Accident Investigation

Ryszard Szymani, Ph.D.
Wood Machining Scientist

Areas of Expertise

Product liability and patent infringement litigation support for cases involving wood machining equipment and operations, such as chipping, slicing, sawing, planing, molding, shaping, turning, and sanding. Support includes accident reconstruction, reports, and expert witness testimony. Consulted in over 300 cases during the last 42 years. Testified in courts of California, Arizona, Florida and New York.


  • Ph.D. -- Wood Science and Technology, University of California, Berkeley, 1977
    Dissertation on "Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Circular Saw Tensioning"
  • M.S. -- Engineering Science / Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1974
    Masters report on "Circular Saw Stiffness as a Measure of Tensioning"
  • M.S. -- Wood Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, 1970
    Masters Thesis on "A Study of Corrugated Board Cutting by High Velocity Liquid Jet"
  • M.Eng. -- Wood Technology, College of Agriculture, Poznan, Poland, 1963
  • Diploma -- Technical High School for the Forest Industry, 1958

Professional History

  • Founder/Director and Technical Consultant, Wood Machining Institute, an international information center for the wood industry and machinery and cutting tools manufacturers, Berkeley/Walnut Creek, California, 1984-Present.
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Wood and Paper Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, advisor to tooling research program, 1991-2008.
  • Research Scientist/Technical Consultant, California Cedar Products Company, Stockton, California, doing research on the wear of saws and knives, reduction of kerf losses during sawing, and consulting in the general area of wood machining, including machine guarding and worker safety, 1984-1998.
  • Wood Processing Specialist, University of California, Berkeley, Cooperative Extension and the Forest Products Laboratory, Richmond, California, provided technical assistance to the wood industry in California and initiated short courses on circular and band saws, with international participation, 1979-83
  • Assistant Professor, Forest Products Department, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, taught courses on the manufacture of lumber, veneer and chips, and associated equipment, 1977-79
  • Assistant Specialist, University of California Forest Products Laboratory, Richmond, California, conducted research on veneer peeling, pre-stressing of circular saws and evaluation of saw stiffness and saw stability analysis, 1970-1977.


  • Published 91 papers, 18 international conferences proceedings, and 35 research reports related to wood machining.
  • 1984- 2019 Editor and Publisher of an international bimonthly newsletter, Wood Machining News, with subscribers in over 23 countries. Published 216 issues as of December 2019.

Conferences and Workshops

  • Initiated and served as program chairman for nine International Conferences on Sawing Technology (1989 - 2007) and three on Computers in Furniture and Cabinet Manufacturing (1992 - 1996).
  • Developed technical programs for nine International Conferences on Scanning Technology and Process Optimization in the Wood Industry (1985-2007) and two International Wood Machining Seminars (1981 & 2001).
  • Has been conducting annual workshops on design, operation, and maintenance of circular and band saws in the U.S. beginning in 1980, as well as having made 90 technical presentations at various conferences and workshops in the U.S. and abroad since 1973.


  • American National Standard Institute-ANSI 01.1 Committee on Safety Requirements for Woodworking Machinery (1983 -1997).
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1977-2005)
  • Forest Products Society
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers
  • Society of Wood Science and Technology (1975-2001)
  • International Union of Forest Research Organizations - Chairman of the Working Party Milling and Machining (1991-1998)
  • Fellow of the International Academy of Wood Science.


Fluent in English, Polish, and German and a working knowledge of Russian.

Articles on Occupational Safety and Health


Wood Machining Institute
420 North Civic Drive #406
Walnut Creek, CA 94596, USA
Tel & Fax: (925) 943-5240