The lumber heritage runs deep at Idaho Forest Group. Restoring and rebuilding steam engine saw mills is a testament to not only the humble beginnings of IFG, but also to one of the area’s most important industries. It’s a way to preserve a piece of history in an interactive, educational way.
A team of about 15 employees have taken training and classes so they can run the restored steam engines and steam-powered mills. All restoration work is also done in-house by IFG.
Thursday, August 25, 2016, Idaho Forest Group unveiled a completely restored and rebuilt steam powered sawmill at the North Idaho State Fair. This Frick sawmill is from the early 1900s, as well as the steam engine that powers it.
A 75 horsepower Case Steam tractor originally manufactured in 1912 powers the mill. It weighs in at 24,000 pounds. The steam engine’s history includes early use by Montana farmers for plowing fields. It was later utilized by various sawmills and then eventually acquired by Rocky Mountain College to teach sawmill engineering.