A new venture from Jas P Wilson stalwart John Wilson offers an elegant solution to a perennial problem for companies involved in wood processing.

MANY of our readers will be aware that John Wilson, who has been one of the main faces of Jas P Wilson for the last 30 years, has stepped down from direct involvement at the company. John explained that the time has come for the younger members of the team to take the organisation forward. He has not, however, retired from the forestry sector, and has in fact set up an independent company along with his wife and two daughters in order to promote and supply an innovative and very much-needed product to the wood fuel industry: the Eazi-Pak firewood-bagging machine, sold under the Multi Log name.

Forestry Journal: Klondyke Woodfuels Manager Athol Ferguson.Klondyke Woodfuels Manager Athol Ferguson.

John said: “For the last twenty years I have been looking for a machine that enables firewood producers to net the logs without the physical effort and energy required by manual and chute-style bagging. We wanted to supply a machine that people would enjoy using, whilst increasing production and maintaining an acceptable level throughout the day.

“It was also important that the machine did not exceed a £20,000 price level. That way savings made on labour costs could ensure the machine paid for itself quickly. For example, borrowing £20,000 over three years would only cost just over £600 per month, compared to an employee on minimum wage who would cost over £1,400 per month and, after the three years, the machine is bought and paid for.”

The Multi Log Eazi-Pak (worldwide patent applied for) is a single-phase electric-powered log-delivery system with an adjustable hydraulic feed speed to allow bagging to be done by one or more operators. The logs need not be cleaned prior to bagging, as the Eazi-Pak has a built-in screen cleaning system, although pre-cleaned would always be a preferred option.

John is co-operating with Mick Willmer of MW Engineering & Fabrication at Kirkcudbright, which designs and manufactures Multi Log products.

John said: “Mick and I work well together as his vast experience in the coal and petro-chemical industry designing and building various systems and machinery, allied to my knowledge and experience in firewood, allows us to combine our skills.

“Four machines have been placed with trusted industry professionals. We initially expected the feedback to be mainly about increased productivity. However, those involved were much more enthusiastic, due to the fact it was now a much easier day.”

Forestry Journal: Chunky logs in big nets at Ord Sawmills.Chunky logs in big nets at Ord Sawmills.

Paul Downs, of Premier Logs in Bolton, commented: “Before using the Eazi-Pak I struggled to persuade any of my people to net logs for any length of time. Now they want to keep going and sometimes even work overtime. It’s just so easy to use!”

Brian Hughes of Tayside Forestry in Dundee is a large producer and retailer of firewood as well as Christmas trees and other forest-associated products. He runs several different firewood machines, including a Posch K-650 which can be programmed to produce logs perfect for netting.

Brian’s log sales were growing so fast that he said he needed a mechanised system which any of his staff could be sent to use at any time.

“The Eazi-Pak can be operated without any special skills,” he said. “So any members of staff can easily use it.”

Forestry Journal: Tayside Forestry on a mission.Tayside Forestry on a mission.

Klondyke Farms of Moniave, Dumfriesshire owns 23 garden centres (also called Klondyke) around the UK. It recently completed work on a state-of-the-art, fully enclosed log-production area.

Farm manager Scott McKinnon and firewood production manager Athol Ferguson felt a bagging machine was needed to meet the growing demand from their garden centres. During a recent service visit by MW Engineering, the two operators at Klondyke were concerned their Eazi-Pak machine would be unavailable and they would have to go back to the old system. Luckily, MW Engineering were able to reassure them that the chain tension and hydraulic pressure tests would only take a few minutes and they would soon be up and running again.

Geordie Sutherland of Ord Sawmills Muir in Ord, Inverness-shire is a major supplier of nets in the North and to many of the Scottish Islands. Geordie uses a larger-than-normal net but with small, chunky, mainly softwood logs which are very difficult to net by hand.

Dod Flint, one of his subcontractors who helps in the sawmill, commented that they had now “more than doubled production with minimal effort”.

Forestry Journal: The Eazi-Pak firewood bagging machine can be transported by trailer.The Eazi-Pak firewood bagging machine can be transported by trailer.

The business plans to initially produce between three and six machines a month, with potential buyers being able to know when their machines will be ready and plan accordingly. A considerable amount of interest is anticipated from Ireland and the firm already has a Dublin-based Irish sales partner.

John added: “I have always enjoyed doing logs as it keeps me in touch with the machinery that I have sold and helps me relate to my customers and their requirements.

“My wife Gillian has run a log net supply business from the farm for a number of years. I must give credit to her for constantly reminding me of the need for such a machine.”

For any enquiries please contact John on 07730 581 291 or email sales@multi-log.co.uk.