BIG LOG small mill

| July/August 1983

  • Lumber yard

  • Logging on the Buffalo River
    The Erwin brothers logging on the Buffalo River in 1936.
  • A big log for a small saw
    A big log for a small saw
  • White Oak log
    White Oak log on Terrapin Creek, near Hill Top, Arkansas, 1926.

  • Lumber yard
  • Logging on the Buffalo River
  • A big log for a small saw
  • White Oak log

106 South Elm Street, Newkirk, Oklahoma 74647

Since the price of lumber at the lumber yard has gone so high, many folks who have good steam engines that they play with at the steam engine shows, can find it profitable to use them to cut lumber for themselves and neighbors.

The writer is not very modest when it comes to talking about the circular saw and mills upon which it is used. When I was younger I could straighten and tension a saw so that it would run at any reasonable speed. And let me say right now: don't run a saw too fast, and don't use too many teeth. A saw with too many teeth will cut the dust too fine and it will not stay in the throats of the teeth. It will take more power, and believe it or not, a wood-working tool will get dull sooner cutting a real light cut than when making a moderately heavy one.

As for speed if you have an engine that will develop 75 or 80 horsepower, you can run your saw not over 500 rpm, but with 60 horsepower or less, 475 will be more efficient. Speed must be regulated by the size of pulley used on the saw mandrel, while the governor should be adjusted for near normal speed of the engine.

Now we will talk about the plan or lay-out. Since nearly all steam engines have the flywheel on the right-hand side, the saw rig must be left-hand. Most saw rigs can be set up either way. For a left-hand set up, it will be necessary to take the mandrel and nut to a machine shop and have the thread changed.

The reason for using a left-hand saw rig with a right-hand engine should be obvious. It is necessary in order to leave a clear straight space for removing lumber and slabs. A way must be devised for belting a cut-off saw to cut firewood for the engine, and in these times of soaring prices, the farm house.


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