BUSY BEE BECK


| September/October 1972



David Shearer

David Shearer and an 1880 Bartley sawmill during restoration. Courtesy of Wm. S. Strayer, R. D. 1, Dillsburg, Pennsylvania 17019.

Wm. S. Strayer

R.D.1, Dillsburg, Pennsylvania 17019.

Mr. Percy Beck, a retired machinist and certified welder, probably works as much or more than when he was earning his family living.

The past year he has completely rebuilt his 1908 Ellis Keystone thresher, then painted and lettered it as it was when new. It now stands in the Beck Shop and is a very attractive showpiece.

While this kept him busy at home, he found time to travel to Mr. David Shearer's sawmill where he had two projects to complete. The first was an 1880 Bartley sawmill which he assisted Mr. Shearer salvage from a briar patch in Western Pennsylvania. All the wooden parts were completely rotted away and the metal husk, engine and saw were in a deplorable condition requiring many newly machined parts and new babbitt bearings. The mill is now completed and painted ready to operate for the new owners The Ladies Auxiliary of the Williams Grove Steam Engine Association.

After they were through with the Bartley, Mr. Shearer decided to rebuild his 'bread and butter' sawmill and after hours of discussion with Mr. Beck, it was decided to build a steel-framed Frick mill to Shearer's specifications which included 4' x 12' beams for the husk frame and 5' beams for the ways with 4' pipe cross members welded into position. The husk was built several feet wider than the original which meant extending all the shafting with extra bearings. This is a great advantage for a one man operation as the operator can saw a large log or several small ones and by stacking the lumber on the husk can remove the entire pile at one time.

Anyone who has ever operated a Frick mill with the antifriction bearings and belt feed, knows of their habit of carriage creeping. This one does not creep and the cure was so simple, it is unbelievable.