KEFRI power saw gauge saves over 25 per cent timber loss

Tree growing farmers can recover more than 25 per cent of wasted timber by fixing a gauge to the power saw machines to get the right size shape and texture of the products.

Out of every 100 pieces of timber from a power saw, only 30 of them can be sold for furniture and other high quality wood products.

The rest are rough, crocked and with depression that are hard to work on. For that reason, therefore, they are rejected or sold at throw-away prices.

Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) officer David Munene said farmers have full control of the power saw when it has the gauge, therefore, able to split high quality timber that fetches more for profits.

“Fixing a gauge on the power saw increases the recovery rate from 30 per cent to 56 per cent per tree. The produced timber is of high quality and can be sold to the high-end market,” he said.

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Fixing the gauge is done at the KEFRI workshop at Karura Forest, Nairobi, at Sh13,000.

Munene said timber loses it value when it is warped, undersize and oversize, has depressions and rough surfaces.

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When using the gauged power saw, beams are set on a raised bench like that of planing. The machine handler sets the gauge to the required size of the timber before driving it through the beams. Uniformly cut smooth surface timber pieces are churned out.

However, the gauge has to be dismounted during felling of the tree or cutting it into the required sizes, Munene said.

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In a day of eight hours, one can split 780 feet if the beams are ready upfront.

Farmers also get more pieces per tree due to regulated splitting size as well as reduced off-cuts due to the uniform movement.

Munene said realising more timber per tree would reduce wastage, therefore, cut on the trees felled to meet the demand for furniture.

The sawing can be don under the shade just like during planing. 

PHOTO: David Munene splitting timber using a gauged power saw machine at Kabiru-ini Agricultural Society of Kenya Show Ground on September 17, 2016. The gauge gives uniform and high quality timber, therefore, saving farmers about 26 per cent loss. PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.

He can be contacted on +254720928935