This past week while camping I toured an authentic 1860’s pioneer village in the area. We camp in the same area each year and try to visit Upper Canada Village while there. With each visit I learn something new or pick out a detail I missed on previous visits. One favorite stop is the authentic sawmill which continues to produce boards to this day. Most of the wood is used within the village. Watching the water-powered bandsaw in operation continues to amaze me. The innovative features built-in to process logs into boards are nothing short of ingenious. There is also a system to use trucks on wheels to transport logs in , then roll them onto the bandsaw platform for ripping. The videos below shows the bandsaw in operation and water turbine at the lower level. Blade is stationary except for up and down movement. The log is advanced into the blade through a system of geared steel wheels and detents. The bandsaw is powered by a shaft driven by a turbine wheel. The water is piped in to the sawmill through a system of square wood pipes which increase the velocity of water to spin the turbine. Water begins at one height when entering the sawmill and exits at a lower level. This is what causes the water to increase in velocity. The bandsaw mill works well with old growth white pine brought in from another area.
Another favorite stop is the authentic cabinetmaker shop where furniture is continually churned out, albeit at a much slower pace we are familiar with. Most of the furniture produced in the shop is used in the authentic pioneers village. All furniture is created with hand tools as relatively no woodworking machines existed in this era. The Industrial Age was just beginning. Watching the cabinetmaker (David Jones) and apprentice provided a real appreciation for a slower, manual form of woodworking.
So I had the opportunity to do a short film of David Jones (resident master cabinetmaker) and apprentice. I asked a few questions while filming. They are currently working on a side table with frame and panel doors and drawers. All joinery is either pinned mortise and tenon or dovetails.
I have probably visited this Cabinetmakers shop four times to date and continue to enjoy discussing with the resident cabinetmakers their work methods and current projects.
Video here: 1860 Cabinetmaker Shop
I then visited the blacksmith shop which also doubles as the ferrier shop for the horses in the village. Had a good talk with the blacksmith. At the time he was forging a keyway for a geared wheel in a piece of machinery used in the crop fields of the village.