Despite the best efforts of the wind rain and mud (and it is very muddy here at the moment) nothing could dampen our enthusiasm today as our new sawmill has arrived.
There was something about this moment that suddenly made everything seem very real, we have known for a while that we will be starting the build in March, but with the mill arriving and starting to convert the timber it is all coming into focus.
Allthough much of the frame will be made of roundwood there is also a lot of sawn timber in the building as well. This is the machine we will be using to process all of our locally grown sustainably produced timber to turn it into the planks, joists, rafters, studwork and floorboards that will go into the new building.
In the past we have always hired in sawmills, but the scale of this project has made buying this one economically viable, after we have finished the building I hope it will become a resource the trust will be able to use more widely in this area, so that we can get even better at making sure as much as possible of the wood we used comes from well managed sustainable woodlands (which hopefully are packed full of wildlife too).
Its quite a clever mill this one, I suspect getting used to the computer on it will take a while! We need to get some practice before we try anything too tricky with it, but I can see already how useful it is going to be.
We thought we would start with something nice and simple, so we put on one of the smaller pieces of Douglas Fir we collected last week and made some 1 inch square sticks.
These sticks are used as spacers in between the planks which we will be cutting later, they are used while the boards are drying to allow the air to circulate well around each individual plank, it is important to make sure they are equal sizes so that the wood doesn’t warp too much as it is drying.
I am really looking forward to starting the next stage in the process, we have extracted some of the wood we have been cutting and now we are going to start turning it into the materials the building will be made of. Might wait till some of that mud has dried out a little bit first though!