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Thursday, July 29, 2004

In June of 2002, Chatter Creek Mountain Lodges Ltd. installed a Wood-Mizer Alaska-style portable sawmill at its Vertebrae Lodge building site located about 100km north of Golden B.C.  The mill was required to produce all of the dimensioned lumber for a 9300 sq.ft. lodge to be build of logs harvested from the surrounding forest.

The Chatter Creek sawmill would mill well over 200 large logs in a four month period.  Almost everything from 1 inch boards to 12 in square timbers were required.   This photo journal describes the operation of the mill during that period.

Scroll to the end for later shots from the Solitude Lodge project in 2004

Matt and Marc inspect their brand new toy. This Wood-Mizer mill is a Cadillac compared with the old mill. The computer controls are very impressive.  With the mill finally in place and operational, milling starts right away.  A huge amount of lumber will be required and the Wood-Mizer mill will run constantly, as the log walls of the new lodge are erected.   The first requirement for dimensioned lumber will be joists and decking for the floors.  Following that, the roof will require more lumber than any other facet of the project.

The Chatter Creek Sawmill
The new Wood-Mizer mill will be large enough to mill the beams and posts that will be required for the roof structure.

Goodbye to the old mill. It had served the partners well, but it was too small, too slow and too inaccurate for the Vertebrae Lodge project.

Isabelle makes one of the first cuts with the new Wood-Mizer sawmill. Hydraulic dogs on the bed turn and clamp the logs.  Hydraulic lifters level the logs to account for taper.  The computer control of the saw allows very even cutting, accurate within 1/32 in.

The excavator feeds the first logs onto the 45 ft. deck of the new mill. The Wood-Mizer sawmill is proving to be fast and true.  Once a log is on the bed, the operator has complete control from the control panel.  The only heavy work is getting logs onto the mill and in stacking the finished lumber.

Scott surveys the new log deck. Sloped toward the mill, the deck allows mill operators to load logs onto the mill without the assistance of the excavator. The excavator loads up the log deck, and then one or two people can roll the logs with peeves.

Dale and Marc get phsical. Cutting long boards and beams required some muscle. Some of the 1 inch boards cut by the Wood-Mizer sawmill were almost 24 inches wide.

Jay and Scott working the Wood-Mizer sawmill. The crew take turns and relieve one another. The control panel moves with the headstock, so there is lots and lots of walking, back and forth.

Lori cutting studs. Back and forth, back and forth. Lots of exercise on this job. One of Lori's recollections from the Vertebrae Lodge project was the bugs and the flies. The millsite had biting bugs that came out of the logs and horseflies that were attracted by the water used to cool the saw blade. The building site had mosquitoes. Lori says they went through boxes of "croc bloc" and they were still being bitten.

Monday, July 26, 2004

The "business end" of the Wood Mizer 'LT 40 hydraulic' band mill cutting 2 in. x 6 in studs. The saw head moves along the bed to advance the cut.  

The first lumber milled by the Chatter Creek mill. It is strapped so as to reduce warpage, as it is so green. The mill will prepare matierials for the floors, and then stockpile materials for the roof, while the log walls are being built.   The mill runs every day.  It takes a long time for the lumberyard to gather stock.....


Isabelle runs the mill as the building rises behind her. So far, the mill has supplied 2in. x 10 in. joists and 2 in. decking for 7200 sq foot of flooring. There will also be a mezzanine floor over the kitchen and a third floor over the bedroom wing. Then, the roof timbers will be required. There is no respite.

The slab piles continue to grow and grow.  Every piece was a sawcut, a walk beside the bed of the mill, following the saw head.  The scrap will be burned when the weather turns wet in the fall.

Here's another perspective on the slab piles..........

Dimensioned Lumber from the Chatter Creek Mill

Dimensioned lumber from the Chatter Creek mill takes many forms: The excavator moves another lift of joists right from the mill to being used. It will cure where it's nailed. The building swallows it up as quickly as it can be milled. Mike takes a load of timbers down the road for bridge repairs and Dale prepares roof members. Studs sit loaded into the building ready for partitions to be built.

The milling goes on, day after day, with few breaks. The capacity and speed of the new Wood-Mizer sawmill has made the project possible.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

In the summer of 2004, as Solitude lodge starts to take shape, the Wood-Mizer sawmill is again in constant use building up a supply of lumber for interior framing.

The new lodge is at the right of the photo, directly in front of Vertebrae lodge and the Wood-Mizer sawmill with its 45 ft bed can be seen at the left of the photo

An early start is made in milling for Solitude lodge. A smaller crew is being used for this project and the throughput of the mill permits the milling to stay ahead of demand.
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