“We never believed we could make money from an old log laying in our forest,” said Elias Alvarado of the Kallari Cooperative in Tena, Ecuador. “Now we see for ourselves the values in this old wood.”
Jim Birkmeirer of Timbergreen Farm from Spring Green, Wisconsin is working with the Kallari Cooperative in Ecuador. He was planning a training trip down to the cooperative, and wanted to include a Timberjig and a 36” Picco bar and ripping chain in the mix of equipment he would be using to train the cooperative members. Jim has a successful flooring business in Spring Green, using the Logosol PH260. He also is a successful sawmiller and a forester, so he knows his stuff when it comes to milling. But, for this trip, he had to leave his big sawmill behind, so he turned to Logosol to help with the technology for this area where there were no sawmills in place.
Milling for years
The Kallari Cooperative in Ecuador had been milling lumber for years, but it was all done by freehand milling with a chainsaw. Jim was going into territory where they “knew their stuff” when it came to chainsaws.
Here are some of the comments he recorded on his first day there:
• “There has never been a sawmill here – Your stuff is all wrong for here…..”
• “That is just firewood, we throw that all away….”
Started his training
Then Jim started his training. After the first big slabs began to be sliced off of logs that had lain in the forest for years, Jim began to get their attention. When he put the 36” picco bar and ripping chain Logosol had sent with him on the big Stihl, and the saw began to move faster through the log, they really got interested. And when they began to slice boards out of scrap pieces of wood with the Timberjig, there were hooked.
Here is what the cooperative Director had to say afterwards:
”A couple years ago I thought it was impossible for us to create these large slabs of wood from old logs, I couldn’t comprehend how to create value from something just laying in the forest. I never imagined it would be this easy – we needed so little to get started. We did not have the vision to use our scrap wood and make it into something valuable like furniture. I could see the finished product in books or internet, but didn’t understand how to make it from our trees. Now I feel like my eyes have been opened with this lesson, as if we have woken up from our slumber and can now initiate a new woodworking facility.”
Alternative income source
”Our families have a small income and wood is something that will contribute to their overall family earnings, it still makes a difference for our village/community members. It helps us rest at night as leaders, because our job is to find a way to create alternative income sources to the deforestation and contamination.”
”I also want to thank the companies that donated the equipment and Timbergreen Farm for donating the chainsaw. These tools will serve as a cornerstone for the future woodworking business of Kallari.”