Video Wednesday: Water Wheel Sawmill in Bjørkedalen, Norway

A reconstructed water powered saw mill with vertical frame.

Linked from YouTube channel vikingskipdotcom Filmed by  Jørn Løset.

The saw mill is located in the Bjørkedal valley in northwestern Norway and is run by the historical societies “Bjørkedal kystlag” and “Bjørkedal båtsamlingar.”

The original powered head saw was composed of long, narrow blades that used an up-and-down motion, a reciprocating saw. Each blade was set at a fixed width meaning each log was cut identically, regardless of flaws. The use in Norway started in the 1500’s and lumber was an important export article for Norway as many European countries lacked the wood needed for construction.  Many Norwegian towns grew up around waterfalls that could be used for powering sawmills. One such town is Hønefoss in Buskerud county. Around 1860 sawmills began to adopt the more efficient circular saw.


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