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Duva Timbers continues its robust growth path

By Etienne Nagel, Wood-Mizer Africa

Wood-Mizer LT70

A 2020 review of Duva Timbers unpacked the successes of a growing timber company started by Pieter, a young sawmilling entrepreneur from Polokwane in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.


He bought his first sawmill in 2016 at age 18 with the savings his parents had accumulated over time for his future studies.


“I love the outdoors and timber, which made the decision simple,” Pieter says. He ploughed the cash into his first Wood-Mizer LT15 instead, and the rest is history.


Duva’s initial focus was sawn pallet components that went to pallet manufacturers. But Pieter’s keen sawmilling eye saw a gap that could extend his business opportunities much further.


An opportunity to supply structural timber to the lucrative local construction and roofing sectors brought immediate success for Duva Timbers.


The demand for its products saw Duva’s growth increasing fast with a spate of investments in more equipment and staff following next.

One of Duva Timbers’ Wood-Mizer LT70 Remotes ploughing through a 6 m pine log.
A straightforward and slick through-and-through cutting pattern with flitches with wane exiting both LT70s and transferred to the EG800 with minimal manual inputs.

A Wood-Mizer EG300 Board Edger and a second Wood-Mizer LT15 came first.


A Wood-Mizer LT70 Remote that replaced Duva’s first LT15 meant that the higher output and recovery targets could now be met with the profits from that allowing for a second LT70 Remote in 2019.  


A Wood-Mizer EG800 Edger/Multirip came next in 2020 to streamline the production process to boost profits.  


The remote configuration of the LT70 drew Pieter’s attention. The remote operator station makes it easy to control all the functions needed to process the 6 – 6.6 m log intake into boards with wane in an efficient, fast and automated way.


From log intake to the board exiting the unit, minimal labour is needed to move the board to the EG800 edger where final sizes are cut.


The EG800 is a robust manual edging and multirip solution for small and medium-sized sawmills. When configured as a  multirip the single arbor EG800 can process flitches up to 900 mm wide and 110 mm high. The power of the main saw motors can vary from 30-55 kW, it has a feed speed of up to 30m/min, and has 4 x bottom & 2 x top feed rollers.  


The resulting sawmilling process allows for a simple, slick through-and-through cutting pattern that sees flitches with wane exiting both LT70s and the EG800 processing them into accurately sawn boards. 


The uptick in production opened markets for Duva Timbers across the Limpopo Province. It sells air-dried structural timber in all popular sizes to hardware stores across the province and to walk-in customers and custom orders delivered to clients by Duva’s fleet of trucks.


An improved recovery process has also seen Duva moving back into the pallet component supply market that, again, boosts profits


Final-size product exiting the EG800 Edger/Multirip
Final product ready for the market.

Strategic forest assets

The previous Duva overview in 2020 saw Pieter discussing an integrated production cycle.


“I want to grow my trees, produce sawn timber, and then sell it.


“With a from forest to final form production cycle in place, I’ll have a sustainable business free of the variables that can slash my margins and slow my growth. And I’ve got time to grow trees; he smiled wryly.”


Fast-forward to 2022, and Pieter van der Linde is now the proud owner of a timber farm on the slopes of the Wolkberg outside timber-rich Tzaneen.


“We couldn’t have timed it better,” Pieter says.


With continued timber shortages from stated-owned forest company Safcol, Pieter’s now supplementing his log shortfalls from his own farm with replanting already replenishing his future stock.


While other sawmills’ growth in the area has slowed down due to timber shortages, Duva has stepped in to capture the business now up for the taking.


Strategically, the timber farm acquisition was a stroke of genius.


With mature standing timber that can carry Duva into the future while regrowth happens, the company is also cutting costs further with its truck fleet that moves logs from its farm and Safcol to the sawmill and finally to customers.


With a second timber farm purchase already on the horizon, Duva is extending its ability to remain thriving despite worsening logs supply issues.


“My success to date has also been my team,” Pieter adds.


“Their support is my strength,” he says. “Michael Ferreira, Duva Timbers’ Sales Manager, Alicia Zeelie, who looks after HR and Sales and my Dad have been instrumental in my success to date.


Duva’s truck fleet moves logs from its farm and Safcol to the sawmill and the end-product to customers.
An overhead view of Duva Timber’s timber farm. A second farm purchase is on the horizon

A final take

The overview in 2020 on Duva Timbers concluded that it is rare to encounter the energy and focus that Pieter van der Linde has – even more so at such a young age.


When quizzed on his recipe for success, Pieter ascribed it to his ability to stay focused even in tough times, think long-term, and have strategic cash reserves for the flexibility it gives to adapt to rapid changes in the market.


Part of it is also an instinctive sense to find partners to build his dream into reality.


“My partnership with Wood-Mizer has been and remains an essential part of the ingredients that have helped me grow to where I am now.”


Give Pieter van der Linde another five years to grow more businesses and trees.


Read the 2020 review of Duva Timbers on Wood-Mizer’s website at this link.

25-year old Pieter van der Linde, CEO of Duva Timbers.
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