Jämsänkoski Sawmill

The first water-powered sawmill in Jämsänkoski was established by the rapids at Hovilanhaara, Koskisaari, in 1792. The owners of the sawmill were Gustaf Jakob Jack, Surveyor, and Major Henrik Kihlström. The sawmill was licensed in 1796. Fearing wasteful utilisation of forests, the Government controlled operation of sawmills up to the 1860s. Sawing was usually concentrated in the spring season, with its abundance of light and water. At the 1799 review, the Jämsänkoski sawmill was granted a sawing period of 8 weeks.

The combined sawing output of the two gangs was 48 logs per day. At the inspection carried out five years later, the sawmill was recorded as having two gangs, each with five thin blades. Later the sawing capacity was improved by installing gears and increasing the number of blades. In 1878, the number of logs sawn had reached 21,000. Jämsänkoski såg och qvarnverksaktionbolag was known locally as the Lihjala sawmill. According to tradition, the name came from the noise of the sawmill and the sawing method.

Sawmill building

The four-storey timber sawmill building was about 15 metres long and 8 metres wide. The basement housed the sawmill water-wheel, into which water was led along a wooden trough 40 metres long and about 4 metres wide. The first floor held the guide and control levers. The actual sawmill hall was on the second floor. In the early days of operation, the saw frames were attached without gearing direct to the water-wheel axle using saw cranks.

The Jämsänkoski sawmill continued to operate after the pulp mill was built. Sawmill building second from left. The picture was taken before the year 1895.In 1887, the sawmill was sold to the owners of the Jämsänkoski pulp mill. At the time of building the factory, the sawmill machinery was also updated. The wooden water-wheel was replaced by a 150 horsepower iron turbine, which provided the power for the sawmill and the factory. At that time, a good half of Finland’s water-powered sawmills still relied on water-wheels. The sawmill continued to operate after the pulp mill was built. In 1889, the sawmill operated for 10 months and its output was 1800 standards (1 std = 4,67 cubic metres). There were 36 employees. The sawmill was destroyed at the pulp mill fire in 1896.