At Brazil's FIMMA furniture manufacturing show - a bit like IWF and AWFS here in the U.S. - I was charged by Woodworking Network with letting my instincts guide me, to write about what I saw  that inspired me.

Walking the show floor, a beam saw caught my eye. Beam saws aren’t that uncommon. But they usually are big. They take up a lot of floor space in the shop. And for those reasons, you usually don’t see them in anything other than large production situations. In addition, they gobble up a lot of cash when purchased but, in return, you can make a lot of small panels out of big panels in a hurry.

In another article about Brazil’s FIMMA show, I made note of the fact that I had seen four of these on the input end of the largest euro-style cabinet facility that I had ever visited. That was in Bento Goncalves on this trip. What one can do, you can only imagine what the output of four would be!

What caught my eye about this beam saw on the show floor was how small it was by comparison. This one could easily fit in a small to medium sized shop. That’s why it was there and that’s where my story begins.

FIMMA (International Fair of Machines, Raw Materials, and Accessories for the Furniture Industry), first and foremost, is about Brazil for Brazilians. There are a great number of small to medium shops in Brazil. I’m told that five or less workers is very common. So what does the small shop owner do when he needs to cut up parts and he needs a lot of them?

Enter the small, entry-level beam saw. It may or may not be computer controlled. That depends on the model and maker. It may not have all the whistles and bells that the big ones have but it also DOESN’T have the price tag or the need for half an acre of shop space. And most importantly, if lots and lots of box parts are what you need, these will let you cut a bunch of them in a hurry and make them all square as can be.

The down side of beam saws is that you can’t cut angles. They’re kind of like a Model T Ford. They came in any color you wanted as long as it was black. Likewise, beam saws cut any angle you want as long as it’s 90 degrees. But one of these companies I spoke to in Brazil is developing a small beam saw that will move its beam to cut any angle you want. That will be a real deal maker!

At the expense of bringing this up only for you to find that you can’t get one of these at your local woodworking machinery distributor, I’m going to give you some links so that you can go do your own research. Also go look on YouTube for videos.

I’m doing this because of the second thing that FIMMA is. FIMMA is by Brazilians for Brazilians who want to export their goods to other markets. So if you look at these machines and you are interested then I encourage you to contact FIMMA as well as the machinery manufacturer and see if you can arrange a deal.

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