After the "baton campaign" celebrated its successful premiere at LIGNA.23, it should of course not be missing on the way to LIGNA.25. To this end, the baton has been given a makeover by students from the Fachschule Holztechnik Melle (technical college). In this interview, Martin Kasselmann, who supervised the project, explains how the design of the new baton came about and how it was manufactured.

1. What wood/material is the baton made of?

After we were asked to create the baton in August 2023, we considered as a class which material we could use. After a few considerations and experiments with other materials (ash, oak, beech, Mulitiplex, pine, three-layer board), we finally decided on black through-dyed MDF in a thickness of 25 mm.

2. How did you come up with the shape?

During the long planning phase, we tried out different shapes and sizes as a class. In addition to the classic rectangular shape with various curves or chamfers, a trapezoid or a rhombus, the parallelogram turned out to be our favorite. Once we had decided on the shape, we tested different thicknesses to find the best feel and decided on the 25 mm thickness.

3. What is the surface made of? What is "organoid", where does it come from and how did you process it for the baton?

We opted for a pine veneer for one side of the baton, as it provides a light-dark contrast to the MDF board. On the opposite side and on the bevel, we used wild lace from Organoid. Wildspitze is a natural surface made from hay and flowers from southern Germany. The hay grows on the steep mountain slopes of the Tyrolean Oberland at an altitude of over 1700m and is processed in a natural way. The hay is glued to a light fleece, creating a kind of wallpaper. Thanks to the simple processing, the hay retains its natural scent, which conveys a high-quality feel. Organoid also offers various alternative surfaces, which have also been tested by us.

4. What steps are required to produce a single baton?

4.1 Cutting the panel

Once the raw panel has been delivered, it must be cut open. This process takes place on our horizontal panel ripping saw. Here it is important to ensure that the panel is cut to optimize waste in order to produce as little scrap as possible. The dimensions of the individual parts are 1200mm*140mm. Once the panels have been optimally cut, the panel strips are then calibrated on the automatic wide-belt sanding machine. Here, irregularities in the panel thickness are sanded off so that all parts have a uniform thickness. This is very important both for the coating and for subsequent milling on the CNC, as the laminate can then be applied evenly and with uniform pressure to the carrier plate. In this way, possible defects are contained and avoided at this early stage of the process.

4.2 Coating with veneer

The now calibrated blanks are then covered with pine veneer, for which an even application of glue and then the appropriate pressing pressure must be selected. The veneer was previously cut to the required size with a suitable overhang so that the entire surface is covered and no uncovered areas remain if the coating slips slightly. The finished veneered strips are then calibrated again to compensate for any irregularities in the veneer. The parts are now cut to a width of 55 mm on the panel ripsaw.

4.3 Milling the parallelogram

The rods are given their final shape on the table router. The machine feed is used here, which ensures a uniform result and gives the bars a nice feel. After milling, the rods are passed on to the vacuum press, where the opposite side is covered with Organoid's wild tip.

4.4 Coating with Organoid

For coating with Organoid's wild tip, the laminate must first be moistened because, as we found out, it is easier to lay around the corners when it is made a little more supple by the water. For gluing, spray adhesive is applied to both the carrier board and the laminate. It is then important to allow the adhesive to dry. The covering can now be placed on the board and then inserted into the template provided for this purpose. The vacuum press presses the coating over a corner onto a bevel of the bar.

The spray adhesive is also a contact adhesive, which means that the pressing time is kept very short. Any excess coating is then removed.

4.5 Milling the lettering

After pressing, the lettering is milled on both sides at the machining center. We use a V-milling cutter for milling. This works in a milling grid, which means that 12 bars can always be processed in one pass. The CNC also works in pendulum mode, which means that the machine can run almost continuously.

4.6 Cutting to size and quality control

After milling the lettering, the bars are cut to the finished size of 350 mm on the circular table saw. The bars are then sanded again on the wide belt sander, which is made considerably easier by the machine's planetary gearbox. In addition, any tears that occur when milling the lettering are broken and sanded out. This enables a subsequent visual inspection of each bar for irregularities that may have occurred during milling. Chamfers are now made on the edge grinder and edges are broken in order to improve the feel and leave no sharp edges unfinished.

4.7 Finishing

Finally, each bar is processed and sanded again by hand so that no possible irregularities are overlooked. All surfaces and edges are finally checked and approved. Finally, all the bars are packed and transported to Hannover for LIGNA.

5. How many students were involved in the development of the baton?

A total of 12 students were involved in the development of the baton. Every decision was voted on and considered within the group, as it is a joint project. Despite occasional differences of opinion, all students actively participated in the development until the end and always gave their best, even if their own idea may not have been implemented in the end.

Interview partner
Martin Kasselmann, Coordinator of Construction and Wood Technology at Fachschule Holztechnik Melle (technical college).