LAST Wednesday, the Grade 5 pupils travelled to Bracken for an informative and exciting excursion.Mr Hill, the owner of Bracken Timbers, started farming in 1957 and started the saw mill in the seventies.The trip started off in George Johnson’s office, where he explained what we should look out for and we were also given very important rules to follow. We only met a few of the 375 workers at Bracken Sawmill and we were also well-educated on how to approach and greet them appropriately. It is good for the workers to see an interest from the community. They have 1 220 workers at Bracken in total. We watched how planks were made from very big and heavy logs. On average, 390 cubic metres of logs (380 tons/14 truckloads) are used per day to make planks. Only 57% of the end product consists of planks, but the leftovers are never wasted, and are used to make chips for paper and much more. We also learnt about the planer which is used to make all the planks smooth. Thereafter, the planks are graded to produce planks of varying quality. We were amazed to hear that 42 metres’ worth of planks goes through the planer per minute. Johnson proudly showed us a few antique hand planers that were used many years ago. Bracken has 16 ovens that are set at around 85º to dry the planks. We spent time in the wet and dry mill and also met the managers of these two mills. We got to see how the leftover pieces of wood are joined to make planks as well. Nothing can go to waste.Bracken’s saw shop recently got upgraded. Johnson showed us how the blades are sharpened meticulously and how they are changed every three hours. We saw frame, band and circular saws, as well as their blades.Bracken’s daily goal is to dispatch five truckloads of wood. They sell the planks to hardware stores all across KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Free State and Namibia, and these are mostly used to make materials for building constructions like roof trusses.We were privileged to spend the morning at Bracken and to see what wonderful work takes place there. Thank you to George Johnson and Paul Moolman for a very informative and memorable outing.We would also like to thank Johnson for treating us to a pair of safety glasses, chips and cold drink.Wembley College would also like to congratulate Sarah Barber who took part in the KZN High School Athletics champs. She achieved a first place in long jump and came fourth in the 100 m event. — Supplied.