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  • Writer's pictureHorizon Wood Products

The Art of Saw Filing

Some manufacturing businesses have a corner of alchemy.  In the sawmill it’s the saw filing room, and in architectural mill shops it’s the finishing department.  If you ever get the chance to tour a mill shop, and enjoy encountering interesting people, then pay close attention to the guy mixing the cocktails and has a spray gun in hand – they are guaranteed to be a unique individual if either ex-hippie, ex-military, or ex-chemist.  These guys have learned to see the world differently than the rest of us, and we can’t do our good jobs without them.

Saw Filing at Horizon Wood Products

The sawmill counterpart is the saw filer - part metallurgist, part machinist, and part magician.  The saw filer has the responsibility of being the tip of the spear and the knowledge that makes a good filer can only come from experience.  Historically, saw filers were known to be a secretive bunch.  Holding on to the tricks of their trades close to the vest like a medieval stone mason able to make a proper keystone.  Today the number of capable saw filers is shockingly as techniques have gone to the grave with aged-out tightlipped mavens.  And technology has stepped in with many filling rooms being automated with precision machinery. 

We at Horizon do employee some of that Swiss equipment, but we also take pride having a full service, professional, band saw filing room as well.  Marshal is the man who is challenged with the job of keeping our 42 foot bands of flexible steel in tip top shape. A visit to the filing room, perched above Horizon's production area, is all it takes to gain a whole new insight into the complexities of maintaining HORIZON's saws. The bands are under an awesome 15,000 psi of strain, and have to face a number of challenges; varying species of wood with different characteristics, temperature extremes, occasional pieces of metal or other obstacles.  The metal is pushed and pulled in many directions and needs to be “tuned” just right to run true.  But, the scope of influences that Marhsall must respond to includes the condition of the head saw, 6’ cast wheels, bearings, the carriage, setworks, rails, hydraulics, dust collection, guide blocks, the sawyer’s skill, and the metal detector’s accuracy.  All while keeping up with other daily chores and “helping out”.

With all of this on a saw filer’s mind you can understand how it takes a unique and interesting person to work in this corner of a sawmill.  


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