Sawn Timber

The Sawing Process

The logs are stacked next to the saw bench into their various piles, Larch, Western red cedar, Douglas etc., depending on what is being cut. Once I decide on a log suitable for the client’s requirements it is picked up using a crane. This is placed on the rack saw bench and cut into the various sizes required.

The slab woods (i.e. the off cuts) are placed on a stack to be used as fuel for the steam engine.

Should you require cladding, planks, feather edge board, waney edge board, the timber is first squared up on the rack saw bench then it is fed by hand onto a re-saw. This bench dates from the 1930's and again is belt driven off the steam engine; it is designed to cut boards and does a very accurate job of it.
The finished timber is stacked up ready for dispatch.

The resources used to power this process are the offcuts of wood and sawdust to heat the boiler.

Water for the boiler is collected by rainwater harvesting where possible.



The Saw Bench

The rack saw benches that cut the wood were first designed in the late 1800s to be driven off a steam engine. Many of these engines were known as ( portables ) in other words they were able to be towed by horses to where the power was needed. This set up requires a VAST amount of knowledge; skills that would have normally been passed down from father to son have been sadly lost. These old benches fascinate me and it is only through perseverance over thirty odd years and talking to the few old gentlemen that used these saws that I have been able to operate all this machinery.

Originally most of these old saws went into the woods where the timber was felled to be sawn on site. The trees would have been cut down by hand, extracted with horses, man handled onto the bench and carefully sawn into the sizes required.   One of the advantages of my equipment is that it can all be taken into the forest as it is all mobile and should there be a very large quantity of wood to process it can be more favourable to do it on site rather than transport the saw logs elsewhere to be sawn.

The Power Plant

All the power for the saws comes from a portable steam engine, this particular one was built by an English firm called Marshalls of Gainsbouough in 1912 and was designed to run on wood. She went to a French monastery and was dutifully named Madam du Bois (lady of the woods), as she was used in their sawmill. During the war portions of the engine were cut off to prevent her being used by the occupying forces. After hostilities she was welded back together and re commissioned, repatriated to England in 1978.  She has been well looked after and It gives me great pleasure to think she is still doing the job she was designed to do 100 years ago.