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The Saw Mill

by Theresa König last modified 2007-02-16 14:11

The Saw Mill

The historical Farmer’s saw is next to the Rasafei Brook at the upper end of the district of Latschau in the community of Tschagguns.  The name “Mühli” which means mill, for the meadow comes from the mill that was run up until the 20th century in the neighbourhood.  In 1849 the Loretz family bought the saw mill that had been running since 1734 from the Gavanesche sisters. 

The capacity of the saw was very small before 1907.  It took 2 hours for one cut through a 5 meter long log.  The time was used by the sawyer to walk around the area with his mule to find other logs.  Since the sawyer didn’t own a watch, he tied a long piece of splintered wood that jutted out way over the roof of the house on the saw beam that slowly moved up and down with the movement of the saw.  Once the log was cut, the sawyer’s wife would turn the saw off and the sawyer could see from a distance that the splintered wood wasn’t moving anymore and that it was time to go home and prepare a new log for the next cut.  

The condition of the saw today is practically the same as it was in 1907.  At that time parts from a saw in Frastanz were used to convert the saw into a so-called Venetian frame saw.  The sawmill was the only one that survived the floods in 1910 and is not only the only saw of its kind in Vorarlberg, it is also the only saw that is run using a water wheel alone.  The reason you can’t see the water wheel from the outside is because it runs underground.

The overshot wooden water wheel with a circumference of 4.10m which drives the transmission in the wheel house is in the brick basement.  This provides the up and down motion of the Venetian frame saw through the off-centre fly wheels and stilts.  A simple, upright saw blade sits in a square frame.  In addition, the log wagon moves forward automatically.  The tree trunks are fetched off the side of the log wagon with a hand winch.  The wooden upright construction of the saw level which is open on the north side is weather boarded on the outside and covered with a wooden shingle roof.  Many such farmers’ wood processing facilities were built in the same style for hundreds of years in wooded areas.
The saw is fully functional and is run on a museum like basis.  The upkeep of the saw is very expensive because all of the parts have to be made specially.

Even a detailed description of the saw mill cannot convey what you would see in real life.  This is why it’s really worth it to register for a visit and let the sawyer explain it all to you on the spot.


P04-1-2 The Saw Mill.mp3

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