Big Creek Lumber log storage yard
David Frane Big Creek Lumber log storage yard

The videos below are of sawmills in Belize, Australia, and the U.S., and each is interesting for a different reason.

The first video was shot in Belize (Central America) and is of an 8 HP band saw mill; you can tell by counting the horses used to power it. The mill is run by members of a community of Old Order Mennonites who in the 1950’s made their way from the U.S. to Mexico and then to Belize. Like conservative Amish communities, they avoid the use of many types of modern technology.

The mill in the second video is owned by Ralph Affleck, a 4th generation Australian timber cutter who after “retiring” in his 60’s decided he needed a saw mill—so he built one from scratch. The mill is one-of-a-kind, with parts scavenged from an old steam engine, a 1912 truck, and surplus military planes. It’s powered by a Leyland tank engine. Be sure to see the home-made log skidder (01:30), which with its 3 gearboxes has 12 forward and 8 reverse gears.

The final video was put together from leftover clips from my visit to Big Creek Lumber in Davenport, California, the last operational redwood mill on California’s Central Coast. More modern than the other two mills in this story, it’s still pretty old-school. For more on this mill see A Trip to the Sawmill.