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Thread: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

  1. #1
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    Default Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    We need to protect wild places , they aren't making any more

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Very interesting, but scary, all those exposed gears and belts.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Quote Originally Posted by ahp View Post
    Very interesting, but scary, all those exposed gears and belts.
    Yep, two words come to mind Trap & Death.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    I've been to that mill. A boatbuilder friend & I went there to pick up planking timber from Ivan. Fascinating place.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Looks like a Lane mill (or at least a Lane carriage) - made in Vermont through the early 1900's. There used to be hundreds of 'em tucked away in the hills here - though more often diesel powered than water.

    I worked in one in the 70's. With a good crew, you can turn out a surprising amount of lumber - boards, beams, etc. Nothing goes to waste: the slabs become stove wood (cook stove most commonly), sawdust & chips go to local farms for bedding, whatever - 100% of the log gets used.

    The belts are the least of your worries when you have open blades spinning away - if you aren't paying attention you will get hurt - plain & simple. The most dangerous is a swing saw: much like what they showed cutting up the slabs & edgings - except it's manual - the board goes in a cradle & you swing it back & forth against a 2' diameter blade - with your hands inches from the blade. At our mill, that was the starting position for a newbie - the 16" cutoffs would drop into a hopper & folks would come buy that for stove wood (hemlock, pine, & spruce).

    While the sawyer is the boss, one of the jobs that requires the most skill is the person running the edger - you have to be able to look at a live edge board & in seconds (the sawyer will be sending another board lickety split) decide if you can get 6", 8", or whatever out of the board. When you sell by the board foot, an 8" board is worth 33% more than a 6" - so wasting a couple of inches adds up in a hurry.

    We used to get various custom sawing jobs - meaning that the customer supplies the logs & you cut them up as they wish. If a maple, we'd request a $100 deposit up front to pay for the teeth that'd get ruined when hitting an old cast iron tap. 99% of the time, we'd hit taps - so maples were dreaded.

    The blade most commonly used in our area was 50" - meaning you could cut 2 ft. at a time*. The teeth are carbide inserts, which you rotate into position with a special tool. Having a carbide tooth hit metal would often send shrapnel flying - sometimes up, sometimes every which way. The sawyer would wear a heavy leather apron & the person on the edger would wear a leather jacket - as he was only a few feet away from the blade. Of course everyone wore hearing & eye protection.

    * Most mills had a "top saw" - which was a second blade suspended from the top so you could cut up to about a 3 ft. log. They never line up exactly, so they were used as little as possible.

    Day before yesterday I picked up a couple of 12' 6x10s & a 10' 6x6 for my new barn. They were fresh cut pine, as he was low on bigger hemlock + wet hemlock is heavier than oak - brutal to lift! The mill I get them from is run by friends - Pete is the 3rd generation sawyer/owner & while they don't use a 100 YO Lane mill, what they have isn't much different. Band mills cut a bit truer & make a thinner kerf - but are also more expensive to buy & maintain. I like the idea of using lumber that is from local trees, cut by local loggers & a local sawmill.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    An OHSA nightmare, but that place must smell wonderful!!!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Thanks, that was fun to watch.

    There were hundreds of those mills across Canada and the US and the World. Not just for wood products but Woolen Mills, Graineries, Machinists, foundrys etc, virtually any product that needed spinning machines before electricity. A shame that more of them have not been repurposed. I suppose they were just not that energy efficient compared to those powered by modern energy sources.
    Wonderfull video.

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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Thanks Garret for bringing that video into focus! While I never worked at it for money, I love sawmills. / Jim

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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    I like the idea of using lumber that is from local trees, cut by local loggers & a local sawmill.
    Yes to that ! Instead BC allows the shipping raw logs overseas and sawmills have been closed here in the last few months.

    Hope you have all your fingers Garret .
    We need to protect wild places , they aren't making any more

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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Quote Originally Posted by Frost View Post
    Thanks, that was fun to watch.

    There were hundreds of those mills across Canada and the US and the World. Not just for wood products but Woolen Mills, Graineries, Machinists, foundrys etc, virtually any product that needed spinning machines before electricity. A shame that more of them have not been repurposed. I suppose they were just not that energy efficient compared to those powered by modern energy sources.
    Wonderfull video.
    The energy was free, after it rained.

    Power output was the killer, you can't double the size of your stream when you need to install bigger machinery.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Quote Originally Posted by chas View Post
    Thanks Garret for bringing that video into focus! While I never worked at it for money, I love sawmills. / Jim
    Quote Originally Posted by Three Cedars View Post
    Yes to that ! Instead BC allows the shipping raw logs overseas and sawmills have been closed here in the last few months.

    Hope you have all your fingers Garret .
    The smell of freshly sawn spruce & pine is a wonderful thing. Hemlock not so much, but it's not strong.

    So many small mills have shut down & it's a shame. There was recently an auction I went to that was a complete sawmill - the saw, carriage, engine, edger, basically everything you need. It went for $3000US. Near as I could tell it was pretty much scrap price.

    And - yes I have all my fingers. Brain got lost somewhere along the way, but I manage to muddle along without it.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Garret your first post on this thread should be archived along with the video .

    Did you seal the ends of your barn timbers with anything ? Maybe it is not important . It will probably outlast your grand kids if they keep the roof up .
    We need to protect wild places , they aren't making any more

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Water Sawmill in Lunenburg County Nova Scotia

    Quote Originally Posted by Three Cedars View Post
    Garret your first post on this thread should be archived along with the video .

    Did you seal the ends of your barn timbers with anything ? Maybe it is not important . It will probably outlast your grand kids if they keep the roof up .
    Thanks! Just sharing some background - as so many do here. On the beams, no - as I haven't cut 'em to length yet & I never have sealed beams in post & beam construction. They'll be under cover - as they're holding up the 2nd floor & rafters.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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