Saw filers to get the edge on latest equipment

by | Apr 25, 2024 | 2024, Industry News, Logging & Sawmilling Journal, March/April 2024

With lumber prices at lower levels, it’s clearly more important than ever to have a smooth running and efficient sawmill—and having the right people are a big part of that.

The right people in terms of saw filing at B.C. sawmills will be gathering together this spring, at the BC Saw Filer’s Association (BCSFA) convention and trade show being held May 24 to 25, in Kamloops, B.C., at the Coast Hotel & Conference Centre.

Some issues, such as the high cost of logs and low lumber prices, are out of the control of any sawmill. But what they can control is how they operate, and cut logs and produce lumber—and at the heart of that is saw filing, and sawing equipment.

The 2023 show continued the string of successful saw filers conferences and trade shows, with the booths sold out, and attendance of about 100—and a similar turnout is expected this May.

Saw filers from across B.C. will be attending the annual event, which also has a strong social aspect.

“We’re looking forward to another solid show in Kamloops,” said BCSFA secretary and Tolko Industries Lavington Division saw filer Matt Graves.

“It’s coming together well—we have a lot of the same vendors returning for the trade show, and it’s looking like we have some additional vendors.” They expect the trade show to be sold out again this year.

The membership of the BC Saw Filer’s Association is made up of a dedicated and progressive group of filers that focus on cooperation and education. In a spirit of openness their aim is to encourage sharing knowledge and resources for the benefit of all involved in the saw filing trade.

Saw filers are analytical tradespeople who work on the complex machinery that shapes the B.C. lumber industry. They’re masters in quality control, approaching every task with safety in mind. And this is reflected in the presentations at the conference, and the exhibitors at the trade show.

The trade show portion of the event will be two days, running from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday the 24th, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday the 25th. Seminars will take place on Friday starting at 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. The BCSFA Annual General Meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday morning.

The association has been holding the convention for many years and during that time, the saw filing event has become a significant event on the forest industry calendar.

“As an association we have a long, proud tradition,” says Graves. “Our continued existence lies in the strength of our membership.”

If anything, market conditions in 2024 have made it even more important that B.C. sawmills are ship-shape and running well—and saw filing is a central piece in achieving that.

“It’s difficult to do business in B.C. now as a sawmill, and the sawmills that will survive are the ones that do things right, with highly skilled people, like saw filers,” says Graves. “It really comes down to the people at the mill.”

Those attending the saw filers conference and show certainly appreciate the organization and effort that is put into the show by its all-volunteer group, which starts planning for the show in the early fall of the previous year. “We start work on the next show every September,” says Graves.

One new initiative organizers are looking at for this year’s conference is interactive workshops. “We’re looking at getting people more involved hands-on with some of the tools and equipment they might be thinking of buying. It might also be helpful in troubleshooting, if they are having problems with a piece of equipment.”

The trade show will continue to focus on equipment and services that make filing rooms efficient and productive.

“Overall, we want to showcase the most modern equipment, and what can help the guys in the filing room,” he said.

In terms of current equipment, there continues to be an evolution towards automation, and that will be reflected in the cutting edge equipment on display.

As with previous shows, there will be a solid social aspect to the 2024 show, with a buffet dinner on the Friday night, with a comedian, and live music.

The organizers want to thank all the vendors and filers, retired and present, that come out to make every year’s show a success. Even in tough market conditions, there continues to be a lot of support and presence from a large number of sawmills, says Graves.

Attendee and exhibitor registration are both now open. Anyone interested in registering early can just email Graves at and he will confirm their spot. Those interested in attending will also have the option to register at the event but Graves encourages them to sign up sooner. In the past, they’ve had situations where they have had to turn away vendors—and they want to be able to accommodate all those interested in attending.

As in past years, filers, mill managers and maintenance supervisors are encouraged to attend. Those interested in learning more about the industry may also want to consider attending as topical industry seminars will be featured throughout the Friday and Saturday.

To learn more about the annual
conference, visit




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