My Life Around Steam-Powered Sawmills: Recording the Sawmill Landscape and the Voices of Sawmill Workers.

A presentation given before Industrial Heritage Nova Scotia on May 7, 2012 by Kerr Canning

email Kerr Canning

The Sawmill Landscape of My Youth.

“I have wonderful memories of the old mill. Yes my older brother and I both worked at the mill. We both night-watched and I piled deals at various times. By night watching we needed to know how to inject water into the boiler and build up a head of steam sufficient to blow the whistle at 6am and 6:30am and to start the mill at 7am. Having over 110 pounds pressure at 7am was crutial or the night watchman caught hell.

There was a steady flow of sawdust into the dutch oven all day long which the engineer cut back on as the day drew on towards 5 o'clock. If it were running too hot we would have to blow off pressure. I recall starting around 3 to 3:30 am stoking up the dutch oven by shoveling on fresh sawdust. The boiler begin building up steam again. The engineer Art Joyce kept a constant vigil on the pressure. He injected water and guaged the sawdust feed all day long. The mill's performance was directly porportional to its operating pressure."

George Reid, retired professional engineer. April 29, 2012

The Sawmill Landscape of My Grandparents.

  • 1_My Father’s “Moving Business” and the so-called Long Carriage Steam Sawmill
  • 2_Family Lumbering in the early 1950s. Cutting, yarding, and building a brow: the process of “getting out logs” for the sawmill.
  • 3_George_P_Graham Sawmill
  • 5_The Wood Saw
  • 6_ Sources of Information that may be Underutilized
  • 7_ Saw Mills On The Salt Marsh