Constructing a raft from bamboo on the edge of the river is not your average millers means of transporting a mill to a milling site, unless you belong to the Moraia Pentecostal Club in Fiji.
These Fijian sawyers own a Peterson portable sawmill and frequently travel into the heart of the forest to mill timber for use by the local community.
They were accompanied on their first trip with the mill by Peterson’s former sales manager Roy Tortoishell and engineer Dave to train the club on how to use the mill.
A raft, or bilibili, made from bamboo had to be constructed so that the mill could be floated down river to their destination in the middle of a Fijian forest.
Training the Fijian sawyers on the mill operation was an easy task as the mill is simple to use.
The timber being milled was mahogany and an average of about 1 cubic metre (400 bft) per hour was achieved with the Peterson Production Frame mill.
The timber was then carried away from the milling site by bullock sled.
Peterson’s have a large number of mills dotted across the Pacific Islands, employed in community, commercial and private operations. Emosi Dagoya of REDCO, Fiji recommends the Peterson mill. “It produces a good recovery rate necessary for sustainable logging and creates employment for the local community.”