Chapter 3: Woodworking and Compressed Air

Chapter 3: Woodworking and Compressed Air

One of the most ancient industries in all of human civilization is the crafting of timber into useful items such as furniture, tools and decorations, as well as its utilization in basic construction and framing. From the manufacturing of early weapons, such as bows and arrows, to the wooden frames that support the structures of modern homes, woodworking is a trade that still employs many ancient methods that have survived over the centuries.

Modern technology evolved alongside the production of wood products with the use of electric power tools, such as electric saws and drills. The tools make many daily carpentry tasks much easier, and they’re rooted in the traditional equipment of the trade, like lathes, chisels and saws, which are needed to shape and craft timber.
Pneumatic tools and air compressor systems improved the efficiency of the woodworking process. The nailing or framing wood, the finishing and sanding processes, the blowing away of excess sawdust and the beginning of painting — all these processes, and many others of the trade, use compressed air.

The first step in the woodworking process usually begins when foresters harvest the raw materials. Compressed air systems can play a role in the felling of trees and the transporting of materials, as well as every step of the processing phase. To process the trees into useable lumber materials, a sawmill is responsible for the lumber processing, a task in which pneumatic tools are essential.

A sawmill’s biggest utilization of electricity likely comes from the compressed air system, which is typically needed to provide between 600-1000 horsepower. In most sawmills, oil-flooded rotary screw compressors provide the compressed air. Pneumatic tools play an important role in the operation of equipment and the automated operations of most lumber processing facilities.

Sawmills operate in a variety of climate conditions, including cold and wintry temperatures, so lower dew points may impede the mill’s vital compressed air systems. In heavy-duty industrial operations, water vapor in compressed air equipment can lead to premature failure, frozen air lines, quality control issues and a range of other operational problems. Removing the moisture from lumber and pressure treating preserve the wood, which climate can deter.

A desiccant air dryer system will help purify the compressed airflow by absorbing excess moisture. Quincy Compressor manufactures a full line of desiccant air dryer systems, which provide air purification from minus 40° F PDP down to minus 100° F PDP.

Once the raw materials are processed into useable forms like planks and beams, carpenters begin the woodworking process, in either the construction phase or at a wood shop. Large suppliers may use rotary screw compressors, but reciprocating compressor systems are very useful for smaller woodworking operations such as furniture and cabinet manufacturers.
Most of the tools needed for framing and upholstering rely on compressed air, so the total compressed air demands will vary based on the size of operation. A system assessment may be required as the business and its production demands grow.

For generations, Quincy has supplied consumers in the woodworking industry with reliable air compressors and vacuum pumps specially designed for the demands and environments of sawmills, wood shops and furniture manufacturers. As a solutions provider, we’ve designed several of our compressors and vacuum pumps with the specific challenges in mind that are experienced in wood processing and manufacturing operations.

Quincy recommends the following specially designed compressors and vacuum pumps for woodworking operations both large and small:


If you have any questions specific to your operation or if you’re seeking more information about compressed air systems for woodworking operations, contact Quincy for support. We can help you determine which compressors and vacuum pumps are best suited to your needs.