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Frase's Steam Sawmill

In 1956 Gene Frase built a steam powered sawmill near Onalaska, Washington, USA. At that time most commercial saw mills were moving away from steam power and Gene was able to pick up surplus steam equipment for use in his sawmill. Gene made a living running his sawmill up till a few years ago. Now in his 90's, Gene occasionally works with his son Steve Frase to run the mill as needed for projects for their own use. The pictures in this gallery were taken on December 1, 2005.

The mill is completely powered by steam using sawdust and slab wood to fuel the boiler. The one boiler provides steam for six steam engines that run different items in the mill. There is an engine that operates the winch that pull logs into the mill from the pond. There are two smaller two cylinder engines with one operating a hydraulic system for adjusting the width of cut on the log carriage and another operating the out/return feed rollers. The largest engine powers the main saw, head saw, log carriage feed and sawdust conveyer system. A vertical engine powers the swing saw that is used for cutting slabs into fire wood lengths. And the last engine runs the planer.

Update Dec 2008
Heavy snow has collapsed most of the roof of the sawmill. Pictures at the end of the gallery.

Update July 2011
Gene pasted away on July 21, 2011 at the age of 97.
Mill pond and mill ------- IMG_0883a.jpg
Mill pond and mill ------- IMG_0883a.jpg
Mill pond and mill ------- IMG_0804a.jpg
Mill pond and mill ------- IMG_0804a.jpg
Mill pond and mill ------- IMG_0813a.jpg
Mill pond and mill ------- IMG_0813a.jpg
Mill from the road side ---------- IMG_0814a.jpg
Mill from the road side ---------- IMG_0814a.jpg
The back side ------------ IMG_0818a.jpg
The back side ------------ IMG_0818a.jpg
Mill pond and mill ------- IMG_0895a.jpg
Mill pond and mill ------- IMG_0895a.jpg
Wood/sawdust fired boiler ---------  IMG_0746a.jpg
Wood/sawdust fired boiler --------- IMG_0746a.jpg
Boiler at 140 psi -----  IMG_0765a.jpg
Boiler at 140 psi ----- IMG_0765a.jpg
Main Engine ----------- IMG_0747a.jpg
Main Engine ----------- IMG_0747a.jpg
Gene and the main engine -------IMG_0755a.jpg
Gene and the main engine -------IMG_0755a.jpg
Gene and the main engine --------IMG_0756a.jpg
Gene and the main engine --------IMG_0756a.jpg
Main engine-----------IMG_0759a.jpg
Main engine-----------IMG_0759a.jpg
Main engine ------------- IMG_0772a.jpg
Main engine ------------- IMG_0772a.jpg
Main engine at speed -------------- IMG_0862a.jpg
Main engine at speed -------------- IMG_0862a.jpg
Main engine at speed ----------------- IMG_0873a.jpg
Main engine at speed ----------------- IMG_0873a.jpg
Gene working on the main engine ----- IMG_0911a.jpg
Gene working on the main engine ----- IMG_0911a.jpg
Main engine govenor ------- IMGIMG_0752a.jpg
Main engine govenor ------- IMGIMG_0752a.jpg
Steve and Gene working on the sawdust conveyer drive ----- IMG_0749a.jpg
Steve and Gene working on the sawdust conveyer drive ----- IMG_0749a.jpg
Steve and Gene working on the sawdust conveyer drive ----------  IMG_0750a.jpg
Steve and Gene working on the sawdust conveyer drive ---------- IMG_0750a.jpg
Logs are pulled in from the pond -------- IMG_0808a.jpg
Logs are pulled in from the pond -------- IMG_0808a.jpg
Logs in the mill --------- IMG_0794a.jpg
Logs in the mill --------- IMG_0794a.jpg
Steve operating the carriage -------IMG_0791a.jpg
Steve operating the carriage -------IMG_0791a.jpg
Carriage from the feed end ----- IMG_0902a.jpg
Carriage from the feed end ----- IMG_0902a.jpg
Outfeed end of the carriage ----- IMG_0834a.jpg
Outfeed end of the carriage ----- IMG_0834a.jpg
Gene feeding the boiler --------- IMG_0844a.jpg
Gene feeding the boiler --------- IMG_0844a.jpg
Gene feeding the boiler ----- IMG_0845a.jpg
Gene feeding the boiler ----- IMG_0845a.jpg
First cut on a log --------  IMG_0848a.jpg
First cut on a log -------- IMG_0848a.jpg
Turning the log ----------IMG_0849a.jpg
Turning the log ----------IMG_0849a.jpg
Cutting in progress ------ IMG_0853a.jpg
Cutting in progress ------ IMG_0853a.jpg
Cut completed ------------- IMG_0855a.jpg
Cut completed ------------- IMG_0855a.jpg
Gene on the swing saw ---------- IMG_0859a.jpg
Gene on the swing saw ---------- IMG_0859a.jpg
Turning the log --------------- IMG_0860a.jpg
Turning the log --------------- IMG_0860a.jpg
Cut in progress ------------- IMG_0870a.jpg
Cut in progress ------------- IMG_0870a.jpg
Second slab off ----------- IMG_0871a.jpg
Second slab off ----------- IMG_0871a.jpg
Cut lumber on the outfeed --------- IMG_0907a.jpg
Cut lumber on the outfeed --------- IMG_0907a.jpg
Cut lumber on the out feed ----------IMG_0913a.jpg
Cut lumber on the out feed ----------IMG_0913a.jpg
Swing saw engine ------------- IMG_0826a.jpg
Swing saw engine ------------- IMG_0826a.jpg
Swing saw engine --------- IMG_0831a.jpg
Swing saw engine --------- IMG_0831a.jpg
Swing saw engine --------- IMG_0837a.jpg
Swing saw engine --------- IMG_0837a.jpg
Steve on the swing saw --------- IMG_0917a.jpg
Steve on the swing saw --------- IMG_0917a.jpg
Steve cutting slab wood ------- IMG_0838a.jpg
Steve cutting slab wood ------- IMG_0838a.jpg
Sawn lumber --------------- IMG_0886a.jpg
Sawn lumber --------------- IMG_0886a.jpg
IMG_0897va2.jpg
IMG_0897va2.jpg
Frase Steam Sawmill, Roof collapsed
Frase Steam Sawmill, Roof collapsed
Frase Steam Sawmill, Roof collapsed
Frase Steam Sawmill, Roof collapsed
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Frase Steam Sawmill, Roof collapsed
Frase Steam Sawmill, Roof collapsed
Mill pond/mill
Mill pond/mill
Frase Creek
Frase Creek