Kiwi farmer catches the sawdust bug

On a bright sunny day in December, sawdust flew through the air in a suburban area of Rotorua New Zealand, as Peterson Portable Sawmills put their new product the Junior Peterson (JP) through its paces.

Robert Crafar and the JP
Robert Crafar and the JP

The company was shooting a promotional video for the JP at CEO Kerris Browne’s city lifestyle block. The sawmill video starred Taupo farmer, Robert Crafar who was brought on board the research and design team mid-2012. Robert brought fresh ideas to the JP, a unit that is targeted to people just like him; farmers, land owners and part-time sawmillers.

Having grown up on a farm working with machinery his whole life, Robert has developed an amazing knowledge of motors and heavy equipment which is why Petersons got him on board. Working closely with production manager Chris Browne, Robert initiated design changes that help make the JP a straight forward product that anyone can operate.

When Robert agreed to work with Petersons, he had no idea that he would be featured in the promotional material for the JP. As a person who usually keeps to himself, being in the limelight wasn’t something he was comfortable with. Not only that, but he hadn’t operated a sawmill on his own, aside from a few test passes at the Peterson factory.

Double cutting on the JP
Double cutting on the JP

While Robert was somewhat of a novice when it came to full day milling, his knowledge of general machinery, and the simplistic design of the JP, meant that set up and operation was a breeze. As soon as the motor started, Robert was in his element and forgot the camera was even there.

“We asked Robert to star in the promo video in response to feedback we had received from our customers,” said Kerris. “They had requested to see more down to earth footage, of a real person operating the JP, so we obliged.”

Robert and the JP sliced through three logs that day and even called on the boss, Kerris to come assist with loading thelarger of the logs and tailing out. Achieving good recovery on each log, everyone involved was pleased with the JP’s production. Click here to see the recovery sheet.

Production data sheet from Robert's day milling.
Click to expand data sheet

“The mill is really easy to operate,” Robert said. “It took about 7 minutes to set up and I never had one problem – that wasn’t operator induced anyway. I’m really impressed with how it works in the field.”

The promotional video will be released early in the New Year. In the meantime, Petersons have put together this photo slide show from the day.

* Production numbers may vary due to species and size of cut

For all JP enquiries and quote requests, please contact us today!

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