Plywood Mill
Springfield, Oregon

Memoir by
Wilfred R. Franson
May 1999

At the mill with plywood

I took a break from the Eugene Post Office for a few months in 1951 when I worked at the plywood mill in Springfield. I worked on the green chain, where the big, wet slices of wood came down a conveyor and had to be pulled off and stacked neatly on pallets. The "sap" wood had to be separated from the "clear" wood, and now I don't even remember what the difference was or why they wanted them separated. The job was tedious and back-breaking.

One day when the green chain was shut down I was put to work on the dryer, a long machine with several tiers of rollers which took the wet sheets of wood and dried them. The soggy sheets had to be picked up and expertly flipped so they would go between the rollers, and at first I missed the rollers frequently. I got the hang of it finally, and could casually flip a limp 4 x 8 sheet easily and accurately between the rollers.

Another job I had there was patching holes, such as knotholes, cuts, etc. in the single plies before they were glued together. The patches were all the same, so I just located the defects, punched out the identical slices about half as long as a banana but wider, applied the patches with glue, and then put them in a heater to dry.

After a few months in the plywood mill I thought about it and decided to go back to the Post Office.


© 1999 Wilfred R. Franson

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