When the manager of the scenic workshop at the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon had to decide recently which make of vertical panel saw should replace an elderly model, he plumped for a Striebig Compact. 

The workshop is housed in a large, modern building in Stratford Enterprise Park on the outskirts of the town. It is here that a 70-strong highly skilled team, which includes 16 joiners and 12 carpenters plus support staff, produce nearly all of the sets needed for RSC productions staged in its theatres in Stratford as well as in London and other venues.

Scenic Workshop manager Paul Hadland, a veteran of over 30 years with the RSC, says: “The 20-year-old wall saw we had been using was getting past its sell-by date, so after I was given the go-ahead to buy a new one I began to look through the internet looking for a suitable replacement. I narrowed down the choice to a Striebig and one other make and came to the conclusion that although the Striebig was the more expensive of the two it was a much better quality machine and ideal for us.”

Following a visit from a representative of TM Machinery Sales, the sole UK distributor of the Swiss-made saws, who advised Mr Hadland which model would be best for the RSC’s specific requirements, he placed an order for a Striebig Compact 4220.

The easy-to-operate saw is used by the joiners and carpenters chiefly to size a variety of wood-based panels, plus the occasional plastic panel.

“One of the main reasons I decided to go for the Striebig was because of the cutting accuracy it promised, and I have not been disappointed,” says Mr Hadland. “For example, each production requires its own stage covering, so if any of the sections we make here are out of true by even the smallest amount they will not fit together on site.”

In addition to improved sizing accuracy the Compact has also cut down the time it takes to size the polycarbonate sheeting used in the sets. “These come in sheet sizes measuring 6m long x 2050mm but because they were too big to go on to the old saw, which could only cope with a maximum sheet height of 1900mm, we had to manually saw a strip off each one so that it would then fit on,” says Mr Hadland. As the Compact model they bought has a cutting range of 3100 x 2200mm this additional laborious task is no longer necessary.

Striebig Compact series machines are available in nine frame sizes to suit all requirements. They feature central support and small parts support over the entire length of the saw, making the cutting of small work pieces very easy. They have a powerful 3.9kW motor coupled with a maximum cutting depth of 60mm, allowing for multiple cutting of thin panels. 

The Compact is suitable for cutting practically all sheet materials, including MDF, plaster board, plastics and aluminium panels. All models are now available in versions incorporating an automatic cut cycle facility to make them even more productive.