Sashes to sashes-

-dust to saw dust.

We’re continuing to hit the refresh button with mallets toward none up at Hatch Mill-

hatchphotosOld1b (1)-horz

Over the last couple of months, our restoration has led us from the sawmill–where once again we’ll hear the sweep of a water-powered sash-saw, to the larger adjoining box mill, an allied operation where boards from the saw mill were re-sawn and made into…boxes. (Did I just meet my hyphen-quota for the month?)

Water and insects had taken their toll on the front wall of the 2-story box mill frame-


They’ll take your toll even if you haven’t exact change-

But neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night-


-stays these preservationists from the swift completion of their appointed rounds-


Much as we try to salvage the salvageable in an old frame,


-there are always plenty of new pieces to let in-


Plate scarf. Photo courtesy of Bill Powell

One compromised segment of wood grain leads to another, so it’s out with the old and in with the new.


Squeezing the 20′ corner post in place between the sawmill and the remaining elements of the box mill proved a particular challenge.

It didn’t help that your author neglected to taper the tenon on the bottom of the long post sufficiently.


Paring precipitous post tenons in place–dude, my bad.

Gratefully, we’ve had plenty of help.


I’m flanked by intrepid volunteers John and Kevin. Bill Powell photo

Somehow, posts, girts, scarfed ends and braces (in a mill, there are always plenty of braces–they keep the building from shaking apart) all came together in a patient dance of paring, scribing, kerfing, and occasional brute forcing.

We made the most of lengthening days and warming temps-


The heavy lifting done-


-we were able to catch our breath and begin to finish some of the lower parts of the frame-


And as much I love the pleasant whine of a plugged-in saw, it was a treat to be able to rive and plane a little on a mild afternoon-


Locust for trenails.



Planing slow growth, re-used 175 yr-old pine for use in a scarf.

Methodically, we’ve been working upward toward the roof frame.


That sweeping grain of a curved strut coming out of the king post is alone worth the price of admission.

As expected, this required even more scarfing of material. We take out the bad grain until there’s good grain and cut a piece to fill the void:


Evan hit his stride cutting a scarf the other day.

Wanting goggles, he resourcefully found second use for a discarded pastry box-




The kid is fearless, tough and talented–like cider, a good blend.

We wish Evan well on his trip to the Finger Lakes, where he’s found work as an apple-whisperer.

Water is the energy behind and underneath Hatch Mill.


Part of this water mill’s restoration means building a new dam.


Charlie runs the show whenever he shows up with his human

We’ve temporarily held the water back in order to pour a concrete footing at the base of the new dam. While digging out for the pour, we found several things of interest–

Proof that the current marsh used to be a pond:


You know coach says I keep my stick on the ice good things will happen, eh?

Also, Two Mile residents had taste-


There was an old sill at the bottom of the former weir. We dug it out of the muck for posterity.


In the sill’s mortise, within the mud, we found the remnant of a shaving from a hand auger used to shorten the grain in a pocket.


Well over a hundred years old but preserved beneath the dam as if it had been cut yesterday.

New and old, hand in hand, sashes to sashes, dust to saw dust.





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4 thoughts on “Sashes to sashes-

  1. Tico Vogt says:

    Is it really as fun as you make it appear?

  2. Rick says:

    The short answer: Oh God no, Tico–some days utterly suck. The long answer is another blog post about shared misery and editing practices. I think. Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Linda Master says:

    hahaha the dude with a box on his head! I know you’re thinking all the great stuff in this post and all I can say is a dude with a box on his head 🙂

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