Finely Trained in Fine Furniture

By Deanna Bunten, Wood-Mizer

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Dwellingup Wood Design School in Western Australia Uses Wood-Mizer Portable Sawmill

From the Archives: Wood-Mizer sawmills have been sawing some of the hardest Australian hardwoods, like Jarrah, for many decades. Proudly, this customer story about a fine arts wood design school was originally published in The Wood-Mizer Way magazine in 2004.

 

From the ArchivesFrom the Archives

 

The Australian School of Fine Wood in Dwellingup, is a place where Australians, as well as students from other countries, practice Wood-Mizer’s longstanding motto: From Forest to Final Form.

The school of fine wood training, which is funded by the Australian government in conjunction with the Forest Heritage Centre, incorporates a Wood-Mizer sawmill into its curriculum. For the last five years, the 40 students who typically earn a spot in the school each term, use the Wood-Mizer LT30 Hydraulic portable sawmill on their way to beautiful, finished pieces of furniture.

 

DwellingupDwellingup
SawmillSawmill

 

Not just anyone can enroll in the school and look forward to the in-depth training from operating the portable sawmill to receiving a diploma of art in furniture design. Enrollment in the school is determined after candidates complete an interview process which includes submitting a portfolio of their current work.

Upon entry, students are instructed on how to saw using a wide array of techniques, and how to kiln-dry lumber before they begin the craft of converting the raw material into furniture. Ultimately, the two-year, full time course comprises 30 modules of study to develop skills associated with the design, construction and marketing of fine furniture. The Forest Heritage Centre and wood school’s mission statement is ‘To present the best of Western Australia’s jarrah forest heritage and be a Centre of Excellence for Australia’s fine wood design, training and education.

 

JarrahJarrah

 

Jarrah wood is a common feature in the school and is frequently used. Beautifully reflecting the hues of the Western landscape, this sought after species makes lovely furniture with its straight grain and reddish-brown color. As a product of the Eucalyptus Marginata tree, Jarrah is native to Western Australia and known for growing tall, straight, and strong. Growing 50 metres high and 3 metres wide, this hardwood is extremely dense with gum pockets. "Jarrah makes the sawing very hard,” states student, Scottie Maloney. “Jarrah is very gummy and we have to work very hard to keep the blades clean." Despite the toughness of the Jarrah wood and the challenges in sawing it, Maloney said the Wood-Mizer portable sawmill has proven its great versatility with the unique Australian hardwood.

Jarrah is a very durable timber and ideal for exterior projects. Its vibrant red color, and high density add to its marketability for use as a flooring material. Jarrah burl is also prized among wood turners, with its tight knots, swirling grain, and rich colors giving an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

 

Jarrah Black and WhiteJarrah Black and White
Log on SawmillLog on Sawmill

 

 

"The LT30 HD is a superb machine, the best I have seen around," Maloney asserted. "We couldn’t get the amount of wood out of the log with the other machines. With the Wood-Mizer, we get about 85% return on the logs, compared to 35% using other saws here. It’s the way you can turn and handle the log. The machine is so versatile." Along with Jarrah, the students often cut Tasmanian oak and blackwood, which Maloney said are much easier to cut. "The saw just eats it up," he joked.

In addition to using the Wood-Mizer portable sawmill for instructional purposes, Maloney said the school also sells some of the lumber to the general public, as Jarrah wood is very much in demand for cabinetmaking and boat and wharf building due to its resistance to marine borers.

 

Wood StackWood Stack

 

Maloney said, "The school is very small, but the quality of the work we put out is exceptional. There is a great demand for accuracy. The Wood-Mizer sawmill delivers that accuracy."

Maloney is in his first year in the two-year diploma track. He will earn a degree in art design and fine furniture making when he completes his coursework. He would like to start his own business making furniture. "It’s something I love doing, and love timber as a passion.” In the meantime, Maloney and a fellow student, Michael Thompson, have started to cut lumber as a side business, and are looking at buying their own Wood-Mizer sawmill.

 

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