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Friday, September 18, 2015

Woodcutting Windmill- Het Jonge Schaap, Zaanse Schans, NL

Wood cutting powered by wind- Zaanse Schans

When at Zaanse Schans, I went inside a windmill campus to take closer look (after paying 4 Euro entry fee). This windmill, called Het Jonge Schaap uses power of wind to cut a log of wood into long slices, which are then used in construction of houses for floor/roof etc.


First saw a video that showed construction of the windmill and then we went inside. The rotary movement of the windmill rotors is converted into vertical movement of the sharp saw blades that rub up and down against the log. A clever mechanism moves the log forward by a few cms at regular interval, so that slicing continues. There are controls to manage the thickness of the slice. The powder of wood is collected below in basement and then used for other activities (like as fuel).

Not much human intervention is required. Only when a log is fully sliced, there is some manual effort to insert the next log. Otherwise the windmill runs on its own 24x7 slicing wood. Absolutely no external energy is required.  It is a very simple mechanism and takes a few hours to complete a normal length log, depending on wind speed. Staff were seen turning off the mechanism when there are no tourists and turning it back on when someone comes in.  May be they didn’t have any urgent orders and enough work load. The rotors of the windmill are covered with cloths. By rolling up the cloth (the red and white piece that you see in first pic), speed of the rotor can be reduced (now more air simply passes through the rotors as there is no resistance from the cloths. This way the speed can be controlled. Other way is to disengage the saw blades and the log, so no actual cutting happens. This particular windmill didn't allow visitors to go to first floor- an area behind the rotors (few other windmills give that access). It is very dangerous- owner maintained. It was sort of disappointment as I learnt about this restriction only after buying ticket.

Wood cutting is just one of the many applications wind energy is used extensively. Other popular applications are pumping water, grinding spices and so on.

I think Karnataka needs some of these windmills. With power gone for most of the time, we can at least use winds to get some work done.

While windmill powered wood cutting is cheap, it is time consuming and can’t process bulk order. About 10 years ago I remember attending a press conference in Bangalore- along with organizers of Hannover Messe, there was an exhibition on various wood cutting technologies. Modern wood cutting machinery can wipe out an entire forest in few days- cut the tree, chop off unwanted branches/external layers and then cut it into pre-defined sizes- all on the spot and at the back of a truck, ready to be shipped within hours. So windmills can’t compete with such an industry and only cater to local needs.
Read about Wooden Shoes workshop here *

12 comments :

Ananya Kiran said...

Great Post.. Thanks for Sharing !
Ananya Fashions and More

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Ananya Kiran

Mahesh Divya said...

As usual a great Post !

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Mahesh Divya

Mridula said...

They do add a lot of charm to the location though! I wish we would use less of entire forest cutting technologies!

D.Nambiar said...

That's so interesting and amazing. Who knew people were sawing wood with the help of wind power!! Thank you for telling us about this and showing us these pictures, Shrinidhi.
It's sad you didn't get to see the whole place. I'd have been disappointed too.

indu chhibber said...

A nice cheap option for cutting wood.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Indu.

@Mridula: True, but in the conference they were boasting these technologies are great innovations for industry...

@Nambiar: Thanks. I saw as much as I could within the available time. No regrets...

Swati & Sam said...

This is really interesting ...sawing wood with the help of wind power is so cool ..

http://thetalesofatraveler.com/2015/09/28/squid-jigging-festival-2015-terengganu/

Shrinidhi Hande said...

:) Wind can move ships, lift aeroplanes... cause tornadoes... it is more powerful than it seems

Kash Pals said...

Thanks for sharing this great post.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

You are welcome Kash