Name of building: Chionthar Docks Lumber Co. (Map No. 45)
Submitted by: Mark Oliva
Type of building: Sawmill
Business conducted in the building: Cutting and production of unfinished wooden beams, slats and boards as well as turned dowels, furniture legs, etc.
Owner: Palewan "Six-Fingers" Fray
Description of buildings:
Large sawmill with waterwheel, circular saw and water-powered lathes, together with three roofed but open-sided sheds for storing finished lumber.
Description of business:
"Six-Fingers" buys timber from several sources, principally from loggers working the Wood of Sharp Teeth south of Arylon but also from smaller logging operations at points east, west and south of the city. The sawmill is an unobtrusive but industrious plant on the south side of the Chionthar which produces wood primarily for resale to other businesses, mainly construction companies, furniture makers, boat builders, woodcarvers, etc. The mill produces no finished wood products, only roughly cut boards, beams, etc., and roughly turned wooden products ready for finishing. Customers can specify how the wood should be cut or turned when they place orders. The mill also wholesales other woodworking supplies to commercial customers and is an importer of wood glues from Elturel.
The mill is powered by a bottom-driven waterwheel 10 feet in diameter. The wheel turns a set of wooden gears which drive two overhead wooden shafts. One shaft is used exclusively to power the large circular saw which is the heart of the mill. The saw is driven by leather belts which are turned by the overhead shafts. The mill has 10 different sawblades available. These blades are costly and have been imported from the nearest manufacturer, in the distant port city of Marsember in Cormyr.
The saw itself is seated in a large table which can be raised and lowered, to adjust to the sawblade being used and the thickness of the wood being cut. "Six-Fingers" can saw tree trunks up to 15 inches/38 cm in diameter. The saw table measures some 2 x 6 yards/meters. Its surface is protected by polished sheet metal, shaped by the Tuir's Anvil Hammersmith, just downstream from the sawmill.
Each of the sawblades has its own attached gear, and the drive belt is spanned onto the gear to assure the proper blade speed and power transmission. Smaller, slideable wooden sleeves are also available on the wooden drive shaft above the saw, to allow for fine adjustments in speed and power transmission. For each type and thickness of wood cut, the master sawyer must set the ideal combination of power and speed for the sawblade, not only to assure efficient sawing but also to obtain the cleanest cuts.
The second overhead wooden driveshaft powers a small grindstone and two wooden lathes that are used to turn dowels, furniture legs, round wooden shafts and such. The grindstone is used to sharpen tools in the mill. The blades of the circular saw are sharpened only by the master, using files made for the job. Great care must be taken to avoid damaging the blades of the circular saw. New blades cost anywhere from 500 to 1,000 gps, depending upon hardness and size, and they must be ordered from the works in Marsember. It can take two to four months for a blade to be finished and shipped from Cormyr to Arylon.
Logs that come from the south to the mill are simply floated down the Sharp Tooth Creek, steered by raftsmen. Smaller loggers, east and west of the city, have to cut their timber into long trunks at the logging camp and then secure the wood to river rafts before bringing them to Arylon. Because of boat traffic on the Chionthar, floating the logs downstream from the east is not allowed.