The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Monday, May 20, 2013

America's Last Totally Steam-Powered Mill

All of you who enjoyed the post "Woodworking in the 1940's" will love this one. The Phillips Brothers Mill and Box Factory of Oak Run, California, operates much the same as it did when newly built in 1897. What millions used to do on a daily basis, for pennies a day, now is performed by just a few gifted folks who are creating wooden products that are truly unique. And while it may look romantic, I'd bet they'd tell you there are days....

The mill has a website that provides historical detail. Here's a sample paragraph that I love...
"A disastrous accident occurred on their chute where a curve had been made on a steep part of the hillside.  The horses strained and stumbled over rocks with their burden snagging and catching as the chute made the turn.  Suddenly, a log jumped the trough and plunged downward entangling the frightened horses with chains and crashing logs.  Seven horses were killed, including Ed's favorite, Big Vick (a large black horse) that had once moved a thousand pound log when snaking in the woods.  Years later the children used this chute for a slide by swabbing the poles with tallow and using lids, old bread pans, and discs for seat savers as they plunged down the hill, landing on a heap of snow or sawdust according to the season."
From tragedy to children's recreation in one paragraph. Those were the days of living life on the edge, taking it as it comes, and goes.

Thanks to Don Remmey of Remmey Pallet for sending this along...


Micheal said...

Intresting blog, keep posting! Hva bookmarked it on fb an twitter.

Kevin Cheung of WWPA said...

Is Hull Oakes the last steam-powered lumber mill?