It’s amazing how far we’ve come with technology in a shop environment. Most of the time when we need to cut wood, we simply turn on a switch and allow an electric motor to do the cutting. But, do you ever wonder how they managed when they didn’t have electric? Yes, they used handsaws and wedges for cutting and milling lumber before the automotive era, but did you ever wonder how they utilized the automotive technology?
Think tractor power! I recently visited an amusement park that is only a couple of hours away from my home in Pa. One thing that caught my eye, besides the original bumper cars, was a display they have. Set up in this display was an old steam powered tractor powering a sawmill. As you can see in the pictures, there is a long belt running from an auxiliary wheel on the tractor to a wheel on an axle connected to the large saw blade. This allowed sawmills to increased productivity and lower the work load on man. Man still had to physically lift and push the logs through the blade which made it dangerous.
As we jump into today, things are much different and more economical. Today, robots do all the lifting of the logs. We have lasers to line up the cut line so we can maximize the wood on a log. Man is still needed to line up the cut and make sure things are running smooth, but the work load has decreased and the working environment is much safer .Not to say that all mills are run by robots, I still have a couple small time mills around me that use fork lifts to move logs around and man sets the the logs in place, but there are far a few between.
The next time you order lumber or material for your next build, think about where it all started and where it is today. Also, think about your next marketing plan and how’re you going to get your name out there? Think about visiting www.generationwoodworks.com to list and display your products.