The Oak Frame Company in north Wales recently played host for a pair of Wood-Mizer open days, presenting a range of sawmilling, woodworking and firewood processing machinery. Organised by Wood-Mizer UK agent Martin Phillips, the events offered visitors the chance to watch sawmilling presentations, ask questions and talk to sawmillers.

IT’S always good to see machinery in action. This is, of course, part of the idea behind the APF and other big shows, yet sometimes, due to large amounts of visitors, it can be very difficult to find out about certain machinery. No doubt some readers will have experienced the frustration of wanting to question a sales rep or machine operator but being held up by various people reminiscing about their experiences with totally dissimilar machines, ultimately wasting the sales rep’s time and holding you back from getting the information you need.

To this end, many dealers are combining forces to offer demo days, with a whole range of machinery on display and being put to work.

Forestry Journal: Keith Threadgall operates his mobile LT70 wide.Keith Threadgall operates his mobile LT70 wide. (Image: FJ/Arwyn Morgan)

So it was good to recently see Wood-Mizer and Jas P Wilson join forces at the Oak Frame Company yard in North Wales for two days in June.

Wood-Mizer surely needs no introduction, as I doubt there’s anybody who doesn’t know the brand or hasn’t seen the products. Since the first mill was imported from the US in the 1980s, the name has become synonymous with mobile sawmilling. A debate still continues as to the effectiveness of narrow-bladed sawmills, but in reality, those who have experienced using such properly set-up mills will more than vouch for their efficiency.

At the demo there were several representatives from Wood-Mizer’s European headquarters, but more importantly there were several contractors and Wood-Mizer agents present. These were in the form of Martin Phillips, Wood-Mizer sales representative for north-west England and Wales and organiser of the event (Martin also carries out most installations, training and service calls around the UK as well as providing a re-sharp service throughout Great Britain) and Keith Threadgall, who contract sawmills and is Wood-Mizer’s representative in Scotland and the north-east of England.

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Both Keith and Martin have several thousand hours of Wood-Mizer mill operating experience behind them, so they both fall into the ‘been there, seen and done it’ category.

One of the beauties of Wood-Mizer is it offers a whole range of machines from sawmills to various planers and edgers, all designed to add value to the finished product. The Wood-Mizer sawmill concept allows a unit to initially be set up on any hard surface without the need for expensive, heavy foundations.

At the demo were many shiny new machines, but of especial interest was the second-hand LT70 wide remote mill, just acquired by the Oak Frame Company. It had been set up with an off-feed conveyor to carry the sawn wood to various sorting tables, leading to other machines.

Forestry Journal: An LT40 mills a larch sawlog into cladding.An LT40 mills a larch sawlog into cladding. (Image: FJ/Arwyn Morgan)

Simon Belfield, proprietor of the Oak Frame Company, mentioned that for some time his team had been using a Wood-Mizer LT40. But the setting up of the LT70 wide, with its remote control station, would facilitate a considerable increase in production capability, while making the work a lot easier. Simon already uses several other Wood-Mizer machines for value-added products, which include construction timber, cladding, oak frames, holiday lodges and furniture.

The workhorse of the Wood-Mizer range, the LT40, was on display with the wide-mouth version, especially useful to make waney-edged slabs, which are so popular at the moment. The LT15 battery-operated prototype was on display and it was quite enlightening to see it cut up a sizeable lump of oak. Beside this mill was the SlabMizer MB200, planing large oak and elm slabs.

The list of Wood-Mizer machines goes on and on, but one thing it is constantly doing is improving its product from feedback provided from customers. One of these improvements has been that all new LT20 mills and larger are now provided with a day’s training on basic milling, problem solving and machine maintenance to ensure operators get the most of their machines.

Forestry Journal: The SlabMizer MB200 slab flattener, which efficiently surfaces and flattens wood slabs, boards, burls, cookies and other wide material with minimal effort.The SlabMizer MB200 slab flattener, which efficiently surfaces and flattens wood slabs, boards, burls, cookies and other wide material with minimal effort. (Image: FJ/Arwyn Morgan)

Representing Jas P Wilson were Ken Reid and Kris Wilson, with their display of FEE mulchers, Jak tree grapples and shears, Igland winches, Krpan processors and Posch splitters. Ken told me that since starting to deal in Krpan, Wilsons has been importing a lorry-load of machinery every month.

On display was the CS4218 Pro firewood processor, which uses heavy-duty components such as a harvester saw motor. It has an 18-tonne split capacity, and a 42 cm cut (or 16”+ in old language), but of particular interest is that it has a wide access gate into the saw chamber, so it can handle bent timber, thus offering greater capability for the operator. Combined with the processor was the RV45 log deck, which considerably speeds up the flow of logs to the processor, and saves the operator a lot of wasted effort.

Although Krpan is proving very popular with contractors, Posch still remains Jas P Wilson’s premier range of firewood processing machinery. A Posch 30-tonne split master was in action at the event, busting large rounds for further cutting on the processor.

Forestry Journal: The Posch SplitMaster easily breaking down log offcuts for further processing on the firewood processor.The Posch SplitMaster easily breaking down log offcuts for further processing on the firewood processor. (Image: FJ/Arwyn Morgan)

Once again it is designed to ease the operator’s life, with hydraulic log lift and hydraulic blade adjustment, with extra-deep blades to hold the split billets. And it had absolutely no electronics and was being run by a little grey Ferguson, which was just ticking over nicely, so it shouldn’t be too heavy on the fuel.

As I tend to harvest larger timber, most of our work is done with chainsaws, and for some time I’ve been thinking about the Harvadig concept, just buying a 14-tonne 360 machine, buy a felling head, plug it into the hammer lines and Bob’s your uncle – a poor man’s mechanical harvester, which would be useful in processing softwood tops and could be used for site tidy-up.

Unfortunately, the boys from JPW burst my bubble, explaining that it was a bit more complex, i.e. considerably more expensive than what I’d thought, due to guarding and hydraulic system changes. But perhaps something of interest to me was the Jak grab concept, where one rotated and the other was fixed. At the show both had tree shears, but the rotating grab could have a saw installed which would be useful in breaking down large crowns and prepping material for forwarding.

READ MORE: Wood-Mizer: LT15 Classic Wide Mobile portable sawmill unveiled

Martin Phillips said: “We don’t get the opportunity to attend many shows in Wales, so to get the chance to hold the event with such a wide range of our products was a fantastic opportunity.

“Planning started early in the new year when I approached Simon Belfield to ask if we could use his premises, without which the event wouldn’t have gone ahead.
“It was a long week for both Keith and I as we had been at the Cheshire Show earlier in the week and then on to Simon’s yard to assemble machines ready for the open days.”

Keith Threadgall added: “It went well and there was a big turnout. There was a lot of interest, and it was good to hit that part of the country.

“We had the battery-powered LT15 there and there was quite a bit of interest in that, given it’s the first one in the industry. People were quite impressed by it. It’s still a prototype, but it was being used to cut some big ash logs and it was doing the job – and well. Everything needs to move forward, and they have moved on a lot in the last 10–15 years. I believe it’ll be taken down to another show down south before the end of the year.

“There was also a lot of interest in your usual run-of-the-mill machines, if you pardon the pun. We’ve not done a lot in Wales, and that was really the thing. It has been neglected a wee bit, and there had been a lot of people enquiring. Going forward, this can only be a good thing.

“We had an LT70 Mobile, an LT40 Mobile, with a new diesel engine on it, a 25-hp Kubota. That means it doesn’t need AdBlue on it. It was a good machine and I was impressed when I had a go on it. We had an LT15 Mobile, which is one we are taking around the shows. The customer had an LT70 on a remote station, that he had bought from a customer of mine.

Forestry Journal: Keith uses his LT70 for contract milling in Scotland and the north of England.Keith uses his LT70 for contract milling in Scotland and the north of England. (Image: FJ/Arwyn Morgan)

“We also had an EG300 edger there, which was bought by a customer at the event. And an SlabMizer MB200, which was also purchased. So it was a big success.”

Keith next plans to exhibit at Westmorland County Show, September 13 and 14 in Cumbria, with more Wood-Mizer open days lined up for next year, aiming for between the end of April and the start of May to avoid the show season. Details are still to be confirmed but they will be in the north of Scotland.

For more information on Wood-Mizer contact Martin Phillips on 07568 356444 or Keith Threadgall on 07789 551686 or visit For more on Jas P Wilson’s products visit