Last weekend I was lucky enough to wrangle an invitation to Miner’s Annual Saw Day. What’s a “Saw Day?” In this case it’s private backyard mini-festival hosted by Dale Miner and his family that features an all-day demonstration of a sawmill powered by a vintage 1916 Case steam engine tractor. The steam engine is a beast of a machine that weighs in at 13 tons and generates 65 horsepower from a 250-gallon boiler. And like at any backyard festival, there was lots of wonderful food, some of it prepared over an open fire. Throw in a beautiful, sunny, fall day here in Ohio and it was just about perfect. Watch the video and you’ll see it all, including a “half-size” steam tractor Dale built in 1980 from scratch. It’s a scale model of the big machine he bought in 1983.
The sawmill was made in the early 1950s. It’s powered, of course, by the tractor and the very long belt connecting the two machines. The main belt not only turns the 54″-diameter saw blade but also propels the carriage that moves the log down the track and through the blade. The carriage has both forward and reverse motion and has a device to easily move the log sideways in small increments to set the thickness of each successive cut. Massive dogs hold the log in place. The big blade has 50 teeth that are just over 1/4″ thick each. With this setup, the mill has a 23″ cutting capacity.
The steam engine burns either wood or coal and Dale says it takes about 90 minutes to get up enough steam to be at full power. Not just anybody can operate the beast. Dale had to qualify to get an Historical Boiler Operator’s License.
Enjoy the video and thanks, Dale, for including me in this year’s Saw Day.
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