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A month ago when myself and several other MLSers went in search of eastern narrow gauge steam, we visited the Cradle of Forestry near Asheville NC. This museum showing the development of forestry technology is funded by an endowment from the Vanderbilts.

During our walk through the forest surrounding the museum we came across a small "portable" sawmill that would make a great model. I did not measure or draw it but if anyone lives in western NC and goes to visit, maybe they could fill some blanks in that regard. We did take photos however, and here are some shots courtesy of Bruce Chandler, Ric Golding and Gaetan Charette.

The mill is powered by a steam tractor ...




The mill itself is complete but very small on a scale that modellers can cope with



The view of the runoffs where boards were stacked gives another perspective



Inside the mill, some details of the log carriage, the drive of the blade and the log carriage







Beside the mill under the eaves was a shingle cutter (we think!)



And the piece de resistance, behind the mill was what appears to be the prototype of the B'mann Climax!



This mill would make a fine model though it would be a challenge to build. the fact that it exists and is accessible for photos and measuring should make it easier.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Wow, Doug! That is one great example of a manageable-size model lumber mill. Lots of neat details too. BTW. we rode behind--actually, if front, since it was pushing--of a climax at Cass River two years ago, sitting right in front of the smokebox, so I could get close to the action. Suffice to say, I STILL CAN'T HEAR A DANG THING!
 

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There is a small working steam mill about an hour and one half east and south of here. Fixed boiler and equipment, but similar in construction but a bit bigger. The owners fire it a couple times a year.
 

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Great pics, Doug. It give me some ideas for my planned sawmill. I have to think about whether to model some of the characters in the pics though!

-Brian
 

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Thanks for posting, Doug. That would be a great way to model a mill without taking up so much real estate.

Matt
 

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Posted By Dougald on 08/02/2008 4:15 PM

A month ago when myself and several other MLSers went in search of eastern narrow gauge steam, we visited the Cradle of Forestry near Asheville NC. This museum showing the development of forestry technology is funded by an endowment from the Vanderbilts. During our walk through the forest surrounding the museum we came across a small "portable" sawmill that would make a great model. I did not measure or draw it but if anyone lives in western NC and goes to visit, maybe they could fill some blanks in that regard. We did take photos however, and here are some shots courtesy of Bruce Chandler, Ric Golding and Gaetan Charette. The mill is powered by a steam tractor ...
     
And the piece de resistance, behind the mill was what appears to be the prototype of the B'mann Climax!

This mill would make a fine model though it would be a challenge to build. the fact that it exists and is accessible for photos and measuring should make it easier. Regards ... Doug


These are great pictures. They don't have to be considered for modeling to be appreciated. Nice Climax!
 

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Wow! Great idea for a structure that would fit on most layouts. I sure hope someone gets a chance to post some basic dimensions for this great looking old mill. Looks like a scratch builders dream.

Thanks for the post and great pix

Joe MC
 

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Years ago, when I was delivering pizza, I was handed an order to an address that made no sense - as far as I knew, there was nothing along that entire stretch of road but vacant lots and gravel pits. But I set out anyways. I reached that stretch of road, looked over at one of the vacant lots about where the address was supposed to be, and spied a huge pile of logs way at the back of the lot. In front of that pile of logs was the present day version of this contraption, minus the roof. Sure enough, the guy running it was the one who'd ordered the pizza. There is more in the way of sheds and shops there now, but he is still using that same saw, still in the same place it was.
 

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Interesting pizza order. Yes, there are portable units used, trailer mounted, and in lieu of steam, a diesel motor is often found.

I have seen a few "portables" where later a roof is built.

I have photos of the steam mill at work, I need to remember to post them here.....
 

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For many years now there has been a Sears (yes, as in Sears Roebuck) "Portable Sawmill" in use at the Midwest Old Settler's and Thresher's Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. It is always run by a steam tractor and they cut lumber all day long during the 5 day event. Fascinating to watch.
 

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Hi All,

Narrow Gauge Annual has an articoe on a Grist mill, which in the original had a sawmill attached.

Plans are available from the following site -

http://www.memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/habs_haer/index.html,

type into the search box

grist mill, boxford, essex county

and you are there!

There is one plan of the layout of the sawmill portion, which 3 different sizes of plan, though you may need a program like Paint Shop Pro to clean them up!
 

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Roaring Camp, in Felton, California has a similar set-up that they fire-up once in a while. These small mills were everywhere where there were logs around the turn of the last century. Like local beer brewers, they too were all replaced by huge factory-style operations, where economy of scale rules the day.
 

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Hi All,


A bit more on sawmills - the 2007 Logging, Mining & Industrial Annual has an 10 page article (no plans, but plenty of photos with some in color) on a small sawmill, and from that article there are plans, by Boone Morrison in the Nov/Dec 2002 Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazzette magazine of Sturgeons sawmill in California.

Both have a dry landing - no pool for the logs to be moved in.
 
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