Steam Powered Sawmill Right Here In Thames
Friday, December 2, 2016 at 4:58PM
Bill Barclay

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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