Choose the Original – HewSaw Grey

The HewSaw History

The story of Veisto Oy and HewSaw began in 1964 when the Rautio brothers from Finland developed their first square timber hewing machine for their own use. This was later developed into a sawing machine suitable for processing small wood. Originally, the machine was not designed for commercial use, but other sawmill operators in the field soon heard about this groundbreaking new invention, which highlighted its commercial potential.


1950s

As the sons of an industrious small landholder, Evert Rautio from Finland's Savo Region, Esko, Kauko, Jouko, and Hannu, became accustomed at an early age to scraping together a living for the family from the forest and the few fields the family owned. It was physically demanding labour, including forestry activities, digging ditches, farming, sawing, and hunting. It was little wonder that the brothers developed a keen interest in using machinery to reduce the amount of physical hardship involved in living off the land. With no capital to get started with, the Rautio brothers welded together a succession of innovative equipment in their workshop using scrap iron, old engines, and abandoned machinery. Their early creations included a tractor, a circular saw, and a trailer for excavating boulders. The first version of the square timber hewing machine was developed to facilitate the cutting of square timber for the Egyptian construction market. A homemade generator, also made by the brothers, supplied power not only to the workshop, but also the local village.

"We've always been forced to build the machinery needed to earn our own livelihoods."
- Kauko Rautio on the Rautio Brothers' motivation for success

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1960s

At first, a square timber hewing machine made of rusty scrap iron and with an elk skin as chip protection failed to attract buyers. Despite appearances however, the machine proved capable of producing first-rate square timber in test sawing. The first contract was signed with the Uuraan Puu company for cutting square timber in Sonkajärvi, in Eastern Finland. Towing the square timber hewing machine behind the tractor, the Rautio brothers began their new career. As further successes followed, it soon became clear that they could make a living from their new invention. New facilities and a company were needed, and so in 1964 Kone-Veisto Velj. Rautio was founded.
A new workshop was built in the small Finnish town of Mäntyharju to manufacture square timber hewing machines. But soon the export of square timber dried up, and the brothers had to find a way of replacing their lost income. They came up with the idea of using their own machines to produce underground drain pipes and round timber.

 

1970s

The market for square timber picked up after a few years, and tractor-drawn hewing machine units were back in demand. The brothers and local workmen travelled throughout Finland with several such units. By 1976, the brothers had founded over a dozen permanent square timber hewing stations. The company's machines produced all of the square timber exported from Finland at the time, a total of almost 300 000 m³ (127 MMBF) a year.
By the end of the decade, new regulations and political changes in Egypt led to reduced demand for square timber, and the market soon dried up altogether. Once again the company faced a tough challenge, and further bold innovations were urgently needed to keep the company afloat. Luckily, the brothers had by now gained ample experience in timber processing. Under Kauko's supervision they designed a sawing machine suited for processing small wood, and with it, established their own sawmill. Forests that had been planted after the Second World War were now ready for a first thinning, so it seemed there was an opportunity in the market and the Rautio Brothers were prepared.


1980s

For this latest venture, a new company, Veisto-Rakenne Rautio Oy, was established and a new workshop was built in Mäntyharju. The prototype of the VeistoSaha R115 sawing machine was completed, tested, and improved at the brothers' own sawmill near the workshop. The high-quality sawn timber produced by the VeistoSaha R115 was soon in demand, and nationwide interest quickly developed. The company was soon ready to start selling the machine. The first VeistoSaha sawing machine was delivered to a Finnish sawmill in 1983, and a couple of years later the first machines were exported to Norway under the HewSaw trademark.

"We have not only taken great risks together but also faced the consequences together".
Jouko Rautio on the Rautio Brothers tolerance for risk


1990s

The pioneering HewSaw sawing machine was quick to gain a following. Its precise circular sawing technology, excellent curve sawing properties, compact size, and the efficiency with which it produced high-quality sawn timber and chips made the product a commercial success. The company also had sawing operations at Finland's Kissakoski and Kokkosenlahti sawmills and these provided practical experience that was invaluable in further developing the machines.
The company entered a new transitional phase as operations were gradually passed on to the next generation. The company invested in marketing and export operations, and consequently sales beyond the Nordic region steadily increased. Affiliates were established in the main market areas to manage marketing and maintenance operations. The workshop in Mäntyharju was expanded several times, with extensive investments made in new technology and the machinery. Serial production processes were also established.


2000s

As a result of the company's systematic product development, there was growing worldwide demand for HewSaw machines for processing standard-sized wood. The company's expertise in electrification and automation was strengthened, and systematic investments in product development continued.

 

2014

Veisto Oy has become a world leader amongst sawing machine manufacturers, and HewSaw technology is trusted by sawmills all over the world. Now run by the third generation of the Rautio family, the roots of the company remain strong. Still located in Mäntyharju, the HewSaw factory continues to be one of the most advanced operations in the sawmill equipment field.