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A Visit to a Malaysian Sawmill

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Blog entry by Eric posted 03-12-2008 02:14 PM 1115 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I knew of a sawmill that was only about a minute’s drive from one of the places we used to live when I was getting my Master’s degree. Since I had to go down to the university on some business the other day, I thought I’d pay the sawmill a visit and get the low-down on what was available. I also brought my camera and got away with taking a handful of pictures, although I felt a bit CIA-ish doing it. All pictures have a full-screen version if you click on them. So enjoy!

From the road, all you can see is wood. It’s stacked really high, and they have so much of it that they store some of it right out there in the open. The guard shack is on the left side of the gate, and after telling them I wanted to look at wood (is that the passphrase?), they opened up and let me in.

sawmill1

And here we are. The top part of the sign below is in Malay, and simply says, “Bangi Board Factory Sdn Bhd” (the Sdn Bhd stands for Sendirian Berhad and I think is similar to Inc. or Ltd.). Bangi is the name of a town (which, oddly, is one town south of where this is). The bottom line is in Chinese, and it says, “Measure once, cut once. Then you’ll be back for more.” Just kidding. I don’t know Chinese.

sawmill2

When I drove in, I was just amazed at the massive amount of wood they have here. It is a sawmill, though, so what should I expect? You can even see some former trees just waiting patiently there to the left of the shelter.

sawmill3

Here is a better look at those logs:

sawmill4

So they’ve got spacers in between the boards to help dry them out, but they are apparently counting on our recent dry spell to continue…

sawmill5

And here is what it looks like under the roof. Isn’t it beautiful?

sawmill6

Now for some details. All of the wood here is meranti – 100% of it. I’ve talked a lot about kempas, since that’s what I bought for my bench top. But meranti is much more common here in Malaysia. As far as size, they have 4/4 boards as small as 1×6 and as large as 1×13 (or whatever they could get out of the log). They also have 8/4 and 12/4 boards of progressively narrower widths, obviously.

As far as the prices, I’ll give you what I know and you let me know if my board foot calculations are correct. The amount I chose was how much I thought I’d need for my bench top.

30’ of 3×4 (30 bf): $2.67/ft ($2.67/bf)

25’ of 3×5 (31.25 bf): $3.61/ft ($2.88/bf)

So how are those prices?

-- Eric at http://adventuresinwoodworking.com



10 comments so far

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4808 posts in 2535 days


#1 posted 03-12-2008 04:07 PM

Looks cool. Thanks for the tour. Is the meranti just used for furniture/boxes stuff or construction also? Do you know how much is exported?

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2641 days


#2 posted 03-12-2008 04:17 PM

Very interesting! I like to see what’s going on around the world. Thanks.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Thuan's profile

Thuan

203 posts in 2471 days


#3 posted 03-12-2008 04:27 PM

My dad-in-law, exported wood from Indonesia in the 80’s and 90’s. I finally get to see what those places looks like, thanks for the tour.

-- Thuan

View Mario's profile

Mario

902 posts in 2704 days


#4 posted 03-12-2008 04:38 PM

Thanks for the post, it is really nice to see stuff like this. thank you.

-- Hope Never fails

View Eric's profile

Eric

873 posts in 2437 days


#5 posted 03-12-2008 04:43 PM

SPalm: From what I’ve found on the internet, it seems to be used for just about anything, but in Europe is especially being used for door and window frames and facades. You can read more about meranti here. I don’t know how much is exported, but it sounds like a lot of it is going over to Europe (either from Malaysia or Indonesia).

Others: You’re welcome! :^)

-- Eric at http://adventuresinwoodworking.com

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2475 days


#6 posted 03-12-2008 04:43 PM

Hi Eric,

This is a really nice post. I enjoy seeing sites like this. Did you ask for any samples? :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Eric's profile

Eric

873 posts in 2437 days


#7 posted 03-12-2008 04:47 PM

Scott: Nope, but I did see lots of scrap that I wanted to ask for! I’ll almost certainly buy something from them at some point.

-- Eric at http://adventuresinwoodworking.com

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2953 days


#8 posted 03-12-2008 06:03 PM

Thanks for sharing this, it’s really interesting.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View HallTree's profile

HallTree

5661 posts in 2420 days


#9 posted 03-12-2008 06:16 PM

I like reading a post like this about wood, thanks.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2528 days


#10 posted 03-12-2008 10:20 PM

This has been an interesting tour of a sawmill. It is quite a sight to see the huge stacks of lumber.

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