- MODERN MACHINERY GIVES INCREASED CAPACITY
A fully mechanised veneer cutting mill is now in use at the Stamford Hill factory of Reliance Veneer Co Ltd. Built during the past year, the mill is equipped with the latest machinery, and the speed with which veneers can now be cut and handled means that the firm has a much greater capacity for veneer cutting than before.
Until about three years ago the company were veneer merchants. But when the opportunity occurred to buy part of the site ( including the veneer mill) of the timber firm which had done much of Reliance's cutting work, it was taken. With the completion of the new veneer mill it now has excellent facilities on this site.
The capacity has in fact been about trebled by the new mill, and this means that the firm will be able to handle more cutting for the trade in addition to its own work.
The factory is at Castlewood Wharf, Stamford Hill, London N16 on the west bank of the river Lea. The site slopes down to the river and so the ground is higher at one end of the mill than the other. Advantage has been taken of the raised floor at one end by arranging a gravity feed system for the veneer offcuts from the guillotines and trimmer to conveyors running under the floor, which carry the waste to the boiler installation.
In the space between the new mill and the river front, logs are handled and sawn. they are brought up from the docks by barge, and are prepared for cutting on a new fully-automatic horizontal band mill equipped with push button control.
When a log has been clamped between the centres on this machine it can be turned around at exactly 45 deg, or 90 deg., and logs can be raised or lowered as required. The accuracy of the machine is such that a board 5mm thick could be cut on it.
After squaring or quartering, the logs are taken to the mill. Once beyond the reach of the wharf crane, they are handled by a fork-lift truck. The first stage before cutting is soaking or steaming in vats to soften the timber and make it soft enough for slicing.
Inside the mill the logs are cut into veneers on two new Cremona slicers. one is a 13ft machine, the other one is 9ft in length. Whereas the slicers previously used had a speed of 16 cuts a minute, the two new machines can operate at up to 60 cuts per minute. Special extraction devices fitted to these machines convey the veneers conveniently to the handlers, and make it possible for the machines to be operated at this high speed.
The veneers are the fed into a jet drier which reduces them to the required moisture content in for one to two minutes. The old drying kilns are being retained as well primarily used for certain species of timber that require slow drying.
The next stage is a trimming line, consisting of two 13ft Cremona guillotines, a cross-cut guillotine, and an automatic bundling machine.
Stocks of veneers are held in a warehouse adjacent to the mill. This was erected by Reliance Veneer when they first took over the site.
Veneers are produced largely for the home market, though their exports have now reached substantial quantities, which are increasing steadily. Teak remains the mainstay of the furniture market. Reliance Veneer's Purchasing Director Kevin Mc Guire, has recently returned from a trip of some 35,000miles, covering five continents, during which he acquired supplies of such logs as Teak, Paldao, Rosewood, Sapele and Australian Walnut.
Home species which are cut are white and brown oak, sycamore, walnut, chestnut and yew tree.
In addition to being one of the major decorative veneer suppliers in the UK, Reliance is also the largest importer of all types of constructional veneers in the country.
(Cabinet Maker & Retail Furnisher Magazine 8th September 1967.)