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Brian Kehoe Manager Wicklow Rural Partnership Heat treatment of timber.

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Presentation on theme: "Brian Kehoe Manager Wicklow Rural Partnership Heat treatment of timber."— Presentation transcript:

1 Brian Kehoe Manager Wicklow Rural Partnership Heat treatment of timber

2 Partners Wicklow Rural Partnership, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Wicklow is located on the East Coast of Ireland beside the city of Dublin. Population is 115,000. Wicklow has the highest percentage of land planted with forestry in Ireland at 20%. Forestry and related industries comprise an important part of the local economy. Suupohja Development Association, Osthrobothnia, Finland. Suupohja is located in the region of Southern Ostrobothnia in West Finland. Population of Suupohja is c.31,000. (Southern Ostrobothnia population is 230,000). Suupohja and South Ostrobothnia region is one of the leading furniture making regions in Finland.

3 Project Origins Telework project under the Leader 2 Programme which both Suupohja Development Association and Wicklow Rural Partnership Ltd and two LAG groups from Italy were partners. During meetings held in Ireland and Finland in 2001 both partners decided that given the local economic profile of the two areas the timber sector would be the common sector around which to develop a project. Other sectors such as tourism, food and cultural exchange were also agreed as possible areas for future co-operation e.g. marketing local food products.

4 Objectives Develop projects between both countries in the areas of timber/furniture, tourism, food and cultural exchange. Timber/Furniture Investigate new technologies, i.e. heat treatment to add value to Irish softwoods and in particular Sitka spruce. Reduce the use of chemicals in timber preservative treatment. Create business opportunities between Finnish and Irish companies working in timber/furniture industry.

5 Objectives Specific Irish Objectives To examine how Irish Sitka spruce could be upgraded by a heat-treatment process therefore adding value to the timber and extending its usage into a range of different products. Reduce the use of chemicals in preservative treatment (timber production and processing). This heat treatment process also preserves the timber.

6 Project background Sitka spruce is the predominant species used in Irish forestry. 60% of the forest estate in Ireland is Sitka spruce The Irish forest industry currently uses Sitka spruce for a variety of end uses including building timber, fencing material (stakes) and pallet/particleboard manufacture i.e. lower value usage. The use of chemicals in Irish timber production in particular copper-chrome-arsenic (CCA) to treat outdoor timber (stakes, decking) creates environmental issues and this product is now prohibited.

7 Heat treatment process Heat treatment is a process where wood is heated in an oven type kiln (20m3 capacity) to temperatures ranging from 190°C - 250°C depending on the type of product required. The higher the temperature selected the darker the wood colour will be. The effect of this process is two fold: (1) It reduces the moisture content to less than 3% making it very stable and resistant to fungal and insect attack. (2) It darkens the colour of the wood throughout making it very decorative.


9 Potential Uses Joinery: windows, external and internal doors and doorframes, skirting boards, architraves External and Internal Cladding Garden Furniture & Decking Sauna/Leisure Centres/Swimming Pools Heat treated timber can act as a substitute for the following timbers : Western Red Cedar (used for external cladding); Iroko; and a range of hardwoods, Red deal, White deal and Douglas Fir.

10 Action Plan Consultation with a range of public agencies e.g. - Coillte (The Irish Forestry Board) - Co-ford (National Council for Forest Research & Development) - Enterprise Ireland (Agency for the development of Irish industry) Securing commercial partners by selling the concept of heat treatment to local timber sawmills and furniture/product manufacturers. Sourcing of 20cm3 of Irish Sitka spruce to be treated. Shipping of timber to Finland for heat treatment at a number of different temperatures at TEAK Research Centre.

11 Action Plan Testing of the timber through various machining and strength tests to ascertain its suitability. Manufacture of a range of indoor and outdoor products (i.e. garden furniture, a coffee table and a cabinet door) from this timber to show the potential uses for heat treated Irish timber. Manufacture of furniture products by Irish furniture manufacturers Development of operational costings for an Irish heat treatment facility.

12 Action Plan Identifying a sawmill to develop a heat treatment facility. Review of project based on results and feedback from agencies and furniture manufacturers and timber sawmills e.g. product review.

13 External gate manufactured in Ireland Garden furniture manufactured in Finland Products Manufactured

14 Results We have established conclusively that properly graded heat treated Irish Sitka spruce is suitable for a wide range of products e.g. Joinery products, external doors, external and internal cladding, garden furniture & decking. Due to the cost of processing from round log to machining stage, the most lucrative end use would be in the manufacture of external gates, external doors and external cladding. Price of imported hardwoods determines the end use of timber. External cladding, which is normally manufactured from Western Red Cedar, is therefore likely to be the most viable product.

15 Results Scale of the Irish timber industry is relatively small, it is therefore difficult to get a company to invest in a heat treatment plant. Difficult for Irish sawmills to economically grade the material to the quality needed for heat treatment. Higher incidence of knots in Irish Sitka Spruce, it therefore needs to be properly graded. Other species grown in Ireland that would benefit from heat treatment e.g. alder, poplar, birch. These species have been successfully treated in Finland

16 Lessons learned 1. Technical difficulties Timber - Incidence of knots in Irish Sitka Spruce - Grading of the timber Finding suitable Commercial Partners willing to invest in heat treatment. Economic viability of the project.

17 Lessons learned 2. Project Management difficulties Dedicating resources (time and money)to the project Securing match funding Long lead in time Lack of technical expertise

18 Future Developments Work with new partners ; (a) Sawmills (b) Manufacturer – new partner, Griffner Coillte Focus on single product, further heat treatment of Irish Sitka Spruce to be used in the manufacture of external cladding.

19 External Cladding on a house in Wicklow

20 Future Developments Revisit the economics/viability of the project. Dissemination of information. Further development of new projects in the areas of tourism, food and cultural exchange

21 Contact Details Wicklow Rural Partnership Suupohja Development Association

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