Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Sawmill Guy Cuts Black Locust for Footbridge at Vassar College

Vassar College Footbridge: DBS Portable Sawmill was honored to have a role in milling lumber that created a magnificent 53 foot modular footbridge, made of Black Locust; assembled by Storm King Group and engineered by HNTB Corporation. In the spring of 2013, The Sawmill Guy (of DBS Portable Sawmill) was asked to assist a local sawmill, Suburban Mills, to cut planks, timbers and blanks out of Black Locust saw-logs. The octagon blanks were turned into cylinders that were then cut into perfect half-rounds. These half-rounds were an integral part of the structural design on the side rails of the bridge. All the material was delivered for assembly at Storm King Group, Montgomery, NY. It was later shipped as a one piece 53 foot modular footbridge and installed on location at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, it is known as the TA Footbridge. This unique black locust Footbridge illustrates a town lattice truss style with Burr arch, using wooden pegs and covered bridge technology. Black locust was selected as it has incredible tensile and compressive strength, its longevity unrivaled, it is naturally rot resistant and a locally available renewable resource. This wood is very attractive, durable and is better for the environment, than chemically treated lumber. This project was no small undertaking. In order to deliver the quantity and quality of lumber specified, we had to begin by purchasing and handling 200% of the required amount of saw-logs, as there is such a high percentage of waste while milling black locust into lumber. However, the waste, slabs and rejects for quality reasons are still valuable as firewood for wood-stoves and furnaces, as black locust is one of the hottest burning hardwoods in north America, while still being a carbon neutral source of heat energy. Here are some pictures showing the “sweepy and crooked” locust logs, the octagon rounds that became the half rounds (some shown loaded for delivery in The Sawmill Guy’s truck) and especially the trucking shot of the bridge and installation at Vassar.

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Do you have Wetlands on your property?

pond 10-14-13Here’s an excellent illustration for you to enhance, enjoy  and preserve your natural aquatic habitat.  Using Pennsylvania grown Black Locust, DBS Portable Sawmill custom cut the decking and beams for a 1.2 mile wetland Boardwalk in Rhode Island.  Here are some pictures of The Dundrey Brook Trail, located in Little Compton, RI.  Built of black locust, the structure provides easy travel through the habitat, it’s a naturally rot, mold and fungus resistant wood, its extremely durable and yet protects the plants and animals that inhabit the preserve from disturbance.     If you have wetlands or hard to cross terrain, a black locust boardwalk may be the answer.


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