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Wood Machining News

Ryszard Szymani, Ph.D.
Wood Machining Scientist

Areas of Expertise | Credentials | Professional History | Publications | Conferences and Workshops | Member | Languages | Contact

Professional Experience

Over 41 years of experience in industrial and home accidents investigation with woodworking equipment and cutting tools and in patent infringement cases. These include:

  • Safety and hazard analysis in woodworking and the wood industry: design, manufacture, use and maintenance of wood processing machinery; guarding, warnings, safety standards, operator training and practices.
  • Personal injury with portable power saws, table saws, chain saws and machinery related accidents including gang saws, band saws, planing and molding machines, wood chippers and conveyers. How and why accidents resulting in injuries or fatalities occur and who is responsible.
  • Patent applications and infringements.
  • Attending international trade shows and conferences for the wood industry and reporting on safety issues in the international newsletter, Wood Machining News.
  • Made presentations on safety issues at annual WMI Workshops on Design, Operation and Maintenance of Circular and Band Saws; WMI Workshops on Woodmachining and Cutting Tools and at the International Conferences on Sawing technology (SawTech 2003 and 2005).

Since 1979 has consulted in over 300 cases and testified in courts of Arizona, California, Florida and New York.



  • Ph.D., Wood Science and Technology, University of California, Berkeley, 1977;
  • M.Sc., Engineering Science ‑ Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1974;
  • M.Sc., Wood Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, 1970;
  • M.Eng., Wood Technology, College of Agriculture, Poznan, Poland, 1963.
  • Diploma from Technical High School for the Wood Industry, 1958

    The requirements for graduation from Technical High School and College of Agriculture required summer work every year in sawmills, furniture plants, parquet flooring plants, veneer and plywood production factories and work in a shipyard.


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, California, 1984-Present;
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Wood and Paper Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, advisor to tooling research program, 1991-2005;
  • Research Scientist/Technical Consultant, California Cedar Products Company, Stockton, California, doing research on the wear of cutting tools, 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;
  • Research Assistant, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Research on cutting of corrugated board by high velocity liquid jet, 1968-1970;
  • Research Assistant, Canadian Forest Products Hardboard & Plywood Division, Research Laboratory, New Westminster, B.C., Canada. 1968;
  • Research Assistant, Austrian Wood Research Institute, Vienna, Austria. 1966-1968;
  • Draftsman/Designer, Furniture Factory, Vienna, Austria.1965;
  • Engineer/Wood Technologist, Warski's Shipyard, Szczecin, Poland. 1964/1965;



Published over 70 papers, 14 conference proceedings, and 30 research reports related to wood machining. Since 1984, Editor and Publisher of an international bimonthly newsletter, Wood Machining News, with subscribers in over 23 countries. Published 150 newsletters as of July 2009.


Conferences and Workshops

  • Initiated and served as program chairman for ten 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).
  • Developed a program and served as a Program Chairman of ScanTech and SawTech 2006, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and two International Wood Machining Seminars held in California (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 over 80 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 - Safety Specialist (1983-1998, 2012-2014)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1975-2003)
  • Forest Products Society
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers
  • Society of Wood Science and Technology (1977-2000)
  • International Union of Forest Research Organizations – Chairman of the Working Party Milling and Machining (1990-1998)
  • Fellow of the International Academy of Wood Science
  • Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America (WMMA) – Associate Member/Educator



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

View Long Resume

R. Szymani, Ph.D., Director &
Technical Consultant
Wood Machining Institute
420 N. Civic Drive, #406
Walnut Creek, CA 94596, USA
Tel & Fax: (925) 943-5240
E-mail: szymani@woodmachining.com
Richard Szymani