Wood-Mizer saw cuts swamp oak logs

After two thousand years under water, the oak log was removed, felled and dried. It has been transformed into a splendid and extremely valuable material, and the lifespan of this wood will span the next few centuries.

Last year, during a dredging operation in the flooded areas of the Elbe River south of the German city of Hamburg, a mysterious discovery was made in the marshy wetlands: the bog oak log. It was immediately assumed that other precious logs could be found nearby. But first, the quality of this dark find had to be verified.

When the log was delivered to a nearby sawmill, the owner of the workshop, seeing this curved, very warped, relatively short piece of wood, said he couldn't make anything out of it. It is impossible to cut such a log; that could not pass through the mouth of the saw.

That's when Andreas Hünerfaut stepped in. He is known in the region not only as a timber producer, who has accurately cut logs down to the last plank even in hard-to-reach logging sites, but also as a specialist in processing problematic, twisted or bent logs.

When Andreas set up his Wood-Mizer LT40 mobile saw, it was clear that he had experience with cutting exotic, highly ancient logs, such as the 'bog' oak log salvaged from the Elbe River region. This shapeless piece of an ancient tree was clamped to the saw bed, and a surprisingly well-preserved core was opened up after several cuts.

Andreas was pleased with how smoothly and evenly the extremely hard wood cut the canvas. "The Wood-Mizer saw asserts its many features, such as versatility and functionality," says Hünerfaut. "Even short pieces are easy to process into various pieces of lumber."

Andreas Hünerfaut bought his first LT40 saw a long time ago. The saw was delivered from the United States by sea. At that time, it took a lot of courage for him to start a relatively new profession - that of a mobile saw owner. Among Wood-Mizer saw owners there was a remarkable willingness to help people, which continues to this day. His first customers were curious teachers who wanted to give students a meaningful lesson, as well as property owners who discussed this new industry and its new possibilities at their family dinners. The rest of the success was achieved through classic word-of-mouth advertising. In fact, Swiss Andreas Hünerfaut left his country to get to know the world better. In northern Germany, he liked not only the landscape and climate, but also the people. So he settled here and feels so at home that he has even lost his Swiss accent.

But back to the swamp oak. When it became clear that the wood was very well preserved, Andreas Hünerfaut offered his help in finding other oaks in the floodplain. It was winter, the thermometer read -12 °C, and the temperature felt in this wet environment was even colder. The work was carried out using a mini-excavator. At the end, about 40 completely deformed oak logs were pulled.

Using its methods, the Hamburg Institute of Wood Science has determined that the age of these swamp oak logs is estimated to be over 2000 years old. The log with the largest diameter had an annual ring dating back to 221 BC.

In the meantime, the recovered logs were cut and dried in loose piles to obtain the appropriate moisture content. Such timber is sold by weight in special sized planks. It is used to make knife handles, writing instruments, kitchen tops or dashboards for premium brands in the automotive industry.

When asked about his profession, Andreas, who is actually a farmer and carpenter, sees himself more as a forestry worker. His experience is mainly in on-demand work when tree tops should be removed. This is dangerous work that mountaineers do and requires special skills. It is usually part of a programme to clear and recycle felled trees. And, of course, the LT40 saw is very useful here.

After work, Andreas Hünerfaut sometimes rests in front of his wooden igloo on a very special bench. According to carbon research, the wood from which Andreas made the bench is about 8000 years old. Of course, this aspect gives something very special to a short and well-deserved rest.


Author: Kirsten Longmuss


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