Useful information

Forestry & Wood processing machines

- History, processes, applications and future -

Forestry and the processing of wood are inextricably linked. Without the renewable raw material wood, woodworking machines and tools would be superfluous.

Woodworking has a long history. Working with wood began with the simplest tools, such as hand axes or later axes and knives. Let's just think of shipping. During the time of the conquest of the world's oceans, ship hulls and masts were made of wood, beginning in the 15th century. Wood was soft and easy to work with. In addition to the positive property of swimming ability, it was also easy to bend. However, progress was still shaped by craftsmen, not woodworking machines.

Today we know, however, that Leonardo da Vinci sketched a planing device as early as the 15th century. But it wasn't until the 19th century that more and more machines and related functions were registered for patents. For example, in the middle of the 19th century Robert Thomson applied for a patent for the band saw, a typical wood processing machine.

Vehicles such as Horse-drawn carriages were largely shaped in their structure by wood. Wooden wheels were shod with metal on the outer circumference. In the first automobiles too, wood was a defining part of the vehicle structure. The proportion of wood then steadily decreased at the beginning of the 20th century. Frames and bodies were gradually made of metal. The only exception is the Morgan Motor Company, which has used wood for their vehicles until modern times.

A disadvantage of wood is that, depending on the type of wood, the raw material needs a very long time to grow up. The Spaniards have e.g. found during the construction of your armada. Whole cultures even went, such as the Majas, because they ran out of wood and, as a side effect, also deserted the soils.

In the Middle Ages and earlier, no one had sustainability in mind. Today we know the problems better, but we are not doing much about the massive clearing of rainforests to gain agricultural land.

But let's get back to woodworking machines. Mechanics for sawing and planing were developed as early as the 18th century. The first drafts of a woodworking lathe were also made at the end of the 18th century. The development of the steam engine in the same century was the first correct step in driving machines, including also wood processing machines. That was the start of the industrial revolution for woodworking as well.

The steam engine powered several different machines via a central shaft. Drive belts connected the central shaft with the machine. These parallels are also known from metalworking.

With the development of gas engines, it was then also possible to drive individual woodworking machines via belts.

Even before the steam engine or the gasoline engine, there were simple machines that were driven by paddle wheels through flowing water (e.g. saws, planing mills), but that was not yet industrial production.

Woodworking machines are available today in a wide variety of variants. In terms of technology, we differentiate between the following areas of application:

This list does not claim to be complete.

We also follow this rough division when structuring the categories for wood processing machines on our platform.

The best-known cutting tools in the wood industry are likely to be saws. There are chainsaws and circular saws in almost all areas and the spectrum of designs and sizes is diverse.

Forming is also possible in woodworking. Wood can be easily bent under heat and steam (moisture) The categories are wood molding machines and wood bending machines.

The joining machines category includes edgeband gluing machines, body presses, plywood systems and chipboard systems.

In woodworking, there are also the combination machines known from metalworking, the woodworking centers. Here, e.g. turning and milling can be combined in one machine. In any case, it is quite possible to process metal or alternatively wood on different machines just by changing the tools. Wood lathes are also known as hand turning lathes.

The combinations of plastic, metal (especially aluminum) and wood are also known from window construction. Special window-making machines have been developed for processing these materials. These machines can also be found as a separate category on

Furthermore, an extensive range of accessories and tools as independent categories of woodworking machines should not be missing. The accessories and tools include, for example:

The special means of transport are also a separate category in the generic term woodworking, especially in forestry:

The tractors used in forestry mostly differ from tractors in agriculture only in the attachments used. For example, in forestry tractors with loading cranes, log tongs or with attached chopping machines. Forklifts and cranes are also widely used in the timber industry. There is a separate top category for this on the platform.

Modern wood processing machines not only have the ability to perform pure machining. Automation is also becoming more and more popular here. It spans i.a. the following important areas:

These lists do not claim to be complete either, but show the diversity of woodworking machines from forestry to the end products.

Many machine tools that were previously known as pure metalworking machines are no longer used only for metalworking. Finally, plastic, carbon or wood can also be machined on machine tools by changing the tools and setting parameters.

Since wood is a slowly growing natural product and reforestation and clearing are not necessarily in harmony, the future will show how the wood industry and the associated machines will continue.

Monocultures of mostly fast growing trees are economically susceptible to pest infestation. Natural disasters such as storms also hit forestry hard. But at least in the near future, the wood industry and the associated wood processing machines can assume a secure existence.

Woodworking machines as combination machines such as chipboard systems with a subsequent plastic coating system will continue to have a high priority in the future. The furniture industry is one of the largest users here.

In window construction, the proportion of plastic windows is growing steadily compared to wooden windows. The reasons for this are the higher price and the greater care required for wooden windows compared to plastic windows.

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