Fifth generation sawmill tradition still going strong.
Left: A new 54-inch blade works well on the 100-year-old sawmill.
Left: Donnie belting up the Geiser sawmill to Melanie Sharp’s Mother’s Day John Deere.
Above: During renovation, spring 2007.
Above: Using his left hand, Donnie releases a wooden lever to unlock the mechanism and drop it away from the saw’s blade, bringing the carriage forward, and then toward the blade to reverse the carriage, setting it up to cut the next board. After each successive forward-and-backward run, he ratchets the log toward him with a lever on the opposite side of the log, cutting lumber into particular widths.
No. 3 Geiser Peerless sawmill circa 1910.
Above left: Using a peavey, Donnie Sharp levers a log onto the sawmill’s carriage, where it will be held solid with two or three steel dogs.
Above: The Geiser sawmill’s working parts consist of an iron disc and two friction wheels. One wheel makes the carriage (which holds the log) run into the saw. The second wheel is the reverse: It simply backs the carriage away from the blade. An oak handle is used to move the friction wheels into the iron disc. When the wood handle is released, it unlocks the lever, allowing it to move left or right. This action moves the friction wheels into the iron disc.
Above: Log tongs that belonged to Donnie’s grandfather, Louie Sharp, are still used today.
Above: The mill’s original clutch housing.
Above: For now, Melanie’s John Deere 820 diesel tractor powers the Sharp family sawmill. Donnie hopes some day to restore a Case steam engine that’s been in the family for decades, and power the mill with that.