Rough & Tumble’s FRICK Sawmill

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Rough & Tumble's belt driven Frick Sawmill uses a 53'' Disston saw blade.
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117 Ruch Street Coplay, Pennsylvania 18037

Frick 60 HP built in 1926 hitched to wagons loaded with logs at
Rough & Tumble, Kinzers, Pa. Photo taken at R & T by Jack
C. Norbeck, author of Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction

One hard working steam traction engine and mill can cut about
5,000 feet or more of lumber per day. The portable sawmill was
often moved to various sites to shorten the log haul. They operated
economically where timber resources were thinner and more
scattered. The steam traction engine could be moved with the
sawmill to new cutting sites very easily.

The sawmills vary widely in the efficiency with which they cut
up logs into lumber. Some sawdust is inevitable. Slabs, edgings,
trim wastes vary widely in quantity, however depending on logs
being sawed and the extent of the salvage operations.

The more efficient mills cut lumber accurately to size and
reducing waste. With large logs the proportion of slab and edging
off is reduced. At some mills this slab material was cut into a
great variety of secondary products and sold.

Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association demonstrates
steam power and log sawing with a Frick saw mill. This mill is a
number #01 belt feed mill donated to R & T by Percy Beck.

The mill is fitted with an ‘Improved Combined Setworks and
Receder.’ It is equipped with four head-blocks with tape
attachment. Currently they are sawing with a fifty-three inch
Disston saw blade. This mill is set on a permanent foundation.
Their operation is two-fold, to demonstrate log sawing and also
steam power. They have extended the saw mandrel to utilize the
power of two steam traction engines at one time. This log sawing is
typical of the way it was done in eastern United States the first
half of this century.

Frick 50 HP built in 1919 and John Goodison 22 HP built in 1927
belted to the R & T Frick sawmill. The mill is set on a
permanent foundation. They have extended the saw mandrel to utilize
the power of two steam traction engines at one time.

The standard equipment with a Frick sawmill included the
improved belt feed works with five-inch belt, cable drive, mud
sills, splash type self-oiling and self-aligning mandrel boxes,
tightener pulley, frames for drive belt, right or left hand dogs,
last board dogs, cant hooks and necessary tools.

Frick painted the sawmills red. Husks, carriages and ways were
built of high grade, Southern long-leaf yellow pine, accurately
mortised, tenoned and braced together. All the carriage and way
sections were built to templates and were interchangeable without
special alignment. The mandrels were made of the best grade of
steel, turned and ground perfectly true. The nut was so made that
the threads could not be stripped or bruised and the saw could be
easily removed when desired. All mandrels were made with a standard
saw head to take saws with two-inch bolts and
two5/8-inch holes on a three-inch circle.

Information for this article came from Nevin Brubaker, Rough
& Tumble and the Encyclopedia of American Steam Traction

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