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Steam Powered Sawmill Right Here In Thames

Observant folk may have noticed two very large trucks, and a crane from Tauranga enter the town over recent days, and deposit large quantities of machinery at Ray Cobb's sawmilling yard on the old Placemaker site.

Read about it here first, as usual - Ray has acquired the entire Collins Steam Powered Sawmill from Keriekeri with the intent of rebuilding the mill right here in Thames - partly as a commercial venture but also as a tourist attraction unlike anything currently available on the Peninsula, to go alongside his existing gang-saw operation. 

The machinery is of heritage quality, and will provide an unrivalled attraction when completed in time for the 150th celebrations. in 2017. Ray has ambitious ideas regarding the tourism aspects - even to the extent of locating a steam train that will hopefully be able to operate in conjunction with the mill to provide the a full log to finished product experience. Visitors will be able to observe the operation of the mill from an overlooking cat-walk. 

It may come as a shock to many people to hear that the power for Ray's mill will be provided by a 125kw steam operated gen-set with a most impressive accompanying boiler. The boiler will burn waste from the mill through a modern and efficient smoke-free stack. The irony of this going alongside the proposed Twentyman's cremator has not been lost, and indeed is probably already suspected by the Grahamstown Mafia of providing the necessary incineration. You can't, and shouldn't stop a good story once it gets legs!

And the advantage as far as Ray is concerned is that his proposed steam sawmill should fall entirely within the requirements of his existing resource consent, and thus avoid possible hold-ups.

Ray is to be congratulated for a remarkably ambitious project - the entire machinery for the development is now on site, and construction within the existing building should begin early in the New Year. 

I intend to keep readers up to date with progress.  And we should be watching Adrian Catran very carefully to make sure that he doesn't latch on to this as a cheap alternative.




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Reader Comments (3)

And here's me thinking that Catran's cremater had finally turned up,

December 2, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergood one

Don't hold your breath, but it shouldn't be too long.

December 3, 2016 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Yes Ray Cobb is to be congratulated on an Iniative that will be a heritage attraction for the 150 year celebrations. For several large timber companies helped build the township of Thames in more ways than one - Bagnall's , Stone and Gibbons. The first locomotive produced by Price Brothers in 1883 went instead of to Waiorongomai to Smythe Brothers instead - would be nice to see a small steam locomotive for Heritage Celebrations next year at Ray's sawmill. After all Prices of Thames was established on railways. The railway history of Thames was long and significant.

December 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

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