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The forest regions here are intersected by lakes and streams connected with the large rivers that lead to the sea. This system of water courses has provided the Swedish forests with a means for their utilization to which in all probability no equal can be found in any other country. The snowy winters serve to ensure a sufficient supply of water, and owing to the fact that the rivers run from north-west to south-east, as a rule, the advantage is gained that the melting of the snow commences in the lower reaches of the rivers and gradually moves up the rivers. The spring flood is in this way more evenly distributed and therefore of more service for logging operations.
Much labour and money have been expended for making the watereourses serviceable to the greatest possible extent for the floating of the timber. One gains an idea of the importance of the Swedish logging system on learning that the logging channels have a total length of 30,000 kilometres (% of the length of the Equator), and that the number of logs floated per annum is about 75 million, representing 11,250,000 cub. metres'of wood.
Owing to the length of the country north and south the regrowth of the woods varies a great deal from the difference in climate. Whereas the annual regrowth in Varmland, the most wooded district south of Dalalven, is 2-2 cub. metres per hectare of woodland, it is estimated to be 2 cub. m. in Dalecarlia, about 2-2 cub. m. in the Gavleborg department, 1-85 in the Yastcrnorrland and Jamtland departments, 1-5 cub.m. in the Vasterbotten department, and about 1 cub.m. in the Norrbotten department, the average for all the above districts being 1-65 cub.m.
The ownership of the woods is roughly distributed as follows: about 17% are government forests and about 6 % other public forests. The remaining 77% are owned by farmers and other private persons, and by industrial concerns.
Lumbering and production.
Winter, when bogs, moorland, lakes and rivers are frozen over hard and covered by a thick layer of snow, is the time for cutting down the trees. The felled trees are trimmed to logs, which are hauled on sleds to the nearest watereourse. Here the logs are piled up on the ice and marked. As soon as the ice breaks up in the spring, and brooks, streams and rivers are filled to the utmost with water from the melting of the snow, the busiest stage of the lumbering commences, i. c., the logging of the timber. It greatly depends on the foree and nature of the spring flood whether the logging turns out well or badly. Winters with little snow usually cause the logging to come out poorly, which means that a greater or smaller quantity of logs are left behind along the shores of the floating channels. At the time when the floating channels were not cleared out and adapted for logging it was not uncommon that up to three or four years might elapse between the felling of the timber and its arrival at the sawmill. Nowadays the logging can usually be accomplished in one year, and with normal water conditions only about one-tenth of the total timber cut requires more than one year for logging. With unfavourable water conditions, however, it might still happen that upwards one third of the cut timber remains in the floating channels till the following year. Unsuccessful logging results of this description have on more than one occasion caused the prices for woodgoods on the world market to rise.
Sorting basins are placed at the mouths of the rivers near the coast, and there tllt- logs are sorted out to the different owners according to the marks stamped into the logs. The collected timber is then towed to the several sawmills, where it is sawn into deals, battens, boards, scantlings, and planchettes. Of the waste from this sawing is made staves, mouldings, laths, boxboards, broomhandlewood, etc. A number of sawmills are combined with planing mills which produce goods of different shapings. Among such products may be mentioned shelvings, matched boards, ceilings, skirtings, mouldings, weatherboards. Box-making is sometimes done in connection with sawmills and sometimes at special factories.
Qualify of Swedish Woodgoods.
Swedish woodgoods are accorded preference in the foreign markets before others of different origin, and, indeed, are regarded as indispensable for joinery purposes on account of having plenty of body and being at the same time easy to work. To this must be added the fact that the manufacturing processes and the treatment of the wood in Sweden stand at the highest attainable point of perfection.
Down to the beginning of the twentieth century the markets for Swedish woodgoods were, in the main, confined to the European countries, the principal ones being Great Britain and Ireland, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Belgium, and Spain, approximately in the order named. The three countries first mentioned were the principal consumers. As time went on new markets have cropped up, such as both North and South Africa, Australia, South America, and Asia. At the outbreak of the war the sales were distributed over the whole world; and this expansion has been gained by careful attention of the Swedish shippers to the special requirements of each market.
The war caused a disturbance in this situation by making it impossible to keep up the contact except with countries closest at hand, but the more distant markets have again appeared as purehasers since the war.
Round timber and hewn woodgoods.
The export of less fully worked products has been dwindling during the last few decades; and the reason is to be found in the increased requirements of raw material by the Swedish woodpulp industry, which has developed enormously in that period. The following figures give the trend of the export of round and hewn timber from Sweden.
Among round timber pitprops accounts for the largest quantity. This class of goods is mainly sold to Great Britain. Other round specifications are masts, spars, telegraphpoles, and pulp-wood. Of greatest interest among the hewn products are small square timber, of which Egypt and other Mediterranean countries consume considerable quantities. Balks and sleepers (hewn) are chiefly exported to Great Britain, Danmark and Germany.
For the purpose of disposing of their products abroad, the different sawmills are represented separately by exclusive agents in the principal buying countries. The sawmills are at home joined in an organization the object of which is to look after their interests as employers of labour, and in another association which is mainly concerned with the commereial questions affecting the members and the Swedish timber trade. The latter association, the Swedish Wood-Exporters' Association, Stockholm, also furnishes information to firms abroad interested in opening up connections with Swedish exporters of woodgoods.
The country is divided into eight districts from a shipping point of view, viz:—
Gcfle, Soderhamn & Hudiksvall district,
Central Sweden district (with harbours in Lake Vanern),
About 70 % of the total exports of Sweden of sawn and planed goods are shipped from the five first mentioned shipping districts.
J. A. Sundin
Swedish Woodpulp and Cellulose Industry
Woodpulp in the wider sense of the term, is produced by two distinct methods, the mechanical and the chemical processes. The mechanical method is the oldest, invented about 1844. Of the chemical processes the one first turned to practical use was the soda process, since developed into the sulphate process, and dating from about 1860 in America and a decade or so later in Europe. The credit of having been the first to produce sulphite cellulose on a commereial scale belongs to the Swedish engineer and chemist Carl Daniel Ekman, at that time, in 1873, amployed at the Bergvik mills in North Sweden.
Of mechanical or ground pulp two kinds are produced, namely: white woodpulp and brown woodpulp. About !K) per cent of the total output in Sweden of ground pulp is of the white variety, obtained by grinding the wood without preliminary treatment so as to retain the natural white colour of the fibres. In making brown pulp, on the other hand, the wood is first steamed in large boilers at which oxidation takes place from the high temperature. Upon the wood afterwards being ground the pulp assumes a brown colour impossible to remove by any subsequent process. The brown pulp, however, has considerably stronger fibres than the white pulp, so that up to 18 20 grammes' paper can be made from it without addition of chemical pulp or of other substance with strong fibres. The brown pulp is chiefly used for the production of so-called leather board, leather imitations, etc. The white pulp was formerly ground under a liberal supply of water on the wold-grinding» principle. In the eighteen-nineties the »hot-grinding» method was adopted, originally in America, and introduced into Europe a few years later. It consists in grinding the wood with so small a supply of water that the temperature is raised to about 60 or 70° C, a proceeding which facilitates the disintegration of the wood, and makes the fibre softer and longer than possible with cold-grinding. The main portion of white ground pulp produced is now obtained by the hot-grinding process.
Owing to the length of its fibre — about 8—9 mm. — and other causes, spruce is the most suitable wood for production of mechanical pulp. Pine is not used for production of white pulp on account of its resinous character which would make the pulp brittle and smell of rosin, but it can be used very well for making brown ground pulp. Of deciduous trees aspen and poplar are also used for making ground pulp. This pulp is characterized by having a beautiful white colour, but, as the length of the fibres is only about 0-4 mm., the pulp lacks strength and is only suitable for certain grades of paper.
In her large and well preserved woods Sweden possesses very large resourees of woods suitable for the manufacture of woodpulp. The coniferous forest area of Sweden is about 21,000,000 heaetares or about 52 per cent of the entire dry land of the country.
Besides an abundant supply of wood the mechanical pulp manufacture requires driving power at a low cost. The many waterpower plants in all parts of Sweden supply this need, and constitute a valuable accessory to a sound and natural development of this industry. The growth of the mechanical pulp industry in Sweden since the establishment of the first mill at Trollhattan in 1857 — the Ohnan mill — has been continuous and extensive, spreading from the central parts of the country to Xorrland. The following table shows the growth of the production and export of ground
pulp in Sweden.
Year Output Export
Tons, dry weight Tons, dry weight
1892 46,000 38,130
1895 89,533 58,089
1900 124,771 66,820
1905 185,498 84,988
1910 274,324 141,457
1915 305,819 150,104
1920 324,767 162,785
The ground pulp produced in 1920 was valued at about 100 mill. kronor, and the exported pulp of this description at 60-5 mill, kronor.
In order to give an idea of the position occupied by Sweden on the international markets, the following table showing the export of ground pulp of the principal exporting countries is produced below, comprising the two years immediately before the war, and the two years 1919 and 1920. The countries regularly exporting this commodity are in Europe: Norway, Finland, and Austria/Czecho-Slovakia, and in America: Canada and New Foundland.
1912 1913 1919 1920
Tons, dry weight
Sweden 166,331 191,223 127,636 162,785
Norway 256,258 255,201 197,974 198,527
Finland 50,827 44,916 58,027 81,994
Austria/Czecho-Slovakia 10,186 9,670 5,457 21,265
Canada 251,178* 237,485* 175,436* 339,382*
New Foundland 25,743* 25,802* 8,770* 13,419*
Total 760,523 764,297 573,300 817,372
Sweden thus occupies the second place among the European countries who are exporters of ground pulp. As regards Canada only a small portion of the exports goes to Europe, the greatest portion by far being consumed by the United States of America.
The mechanical pulp is usually sold in the wet state; that is, containing 50 % water, but there are a number of Swedish mills which produce air-dry mechanical pulp, containing 90 % of pulp and 10 % of air moisture. In this department Sweden has always occupied the chief place, the only competitor being Finland. The Finnish export of this commodity shows very great variations, however, from year to year, and depends on the demand for cardboard from abroad. With a good demand for cardboard the Finnish mills use up this kind of pulp for the manufacture of boards. The Norwegian export of dry ground pulp only amounts to something like 10,000 tons per annum.
The wet mechanical pulp goes only to the countries nearest at hand: Norway, Denmark, Great Britain, Holland, Belgium, and France, and occasionally to the United States whence the outgoing freights are comparatively low. The dry pulp has its chief market in the South of France, the Mediterranean, and overseas countries, to which
* Short tons of 2000 lbs. The other figures stand for tons of 1000 kgs.