July through December 1998 - Issue No. 153
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Georgia Pacific - Fort Bragg, California

A Tradition of Successful Innovation

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One of the oldest, continuously operating sawmill sites in the Western United States, was established at Fort Bragg, California in 1885. The mill has gone through many changes and has now been owned by Georgia Pacific for the last 25 years.

The crew here continues a 110-year tradition of successful innovation. "We were one of the pioneers with Stellite more than 15 years ago," explains head filer Dennis Bazor. "Our Stellite program became so successful that all of our band and edger saws have been Stellite tipped for ten years."

The Fort Bragg mill produces about 750,000 board feet (1,750 cubic meters) of redwood and Douglas fir decking, fencing, post and dimension lumber per two-shift day. A total of eleven filers take care of two 6 ft (1.8 M) quad band headrigs, a 5 ft (1.5 M) resaw, a 54" (1.37 M) band resaw and a variety of edgers and trimmers.

Dennis points out that "even on the best days, each shift takes care of 20 band saws and more than 50 circular saws. Stellite has cut our workload almost in half because all the band and edger saws hold accurate sizes for a full 8 hour shift. We even got 8 hour runs in tough, dry Douglas fir that was cut a year before it was sawn.


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Eddie Meadlin profile grinds a Stellite tipped edger saw on the Armstrong PRO-Filer II. The Fort Bragg sawmill has been Stellite tipping successfully for 15 years.
"We had worn out three tippers before we got the two AUTOTIP machines. Our crew tips 12,000 saw teeth every month, so we need absolutely reliable machines that everyone can operate. When I compared tippers last year, the hydraulic power and husky design of the AUTOTIPs were important considerations. Having the factory with their inventory of spare parts just one day away by UPS was another bonus."

Georgia Pacific ordered a new size of pre-formed Stellite tip for their No. 85 AUTOTIP machines. "We saved twice with this new tip because we use less Stellite and we have less material to remove to get to our final kerf. If we can save even 5 per tooth on Stellite and grinding expenses, that adds up to $7,200 in savings per year for our mill."


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Eddie Meadlin tips a saw on the Armstrong Autotip. The crew at Georgia Pacific tips 12,000 saw teeth every month.
"I have been filing for 22 years and when we started our Stellite program, we had to learn everything by trial and error. That created a lot of work, but there was no other way to improve. Now there are many experienced people and more opportunities to learn." Dennis recommends "For those who are now considering a Stellite program, go visit mills that are successful and talk to the filers. Then try the equipment for yourself on your saws to be sure you can accomplish what you set out to do."

The Saw Engineer commends Georgia Pacific and their filing crew on their success and extends special thanks to Dennis Bazor for his help in preparing this article and Ray Hoyt of Munnell & Sherrill for taking the photographs.

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Head Filer Dennis Bazor (left) heads a crew of 11 including Mike Galliani, band saw tipper, in the filing room at Fort Bragg. Each shift takes care of 20 band saws and over 50 circular saws every day.
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