The ability of the Union Lumber Company mill here in Fort Bragg to cut very large logs was due to the introduction of a Band-saw in place of a circular saw. The circular saws were very wasteful because of their thickness. You can see a circular saw in operation at Sturgeon’s Mill at Green Hill road in Sebastopol, CA.
The sign for Sturgeon’s Mill is painted on an old sawblade used in the mill’s operations
Some of the blades were very large to handle the huge tree trunks:
Sawblades that are taller than a man
The circular sawbades’ replacement was a band saw blade. This pic shows one similar to those used in the Union Lumber Company.
Giant Bandsaw being manhandled
Now suppose you were building an Egyptian monument (pyramid?) 5,000 years ago. Is this how they cut those blocks of granite? A giant circular saw with a copper blade
Egyptian Circular Saw with a Copper blade to cut granite blocks
What do we know about Clare Mill. Not a heck of a lot. The website tells us that Clare Mill was 30.4 miles from the Fort Bragg depot. In the early 1900’s railroad ties were made by hand here. There was also a trestle bridge here that at 600 feet long and 73 feet high was comparable to the Pudding Creek Trestle. It was replaced with an earth-filled berm in 1936. Until the Skunk line finally made it “over the hill” to Willits this was the end of the line. To get to Willits back then a passenger would board an open buckboard stage for a five hour trip (in good weather!). And, heretofore – NO pic. Well the pic I recently came across doesn’t tell us a whole lot absent acknowledging Clare mill did exist.
First a bit about the Garcia River. The Mexican-American named Garcia River is a river on the northern coast of California in southern Mendocino County. It is named for the settler Rafael Garcia who was granted ownership of the land in 1844. The river provides recreation, agricultural and industrial water supply for Point Arena. Logging in the area began in the 19th century.
I know there was a mill on the river but, heretofore, have never seen a pic of it. So, this one is as rare as hen’s teeth. Click on the pic to enlarge and read the text at the bottom.
When I was at Sturgeon’s Mill (see last blog) I overheard a man tell another that there was a very good YouTube video of Logging on the West Coast. Being the persistent auditor that I was I ploughed through some pretty dreadful movies till I found this one to which the gentleman at Sturgeon’s Mill may have been referring.
The movie is about 10 minutes long. I can’t identify where the shots come from but the movie could easily have been shot along the Mendocino Coast.
I was very pleased to note that our layout re-creates most of the aspects of logging shown in the movie.
As I reported in my blog of June 11th, 2013 Webmaster Roger Thornburn and I plus our wives spent a wonderful day at Sturgeon’s Mill near Sebastapol. These are pics that Roger (mostly) and I took that day.
Shires taking a log to the mill
Shires pulling log to the mill
Chains used to bring log to saw
Chain used to transfer logs from pile to saw
Close-up of log being sawed ….. before the days of OSHA
Closeup of log being sawed
Machine used to rip the planks into 2 by 4’s etc. The levers in the foreground set the machine to cut the various sizes.
A couple of weeks ago webmaster Roger Thorburn and his wife Nancy, my wife Sarah and me drove down from Fort Bragg to Sebastapol to visit Stugeons Mill – the last steam driven mill in California. They have an excellent website and I commend you to visit the history section and the historical photos section. There is also am excellent movie of the mill in operation.
The day was beautiful. The food was first class and we had a great time. Roger took some great photos – see below.
The first thing you see as you drive in is the log dump which contained some really good looking redwood.
Logs waiting to be sawed
Next you pass a corral wherein there some gorgeous shire horses.
Then there is the stump festooned with the tools used to fall a tree.
Stump with tools used to cut down a tree
Pass this stumps and you arrive at the Mill itself. The truck backed up into the mill takes away the cut lumber.
This is the oil fired boiler that powers the mill and the planer.
Oil fired boiler
Close up of the saw bladed in the mill. OSHA didn’t exist when this baby operated.