From humble beginnings in Kerikeri on New Zealand’s North Island, a family-run business has grown to export its products across the US, Canada, Europe, Africa and South Pacific.
The sawmills designed and manufactured by Mahoe Sawmills were first used to mill New Zealand salvage kauri – trees that can grow to more than 50m tall with girths of up to 16m. Pale yellow to golden brown in colour, the evenly textured kauri timber is popular in boat building, furniture and cabinetry making and for crafting musical instruments.
For the past 33 years, the business, owned by John and Ben Bergman, has expanded its range of sawmills to suit different milling applications. Now the business is working hard to keep up with demand from around the world for its durable and efficient sawmilling and firewood processing products.
Mahoe is increasing its presence in the Australian market by introducing the Whoppa Choppa – a firewood processor or slicer dicer that makes chopping firewood a breeze. Two are already in operation in Victoria.
“It’s a popular choice with commercial firewood operators, large landowners and people who want to split their own wood or do it to earn some extra cash,” says Ben.
An in-feed elevator brings the rings of wood to the splitter knife that efficiently slices and dices the wood and transfers the cut wood onto the out-feed elevator. Mahoe’s clever use of both leverage and cutting angle means the Whoppa Choppa can split up to five pieces of wood with every 5.5 second cycle.
“The Whoppa Choppa has an 800mm cutting throat that can cut large rings up to 1200mm and bigger with ease. It can handle hard woods and very knotty timber and features in-feed and out-feed elevators and a cover that allows you to split wood even when Mother Nature decides to throw rain in the mix!”
It’s designed to be operated by a single person and includes a safe dual hand control feature – so both hands are required to operate the control to avoid hands remaining exposed on the cutting block.
The Whoppa Choppa is portable and can be packed up and ready to move within five minutes and it is now available to be made to order for customers in Australia. The Mahoe team ensures the Australian version complies with Australian road safety rules so can be transported safely.
“For the Australian market, we sell the Whoppa Choppa on skids so it can be towed around the yard or simply lifted with a forklift,” explains Ben.
He puts the success of the Whoppa Choppa worldwide down to its easy-to-use design and durability. Based on quality and performance, Mahoe has been using DEUTZ engines to power the Whoppa Choppa since mid-2017.
“We use top quality steel and the DEUTZ F3L2011 engine which is a good robust engine, so the machines require virtually no maintenance,” says Ben.
“Prior to the DEUTZ engine we used another engine brand but it was designed for non-commercial applications so there were some issues over time. When Ross Harman introduced himself and told us about the DEUTZ engine series, we decided to use DEUTZ to power the Whoppa Choppa.
“DEUTZ is an amazing company to deal with in terms of parts and the back-up service we receive is second to none.”