The racksaw is the largest saw at the sawmill and is used as the first stage of cutting trees brought in from the woods.
The racksaw is an example of an early type of saw bench. It was probably made locally as, unusually, it bears no maker’s name. It is similar to other benches made by John Brayley, millwright and machinist of Molland (including one supplied to Stoodleigh House, Tiverton in 1867).
It is possible that the bench was relocated to the mill, from Filleigh Sawmill, when the mill was refurbished by Garnish and Lemon in 1899/1900 or it might have been new at that time.
The Fortescue Estate Land Agent writing to Viscount Ebrington in December 1898 about the new plans for the mill said: “The saw could have either a rack bench or trolleys could be provided – in either case the logs would be rolled in from the timber yard above, through the big opening and after being converted would be taken to the carpenters shop, put into the lean to drying shed or stacked in the yard as required.”
He added “the plan as now worked out is very convenient – as convenient as any sawmill that he [Mr Lemon of Garnish and Lemon, Millwrights] knows of – in fact more so than most.”