Government Saw Mill Chatham
How to reach
- Chatham Saw Mill is connected to Port Blair through a bridge.
- It is about 6km from Port Blair Bus termius /STS bus stand/aberdeen bazaar.
- Regular bus service is available from STS bus stand/aberdeen bazaar to chatham
Visit Timing and Entry Fee
Entry Fee: Rs 10 per person
Closed on industrial holiday and sunday.
Chatham Island Main Attractions
- This Chatham Saw Mill is one of the Asia’s largest and oldest Saw Mill and it is also known as Goverment saw Mill
- There is a Souvenir Shop inside the Chtaham Saw Mill
- There is a also a Forests Museum inside the compund of the Chtaham Saw Mill
- Japannese bunker behind the saw mill.
- A Bomb Pit created by bomb dropped during world war 2 in year 1942.
History of Chatham
Despatched to the Andaman Islands to assess their potential for the setting up of a port that could provide facilities to mercantile vessels in passage through the Bay of Bengal, and fortified refuge to the British navy in times of war, Lieutenant Archibald Blair (1752–1815) set sail for the Andamans from Calcutta on 20 December and reached the Andaman waters on 29 December 1788. In the three months he was there, he surveyed the west coast of Great Andaman, moving southwards from Interview Island to Port Campbell, and round MacPherson's Strait to the east coast.
Blair's report, with a precise hydrographic description of the coastline, a judicious assessment of the harbours, and a remarkably faithful account of the geophysical features of the island, carried a recommendation that the capacious harbour to the south-east of South Andaman would be the best site to locate a settlement; and so impressed were his superiors at Calcutta that within a space of three months, by September 1789, on a report dispatched on 9 June 1789, he found himself back in the Andamans, with the commission that he himself undertake the task of setting up the colony in the harbour of his choosing, and christen it Port Cornwallis. With him, on this expedition, were Lieutenant Colebrooke and Lieutenant Wales, and a detachment of about 200 mechanics, craftsmen, sepoys, and labourers.
Choosing as his site Chatham Island , a small island about 12 acres in area, set well within the harbour, connected to the main island by a causeway at low tide, and easy to defend against hostile tribals, Blair began by clearing the forest, planting grass on the hilltops and vegetables and fruits on the lower slopes, and erecting shelters for the men, storehouses for the equipment, and a hospital. The work was undertaken with such managerial skill—supplies and replenish-ments coming in from Penang and Calcutta, visits to the mainland being orga-nized for the settlers, and the autochthons being fended off with gifts, gestures of friendship and the minimum of force—that within a year, Blair was able to move on to constructing a wharf, laying a road from Phoenix Bay to Navy Bay, planning agriculture on the island's westerly side, and considering the possibilities of the timber trade. By 1791, the settlers were bringing in their families, and it seemed that the Andamanese had reconciled to their presence. At any rate, Blair seemed to have thought so, and wrote to Calcutta in 1792 to that effect. The most remarkable success of the new settlement in chatham Island lay in its relative freedom from ill-health.
Chatham Saw Mill
- The Chatham Island houses the Government Saw mill referred to as Chatham Saw mill.
- It was established in 1883 with the imported machines with the primary objective to meet local requirement of sawn timber.
- It finds a place among the big and famous sawmills in Asia with an installed capacity of sawintg 20,000 logs annually.
- The entire production of sawn timber in the mill is sold under the coverage of an administered price mechanism and is consumed locally.
- The mill has converted huge quantity of timber for catering to the requirements of Newyork,London and various other cities in the colonial period.
- The glorious crimson wall paneling of the Buckingham palace might surely be remainding her majesty, the Queen of England of Andaman Padauk.
- All type timber trees of the Islands like padauk wood ( native to andaman),Peauma, Gurjan or Satin wood are used as raw material in the Chatham Mill.
- It caters the need of local wood based industrial /furniture units in andaman.
Machine and Processess used in Chatham Saw Mill
- The RESAW
- -- Three resawing machine 42",48" and 54" are used in Mill.Resaw is a large bandsaw for cutting timber along the grain to reduce large sectiosn into smaller sections or veneers.Resawing veneers requires a wide blade with a small kerf(width of saw cut) to minimise the waste.The cuts run through the planks width , which distinguuishes from hearding where blade runs through log's thickness.
- 48 inch Band Re-Saw Machine
- -- This machine (Stenner) was manufactured in U.K. and installe dduring the yaer 1956-1957.It is used for Re-Sawing of slabs into smaller size.This is opearted by 40 HP motor and Saw Blade of 125 MM(5'') width is used
- The Band Saw Mill
- -- Most of the machines in this mill are band saw mill .The band saw is named from its blade,a thin band of steel with teeth on one side taht is welded together to form a loop.the blade is suspended over two wheels.As the wheels rotate,the balde also rotates,creating a continuous cutting action.The blade is so thin taht it cut stock with a mninimum of effort and waste.This attribute makes it important in sawing costly timber.They are also the safest machine as there is no kick back.
- The Pendulum Cross Cut Saw
- -- This machine was designed and fabricated in the Mill Workshop and is issued for end trimming of sawn timber.It is operated by a 15 HP motor and run through flat belts.A circular saw blade of diameter upto 105 CM is used in this machine.
- The Trimmer Cross Cut Saw
- The Trimmer Cross Cut Saw cut at right angles to the garin.They are used to square the ends of lumber, reduce it to standard lengths and trim out some of the more serious defeects.Trim Saws are usually circular saws which are filed so that the top and front of alternate teeth are beveled in opposite directions.
- Grading Process
- At this point,the grading is done for assessing the quality of sawn timber.Some of the accepted norms are checked
- The cross section measurement should not exceed the permissible allowance and minimum length should be maintained.
- There should not be any carcks/ knot / split on the finished product,beyond certain limit ,which will adversely affect the consumer.
- More than 10% of the sap portions should not be there in the main products.
- Conversion of sawn fuel be acrried out judiciously.
- Saw Tensioning Process
- In the Tensioning Process, the interior area of the body of saw is streched by compressing the balde under a roller.This streching at the center of the balde creates tension at or naer the edges of the blade.Thus streching is the process used, but tension is the result.
- Tensioning is done for two primary reasons
- * To hold blade properly on the band wheels during the operation.
- ** It balances the forces in the balde and avoids uneven cutting due to heat careted during cutting.
- The blade is tensioned by running it through a streching machine a number of times based on the width of the saw.The highest pressure is used in the centre of the saw and succeeding lower pressure are used as rolling moves towards the outside edge of the blade.The tensioning occur is done on both sides of the blade.
Working Units of the Chatham Saw Mill
- Log depot unit separates the logs received through the sea from the andaman forests and feeds them into the saws of the mill.
- Mill unit cuts big long round logs into various shape and sizes as required.
- Timber Processing Unit does the seasoning and preservative treatment by soaking in solutions of boron salts to increase longevity of the sawn timber .
- Yard Unit manages the processed ,seasoned sawn timber as well as their sales in the islands.
- Other units are:
- Construction ,Mechanical and Electrical unit
- Dispensary to handle any unfortunate accident
The bomb pit
- In 1942, during the World War II, British heavly bombed andaman island to get control back from japanese occupation.Chatham saw mill has also damged due to thsi/
- A half hemisperical bomb pit was created during the World War II by bomb is still there during the World War 2 .A canopy walk is made over the pt to see it properly.
- The Forest Museum was established in September 2006 by the Department of Environment & Forests.
- The museum exhibits many pictures of historical importance to andaman.
- The museum has wall hanging pics of illustrating the working of the Andaman Forest Department
- Souvenirs products and various handicrafts made up of timber are on display here.
- Many handicrafts items like ganesha idol,balancing doll.jeep made up wood, wood utensils,stools made with padauk wood (only found in andaman),Peauma, Gurjan or Satin wood with imaculate polishing, intricate carving, design ,artisanship,and skilled workmanship are depicted here.