Disease Spreads Through the Sawmill Sector—Now Worldwide

POST DATE Feb 07, 2017


The forestry sector is one of the oldest industries in existence. There are older occupations, but man has been using the forests for all sorts of things for thousands of years. Everything from homes and heat to décor and even cooking. Vast communities have grown around this industry, supporting generations of people, and spanning centuries of human history. For many families around the world, working in a sawmill or in the forestry industry has represented stability. For me, it’s a privilege to be part of an industry with such a rich history. Because of this, I want to make sure that it continues on far past my lifetime. 

My network of forestry connections has grown over the years, and continues to do so. This blog has allowed me to educate others as best I can about sawguides, which is my way of giving back to the sector.

However, there are still certain things I see that make me lose self-control and spiral downward into a blind rage.

I’ll start by saying that we should be hard on issues, but easy on people. I really believe that. I know it’s difficult sometimes because certain people do not bring out the best in us, but let’s try. 

A few weeks ago, our company received a sawguide sample, which is quite normal except that this one was all the way from South East Asia, and they wanted our advice. Wow! I was excited to see it and honoured that someone so far away wanted our expertise.

The package travelled a very long way, but arrived in excellent shape. I opened the box with great expectations and a little bit of nervousness. Once I got the box open, my mood instantly changed from excitement to astonishment. Inside the box was the one thing sure to set me off into a rage: a RED sawguide! 

Yep, here we go.

For those of you who know me, you are probably wondering how I managed to contain myself without throwing this red thing around the office and spouting expletives while doing so. Well, that last part happened. It was definitely difficult to keep my cool. I began to exhibit signs of distress, like shallow rapid breathing, increased blood pressure and a very rosy complexion.

Mentally, I was fuming.

I mean, really! Logically, what does the colour red mean to you?

When something is red, it’s supposed to be a warning. Stop signs, traffic lights, no smoking signs, big red nuclear weapon buttons in movies… the list goes on. When we see red blood, it means something has gone very wrong. Narrow, beady red eyes… bright red faces, coloured with anger… none of this is any good, like my mood!

But it’s true. Over time, red has become to go-to colour for warnings, danger signs and buttons you shouldn’t press.

I know I need to calm down every time I see a red sawguide, but it’s so difficult. I know someone in the Pacific Northwest is smiling right now while reading this. The biggest problem I see is that now red sawguides are spreading outside of North America. How many articles do I need to write to stop the spread?

For those who have not read my previous, and numerous, articles on the subject, you should know that a red sawguide is usually an aluminum guide with a red cosmetic anodized coating. 

This anodizing is thin and not usually suitable for an industrial setting. As a matter of fact, any coloured sawguide – anything other than a grey to dark grey colour – has a very thin coating on it. I’ve seen them in blue, black, green, clear coats and every other colour in the rainbow.

Maybe one day other sawguide manufacturers will jump on the rose gold trend? It’s so hot right now, or so my daughter tells me.

But seriously, these candy coloured sawguides will give you nothing but headaches. The thin anodizing is only good for cosmetic finishing, not for life in a fast-paced industrial sawmill. 

Think about it this way: manufacturers wouldn’t even coat a frying pan with this thin of a coating. Do you see any red anodized aluminum frying pans around? If it can’t even cook your eggs every morning, why is it cutting your lumber?

When I saw this red sawguide sample, from so far away, I took it as a reminder that we can never stop educating about sawguide quality in this industry.

It’s the same as disease control. You can’t take anything for granted, and must remain constantly vigilant. Red sawguides are the measles of the forestry industry. Only continued education will stop the spread, and vaccination in the form of tossing anything red in the recycle bin.

If your sawmill is infected with red sawguides, it’s time to disinfect. Ditch the red and get proper, industrial-strength sawguides instead. You, and the profitability of your mill, will be glad you did.

Author: Udo Jahn

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