LARNED — A 1920s Frick model sawmill used to cut Missouri railroad ties will be displayed at the Tired Iron Show at the Santa Fe Trail Center Museum Oct. 12-13.
The Santa Fe Trail Center Museum is two miles west of Larned on K-156. For more information, call 620-285-2054; or visit www.santafetrailcenter.org.
Winston Elliot, of Ruby, Mo, bought the portable sawmill at an auction and donated it to the Santa Fe Trail Center in 2008. Farmers Bank and Trust is the sponsor for the sawmilling demonstrations.
It could take a crew of six to eight men four days to dismantle and reassemble a “portable” sawmill. The sawmill at the Trail Center has been permanently placed on a foundation and is housed under an open shed. Otherwise the equipment would need to be aligned and leveled each time it is moved and reassembled.
Even in its new stationary home the sawmill is best operated by men with a penchant for tinkering — Dale Otte, Doug Springer and Jim Bohart, who also built the shed. The location is near the Depot and tracks because of its former life when used to cut railroad ties. A test run has been scheduled Oct. 5 to set the belt tension.
In the years the sawmill has been at the Trail Center it has been used to create finished logs that are now included in other buildings on the grounds. In the newly opened depot, the walls by the chimney uses 2 by’s and 1 by’s. The museum’s log cabin was built during two Tired Iron Show events with wood cut by this sawmill. A supply of cut wood is stored for future projects and repairs.
This type of portable sawmill with a large circular blade was marketed in the early 20th century by companies such as Sears, Montgomery Ward, and J.C. Penney. It is belt-driven and designed to be powered by a gasoline or diesel engine or a tractor which can also be used to transport it. Some would use a steam-powered engine or tractor.
The large circular blade is heavy and requires support blocks and heavy-duty bearings. The log moves on a trolley as the blade remains stationary. The portable mill could be set up wherever it was needed and was able to cut lumber with speed and accuracy.
Farmers Bank & Trust is celebrating 106 years of tradition and commitment to central Kansas.
“Our objective is to improve the life in the communities we serve and we have demonstrated leadership in building communities and relationships,” said Travis Thompson, Farmers Bank & Trust vice president.