Sawmill & Solar Kiln
With our own woodland on our doorstep, establishing a sawmill and kiln on site is a no brainer. It allows us to process our own timber for our Post and Beam Frames, Kitchens and furniture. We are also able to offer our sawmilling and drying facilities to local farmers, estate and home owners, adding value to local timber and the wider economy.
Our sawmill is a fixed position Norwood Lumbermate Pro LT36. At the moment it is a manual mill so logs have to be turned by hand or with a forklift. We plan to fit the hydraulic pack next year which will increase our efficiency reduce the potential for a sore back after a days cutting. In addition to the main horizontal band saw we also use a 48” Alaskan chainsaw mill, which we use to break down larger logs before they go on the main sawmill. It also allows us to access trees that are in difficult places to remove by conventional methods by slabbing them on site and carrying them out.
Alaskan chainsaw mill Squared oak posts and beams
Conventional wood drying kilns use a lot of electricity to dry a stack of cut timber, running 24 hours a day over many weeks for a single species load. We plan to use the sun to dry our cut timber, allowing mixed species loads and producing very stable dry furniture grade timbers. This should also reduce the final cost of our timber giving us a competitive edge. The main timber storage and sales building is now in place and the construction of the kiln is about to begin. As members of ASHS (the Association of Scottish Hardwood Saw-millers) and the SFMA (Scottish Furniture Makers Association) we are in a position to sell timber surplus to our own needs to other makers and hobbyists.
Scottish timbers have historically had a rough deal. The best cuts were (and in many cases still are) shipped down to England, Europe or America, while the balance is considered fence post and fire wood quality or worthless and some is even dumped in landfill sites by unscrupulous building companies. As a result most timbers ultimately used in Scotland are imported. Much of what was considered to be worthless was in fact beautiful wood with distinctive character and heritage.
Wood with attitude
Unlike the timbers from more temperate climates, which grow fast and straight, Scottish hardwoods have to work harder to survive in their more extreme physical environment. Like an old fisherman’s face, etched by weather and experience, so too are our indigenous timbers defined by their variations of colour and wild swirling grain.
At Dovetail we aim to promote the natural beauty, usefulness and true value of our indigenous timbers. We will encourage, whenever possible, the use of local timbers over imports, increasing awareness of its benefit to the local economy.