I found this link just fascinating… never thought about it, but there are very few sawmills still operating that can cut long timber. The mill at Hull-Oakes Lumber is one of them. Steam powered and operating for much of the last century, their mill is now on the National List of Historic Places.
Check out the article with lots of pictures of some fascinating equipment. Adding to my interest, my Grandfather owned a sawmill, which my Dad worked at growing up. Smaller than this operation, but the method of operation was the same.
Hull-Oakes Lumber is the last steam-powered commerical saw mill in the country, and they’re one of the few mills capable of cutting large timbers up to 85′ long. The mill has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996. Large long timbers are still used in railroad trestles, the restoration of historic structures, and for the spars and masts of ships. By coincidence, the day I arrived the mill was cutting an 80 ft. long timber for the restoration of the C.A. Thayer, an early 20th century three-masted schooner used to transport lumber along the West Coast.