My own background is from tree surgery, agriculture and rural estate management, having worked on estates both in England and in Ireland, and previously with a major tree surgery company in the south of England.
My wife and I arrived here in West Cork in 2000. Initially we concentrated on our small mountainside farm, but then I restarted landscape and grounds care, to earn the extra income that the farm couldn’t provide .
With the assistance and support of the Local Enterprise Office I obtained a Business Development grant, and so was able to make the significant capital investment into the Sawmill that I currently operate .
The Lucas mill I use is an Australian swing mill machine whose overall design has not needed to be changed since the 1980’s when it was first introduced. Its reliability and lightweight design has ensured that it is now seen in almost every country throughout the globe.
What is a Swing Mill?
This is a specialised circular saw capable of pivoting or swinging through 90 degrees to give accurate dimensioned, truly square edged timber in one operation. This type of machine is very popular in America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand where the design originated. All these countries have long held a tradition of self building timber houses and farmsteads from the tree stocks naturally available on the owners land.
The saws are immensely portable, simple to maintain and produce a consistently even cut. They also suffer less from dirt contamination of the wood – kicking it away rather than pulling it in, as is the case with band saws.
The single large diameter blade has just 5 teeth with carbide tips. These can be easily resharpened when normal wear occurs or have the tips replaced after heavy damage, though this requires the attention of a skilled saw doctor, unfortunately a less common trade these days.
What to expect when it comes on site
It arrives on site in dismantled form on a trailer and is then assembled in a very simple and one man operation, taking 20 minutes in ideal site layouts.
Sawlogs are then either rolled under it or lifted into it with a loader. If the log is very large the saw mill is built around the length to be cut, so no heavy and dangerous lifting or handling is required.
The saw carriage glides up and down rails placed either side of the log. Within this carriage the cutting head works across the width of the log. The rails themselves wind up or down to initially get the level of the cut, irrespective of slope in the ground underneath. These are then dropped down as cutting proceeds, to give dimension of cut ordered .
Planks, rails, posts, beams etc are all sawn from the log in any combination to the client’s requirements, layer by layer, to leave little but outer bark edges and sawdust, and a lovely stack of processed timber.
Offcuts and trimmings are obviously an additional source of firewood to the owners.
The next log is then rolled or loaded into place or, if necessary, the complete mill is moved to the next log and so on until the job is complete.