Download: Steam Powered 1800s Circular Sawmill Sawing Huge 36" Walnut log into 20 inch wide 5/4 boards

By oldSawyer


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This is one of the biggest Walnut logs I've had the privilege of sawing, measuring well over 34 to 36 inches in diameter on the big end. After 2 of us taking turns running the chainsaw to finish cutting off the first slab that the blade wouldn't reach through, I decided to roll this one back for the second cut instead of dropping it on the first flat, as it still wouldn't have cleared the first cut on the second side. Doing it that way saved a lot of extra chainsaw time trying to get it squared up.

Once I got it squared up, I cut several nice clear 20 inch wide 5/4 boards (1 1/4 inch thick), before dropping it down and sawing some 8, 10, and 12 inch wide boards, also at 5/4 so they can be planed to 1" The wide boards will need to be sent out to be planed, but can make a coffee table from a single board, or have 2 book matched boards for a wider table top.

Most of the footage I shot myself from the Sawyers Perspective while I was sawing, while the one shot where it pans from me to the engine and back again was shot by one of my helpers just to get a closer shot of the engine and that sweet 'Stack Music' when under a load.

The Saw is an 1800s Garr Scott Steam Powered Sawmill owned by the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club in Freeport Illinois. Please see the clubs website at for upcoming dates. Along with the Annual Threshing Show, where I set up and operate the sawmill, we also have Steam Train rides using a 1912 Heisler Logging Locomotive, a Museum with 25+ rooms filled with memorabilia, and the huge 130 Ton Cooper Corliss Stationary Steam Engine as seen in some of my other videos.

The engine powering the mill in this video is a nicely restored Port Huron Steam Traction Engine. Even with the drive belt pulled up nice and tight, it still stretches under load and was nearly dragging on the ground during a few of the cuts.

Thanks for looking, and I hope you enjoyed the video. Please be sure to check out my other videos as well.