Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 1
   September 2009
 
   Hope Mill Restoration
 

Sawing logs at the restored Hope Mill
Sawing logs at the restored Hope Mill.

Hope Mill is a water-powered sawmill on the Indian River near Peterborough, Ontario. Built around 1835, it was originally a carding and fulling mill, but also served as a grist and shingle mill.

In 1892, an appendage was added to the side of the building for a large circular saw to cut logs, and two new water-driven turbines were added for power. The main building housed a wood lathe, a sticker (a four-sided planer that produces tongue-and-groove joints), a power-fed rip saw, a bandsaw, a planer and equipment used to sharpen saw blades. There was a forge in one corner.

Jack Hope operated the commercial mill until 1966, when he sold the property to the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority (ORCA). With volunteer help and government funding, it was converted into a demonstration sawmill for educational purposes. The second floor, originally living quarters for the miller's family, was converted into a museum to display antique woodworking tools. The conservation authority used the mill to build picnic tables and other items for its various conservation and campground properties.

In the early 1990s, after government funding was cut, ORCA could no longer afford to operate the facility or make repairs, so the site was closed. Vandals and raccoons took over the premises. The antique tools were moved to the Peterborough Centennial Museum & Archives for safekeeping.
 
 
             
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