Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sawdust Burners

Formerly a standard fixture of northwest communities, sawdust Burners (sometimes called 'wigwam' burners), are becoming more rare. Until the 1970's, lumber mills simply burned the vast amounts of sawdust they created. Environmental regulation put an end to that practice, and new uses for sawdust emerged as a result.

The view through the screen.

Better blades and computerized sawing have reduced the amount of sawdust to the point that there's actually a shortage! Pretty amazing change for something we used to burn as a waste product. New uses for sawdust are still being created, there are programs to turn it into fuel now.

The old sawdust burners are impressive sights by themselves, but you should have seen them in use, particularly at night. Sparks and flames would rise from the top, and the screen at the top would glow cherry red, while the walls glowed a deeper color.

This old sawdust burner is just up the road from Rockhoppers, on Langley Road, and will likely remain as a landmark for many years. It is rusting elegantly, but has lost it's screen. I particularly like the ladder up the back, and the walkway on the top. These are unusual for a simple sawdust burner, this was a high-quality machine in it's day.

Whidbey Island, famous sawdust.

1 comment:

David said...

Yeah Right. Nice April Fools Joke. That's so obviously photoshopped.

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