Relocating the Sawmill

Grandpa has been encouraging me to move the sawmill to its final position, so for the past week or so that has been our family project.


Originally I had to skid the logs up somewhat close to the mill, then make a second pass with the tractor to lift them up onto our skidway. It was very hair-raising and inefficient. The ground sloped perpendicular to our mill and skidway, as did the main throughway that the tractor followed. It wasn’t long after using the setup that I pondered moving the sawmill into a position that took better account of the natural lay of the land.


With not much effort, it was easy to see that swinging the mill ninety degrees would greatly improve the overall workings of my system, so with that in mind Kenny and I marked out the general outline of where the tracks should lie. Donna came over to help us out, and together we dug the entire area down to rock. Normally we would have simply dug out for piers, but I am interested in capturing and using my sawdust, so I thought it would be easier and cleaner to scoop it up from off of the rock rather than the “soil” in the area.


We worked very diligently as a unit until we had everything cleared out. It really looked great.


Next I built up a small wooden form from what was left of my lumber drying rack/slab holder and leveled it out on some of the rocks we had dug up during our excavation. It took a surprising three and a half bags of concrete to fill. The Odjob mixer was repurposed from laundry (where it wasn’t so successful) to its original use as a concrete mixer. This was much harder work than I expected! I rolled it back and forth on the uneven ground and then hefted it up to dump out into the forms. 33Kg is surprisingly heavy in this form and situation.


At last I had it all poured out and I proceeded to use another scrap of lumber to level things off as best I could.


Today I took off the forms, and it looks okay! The next four piers will be individual columns though, only the centre support will be a slab.


Grandpa insists that I have to remove the mast from the mill before I can begin moving it, so I suppose I’ll try to remove just that. I sure hope I don’t have to disassemble the whole track!


I’ll report back as soon as I get further along this project.


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