Global Markets for Plantation Teak; Implications for Growers in Lao PDR
ACIAR Smith Legality Report Final 2014.
ACIAR verification paper v4 Final.
Enhancing key elements of the value chains for plantation-grown wood in Lao PDR
Quality Control Checklist for Finishing Workers
Checklist for Quality Controller of Finishing Process
Gluing Checklist for Operator
Machining Quality Control Checklist - Operator
Machining Quality Control Checklist Quality Controller
OHS Machining Checklist for Machine Operator
OHS Machining Checklist for Supervisor
Detailed methodology of wood recovery rate in production of high value wood products
Wood waste reduction and waste utilisation
Specification on Finishes and Finishing methods
This report is one of the milestone reports within the Activity 3.2 of ACIAR funded project
“Enhancing key elements of the value chains for plantation-grown wood in Lao PDR” which
objective is to enhance the competitiveness and capacity of the Lao PDR wood processing
industry through the development of an industry-led value-added timber market strategy.
This report provides a specification on most appropriate finishing methods and finishes for
various high value wood products. The focus has been placed on appearance wood
products used in indoor conditions but some products such as outdoor furniture have also
• Decorative architectural products.
The review of literature indicates that various authors use the words “coatings” and “finishes”
synonymously. According to Wikipedia, “a coating is a covering that is applied to the surface
of an object, usually referred to as the substrate” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coating).
It appears that the term “finish” is mainly referred specifically to coatings applied to wood
while the term “coating” is used in general term, in application to any coating applied to
One of the definitions of the finishes is: “Finishes are coatings of paint, varnish, lacquer, wax,
etc., applied to the wood surface to enhance their durability and appearance
In this report both terms, finishes and coatings have been used.
There are many finishing systems available for various wood products but it is important to
find the system best suited for the product and its application.
Well made products often fail in service due to the selection of the unsuitable coating or
improper finishing method. For example, many companies which manufacture furniture
spend a lot of time and effort in designing and making beautiful items of furniture but they
finally use incorrect finish or finishing system which significantly diminish the quality of the
final products. Obviously, the final appearance of the finished item of furniture is its major
Producing a quality wood product and applying an unsuitable coating system or not following
the specification for finishing procedure will reduce the appeal and overall durability of the
product. The main objective of any manufacturer of wood products should be to ensure that
the finished product withstands all of the requirements placed upon it.
High quality finish is one of the major elements of the selection criteria for high quality wood
product and, as such, it increases the product marketability and eliminates the risk of
complaints from the end consumers.
Achieving a good quality finish on wood involves a combination of three major factors:
1. Selection of coating system.
2. Wood surface condition.
3. Finishing treatment applied to wood.
All the three factors have an equally important role in obtaining high quality finish and they
must be considered in the overall manufacturing process. These factors are discussed in
details in the following chapters of this report.
The Australian Council for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is supporting a four year
project in Lao PDR entitled “Enhancing Value Chainsfor Plantation Grown Wood in Lao PDR”
(VALTIP2). The Grower Group subcomponent of this project (Objective 1.3A) aims to “identify
and test what forms of grower organisation and group certification are feasible and sustainable,
and will improve returns to smallholders, and how these can be fostered” (ACIAR, 2012).
This document reports the findings of participatoryaction research with five existing grower
groups (three teak and two rubber) studied in 2013,and provides recommendations for their
The literature review noted that the formation of grower groups for income generating
purposes in many countries was challenging, since trees are often planted for the purpose of
household savings or as a speculative land investment. Rapid agrarian change and social
differentiation may also be undermining the abilityof traditionally close-knit communities to
form sustainable grower groups.
This action research process identified numerous constraints to the development of feasible and
sustainable grower groups in Lao PDR, particularly in the teak sector. These include the
complex and conflicting laws and regulations, unfavourable tax policies for small logs and the
lack of a domestic teak processing industry. The viability of the teak farmers groups also
depends on being able to supply the market regularly, and buyers being able to meet customer
orders for wood: however, under the current structure, which relies on the sale of FSC wood,
there have been no sales for over a year, and member interest is declining. By contrast, the
rubber groups studied appear to have a better chance of sustainability, since they provide a
monthly income to members after the seven year establishment period.
The Action Research Team makes the following recommendations for the development of
grower groups in Lao PDR.
Methodology for wood recovery study in mnaufacturing
A recovery study is an important part of a continuous optimisation process (Fig. 1). Such kind of
study helps determining how much wood is actually recovered and how much is actually wasted. A
recovery study aims to provide all the required information to make appropriate decisions when it
comes to optimising a manufacturing process. The main objective here is to improve manufacturing
process by: 1) assessing the efficiency of every manufacturing steps; 2) ranking priorities and
elements to focus on; 3) implementing recommendations; 4) reassessing the manufacturing process
to confirm whether or not the recommendations helped improving the efficiency of the
Based on the literature, the report addresses important elements to keep in mind when developing
a strategy for the Lao PDR wood and wood products industry.
Tropical hardwoods retain a significant
presence in high-value niche markets such as
windows, joinery, marine works and decorative
veneers. The development of plantations
combined with technologies that have evolved
for temperate products offer opportunities to
improve the performance of fast-growing
species. Tropical end use products are regarded
as high-value luxury products but also
perceived to be associated with illegal logging
and tropical deforestation. The global
economic crisis, and continuing euro crisis, is
reinforcing existing market trends.
Specification on optimal machining parameters, tools and machining methods
This report is one of the milestone reports within Activity 3.2 of ACIAR funded project “Enhancing
key elements of the value chains for plantation-grown wood in Lao PDR” which objective is to
enhance the competitiveness and capacity of the Lao PDR wood processing industry through the
development of an industry-led value-added timber market strategy.
This report provides information on optimal machining parameters, tools and machining methods
with focus being placed on appearance wood productsused in indoor conditions. The report does
not provide specific machining parameters for teak or eucalyptus camaldulensis but rather
information on how to assess surface quality following machining since each and every machine is
different with specific elements also affected by the operator. It is recommended to test each
machine using different sets of parameters to optimise machining operation and achieve high
quality machined surfaces.
Quality of machining is closely related to the quality of the final product. For example, well made
products often fail in service due to the selection of the unsuitable coating or improper finishing
method . However, even the best finishing systems can’t compensate for poor machining.
Machining wood surface properly requires not only sound knowledge of the workpiece itself but also
of the tool used to prepare the surface. Because wood is a heterogeneous and anisotropic material,
it is important to understand its properties to ensure that each manufacturing step meets required
quality standards. As mentioned by Ozarska , the final appearance of the finished item of
furniture is its major selling point. However, previous manufacturing steps such as machining need
to be done and understood properly to reach this objective.
Multiple studies stated that surface quality of solid wood products is one of the most important
properties influencing further manufacturing process such as finishing or strength of adhesive joint
[9,10]. Adhesives and finishing systems can transfer and penetrate the cell walls or surfaces of the
wood material; thereby they increase the mechanical bond between the wood material and the
adhesive/finishing system. The effective transfer of bond from one member to another depends on
the strength of the links which can be affected by wood species and machining processes.
Policy Brief on Smallholder Plantations in Lao PDR
Lao PDR has an emerging forest plantation industry
based on both smallholder and corporate growers.
Plantations and planted trees have the capacity to
provide significant financial benefits to Lao PDR and the
Government is actively encouraging participation in this
sector, including through the Forest Strategy 2020 which
sets a target for 500,000ha of new plantation. However,
there are many challenges and constraints which need
to be addressed in order to maximise returns to
smallholders and support the development of
competitive domestic value-added wood industries.
The ACIAR project “Enhancing Key Elements of the Value
Chain for Plantation-Grown Wood in Lao PDR” aims to
improve livelihoods for farmers and processing workers,
and to enhance the international competitiveness of Lao
PDR’s wood industries through improved efficiency of key
elements of the planted wood value chain. Specific
objectives of the project are to:
1. address constraints and inefficiencies in the value
chain, from harvest to processor stages, that limit
returns to smallholder growers;
2. increase returns to processors and smallholders
through improved efficiencies of the primary wood
3. improve the value and quality of wood products for
domestic and export markets; and
4. enhance the competitiveness and capacity of wood
This policy brief summarises the findings of an analysis of
the legal requirements of the value chain for smallholder
plantations and their wood and makes some
recommendations about ways to address constraints and
enhance productivity. While this report is written specifically
for smallholder plantations many of the issues identified in
this study are also common to commercial plantations and
Optimal Processing Equipment for small logs
This report is a milestone report within Activity 2.6 of ACIAR co-funded project “Enhancing key
elements of the value chains for plantation-grown wood in Lao PDR”. The objective of the project
is to boost the competitiveness and capacity of the Lao PDR wood processing industry through the
development of an industry-led value-added timber marketing strategy.
The aim of the report is to provide impartial and independent advice to the Lao PDR wood
processing industry regarding appropriate primary processing equipment which is best suited to
the local industry. The major focus of the report is on portable and mobile sawmills best suited for
small log processing. Obtaining good productivity with a small log is problematic, because the time
required to handle one small log far outweighs the quantity of timber that can be produced from it
when compared with a much larger log (De Lasaux et al, 2004). However, there is the potential for
portable sawmills to significantly narrow this gap through value adding to products from small
forest plots. The portable sawmill concept has been around since the late 1960’s and was first
demonstrated in Brazil in 1968 (Smorfitt, 1999). The notion of “portable” can be a loose one and
may simply mean the mill is manually loaded (after initially being dismantled) onto the back of a
truck or utility and transported to the logging site. Other mills come integrated with a custom-built
trailer and remain on the trailer while being operated. This represents more the mobile concept.
However, many of these trailers are available as optional extras and do not come as a standard
package, translating to an additional cost.