Our woodturning group, Northern Turners, was invited to a saw mill in the pleasant rural setting of Mount Torrens in South Australia. Members of other woodturning clubs, who fall under the umbrella Woodgroup SA were also there. We were there in part to see the operation of the sawmill and to buy some wood for turning. The mill is a small operation that is based on a dairy farm making the setting quite bucolic. On the day there were slabs and pieces of redgum available for sale and some camphor laurel.
Michael the sawmaster has two portable sawmills and had some elm setup to demonstrate both pieces of equipment. the first on the he demonstrated was a Bushmill – portable saw mill which was made in Victoria for about 15 years. The company is no longer in existence. The machine is essentially a large bandsaw on its side and is pushed along by the operator. The saw is powered by a petrol engine.
The other sawmill is a Lucas mill which sports a large chainsaw blade almost 5 feet across (I guess 1500 mm in the new money) . The saw was set up on a large concrete pad but can be moved onsite if required. Like the other sawmill it is controlled by the operator although it is not as rigid as the Bushmill unit so more attention needs to be paid to tracking the cutting saw square to the log being milled. Michael did mention that he does take the Lucas mill on site as well.
The Bushmill saw has an advantage of a fixed base allowing that allows the log being milled to be clamped down. This means that the log can be milled quite a way down as Micheal demonstrated on the day. On the other hand the Lucas mill sits above the ground on four posts meaning that the weight of the log really determine how much can be milled.
The piece of timber being milled was a log of Elm which came from the Adelaide Parklands and is the hands of a furniture maker none for the turnes 🙁 .
It was an enjoyable afternoon and Michael who is a member of the Hills Woodworkers should be greatly applaud for his demonstrations and supply of turning wood.
Here is a short video summary of the afternoon