United Paper Mills Ltd sawmills

Output of the company's Jämsänkoski sawmill was on a small scale and mainly used for its own needs; packing paper and for building. New machinery for the sawmill had been ordered in the 'million summer' of 1920, but the deal was cancelled in the autumn due to lack of funds. In the 1920s the sawmill operated in the upper factory yard, on the north side of the pulp mill. The sawmill burned down in June 1928. The new sawmill was built by the river in Alaja, as the site of the burned sawmill was thought more suitable for another purpose.

United Paper Mills Oy Jämsänkoski sawmill operated in Alaja by the river from the end of the 1920s to 1942.The sawmill built in Alaja also burned down, in May 1942. Fire destroyed the sawmill building, the timber drying house, wood yard, planed timber store and all the warehouses of the adjoining docks. Sparks were carried a kilometre away to the other side of the river.

Olkkola sawmill

The Jämsänkoski factory area was already becoming too small, so the new sawmill was built on the shore of Olkkolanlahti in Jämsä. The location was suitable in transport terms, and the lake Päijänne provided a good transport route for raw materials. The bay itself formed a sheltered harbour area. Due to wartime conditions, building the sawmill and procuring machinery were beset with many kinds of difficulties, and the sawmill only became operational in 1946. As there was a shortage of bricks, cement and other building materials, the sawmill was built of wood. In addition to the partially three-storey sawmill building, trimming and sorting plants and a timber yard were constructed. A drying plant was not added until the 1970s.

Olkkola sawmill in the early 1960s. Kaipola works in the background. The sawmill began operation with one pair of frames in 1946, and a second line was completed in 1950. The bulk of the sawmill output went for export: to the Soviet Union, Denmark and Great Britain. The most important domestic customers were United's own factories, especially Kaipola. In 1962, a log sorting and bunching plant was added to the sawmill, as well as a chipping plant, where saw waste was turned into chips. The chips were taken to the Tervasaari and Jämsänkoski pulp mills, and chips for burning to the Kaipola power plant.

The share of Olkkola sawmill of the turnover of the whole company averaged below two percent. Operation of the sawmill was of secondary importance to the company, and it was not even included in the annual report. Production at Olkkola varied a great deal in the 1950s and 60s: in the peak year 1969 it reached 52,000 cubic metres. When there were occasional shortages of timber, the sawmill was the first to be forced to reduce its consumption. The less important sawmill was adapted for the benefit of the paper industry.

In the early years, the sawmill employed about 30 people. Later the employee numbers varied at around a hundred. When more manpower was needed on the Kaipola building site, it was taken from Olkkola. The early 1960s was a successful time for the sawmill, as were the first few years of the next decade. The sawmill was extended in 1973. In the peak year of 1974, the sawmill provided jobs for 235 people. However, the recession soon followed, when the operation of the sawmill was considerably reduced.

A small community grew around the Olkkola sawmill. Children from the area in the early 1960s.Olkkola sawmill had been connected to the Jämsänkoski factory, but in 1973 it was moved to the company’s mechanical wood processing unit. The unit was managed from Olkkola, and it increased the number of sawmill employees. The company built single family houses in Olkkola for rented and tied housing. A small community had grown around the sawmill by 1991, when its operation was discontinued. The sawmill building burned down in 1993.