Sawmill is a plant with power-driven machines for sawing logs into
rough-squared sections or into planks and boards. A sawmill may be equipped
with planers, moulders, tenoners and other machines for finishing processes.
The largest mills are usually situated in areas where timber can be brought
by river or rail. Moreover, the design of the mill is affected by the mode
of transportation. Waterborne logs float into the mill and are dragged out
in turn by a winch. More space is necessary for storage in the rail-borne
system; an overhead crane serves the stockyard and carries the logs to the
Cutting is performed on various large machines, the preliminary operation
often being that of crosscutting to convenient lengths. Reciprocating saws,
band saws or circular saws cut the log into various thicknesses as it moves
past the saw on a feeder table. The log frame is a machine with a set of
vertically reciprocating blades, suitably spaced; it divides a log into
boards at one pass of the table. The number of blades employed may be as few
as 4 for cutting thick pieces or as many as 50 for thin boards.
Re-sawing machines handle partly broken up machines, such as flitches
(longitudinal sections of log) and deals (boards). The sawdust and chips
from the machines formerly were disposed of by pneumatic ducts ending in the
boiler house, where they were used as fuel; substantial quantities of these
materials are now fabricated into particleboard and chipboard.