A life in the woods

The forest - a place to relax, wind down and fill up on energy levels, as well as a place for renewable natural resources, work and livelihood. Finnish wood worker Antti Kärkkäinen spends both his workdays and spare time surrounded by trees. And as if that were not enough, he is also dressed in them! It might sound a bit strange but Antti’s workwear from the Fristads Green collection is actually made of recycled polyester and cellulose from trees. The new, cellulose-based material is called lyocell and was developed as a step to minimise the environmental impact of clothing. We met up with Antti at work to have a talk about trees and sustainable workwear.

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An ordinary workday at the plant

Antti works with service and maintenance at Finnish Anaika Wood Group, a family-owned company focused on the sawmill industry and wood products. The daily tasks vary but one of the most important tasks is to supervise and monitor the drying processes of the timber. The quality of the material that comes out of the dryer is directly connected to Antti’s work, so it is a great responsibility. Even if all the other steps before drying, like sawing, are carried out perfectly, it is possible to completely spoil the products with poorly maintained drying.

When everything is running according to plan, he can always dig into the by-products. Sawdust, bark and wood chips that are produced by the plant are collected and used for energy production. Fresh wood chips are used in the pulp industry.

An ordinary workday at the plant

Antti works with service and maintenance at Finnish Anaika Wood Group, a family-owned company focused on the sawmill industry and wood products. The daily tasks vary but one of the most important tasks is to supervise and monitor the drying processes of the timber. The quality of the material that comes out of the dryer is directly connected to Antti’s work, so it is a great responsibility. Even if all the other steps before drying, like sawing, are carried out perfectly, it is possible to completely spoil the products with poorly maintained drying.

When everything is running according to plan, he can always dig into the by-products. Sawdust, bark and wood chips that are produced by the plant are collected and used for energy production. Fresh wood chips are used in the pulp industry.

Back to the roots

“I think of it as a coincidence that I ended up as a wood worker, but maybe it wasn’t... My roots are in the countryside and the forests and trees were present during all my childhood. As soon as I could hold a hammer and a hand saw I started building huts in the woods together with the kids next door,” Antti says.

In his youth, Antti was studying IT but had to fill out the program with some extra courses, which happened to be various kinds of woodwork. After school he worked with sales in the furniture industry and he has also done some years in purchasing and product development. After almost 10 years, he felt the need to grow in a new direction. That is how Antti ended up working for Anaika Wood. It turned out to be the right decision for Antti and his interest in the forest has not stopped at work.

“Over the years, forestry also came into the picture. Beside my job I have my own farms. One could indeed say that the forest is an important part of my life. The wood processing industry brings bread to the table and the forest in itself brings recreational nature experiences and adventures for me and my family.”

An interest that takes time

As the trees must be managed actively, the days off from work are spent in the forest. Antti does the nursery work and the initial thinning himself. This way, he accumulates firewood, which he and his family use themselves and also sell in small quantities.

In the forest, there is always work that needs to be done. Thinning and collecting firewood is done in the fall and early winter. When the snow arrives, it is time to get the felled trees out of the forest. The conditions for drying are the best during spring and early summer, which makes it a good time for chopping trees. Summer is a good time for all types of care work, simply since the weather is nice.

The importance of the equipment

Both tools and workwear get quite a lot of wear and tear in this job, so it is important to take proper care of them. Tools as well as workwear require cleaning and inspections to work properly. Broken, dirty or otherwise poorly functioning equipment significantly slows you down. It is also important to have the right workwear for the job.

When Antti services equipment and does other maintenance tasks, he uses workwear from Fristads’ Green Fusion collection. Fusion is a crossover collection that fits workers in many different industries and the garments meet Antti’s needs for functionality and quality. The fact that the Green Fusion garments are made of sustainable materials only makes sense for somebody who is passionate about trees.

“When I purchase new equipment, my selection criteria clearly focus on technical and functional features and for clothes it is important that they are practical. Black is a great colour when working with oily shaving chores and machines. I also like that the garments are lightweight and very well fitting. They are comfortable to wear!” Antti says.

About

Name: Antti Kärkkäinen
Age: 36
Lives: Kiuruvesi, Finland
Title: Process supervisor for timber dryers and power plant
Workplace: Anaika Wood Group
Hobbies: Forestry

About

Name: Antti Kärkkäinen
Age: 36
Lives: Kiuruvesi, Finland
Title: Process supervisor for timber dryers and power plant
Workplace: Anaika Wood Group
Hobbies: Forestry

About

Name: Antti Kärkkäinen
Age: 36
Lives: Kiuruvesi, Finland
Title: Process supervisor for timber dryers and power plant
Workplace: Anaika Wood Group
Hobbies: Forestry

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