© Bruce Evans
Type of Equipment:
Louisiana Pacific, Covelo, CA
Roots of Motive Power
Before the arrival of the forklift at North Coast sawmills the process of drying redwood and pine lumber involved lots of hand labor, placing lumber on stickers to air dry in square stacks up to 20 feet in height. The Helke stacker and many home-built versions thereof were designed to elevate the lumber from ground level to the top of the lumber stacks and also to aid when the stacks were broken down for the next step in the lumber finishing operation. A ground crew placed boards in the lugs of the elevating chain. The boards passed over the top of the frame and were removed by the sticking crew on the opposite side of the stacker. When the lumber was dry the stack was dismantled in a reverse operation.
This stacker came from the Louisiana Pacific sawmill in Covelo and dated from the old Crawford Lumber Company, which had operations throughout Mendocino County, including Covelo, Longvale, Ukiah and Potter Valley. Bill Windes and Theron Brown of Louisiana Pacific Corporation made arrangements for the donation of the stacker to Roots of Motive Power in 1998.