IMAGE SLIDER IMAGES (Left to Right)
1 – Research lab tandem machine development & testing station
2 – Tandem saw cutting slats from cedar blocks in the factory
3 – Tandem saw plate and tooth design features
4 – Demonstrating saw vibrational frequencies for saw tuning
5 – Saw Maintenance bending stand to test and adjust plate flatness
Charles’s collaboration with Bill Wilcox and also Myron Bird, owner of California Saw and Knife Works in San Francisco, would result in a transformative new technology for the Company. Their approach began with a focus on designing the optimum cutting tool, and then developing a machine to support and operate the new saw. Unlike traditional gang saw machines where adjacent banks of saws could have an adverse effect on each other due to sawing variations caused by changing raw material quality and feed rates, Charles’s concept was one where each saw would be independently driven by its own arbor and remain free from such influences. His paper outlining this design garnered the interest of members of the University of California Forest Products Laboratory, which went on to work with California Cedar for years to come.
By 1959, they had developed a working prototype. Charles’s tandem sawing system, which replaced the earlier gang saws, proved revolutionary. Resulting in an additional twenty percent yield of slats, and helping contribute to a fifty percent increase in [cedar slat] market growth, the tandem saw system enables California Cedar to operate their slat manufacture at maximum efficiency (today producing 12 slats per block).
‘Charles employed an open, collaborative approach that not only relied on his internal team, but also on outside technical experts from academia and industry around the world. Starting in the early 1950’s, Charles began working with the University of California’s newly founded Forest Products Laboratory. The Lab was created by an act of the California Legislature to explore commercial uses for California lumber and lumber by-products. Charles developed a close professional and personal friendship with Fred Dickenson, the Director of the Forest Products Lab. Over the years there would be open exchange of ideas and the FPL would even become a source of new technical employees as the capabilities and know-how of CalCedar’s growing research department developed. Such exchanges, also with other universities, often included the publication of papers and technical presentations at gatherings of national and international organizations such as the Forest Products Research Society.
Eventually 5 tandem machines were installed in the Stockton factory and ongoing research and refinement over the years further reduced saw kerf thickness and improved operating efficiency and saw run times. These included new advances in saw maintenance such as the tuning of each saw according to its individually measured vibrational frequencies thus reducing vibration and sawing variation during operation on the tandem machine.