SFK Housings and Custom SN Inserts

We get requests from customers disappointed that Redwood Plastics and Rubber does not yet carry SN inserts for the newer (and larger) SKF bearing housings. The question “why” is pretty easy to answer: the mold for each size would cost upwards of $6,000 and demand simply isn’t out there yet. We would have to be turning away business at least double the mold cost per year to make sense for us to tool for the new inserts.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t supply machine copies of these bearings. These bearings range between $375.00-$600.00 each depending on the profile and typically come with a 4 week lead time. If demand increases and we can discuss firm large volume orders for a new SN insert please contact us today.


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3 Custom UHMW Chain Channel Options

UHMW chain channel only

UHMW chain channel is used at most medium to large sawmills in North America. The product is wear resistant and slick, extending chain life. Primarily chain channel options are for H78 and 81x chain. Several profiles are available from Redwood Plastics and Rubber and you can view them HERE. However what if you need a different profile? What options are available? Actually, we have a few options to meet virtually any requirement.

1.) Modifying Existing Channel

This is perhaps the most common custom chain channel option. If there is a profile that almost matches what you require, existing stock channel can be machined to suit. This is usually shaving the inside walls or base of the channel to make it more open or shorter. This does need to be quoted on a case-by-case basis; however, so do not assume this modifying is provided at no charge.

2.) Milling Custom Channel

This involves machining an entire channel profile out of solid sheet stock. It is the most expensive option per foot; however, often it is the only option for a profile that cannot be modified from existing channel. There are a few differences here: since the channel isn’t extruded it won’t be made of the “clean yellow” UHMW, instead it will be milled from reprocessed-black sheet.

The milling will also result in a profile that doesn’t appear to be nice and smooth. You will see subtle ripples from the “dado” cutting. To mill custom channel you need to supply a drawing or otherwise work with a Redwood Plastics and Rubber representative to get the exact dimensions required.

3.) Custom Extrusion

A custom extrusion profile allows you to get a customized channel that is made of the same clean yellow UHMW as the stocked profiles and the same slick, smooth, surface. There are three potential drawbacks to a custom extrusion. The first is the one-time tooling fee. This is usually a few thousand dollars and may not fit all budgets. Secondly, you need to require a lot of this channel to make it worth it: 1000′ linear feet is the minimum order.

Thirdly, there is a long delivery for custom channel. Including the tooling you’re looking at about 8-10 weeks to get the first run. Subsequent ‘runs’ of custom channel are 4-5 weeks to ship. It sounds like we’re trying to dismiss custom extruded channel as an option – we’re not, it can be an excellent choice! However, you need to understand where your budget, time frame, and usage needs to be to make a custom channel worth it.

If you want to discuss custom channel options, contact a Redwood Plastics and Rubber representative today.

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LSI Plates


If you’re considering a custom lug or hook you need to consider an LSI plate. This is an insert between the Redco 750 polyurethane which provides added sheer strength for the hook or lug. They are not always necessary as some designs build up a “bump” of extra urethane around the mounting holes, which provides similar support. The LSI plate is made from mild steel and is sandwiched via a “press fit”. The holes on the plate are 1-1/2″ apart. Even though the plate provides additional shear support that does not mean the hook or lug can take significant abuse. The plate is only 0.13″ thick.

For assistance or a quotation on your plastic sawmill lug or hook needs, please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.



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The Future Of Sawmill Automation


Automation has been increasing in sawmills for decades. Redwood Plastics and Rubber’s own “Shark Fin Board Turning System” provided mechanical automation of board grading starting in the 1990s. Many industries continue to push for higher automation in order to reduce (human) errors, reduce costs, increase productivity, and therefore increase profits. Automated grading systems are one of the biggest developments in this area, removing what was once a job that could only be provided by skilled workers. Automated sorters are able to accurately seperate and classify lumber and computer systems can scan and automate saw processes.

Further automation will likely follow the recent fad of diverless vehicles and trucks. Within a few decades it may be common to have automated trucks entering the lumber yard and stacks of lumber being loaded by automated forklifts. Where do humans fit in this new world? There will always be need for supervisors and it’s also likely that – just like with the increasingly automated airline industry – a human is still going to be required as a backup in case of emergencies. One thing robots and computers do not do well is adapt to crises and changing conditions, whereas a human can. Increased automation will also require more complex vehicles and equipment, which probably means more maintenance people will be required. These maintenance crews will slowly adapt too – more than just mechanical knowledge, increasingly digital and programming skills will be required. There may soon be the day where the sawmill maintenance manager represents more of a preppy college kid than a blue-collar tradesperson. While automated and digital technology can streamline operations as is the goal, when that technology fails, skilled sawmill workers will still be required.

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Redco 9600 Impact Bearings


Perhaps an underutilized plastic sawmill solution, Redco 9600 impact bearings serve an important role. They consist of a double-hardness polyurethane combined with a durable steel outer shell. The system is designed to provide easy-to-change components and self-lubrication properties. Designed for high-impact, low-speed applications such as hour glass rollers and log kickers the 9600 Impact Bearings also have a four-piece split assembly. This makes the bearings quick and easy to install.

The 9600 Impact Bearings are currently manufactured with five face widths: 1-15/16″, 2-7/8″, 2-15/16″, 3-7/16″, 3-15/16″. The polyurethane component is your choice of Redco 750 or Redco 750 SXL based. The difference being the Redco 750 is the ‘plain’ red standard, whereas the 750 SXL is black and comes impregnated with liquid lubricant. The SXL is best if greasing or maintenance will be limited or difficult to do.

For more information on these or other sawmill products please contact us today.


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Product Announcement: H78 Sprockets


Redwood Plastics and Rubber has discontinued their line of sprockets for H78 sawmill chain. However, their 81X sprocket, which is now standard, is perfectly suitable for use on H78 chain. The difference lies in the thickness of the A-plate which holds the teeth. The H78 mold was 1″ wide whereas the 81X sprocket A-plate is 7/8″ wide. This subtle difference should see no difference in wear or performance in your sawmill. Plastic sprockets continue to offer increased chain life and reduced noise in your mill.

Redco sprockets made from durable Redco 750 polyurethane are a tried and true solution for sawmills. They are available in both idler and drive variants with the idlers being available from 8-18 teeth and the drives from 10-15 teeth. Standard bore sizes are 1-15/16″, 2-3/16″, 2-7/16″, 2-15/16″. Smaller bores can be accommodated by supplying a machined insert, essentially a bushing, into the hub’s bore for an additional fee. While the current standard sprocket has a separate A-plate and hub, Redwood Plastics and Rubber can supply an “old style” split or solid idler sprocket. Drive sprockets are only available split.

For more information or a quote on Redco polyurethane sprockets for sawmills contact Redwood Plastics.


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Current State Of The Softwood Lumber Dispute: All Bark And No Bite?


As the softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the U.S. continues despite the angry rhetoric from both sides, it appears that the duties the U.S. Trade Commission applied to Canadian softwood lumber haven’t had a large effect. According to an article by CTV, softwood lumber remains at very high prices. In fact, even though exports from Canada to the U.S. have gone down by ~8%, the value of those shipments actually resulted in a 0.15% rise overall. The increase is even more pronounced in the Canadian provinces of Quebec (exports up 3%) and Ontario (exports up a whopping 11%).

Why? The reason seems to be “insatiable” demand from the U.S. housing sector which is building at a torrid pace. To the point that increases in lumber costs are passed on to the purchaser of the home but also American home-buyers are currently willing to absorb the increase…So far.

The worst hit; however, is the province of British Columbia who has seen exports drop by 33%. This is in addition to a terrible 2017 fire season which affected the total of harvestable timber. However, the news isn’t all bad, as exports from British Columbia to the rest of the world are up 67%. For the central Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, lumber sales to the U.S. make up almost the entire timber production of those provinces (98 and 99 percent respectively). The core issue here has to do with dumping: American producers say Canadians are charged too small of a stumpage fee by the government to log Canadian land and in addition, Canadians sell lumber into the U.S. at artificially low prices.  Canadians have appealed these duties to both the NAFTA dispute panel and World Trade Organization. A verdict from the former is expected in the fall of 2018; however, a ruling by the WTO could take years.




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Product Spotlight: Roller Chain Diverter Gates


Roller nose diverter gates are a popular sawmill product. They’re available manufactured out of two materials, with the bulk being natural UHMW. They are; however, also available made from sturdy Redco 750 polyurethane. The nose kit with the roller is actually a popular, but optional, addition. It consists of two laser plates with a UHMW or polyurethane nose roller which helps the chain transit more smoothly. However, the gates can be provided in a simple one-piece cone shape, with the chain sliding directly over the integrated nose.

Custom sizes can be provided but the standard lengths are 27″, 30″, 33″ and 36″. These diverter gates are lightweight, quiet, cost-effective and extend the life of your roller chain. We have several designs on file from the past decades ready to go, or we would be glad to work on a custom design for you. For answers to your questions about roller chain diverter gates or a quote on your needs, please contact Redwood Plastics.


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PVC Strip Door – Keep The Cold Out Of Your Mill


In the world of engineered plastics solutions for sawmills – plastics that function – it can be easy to overlook some of the simpler applications. One of those is flexible PVC strip door available from Redwood Plastics and Rubber. This strip door is sold by the roll and is all cold-weather rated. This means it can stand the deep freeze that can occur in the northern U.S. states and Canada up to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Strip door does more than just trap heat inside. It makes your workers more comfortable and therefore productive. It will also reduce your heating bill which saves you money in the long run. If the strip door is replacing a regular door productivity will increase as workers can walk/drive right through. In regards to availability, here are the available sizes: 8″ (.080″ thick)x 400′ length, 12″ (.120″ thick) x 200′ length, and 16″ (.160″ thick) x 100′ length. In Canada, these rolls are stocked and available for next day shipping while they last.

For more information on this or other plastic sawmill solutions available from Redwood Plastics and Rubber please contact us today.



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Machine Your Own Kiln Bushings


Redwood Plastics and Rubber has a long history of providing premium quality machined kiln wheel bushings to customers. But leads times can often be 4 weeks or sometimes more to ship your bushings and there are times you simply cannot wait. The good news is we can often get tube stock to you, oversized on the outer diameter and undersized on the inner diameter, to allow you to machine your own bushings. This will often save 1-1.5 weeks on your order time and is good if you have a shutdown coming up where getting finished bushings simply isn’t possible in your time frame. You can machine the bushings locally in your facility or outsource them to a local shop.

Some of our branches also stock regular blue nylon kiln bushings in popular sizes. While these do not fit all kiln wheels and are not made of our superior Hi-Temp Yellow material, they are for emergency use. They will not come with grease grooves or holes either. Regardless, the best advice we could give is to either buy the bushings in bulk and keep the spares on hand or purchase some tube stock to keep on hand in case of emergencies. If you have any questions about our Redco kiln bushings or kiln bushing material please contact us today.


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