The story of a Buckinghamshire furniture company
From its beginnings in 1870 until it closure in 2001
and its rebirth as whiteleaf ltd

Part 3:   The Sawmill.

Mostly taken from an account by WMG.
With further information from L.J.Mayes book:
'The History of Chairmaking in High Wycombe'.
Additional research by Mr. Ken Goodearl.

The Bandmill in 1930

The Bandmill in 1930

At about two thirds of its length, a canopy over the gantry gave some protection to the bandmill crew beneath.
Cross-cutting logs under the Gantry

Wood waste was burned in a boiler, using water from an underground spring, to power a Steam Engine. Belts from the Engine's fourteen foot diameter flywheel turned a shaft, under floorboards, beneath the gantry.

Further belts connected to this to run the Bandmill, several other saws and a generator. This produced all the electricity used by the two overhead gantry cranes, and around the Sawmill.

The Sawdoctor's Shop

The Sawdoctor's Shop in 1930

Cross cutting logs under the railway end of the Gantry.
The single blade crosscut saw was driven by a single
cylinder petrol engine. It was known as 'Popping Lizzie'.

The exhaust steam was piped to the Bending Shop to heat and soften the wooden stakes prior to them being bent. It was also distributed to a row of drying rooms where timber was stacked over the hot pipes.

Stacks of timber

As the planks of wood were cut on the Bandmill, they were put onto trucks which were pushed along railway lines that ran out to and across the storage field. The planks were unloaded by hand and built into stacks. Thin strips of wood between each board allowed the air to circulate as it was left to season.

In the 1950's, four brick kilns were built to dry the timber further, so it would remain stable in the warmer centrally heated homes. Two larger aluminium kilns were added in the early 1970's, doubling the capacity.

Sawmill work force in the 1960's

The Sawmill work force in the 1960's

Concrete roadways and a mobile crane have greatly reduced the amount manual labour required at the Sawmill.
700 cubic foot cedar tree

This cedar tree contained 700 cubic feet of timber. Both overhead cranes were needed to lift it from the lorry. Though the butt end was shattered, the rest was cut into ¾ inch planks for making blanket boxes. The aroma of the timber kept the moths away. 1953.


The Bandmill in the 1960's

The Bandmill in the 1960's

When the High Wycombe production was moved to Risborough,
The Company was renamed Goodearl-Risboro' Ltd.