You are currently viewing Why Our Flare Reducer Kicks Log Butt

Why Our Flare Reducer Kicks Log Butt

Investing in a butt flare reducer prompts the question: what makes for a good machine? We believe we’ve answered that question.

Why a Butt Flare Reducer?

Mills and veneer-processing companies spend needless amounts of time and energy on flared log butts. Either they remove the flared butts using debarkers or they send logs with flared butts down the line, where the butt interferes with processing and degrades equipment with dirt and debris stuck in the butt. A flared butt can plug a chipper, for example, putting production to a standstill while maintenance technicians sort out the issue.

It’s far better to remove flares using the proper machine—a butt flare reducer—at the beginning processing rather than ignore them or handle them with equipment not designed for removing butt flares.

Veneer Services Flare Reducer—A Fine Design

We’ve spent years in the forest-products processing industry and know first hand what customers need in regards to butt flare reducers. That’s allowed us to come up with some damn-fine engineering.

Direct Drive

In our reducer, we use direct drive on the cutter head with no belts to slip or wear and deliver more horsepower to the cutter. A belt drive uses a portion of the drive motor horsepower to overcome its own friction. It’s harder and more expensive to build a machine with direct drive because the motor-to-cutter-head alignments must be perfect. A belt drive is cheaper and easier to build, which is why most companies include it in their designs.

Control System

We use a “smart” control system for the cutter head and the bull wheels. When the cutterhead gets into a heavily loaded condition, the bull wheels automatically reduce the rotation speed, even stopping if necessary, until the load clears. This allows the cutter head to use less horsepower to reduce energy. It also compensates for dull cutters.

Frame Design

We build an extremely heavy frame and hold down to ensure our machine lasts long and requires minimal maintenance. North American hardwood logs are hard and heavy. We designed our machine specifically to handle the stresses that come from dropping these logs. The European machines developed around reducing softwoods and are not as heavily built.


Our standard cutters are a 2-sided, carbide cutter. Our cutters can often be sharpened if they are not damaged from contact with steel. The carbide edges on the cutter can be replaced when damaged.


Our heavy duty, angled bearings on the bull wheels take the loads correctly. A log sitting in the bull wheels with the hold down arm pressing on it creates a force that wants to spread the bull wheels. By using an angled bearing, we place that force in the center of the bearing liner correctly. If we used a normal split bearing, the force would instead be more in line with the split line, causing the bearing to wear out faster. We stress smart engineering and good design, and little things like this make a long-lasting and stronger machine.


We believe in using standard, off-the-shelf parts whenever possible. You can service our machines anywhere in the world with local parts. We use proven, quality components, such as the previously mentioned bearings and SEW Eurodrive gear motors. Other manufacturers use cheaper components and proprietary parts and count on parts sales to make their money.

Hold Down Arm

Our hold down arm is uniquely designed with a center support to relieve stress on the pivot point. A common weakness of other designs is the stress caused to the pivot point of the hold down when the hold down is forced sideways by a knot, a seam in the log, or an extended flare. If the arm is held only by a bearing at the pivot, the stress at this point can break the bearings. Our arm is captured by the frame between the pivot and the point of contact with the log. When the arm is side loaded, the frame takes the stress and the pivot point bearings take no side loading. No other manufacturer has this design.


Our machine is programmable for hardwood or softwood and average diameter. If the machine is to process softwood, the amount of wood removed per rotation of the log can be greatly increased, thereby reducing the cycle time. We tune the machine for your application at install. If you ever change the demands, it’s easily changed in the program.

Operation and Automation

Our machine is fully automatic with one-button operation. The operator can easily run our machine along with the debarker because he has only to decide if he will reduce the log or pass it through. When he presses the reduce button, the hold down arm measures the log diameter and makes the proper steps to remove the flare at the maximum efficiency. The operator can concentrate on debarking while the reducer is running.

Log Ejector

Our log ejector is hydraulic for consistent action on all log sizes and all temperatures, and the speed is adjustable. Many other machines are pneumatic because it’s cheaper to build.

Bull Wheels

Our bull wheels are close to the butt end to better process logs with sweep. It is important to allow a log with sweep to move in the right way. Other reducers try to support the log along the full length with spaced bull wheels. They do this because they do not have the strength in the hold down arm to keep it down. When they do this, the sweep of the log rotates down into the cutter head, causing it to take too much off the butt end. We place our bull wheels closer to the cutter and allow the sweep to swing out. This keeps the log stable over the cutterhead and removes the correct amount of flare.

These combined design elements result in a superior machine. It will last longer and have a lower cost to operate. The true cost of a machine is the total cost to own and operate it. Our machine is the best value in terms of total cost.

Sign up for our e-newsletter to receive additional articles, updates, and equipment information from Veneer Services®.

Download article

Leave a Reply