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 First scratch build - Rural sawmill from prototype
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Author Previous Topic: Structures on th LP&N RR, vol.4 Topic Next Topic: Gazebo/Bandstand
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RyanAK
Engine Wiper

Posted - 01/28/2019 :  2:19:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey, gang. As I'm developing my small prototype-based layout, it's apparent that the few structures that I will need will need to be scratch-built... or kit-bashed if appropriate kits can be located.

I'm going to be modeling the White Deer & Loganton in Loganton, Pennsylvania c.1910. The WD&L was a 3' gauge line running 24 miles between (you guessed it...) White Deer and Loganton. The line was owned by lumber interests, but served as a common carrier between the Sugar Valley communities and the interchange with the Philadelphia & Reading at White Deer.

Loganton was the terminus, situated in a remote, high mountain valley. I'm deep into research and have had some success in establishing a reasonable idea of what was happening in Loganton.

There was a depot that is well documented with period photographs. That should be straightforward enough to scale and build a good representation of. However, for months now, there has been one other primary structure that I've been calling the 'mystery building' that has a tight grip on my imagination. I had one poor photo and reports that there was both a sawmill and an engine house at the end of the line in Loganton. Here's that first photo. The 'mystery building' is at the left edge of the photo.



Recently I acquired one of those early photo books of the area called "Sugar Valley Villages". And there I found two small, grainy, additional photos of my mystery building.



Tight crop and enhanced:


A baseball game!


Tight crop and enhanced:


Neat, eh? And... there are actually TWO mystery buildings. Additionally, the captioning for these photos identify the scene as a 'sawmill'. Nothing else really useful. Not even the score of the baseball game.

So, where I am at the moment (besides continuing to search for additional primary information, including more photos...) is trying to determine just what we're looking at here. It's apparent that piles of lumber - either rough (I believe) or finished (unlikely) - are being produced. I believe this is stick lumber... photos I have don't indicate ties, mine props, or other timber products. I'm trying to figure out a few things in the absence of additional info:

* Just what are these two buildings?

* Are they related, or just near one another?

* Could the larger building serve as an engine house, even partially? There seems to be large opening on one corner. Hard to determine the trackage in the area from photos I have, so I can't be sure if the tracks lead to this opening or not... And perspective makes it difficult to determine if one of the Climaxes would fit in that opening... I have my doubts, but I have information that the tracks at Loganton ended at an engine house.

* What are the dimensions of the buildings and how are they oriented in relation to each other? The trains may help us scale...

* The narrower building (on the left of the baseball photo) DOES appear to be a small, rural single-saw mill. There are openings on the near side wall that allow us a bit of a peek inside. It also looks like sections of the far wall are open. The left end wall is closed. What would be an appropriate flow of logs through the mill to end up as cut lumber out the other end?

* From what I can gather, the WD&L did NOT deliver logs to this mill. All of the lumber company's holdings were at the east end of the valley and went downhill to the large mill at White Deer. I believe logs were hauled by horse team to the mill from operations in the near vicinity.

* How are the buildings constructed? They appear to have vertical siding - with or without battens - and plank roofing. With the lack of detail in these photos, what would be appropriate for the time and location?

So... lots of questions, but I really enjoy the research. If this is all the historical information I'm able to get, no problem. I'll make some best guesses and move forward.

Since this is my first go at doing something like this, any and all advice or suggestions will be hugely helpful and deeply appreciated. There are so many smart and talented craftsmen and historians on this site, I'm hoping I can lean on you all for guidance going forward.

This stuff is fun, isn't it?

R
Designing a 1905-ish Pennsylvania Short Line
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=51030&whichpage=1

Country: USA | Posts: 113

Bill Gill
Fireman



Posted - 01/28/2019 :  6:34:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ryan, I can't help identify anything more in the photos than you commented on, but I do enjoy the research as well. My tiny layout will also have a small sawmill. It will be loosely based on a tiny mill that was not far from here and made a number of trips to photograph, sketch and measure stuff there.
Since my layout is freelanced, I don't have to match any prototypes, but do aim for credible structures. Don't let the lack of info stop your progress. You can always change it later if new photos come to light :)



Country: USA | Posts: 2584 Go to Top of Page

BurleyJim
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 01/28/2019 :  8:25:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ryan,

Being that you are in PA, have you gone to Strasburg and done any research at the Museum? I had looked for info on the 'Eel River Railroad' which ran through my backyard here in Indiana. To my amazement, they had track maps, photos, etc. Check the museum out, you might find some more info there. You may need to contact them to arrange for the search.

Jim


P.S. On scratchbuilding!



Edited by - BurleyJim on 01/28/2019 8:48:02 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 4225 Go to Top of Page

TRAINS1941
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 01/28/2019 :  8:34:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ryan here's a book with 227 photos for 21.95


Sugar Valley Villages
By David Ira Kagan and John W. Harbach Sr.


Jerry

"And in the end, itís not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

Country: USA | Posts: 11289 Go to Top of Page

Michael Hohn
Fireman



Posted - 01/28/2019 :  8:35:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ryan,

I interpret both buildings to be parts of the same enterprise, given that they appear to adjoin and both have the simple plank roof.

Mike


_______________________________________________________________________________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me, as I go walking that freedom highway -- Woody Guthrie

Country: USA | Posts: 4868 Go to Top of Page

RyanAK
Engine Wiper

Posted - 01/29/2019 :  12:55:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey, all. Thanks for the thoughts and encouragement! I thought this would be a fun one to tiptoe into scratchbuilding. A good thought exercise followed by sticks and glue.

Bill, I won't let uncertainty keep me from moving forward. If new information comes to light, more sticks and glue will be acquired and historical accuracy improved. :) Where are you located?

Jim, I had sorta dismissed the museum since so many of these small narrow gauge lines were pretty ephemeral in nature and I was doubtful much in the way of documentation was retained, but I should definitely still reach out. A trip there probably isn't in the cards in the near-term (I have 3- and 2-year-olds that keep me pretty busy!), but maybe they have a research service. The local NRHS has some photos, maybe other information, but they're going through a 'transition' and the material is scattered to the 4 corners of the Reading White Deer depot. I sent off an email to the Sugar Valley historical society, but have yet to hear back.

Jerry, I have the Sugar Valley book. The two additional photos I posted are attributed to that book. There isn't much additional information on that area of the valley or the WD&L. I believe both authors are members of the historical society, so hope to get in touch with them directly. The book is pretty remarkable, but my interest is so focused, it doesn't lend many clues.

Mike, I agree. I certainly feel like they belong together. I think it's a good assumption that the building on the left in the baseball photo is the beginning of the mill operation. The larger building remains somewhat of a mystery.

Sizes...

My best estimates for the larger 'mystery' building are ~24'to 30' wide by ~40' long with 10' walls. It shows one opening on the northeast corner and what appears to be large doors in the center of the end wall. Engine house-ish, but I'm still skeptical. Wish we could read the sign on the end wall!! Drying building for cut lumber? Kiln? Planing shed? Freight house? Coal dealer? Supply company? Hmmm...

The smaller mill building appears to be approximately ~16' to 20' wide and ~40 long. Side walls appear to be 8' tall. The openings on near side wall seem to show similar openings on the far wall. Looks like machinery inside. I'm pretty confident this is where the log carriage, headsaw, edger (possible), and swing saw are located. Since the left end wall is enclosed, I'd guess logs are stockpiled and fed to the mill on the far side, left end.

No evidence for where the boiler may have been located... don't see a stack.

The buildings appear to be in line, but slightly offset from each other. Hard to say what the trackage looks like around the buildings.

Construction theory is based on location, time, known methods for the area, and what we can guess from the photos. Most likely rough-cut hemlock post-and-beam with vertical siding and simple plank roofing. Roofing may be ship-lapped. Neither siding nor roof appear to have battens. Both buildings most likely sitting on either timber piles or sill beams (hewn logs) sitting on very simple masonry footings. (random field stone... "hey, this end is low! get a bigger rock!")

Time for some drawings, methinks...


Designing a 1905-ish Pennsylvania Short Line
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=51030&whichpage=1

Country: USA | Posts: 113 Go to Top of Page

TRAINS1941
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 01/29/2019 :  1:27:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ryan looking forward to your adventure. I'll be following along.

Jerry

"And in the end, itís not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

Country: USA | Posts: 11289 Go to Top of Page

deemery
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 01/29/2019 :  3:01:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Depending on how small/large a sawmill you want to model, old Keystone Lumber kits and parts are worth looking for. The Danby Sawmill kit is good for a small mill, and the parts (e.g. bandsaw, edger saw, shotgun table, etc) from their large Lumber Mill would be good for a larger installation. Keystone is out of business, but I've seen Danby kits on eBay and the lumber mill parts on both eBay and at some hobby shops that have bins of 'old detail parts' to paw through.

dave


Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

Country: USA | Posts: 7521 Go to Top of Page

Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 01/30/2019 :  12:08:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ryan, this is a great scratch building project! I'll bet the research is fun as well.

I also model a logging RR of PA in HOn3. It is the Slate Run RR. Slate Run is up in Lycoming, County.

One of the best sources of info on these logging railroads is the 13 book series "The Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania". The White Deer and Loganton Ry is covered in Book 1 Book 2 "Wild Catting" on the Mountain by Benjamin Kline, Jr. It can be found on pages 235 - 243. There are good pictures of the motive power and a small picture showing the siding on the engine house.



Country: USA | Posts: 31133 Go to Top of Page

RyanAK
Engine Wiper

Posted - 01/30/2019 :  12:31:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey, gang. Thanks for the continued interest and support.

Dave, I've thought about searching out a kit for basic structure parts. Machinery will certainly be something I'll want to get in the near-term so that I can plan the structure accordingly. Thanks for the leads on Keystone. My 'local-ish' hobby shop is English's (home of Bowser) and they seem well stocked in detail parts. 2-hour round trip though...

Hey Dutch! I've read and re-read your Slate Run thread a number of times. I've actually fished Slate Run. And several others in the area. Your modeling is very inspirational. I have the first 4 books of the Logging series... I'll need to re-look at the WD&L section. On first reading I thought the photo was of the engine house at the mill in White Deer. More research needed as they say...

I'm currently working at a powerhouse on the Delaware River and staying in Belvidere. If this is your old stomping grounds, it really is beautiful country.

I remember you stating in your thread that you're interested in building a kindling mill. I have some good photos saved of one in Lopez if you're interested.

Fun, fun, fun.


Designing a 1905-ish Pennsylvania Short Line
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=51030&whichpage=1

Country: USA | Posts: 113 Go to Top of Page

spyder62
Crew Chief



Posted - 01/30/2019 :  1:02:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit spyder62's Homepage  Reply with Quote
KMP has a small sawmill kit you might look at
rich


In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame,
two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.
--John Adams

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Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 01/30/2019 :  1:53:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ryan,

Oops! I had the title and author correct, but it is really Book 2 in the series.

Sorry.




Country: USA | Posts: 31133 Go to Top of Page

RyanAK
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/04/2019 :  4:37:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As I'm working through the drawings and keep staring at the prototype photos, I think I'm revising my footprint estimate to 20x60 for the smaller building and 40x60 for the larger. What I think I need is a set of machinery to work with to determine an interior layout. Any suggestions? I have Woodland Scenics, Keystone, KMP, B.T.S. and some Shapeways 3D printed parts on my list. I don't think Sierra West has their sawmill machinery in HO... I'd appreciate comments if you all have experience with any of these.

Turns out that according to the online archive search of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, they have quite a bit of information on the White Deer & Loganton, White Deer Lumber Co., and the White Deer Valley Ry. I'll be sending a query. Anyone know how/if material can be viewed without physically visiting the museum? I'm willing to spend for research time and copies, just wondering how it works without sitting in the reading room...

This has been fun. Getting close to ordering materials...!

R


Designing a 1905-ish Pennsylvania Short Line
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=51030&whichpage=1

Edited by - RyanAK on 02/04/2019 6:07:43 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 113 Go to Top of Page

BurleyJim
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/04/2019 :  7:05:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ryan,

Glad you followed that Museum path, I don't know what 'online access' you can get. But, it's a starting point.

Jim



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Michael Hohn
Fireman



Posted - 02/04/2019 :  8:41:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ryan,

Are you looking exclusively for sources for mill machinery or are you also researching sawmill layouts to determine what you need?

Mike


_______________________________________________________________________________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me, as I go walking that freedom highway -- Woody Guthrie

Country: USA | Posts: 4868 Go to Top of Page

RyanAK
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/05/2019 :  08:37:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'll let you know how it goes with the Museum. With two little ones and working out of town, it will be tough to make the trip.

Mike... I'm familiar with sawmills (we have quite a few operating in the area, both large and small) and have been doing lots of additional research of the area mills in the early 1900s. But I'm always interested in learning more if you have suggestions. In the absence of additional information on the prototype, my best guess for log-to-lumber at this complex would be this: (photos posted again below so you don't have to scroll...)

1. General flow is left-to-right as you look at the 'baseball' photo.
2. Logs - guessing ~20'ers - are on a dry landing at the rear of the smaller building. I have some accounts and photos of horse teams bringing logs off of the mountains near Loganton.
3. Boiler is either in a small shed to the rear of the small building or in the larger building. (Looking at the 'end-on' photo, you can see a wisp of steam near the center of the large building's roof ridge.)
4. Logs enter the mill at the left rear of the small building on a skidway (just a few peeled logs) via a steam-powered winch.
5. Logs are mounted on the carriage. Logs on the far side of the dogs, setter riding the carriage on the near side.
6. Logs travel left-to-right on the carriage through the circular headsaw. (husk)
7. Slabs and sawdust exit to the rear of the small building to fuel the boiler via shovel and broom. (maybe a conveyor...)
8. Boards (cants) fall off the saw toward the rear of the building onto live rolls.
9. Cants are cut to length with swing saw.
10. End of operations in the small building. Cut lumber either goes to the yard to be stacked and stickered to dry, or to the larger building for additional milling via a transfer table and live rolls.
11. If you look at the 'end-on' photo, there appears to be a pile of sawdust left of center of the large building. I'm using that as evidence of additional mill process happening in the large building.
12. The cants that pass to the large building will run through an edger (gang saw). I'm unsure of the likelihood of any planing taking place in a mill of this size.
13. Lumber from the large building goes to the yard to dry.

'Baseball' photo:


'End-on' photo:


Plausible? Lots of questions remain. The large building remains a partial mystery. If you look at the 'end-on' photo, there are a set of large double doors in the center of the gable end. To the left... might be an area without siding? It's certainly darker than the gable siding above. Then to the right is the large opening. No doors apparent here. Could this be the 'engine house' that is referenced?

Right now I'm working with the theory that the large building served several purposes. Near side (essentially inline with the small building milling operations) had an edger and possibly a planer. The center with large doors would be a general 'shop' area. The far side (right side as you look at the 'end-on' photo) with the large opening will have tracks running through to the log landing and can serve as a very basic engine 'shed' for light maintenance of the Climaxes.

I've looked and looked and compared all the photos I have of the area (and mocked up a quick 3D model in SketchUp...) and I don't believe the train is hard against the large building as it would first appear. I believe it is several feet away from the side and Climax is forward of the building corner by at least one engine length. Ditto the boxcar in the 'baseball' photo. I believe it's a bit nearer to the viewer than I had first thought. That makes it tough to scale the buildings relative to the railroad equipment. I think the humans standing within the smaller building in the 'baseball' photo are a better reference.

I'll get my drawings cleaned up and posted soon.

So, Mike... (if you're still reading!) I'm interested in more general sawmill info (layout, machinery, etc.), but I was actually asking about suggestions on sawmill machinery models so I can fine tune my dimensions and log-to-lumber flow.

Thanks for the continued interest!


Designing a 1905-ish Pennsylvania Short Line
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=51030&whichpage=1

Country: USA | Posts: 113 Go to Top of Page
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