 or email
Smile: it's free!

There was once an Irish actor who did Shakespearean plays but he had aged and could no longer remember his lines! After many years, he finds himself in the Globe Theatre in London, where they were prepared to give him a chance to shine again.

The director says, "This is a most important part and it has only one line. You walk on to the stage carrying a rose. You hold the rose to your nose with just one finger and thumb, sniff the rose deeply and then say the line, "Ah, the sweet aroma of my mistress."

The Irish actor is thrilled. All day long before the play he was practicing his line over and over again. Finally, the time came. The curtain went up, the actor walked onto the stage and using just one finger, as directed, he delivered the line, "Ah, the sweet aroma of my mistress."

The theatre erupted, the audience was screaming with laughter and the director was steaming! "You bloody fool!" he cried "You have ruined me!"

The Irish actor was bewildered. "What happened, did I forget my line?"

"No!" screamed the director. "You forgot the bloody rose!"

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