Tuesday, April 20, 2021

TBT: Steinhoff & Gordon Stave Mill in Wallaceburg

Throwback Thursday is sponsored by the Haycock-Cavanagh Funeral Home in Wallaceburg:

The above photos showcase the Steinhoff & Gordon Stave Mill in Wallaceburg.

Here are more details:

The Steinhoff and Gordon Stave Mill primarily made staves for barrels, which were used locally and shipped to other cities.

Staves are the strips of wood that form the sides of barrels, casks or wood pails.

Logs of various lengths were brought to the mill to be sawn length wise into cants, which were between eight and 10 inches wide.

Next they were transferred to the buzz saw being cut to the length specifications of 30, 24 or 18 inches and are known as “bolts”.

The bolts were placed in steam boxes for twelve hours or more.

While the bolts were still wet and hot from the steaming process, the bark would be removed.

The bolts were then cut to the correct length using an equalizing saw.

The bolts, still hot, were placed on a tumbler type machine with a concave knife, a Stave Cutting Machine, giving the stave its circular form.

The staves were stacked outside for drying which would take approximately six weeks.

The final step at the stave mill was termed “putting the bilge” or jointing: the process of making the stave wider in the centre and smaller on each end; the larger the bilge, the larger the “belly” or centre of the barrel.

Once the bilge was completed, the staves were ready to be sent to a cooperage to be made into barrels.

Thanks to the Wallaceburg & District Museum for the photos, which hang in their 505 King Street location in Wallaceburg.

If you have an old photo that you would like to see on the Sydenham Current, let us know by sending us an email to sydenhamcurrent@gmail.com.

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