Log & Mine
Thanks to Mike Rohrer for his help in providing the raw material for this page from his Frick literature collection.
The Frick No. 00 Belt Feed SawmillTo meet the demand for a low-priced, practical mill, suitable for light power, the No. 00 was designed and placed on the market. It met with instant approval for speed, good clean work and low operating cost. It is light in weight, durable, quick acting and accurate cutting. Easily and quickly set up and taken down, it eliminates much labor and expense in making frequent sets. Furnished regularly with 10-foot carriage and 35-foot ways, 15-foot carriage and 45-foot ways, or 20-foot carriage and 55-foot ways, as required. Features include Frick patented belt feedworks with 1-inch belts; cable drive with horizontal sheave wheels; self -aligning Timken roller mandrel bearings; Timken roller bearings on carriage axles, two steel head blocks having ells with detachable steel cut rack bars with provisions for adjustment; two upper dogs; improved combined setworks; mud sills; one cant hook, and necessary tools.
The above illustration is so small that it hardly does justice to the sturdy construction, quality materials and good workmanship which make up this efficient sawmill. The mill is built for fast, accurate work and a lot of it.
Extra attachments, such as binding pulley and frame lumber trucks, taper attachments, foot power receder, saw-dust drag, gauge wheel, lumber gauge board or horizontal lumber scale, Knight dogs, extension mandrels, etc., can be furnished at extra cost.
SpecificationsWill swing 58-inch saw.Husk-Length 6 feet 9 inches; width 2 feet 11 inches.Mandrel-2 3/16-inch. dia., 52 inches long, with 6-inch collar, standard head.Mandrel Bearings-Timken Roller, self-aligning.Mandrel Pulley-22-inch dia., 8-inch face; other sizes to suit power.Feed-1/2-inch to 4-inch; gigback 1/2-inch to 8-inch; 3-inch belts.Carriage-Width 30 inches; timbers 3 1/2 inches x 4 5/8 inches: in standard 10-foot an(.] 15-foot sections.Carriage Axles and Wheels---Axles 1 5/8-inch dia., equipped with wheels 7-inch dia. and two Timken tapered roller bearings in each wheel 3 sets axles and wheels under 10-foot carriage; 4 sets under 15-foot carriage.Carriage Axle Bearings-Timken tapered roller.Set Shaft-1 11/16-inch dia., full length.Setworks-Combined improved type, with hand receder and machine-cut teeth, and pawls carefully ground for accurate setting in as small as 32nds of an inch,Headblocks-Steel, opening 32 inches. Fitted with tipper dog and ells with detachable rack bars and steel cut pinions.Ways-Timbers 3 inches x 4 1/2 inches. Standard lengths in 5-foot, 10-foot and 15-foot sections.Cable Drive-3/8-inch wire cable; sheave wheels set horizontally.Approx. Weight-15-foot mill, 3000 lb.; 20-foot mill 3500 lb.
General Arrangement Drawing
There is a large copy of this drawing for printing.
A semi permanent feature of arguably the worlds biggest vintage machinery show held each year at Portland Indiana USA is the Frick sawmill. The mill is flat belt driven and during the show different motive power is hooked up to drive the mill, mostly steam traction engines are used, but from time to time they hook up a tractor or a stationary engine.
The Frick Eclipse Portable Saw Bench made in the late 1800s and well restored recently to its current condition. This angle shows the blade and tracks on which the log carriage runs.
This shot is pulled back slightly and shows the log carriage already set up with the first log of the day. Note the levers next to the log.
Before the first cut of the day, these guys have checked the belt tension and selected a pulley are are now checking and adjusting all parts of the mill prior to getting going. It is important to do this. There is a lot of energy stored in the spinning blade and works of the mill - this energy getting loose would do significant damage. The mill is also a complex of gears, chains, and clutches which take the single drive and adapt it to simultaneously perform many jobs.
After adjusting the mill, the sawyer (the man in charge of the saw) turned the log on the carriage to achieve the most efficient cut to maximise the plank output.
At last! After all that work, the first cutting begins. The big steel blade howls and screams as it rips into the log carving away a big chuck. Note the levers and the pull on the carriage. The left most lever grabs and holds the log, there are four of these on the carriage. The rightmost lever is pulled by the sawyer to move the log closer to the blade to begin the next cut. It is ratcheted to ensure the size of the plank is even every time.
The sawyer is controlling the progress and speed of the carriage using the lever in his hand. At any time he can stop, or reverse the carriage to prevent damage if the log binds on the saw.
It is a little hard to see in the image but the stand to the right of the saw dust pile holds a moving conveyor chain. The chain is an endless loop which runs from under the mill to over the pile. The chain drags dust out from under the mill as it turns. This very simple invention keeps the cutting deck clear of dust while removing the need for a human to get under the blade.
This is a 40hp case driving the mill with the flat belt. This engine had it easy, sounding even and "happy" when under load.
After the case, a Frick traction engine was mated to the saw mill.
The engineer steamed the Frick hard to make steam for the cutting, when the safeties popped they started cutting on the mill. The black smoke indicates that the engine is working extremely hard.
I own a somewhat industrial Rosebery 2C hopper cooled rig with a steel frame saw. I have a selection of blades from 1m (3') through 3m (10') for different sized logs. It is great fun (but seriously hard and dangerous work) to run a sawing operation at a show.
In addition to the saw you will need
I always work in a team of two - you really need two people to help move everything around, there is a lot of equipment to look after and it can be hard to place the saw on a big log. The saw operator most devote 100% of their attention to the job at hand. When sawing you develop quite a crowd as it is rare to see a saw running at a show. The 2nd guy keeps the crowd happy by explaining the operation and how things are going so the first guy is not distracted by questions. I usually make a cut every 15 to 20 minutes so the log will last out the show.
Before I get into the procedure - this is dangerous - it can be done safely if you are careful and devote 100% of your attention to the job - these tips are not enough for a first timer to run a rig, try and find someone else who regularly cuts to help you the first few times
This magnificent saw belonged to a member of the Yarra Valley Machinery Preservation Society. This unit is considerably older than mine.
To make a cut I follow this procedure
Above all else, remember this is really dangerous, my saw will cut through a 3' log in a few minutes, it will cut through your leg in about 10 seconds. At the first sign of trouble you must intervene and stop the saw if it is safe to do so. You will have about 1/10th of a second to make that call. If it is not safe, just stand clear and warn everyone else to do the same.
If the saw has jammed, pull the lever to idle and stop the engine before attempting to loosen the blade. My rig is very well designed in that you can put enough pressure on the idler pulley to run the belt, but not so much that the rig will move if the blade jams - the belt just slips (and smokes) - shut it down quick and there will be do damage.
If anyone has any comments on how I run my saw, I'd love to hear them and discuss any thoughts you have - I try to be as safe as possible and I try to force myself to follow my procedure. I also make sure that my 2nd has been instructed in handling the saw particularly shutting down both the saw and the engine just in case the saw gets me.
I do know that a commercial operator of this sort of saw would not go to the extent that I do, but I'm there to have fun, to instruct the crowd, and to come home with the same number of bodily attachments I went there with :)
At the 1999 Upper Yarra Draught Horse and Olde Time Festival was the first show that I had run my saw. Although I had cut some wood with it, I really had little idea how to go about it - I understood the mechanics well enough but it was not until I met up with Alan Shepherd a member of the Yarra Valley Machinery Preservation Society that I really gained an understanding on how to run the machine reasonably safely. I owe a great debt to Alan for steering me right. On the day of the show, a few moments into my first cut Alan asked me to stop so he could take a look at the belt as he thought it did not "sound right". Sure enough, the belt was too long and allowed the idle pulley to rub on the drive pulley during the forward stroke of the saw. I had heard the same noise but thought nothing of it. Just after this I managed to snap the belt, and again Alan came to the rescue. Teamed up with Graeme Reid another member of the club the belt was removed, trimmed, new combs selected, fitted, and finally joined using only the tools a bush wood cutter would have had with him (axe, knife, wedge and of course, fencing wire!). Please read more about fixing the belt..
Disclaimer: The tips contained in this document outlay how I run a saw rig. This is not necessarily the right or only way to run a rig. The document does not provide enough information to run a saw rig without further help or instruction from an experienced person.
Finally, if anyone has any books or documentation on any brand/type of saw rig that they would like to share with me, please e-mail me.
This is one of Allan's machines, a Ronaldson Tippet Drag Saw with wood frame driven by a Rosebery 2C 2hp vertical hopper cooled engine. This machine dates from the 30's I understand. It was seen in action in 1995 at the inaugural Science Works Power Of The Past in Spotswood (just outside Melbourne) Victoria. Sorry for the picture quality, but as you may have guessed the quality of digital cameras just was not the same back then :)