Bute Estate announces sawmill modernisation plan

The Mount Stuart Trust is to carry out an upgrade programme at the Bute Estate sawmill at Piperhall.

The Mount Stuart Trust is to carry out an upgrade programme at the Bute Estate sawmill at Piperhall.

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The future of the Bute Estate’s sawmill has been secured after the announcement of a modernisation programme funded by the Mount Stuart Trust.

future of the Bute Estate’s sawmill has been secured after the announcement of a modernisation programme funded by the Mount Stuart Trust.

The upgrade work at the Piperhall facility near Kingarth will take place after several problems were experienced with the main saw and tanalising equipment over the summer.

Bute Estate factor Bob Baines said: “The investment from the Trust will see us update and replace outdated equipment with modern technology which secures the future of the sawmill, in turn protecting local jobs, but also reinforcing the sawmill’s reputation for producing a quality product.

“The Bute Estate has a proud history of sawing associated with Bute’s woodlands, and I’m delighted the Trust has demonstrated it is willing to make an investment which benefits not just the Trust but the Estate and the island as a whole.

“The sawmill moved to its current location at Piperhall from the Policies in the late 1960s, the majority of the current saws last being updated in the late 1980s.

“The kit in the sawmill has lasted well, but technology moves on and rather than keep old, outdated equipment running, we will be updating and replacing equipment to ensure the sawmill has a secure future.

“Many Estate sawmills have vanished in the last 20 years due to the economic pressures presented by mass manufacture in the enormous mainland factory mill operations where economies of scale and robotic technology keep production costs to a minimum.

“Our island’s sawmill will never be able to compete on volume, but where we do excel is in the quality of our treated product and in the bespoke sizing of products our smaller operation allows.

“The provenance of the product is beyond question - the timber is grown, sawn, treated and sold on the island, employing local staff and providing local jobs.”

Most of the sawmill’s products are still available from existing stock, while additional stock has been sourced to deal with short-term supply issues. Deliveries of firewood remain unaffected.