Frick Sawmill Proven Workhorse

An 80-year-old Frick sawmill teamed with a James Leffel steam engine earns its keep at Florida show

| April 1999

  • Chuck Koehler at the helm of a vintage Frick sawmill at the Florida Flywheelers show.
    Chuck Koehler at the helm of a vintage Frick sawmill at the Florida Flywheelers show.
  • Setting the teeth on the blade.
    Setting the teeth on the blade. Members of the sawmill crew are nothing if not deliberate in getting the mill ready for operation.
  • Safety is a top concern at the Flywheelers' sawmill.
    Safety is a top concern at the Flywheelers' sawmill. "It's a really dangerous thing to play with," said crew member Alan Rudd.
  • Dave Sharp, owner of the James Leffel steam engine that powers the sawmill, applies belt dressing.
    Dave Sharp, owner of the James Leffel steam engine that powers the sawmill, applies belt dressing.
  • Selectoin of saw teeth offered in an early catalog.
    Selectoin of saw teeth offered in an early catalog.
  • Dave Sharp's vintage steam engine (manned by Jeff Smith) with the safety released, accomodating the photographer.
    Dave Sharp's vintage steam engine (manned by Jeff Smith) with the safety released, accomodating the photographer.

  • Chuck Koehler at the helm of a vintage Frick sawmill at the Florida Flywheelers show.
  • Setting the teeth on the blade.
  • Safety is a top concern at the Flywheelers' sawmill.
  • Dave Sharp, owner of the James Leffel steam engine that powers the sawmill, applies belt dressing.
  • Selectoin of saw teeth offered in an early catalog.
  • Dave Sharp's vintage steam engine (manned by Jeff Smith) with the safety released, accomodating the photographer.

The more things change, the more they don't. And so it is that a nearly 80-year-old Frick sawmill – powered by an equally elderly steam engine – continues to peel planks of lumber from logs at the turn of a new century. 

"A lot of mills of this vintage are still being used commercially," said Chuck Koehler, Williston, Fla. Chuck, a member of the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club, directs operations at the mill, one of the big draws at Flywheeler Park. "There's even some made before the Civil War that are still in use."

The sawmill was donated to the club by Ron Weagraff, Kissimmee. It was purchased at an Ocala auction, and was moved to the showgrounds over a year ago. A small army of club members has worked ever since to get it in good running order.

"It's an old, worn-out mill," said Alan Rudd, a member of the sawmill crew. "We've rebuilt a lot of it."



The "to do" list included replacing wood, cleaning up rust, reworking belts, adding steel plates to reinforce the mill, rebuilding the blade and installing new shanks.

The renovation work also required work on the pulley sizes to accomodate both the James Leffel steam engine, and a 1952 8800 Caterpillar diesel used as an alternate power unit.



SUBSCRIBE TO FARM COLLECTOR TODAY!

Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.




Facebook Pinterest YouTube

Classifieds