A sawmill or lumber mill is a place where logs are turned into lumber. Modern sawmills use a motorized saw to cut logs lengthwise to create long pieces and crosswise to lengthen them according to standard or custom sizes. The portable sawmill is easy to use. The operator ᴍᴀɴually pushes the motorized saw as it cuts the log horizontally along the length of the steel bed where it is lying flat. The simplest kind of sawmill consists of a chainsaw and a specially made jig, which operates horizontally.
Before the invention of the sawmill, boards were made by a number of hand operations, such as hewing, riving, and planing, but more usually by two men using a whipsaw, one was above the other was down in a saw pit. The Hierapolis sawmill, a ROᴍᴀɴ water-powered stone mill at Hierapolis, Asia Minor, dating back to the third century AD, is the first known mechanical mill. By the 11th century, there were numerous water-powered mills in Sᴘᴀɪɴ, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Over the following several centuries, they spread throughout Europe.
At the saw blade, the wheel’s circular motion was changed to a reciprocating motion. Typically, only the saw was powered, necessitating huᴍᴀɴ labor for loading and moving the logs. The creation of a mobile carriage that was also propelled by water to transport the log consistently past the saw blade was an early advancement.
The circular saw balde was created at the time of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, and a far higher level of mechanization was made possible with the introduction of steam power in the 19th century. The boiler’s fire was fueled by leftover lumber from the mill. With the advent of railroads, mills could now transport logs to them rather than having to be next to navigable rivers.
By 1900, Georgetown, South Carolina’s Atlantic Lumber Company operated the largest sawmill in the world, using logs that were floated from the Appalachian Mountains down the Pee Dee River. Electricity and modern technology helped to speed up this process in the 20th century, and today the majority of sawmills are massive, expensive structures where the majority of the labor is computerized. A variety of forest products are produced using all the byproducts, including sawdust, bark, woodchips, and wood pallets, in addition to the sawn timber.
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Video resource: Machinery Magazine