Author Topic: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?  (Read 7984 times)

Matthew Gustafson

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Im excited to hear about this project, that I saw was mentioned in another topic, does anybody know the history of the original saw mill that was located there and once its built, what will it served it's purpose for the museum?
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Dana Deering

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Re: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2012, 02:19:23 PM »
Hi Matt,

     As far a I know there never was a permanent sawmill at Alna Center.  A number of "portable" sawmills worked in the area back during the railroad's existence.  My hope for this sawmill project is that it will give people a chance to see a steam powered mill in action and maybe provide a center around which to hold an event like an old time woodsman's day at Alna Center. Way back when I was a student at the University of Maine I was on the Woodsmens Team and we competed against other college teams in events ranging from axe throwing to fire building and I've been thinking that if we held a Woodsmans Day some fall I might be able to get the different teams to come to AC for a competition.  Just a thought. That is way down the road, of course.  I am also hoping we have enough pieces from the two sawmills we now have to build a carriage long enough to allow us to saw our own stringers for future car building projects as well as sawing material for future regular building projects.  One step at a time, though.  We need to move the mill to AC, then we will need some sort of building, with a pad (maybe) to set the mill on, and we need to do some work on the stationary engine and find a boiler.  Remember this is just in the early stages and it depends on time, money, and interest.

Dana

James Patten

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Re: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2012, 02:39:18 PM »
Dana I want to see you in the axe throwing competition.  From the other side of the tracks, of course  ;D

I think you have the fire building down pretty good.

Ken Fleming

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Re: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2012, 02:48:04 PM »
Until the stationary engine/boiler combination are ready, we can run the saw mill with a steam tractor or portable steam engine (like the portable saw mill would have done in that period).  Most steam shows in the U.S. and England do this.  Even a permanent saw mill can be belted up to an engine.  For operation to do real sawing, any large gas tractor with a belt flywheel would also work.  As a life member of Rough and Tumble in PA. we saw like this all the time.  By the way, its important that shop around for saw blades.  From time to  time, there saw blades on eBay.  Even used blades are NOT cheap.  It takes a good sawyer, two or more helpers and an engineer/operator to run a big mill like ours.

With site prep and mill setup (if all the parts are there), we could being sawing logs in a weekend.  Logs could delivered by by rail or by horse team.  Makes a great show.

A 40 hp Avery Under-mount engine, when sawing oak can bark louder than a steam locomotive.

Keith Taylor

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Re: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 03:34:22 PM »
Until the stationary engine/boiler combination are ready, we can run the saw mill with a steam tractor or portable steam engine (like the portable saw mill would have done in that period). 
I would offer the use of my Case....but I don't think it would have enough muscle!
Keith

Stephen Hussar

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Re: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2012, 07:08:08 PM »
Nice!

Terry Harper

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Re: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2012, 01:54:19 PM »
I think the sawmill is a geat idea! It would be a great living history vignette. Now you will need a log brow to load logs onto flats for delivery to the mill. And..... add a shingle mill at the mill and you will have shingles to ship out via boxcar not to mention revenue from thier sale. Imagine having several such scenes along the line.

In regards to powering the mill..while waiting for the steam engine you could always use the remains of a model T - certainly period correct!

Pete "Cosmo" Barrington

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Re: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 09:29:23 PM »
I have always loved the idea of having an operation industry along the line. I too envision logs coming from somewhere up by the end of track (perhaps occasionally drawn by horse team and skid-harnesses) and being processed mid-journey then delivered to Sheepscot by train.
Can you imagine the RR producing cedar shingles for sale? There MUST be a market, because who actually makes them any more?
But more importantly, I like the idea of us making our own lumber for future car-builds.  ;D

Dana Deering

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Re: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2012, 10:08:19 AM »
James, I used to compete in the axe throwing and was pretty good back then.  Not so sure how I'd do now!

FYI on a shingle mill, I know where there is one that is complete with the cut off saw, bundler and sawdust carrier but I have never been able to get the old guy who owns it interested in parting with it even though he's 83 and can't move around much any more.  I'm not completely certain that the whole mill is there anymore since I can't get inside the building without him there and ssince he can't walk well...

So if anyone does find a shingle mill put out the word and maybe we could get one up an running.  A planer would also be nice.

Terry Harper

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Re: Track Layout Plan for the Sawmill at Alna Center and its purpose?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 12:00:22 PM »
Everytime I think of a planer I think of this:


“I had hung and balanced the glittering knives, ten-pound bars of burnshed steel, ground and honed to a razor’s edge. These were destined to spin five thousand revolutions per minute and the slightest error in balance or failure to secure properly would have consequences to me – and the building….With a mounting hum and buzz of speed the knife blades as  even as a top upon their bearings…Guess I could “set” a planer all right. As I slid another board into the machine…

at that instance the five-hundred pound machine at my elbow vanished in a clap of thunder. I should have been stunned by something much more tangible than the deafening crash. Such tangible evidences lay deeply embedded or stuck quivering from the surrounding timbers of the sawmill. The rough planked chamber was strewn with scraps and fragments of steel and iron, as though a sort of metal stew had been hurled bodily against the walls and the ceiling. But of the furnishings of the mill, I alone was unhurt. The planer was demolished. I was still picking bits of castings out of my hair and reaching for fragments of steel blade and ball bearings down my shirt collar, when neighbors came up on the run. All stood about the shattered wreck and expressed convictions, not always in flattering terms, of my skill as a millwright and setter-upper of planning machinery ”




George Woodbury – The Story of a Stanley Steamer