Wood-Mizer LT300 Head Rig Is Well Received Company Finding Success in Filling Machinery Niche with Its Industrial Production, Thin Kerf Head Rig When Wood-Mizer launched the LT300 Thin-Kerf Headrig in 2001, one of the company’s goals was providing a more affordable and safer alternative to circle sawmills. Using circle sawmills with kerf up to .250-inch to break down expensive grade logs can waste up to 30% of the wood, the company noted, a technology that is no longer economically viable. The company’s second goal in de- signing the LT300 was to provide a saw- mill that was a step up from stationary ver- sions of portable band mills. In the LT300, Wood-Mizer promised increased yield with thin-kerf band blades yet industrial levels of production that small band mills could not deliver. The Wood-Mizer LT300 was devel- oped to fill a new niche in the sawmill in- dustry – the niche between small, thin-kerf band mills and high-volume, industrial sawmill machinery. Changes in the sawmill industry over the past two decades and more have had dramatic impacts on the pallet industry as the price, quality, and availability of lum- ber suitable for pallet manufacturing has Wood-Mizer LT300 thin kerf head rig can saw both pallet and grade material. fluctuated wildly. The resulting decline in the number of small to mid-sized sawmills grade and pallet lumber at industrial pro- can produce 10,000 board feet of lumber/ trolled cutting system that acts like an au- has brought some dislocation to the pallet duction levels. It can enable pallet manu- cants per day — even in hardwoods like tomobile cruise control, maximizing pro- industry, which depends on reliable sup- facturers and other businesses to develop oak. It increases yield per log significantly ductivity while reducing sawyer fatigue. plies of relatively low-priced lumber. a cost-effective, steady supply of lumber because of the thin kerf technology. Built-in setworks keeps lumber accurate Wood-Mizer Products, known for its for their operations. The Wood-Mizer LT300 can be used and allows pattern-cutting options. line of portable band sawmills, introduced The Wood-Mizer LT300 thin kerf to start and develop profitable sawmill op- Separate, high-horsepower AC drives the LT300, believing that it holds substan- head rig could help re-establish the small erations in regions where they have nearly for up/down and back/forth movement of tial promise for markets that require large sawmill industry in North America, accord- disappeared in recent years, Scott believes. the head allow maximum power to the quantities of affordable lumber. ing to Scott Laskowski, who headed up “For less than $60,000, a family business blade. A separate, 7 1/2 hp AC-powered The LT300 has been well received in the Wood-Mizer team that developed the can purchase an LT300 and a Wood-Mizer hydraulic pump moves full-size logs with the marketplace, according to Wood- new machine. He believes it has the poten- industrial edger to compete with the big ease, and a chain-type hydraulic log turner Mizer. The sawmill has been on the market tial to revolutionize the small sawmill in- guys in terms of quality,” he said. “With rotates either direction with the flick of a a little over 18 months, and the company dustry. The LT300 brings thin kerf technol- production levels of 6,000 to 10,000 feet joystick. has sold units throughout the U.S., Canada, ogy that has been available for years in the per day, you can make a very good living, Wood-Mizer’s exclusive ceramic Mexico, South America and New Zealand. portable sawmill end of the business to supplying very reasonably priced lumber block guides hold the blade steady in The LT300 has been sold to customers who the industrial marketplace. In addition, it to the marketplace.” knotty material and are easy to adjust. upgraded from an existing Wood-Mizer is priced to encourage small entrepreneurs The Wood-Mizer LT300 is a fully au- Modern air-tensioning with gauge is vis- sawmill, others who installed complete to enter the sawmill business. tomated sawmill capable of sawing to pro- ible from the operator station. LT300 systems in new facilities, and some The Wood-Mizer LT300 is designed fessional standards. Powered by a 30 hp A unique board-return system guides who replaced circle sawmills. Some cus- to be run by only two or three people. It electric motor, it features a computer-con- boards, even large cants, straight off the mill. tomers replaced their entire sawmill equip- Finally, a movable operator station ment with a Wood-Mizer LT300 system. with joysticks provides optimal viewing Wood-Mizer has some customers who pur- of cutting and log handling; cab and air- chased two of the sawmills and run all their conditioning are optional. The LT300 is lumber through one handling system. also available with optional in-feed, and Some customers use the LT300 to saw out-feed material handling. hardwood lumber for grade, railroad ties or The key to the success of the Wood- dimensional parts for furniture. Others are Mizer LT300, according to Scott, is the sawing softwood for dimensional pur- blade technology. Thin kerf technology is poses, using the LT300 for primary break- not new, and Wood-Mizer portable band down and a multi-head system for second- sawmills have used thin kerf technology ary breakdown to manufacture material for for years. The technology has been effec- fencing, pallets and construction. tive in increasing yield. “But until re- Wood-Mizer is also able to provide cently,” Scott said, “no one has managed ‘one-stop’ shopping for other machinery to get the technology to a level where it and equipment, including log decks, could be used in equipment that can truly board transfer decks, conveyors, edgers, output at industrial levels of production.” moulders and dry kilns. The challenge has been the stress on The Wood-Mizer LT300 can saw both Wood-Mizer LT300 head rig can produce 10,000 board feet of lumber/cants per day. the blade in high-production operations. LT300 in accompanying photos is set up complete with material handling equipment and Wood-Mizer edger. The stress proved too much for traditional demands of industrial level sawing. The the 1980s and 1990s — and are likely to ning; many of their owners use them in a blades, and they failed at unacceptable steel is more expensive than other types of see again in the uncertain future. Wood- full-time businesses, returning respectable rates. Wood-Mizer has overcome the chal- steel but the blade is cost-effective because Mizer believes a sawmill that can produce incomes. Add the lumber produced on lenge, according to Scott, by developing of the increased durability, said Scott. 1.5-3 million board feet of lumber per year machines made by other suppliers, and a a blade technology that can withstand the As for blade maintenance, the Wood- in hardwoods — and more in softwoods — substantial volume of materials comes stress and is affordable. Mizer Re•Sharp program will remanu- for a relatively modest investment can from portable sawmills. It is a three-fold technology. The facture Wood-Mizer DoubleHard narrow help re-establish small sawmills. Some pal- In the past 25 years, the portable saw- blade is made of fine grade steels. The bands for $6.50 each. let companies may consider expanding — mill industry has grown signficantly, and guides incorporate ceramics. And the The Wood-Mizer LT300 and its ancil- adding a milling operation that integrates Wood-Mizer has been a driving force be- LT300 uses specialized lubricants. The re- lary equipment hold a good deal of prom- their business. hind the growth. Wood-Mizer’s LT300 sult, said Scott, is an affordable technology ise for manufacturers who have been hin- If it seems that Wood-Mizer’s vision may help small to mid-size sawmills be- that brings the benefits of an industrial- dered by lumber shortages, high shipping for its LT300 is somewhat lofty, remem- come more competitive. level sawmill that Wood-Mizer portable costs, and regulatory constraints in recent ber: not many years ago, when it pioneered For more information about the new mill owners have enjoyed for years. years, according to Wood-Mizer. The loss portable band sawmills, the machines LT300, contact Wood-Mizer at (800) The blade developed by Wood-Mizer of small sawmills was a factor in the lum- were considered to be little more than saws 553-0182, fax (317) 273-7024, e-mail is .055-inch. Heat treating gives it a grain ber shortages and rising lumber costs that for hobbyists. Today, Wood-Mizer alone email@example.com, or Web TL structure so fine that it can withstand the many pallet manufacturers experienced in has more than 27,000 portable mills run- site at www.woodmizer.com.