Europe’s best oars come from Lahnakoski

Rowing boats are a quintessential part of lake scenery in a Finnish summer, and most of them are rowed with LAHNA oars, made by Lahnakoski Oy. This family company relies on the expertise and competence of Metsä Fibre’s Renko sawmill for the wood it uses. The partnership between Lahnakoski and Renko sawmill began in the 1980s. It produces premium quality that is recognised in the Nordic countries and throughout Europe.
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  • 2023, Customer story, Sawn timber

Slow-growing Nordic wood is suitable for many kinds of construction. It is an ideal raw material for oars and paddles.

Lahnakoski Oy, from the town of Kokkola on the west coast of Finland, knows this from decades of experience. The family company was established in the 1930s and originally made agricultural implements and hay rakes. In the 1960s, it added boating accessories to its product range.

Red-bladed Lahnakoski oars and paddles quickly became known as a mark of quality, and the company carefully protects its reputation. With a staff of some fifteen, it is a leader in its field. Most of its production is exported to the Nordic countries and other parts of Europe.

As proof of its strong market position, Finnish rowing boats are usually sold specifically with a pair of Lahnakoski oars. The company’s products are a common sight in many other countries too.

New boost to growth from the pandemic

CEO Björn Sandström is a fourth-generation leader of the company. He admits it has seen its share of headwinds over the decades but in the last few years the winds have been very favourable.

“The Covid-19 pandemic boosted outdoor activities, exercise in the open air, and boating. Boat and canoe sales picked up, which we experienced as increased sales. The trend still holds,” he says.

Lahnakoski also benefits from the growing importance of nature and environmental values among its customers.

“Wood is better for the environment than plastic, but also a more beautiful and pleasant alternative offering higher quality. With good oars, even a poor boat moves better,” says Sandström.

Over the decades, Lahnakoski has used wood for its oars, paddles and rakes as well as various construction elements such as doors and windows. It insists on the highest quality raw material for the products it makes.

“Without high-quality wood, it is impossible to produce durable products. Disappointing quality erodes your reputation – and alienates customers,” says Sandström.

Renko sawmill is a long-term partner

Most of the sawn timber used for Lahnakoski oars and paddles comes from Metsä Fibre’s sawmill in Renko. The collaboration with Renko sawmill began in the mid-1980s, and Sandström lavishes praise on the skills and attitude of Renko employees. Oar producers have very high-quality requirements for sawn timber. The boards must be straight, nearly knotless, consistent, dry and of a precise length.

“In terms of volumes, we are quite a small company, but we are treated the same as bigger ones. Our partnership is very smooth, and the quality of deliveries is reliable. We probably would not have come this far without Renko sawmill,” says Sandström.

Metsä Fibre’s Sales Manager Jaakko Keronen points out that most of Renko sawmill’s production is exported. Its spruce sawn timber is used for internal and external cladding, furniture, woodworking products and glulam production.

The tough quality criteria of Lahnakoski are also an important benchmark for Renko sawmill’s production lines. Both parties aim to minimise waste and use wood as efficiently as possible.

“The production technology of Renko sawmill lets us choose the most valuable parts of wood, meaning knotless side boards. These are what premium products require.”