Labor Day weekend is a big one in Dacusville, SC. Saturday and Sunday were the Dacusville Farm Days. This event has been going on on Labor Day for quite a number of years. A combination of tractor and engine show, crafts, traders, music, and fun. When Phillip and I went last year, we got there too late and missed the veneer mill. While we did see the sawmill operating, Phillip really wanted to see the veneer mill. I checked the on-line schedule and suggested that we get there by mid morning.
We got to the site on Pace Bridge Road right on schedule. The sawmill start was running late and the veneer was scheduled after that. While we were waiting for the mills to run, we got some pictures of the steam mill engine and it’s boiler, a shingle sawmill run from a tractor PTO belt, and more tractors than you can shake a bundle of sticks at.
Both the sawmill and the veneer mill are in separate sheds, each powered by its own large single cylinder diesel engine. The flywheels on the engines are about 6 feet in diameter. Since we got there early, we got to see the diesels started. First a pot-engine drives an air compressor to fill the receiver to 9.5 kg/cm2 (135psi). While this is going on, the starting team opens the cylinder head valve and moves the piston to top-dead-center by using a long metal bar engaged in holes in the flywheel to pull the flywheel around. Next the compression valve is closed and a plug on the cylinder-head is removed. Starting fluid is poured in and the plug replaced. When the air pressure is as required, a valve is opened and the fly is turned by compressed. Once the flywheel is turning, the engine begins to ignite fuel and white smoke pours out gradually becoming clearer as the engine begins to heat up. Once the engine is warmed up, a clutch is engaged to turn the line-shaft. Belts are checked. Everything is good. The engine is brought to operating speed and everything is now moving.
The saw mill consists of a carriage and circular saw. As the log is sawed, the slabs are take off the back and brought to and edge-saw table that makes a rough plank by trimming both edges as the slab is conveyed through the edge-saw. Lumber is taken of the back and stacked.
The veneer mill has a similar diesel engine. The veneer mill itself consists of a cast-iron frame with the log to be worked suspended by two long screw-jacks with face-plates that support and turn the log. the log is scored so that each turn produces two pieces. The jacks are turned by a large 2 m (6 ft) reduction gear. The horizontal veneer knife is held in a heavy cast-iron frame that is moved by a ratchet a little bit at a time into the log. Two men catch the veneers as they come off, roll them and hand them to spectators.
After watching sawing and veneer, we had some lunch. We looked for a friend who restores small engines and shows them at shows like this but he had already packed up by the time we were wandering around. After watching the blacksmith and the Parade of Power, we departed. Near the exit, we realized that we had just missed the threshing of about 25 bushels of wheat. Maybe next year.