July through December 1998 - Issue No. 153
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On-Site Program Proves Successful for Virginia Sawmill

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Yancey Lumber Company made a substantial investment when they implemented an on-site saw maintenance program in November 1997. They also promoted an inexperienced man to head the filing room. Just a month earlier, Josiah Chase was driving a log loader at the mill. With a big push and lots of support, management knew he was the right man for the job. "Josiah exhibits good problem solving skills, exceptional mechanical aptitude and an exuberant worth ethic" said Vice President Bill Ross. Before that time, they had been sending the saws to an independent saw shop for resharpening.

Before the new equipment was installed, the newly promoted head filer spent one week training in the saw shop at Mason Sales Company in Irwinton, Georgia. He also spent three weeks at Culp Lumber in New London, North Carolina, working with their Head Filer Marvin Owens, learning basic filing techniques. As an inexperienced filer, Josiah needed all the knowledge he could get in a short time.

Marvin, who serves as president of the Southeast Saw Filers Association, has helped the new filer a great deal. "Marvin has been a tremendous help to Josiah" said Bill. "He got Josiah started right and has kept him on track, as well as answering basic questions about filing room procedures and problems."


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Head Filer Josiah Chase uses the Armstrong ShapeUp to shape and true the grinding wheel on one of the four No. 4 Armstrong sharpeners at Yancey Lumber. Note the optional safety hood that reduces noise and dust in the filing room. Safety hoods for Nos. 2, 4 & 6 sharpeners are now available.
Yancey purchased an Armstrong SidePro dual side grinder for their band saws. Side ground saws cut faster and straighter which can lead to increased production and reduced target sizes. Bill points out additional advantages, "Side grinding means more work, but does yield a sharper saw and the finish on the lumber is definitely better when the saws have been side ground on the SidePro. Overall, we are producing better quality lumber with side ground band saws."

The mill also installed an Armstrong automatic band saw Leveler. "This was a new venture for us. We wanted a machine that was simple to operate" said Bill. "The automatic Leveler sets up quickly and is easy to operate. You can set it up to do what you want, and then walk away and let it run. Everyone in our filing room can operate the Leveler."

Yancey sharpens their bands on four Armstrong No. 4 Band Saw Sharpeners all equipped with StrongArm II power clamps, SideWinder feed fingers, ShapeUp wheel dressers and the new safety hoods. The saws are all run nine hours between sharpenings. The ShapeUp grinding wheel truing and shaping system shapes the grinding wheels exactly the same every time, which is of particular advantage in the four person filing room.


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Josiah Chase inspects a band saw after coming off the Armstrong band saw Leveler. The air lift for consistent tension checks and the welding clamp stand are built into the No. 81 Armstrong bench.
When the new machinery was installed, Mason Sales, the Armstrong distributor for Virginia, provided one week of on-site start-up assistance. Armstrong Service Manager Warren Caltabiano followed up later, spending a day working with the filers and making sure all the equipment was running perfectly.

The four person filing staff at Yancey includes Head Filer Josiah Chase, Jose Loya, Doug Tomlin and Sergio Vallez. The mill produces 33 million board feet (78,000 cubic meters) of southern yellow pine per year for customers in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

"It cost us a lot of production time and money to get this program started" said Bill. We were almost ‘forced’ into it by the inability of the saw shop to keep up with us." His advice for other mills thinking about implementing an on-site saw maintenance program: "First pick a good man to head the filing room. Then invest the time to evaluate all the equipment available. When you start with the right man and the right equipment, you are headed for success."


The Saw Engineer extends a special thank you to Yancey Lumber and their filing crew for their help in preparing this article. Congratulations to Head Filer Josiah Chase who has successfully taken on this new challenge and done an admirable job.

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Jose Loya at the controls of the Armstrong automatic Leveler. Everyone in the filing room can run the easy-to-operate machine.
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