Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Elevator Chute Wood

Inside the wooden elevators, chutes made of fir wood were used to transfer grain from the bins into different parts of the building. Over the years, trillions of kernels would run over the wood, and begin to wear away the softer sections of the chute, leaving the harder material behind.

When these chutes were worn out, they were replaced, and were usually thrown away, since the wood was considered useless.

When wooden elevators were being torn down, some people noticed this used wood, and found, when varnished, discovered the natural beauty of this material.

My dad has used some of the wood from the Delia's UGG (later Agricore-United) elevator back in 2000 when the chutes were being changed. However, the elevator was torn down in 2002, so these clocks and pictures frames are all that are left of that elevator.

This clock shows the grooves that the grain cut into the wood over a period of years. (In fact, one of my cousins asked my dad how in the hell did he get those grooves into that clock. He was quite surprised how grain could do that).

You can see the grooves in this closup.

This clock was made out a piece of chute wood that was made of harder material, but you can clearly see two large knots(which is harder than the rest of the wood).

This frame (held by myself) has pictures are Delia's three elevators taken around 2000.

• Top Photo: (Pioneer, Agricore-United (ex UGG), Green Agricore-United (ex Alberta Wheat Pool)
• Second photo: Green Agricore-United (Burned down in 2001),
• Third photo: White Agricore-United (Torn down in 2002)
• Bottom Photo: Pioneer (now privately owned and painted John Deere Green and Yellow)

Here are some closeup shots of the above frame. You can see the grain quite clearly, and a large knot.

This picture is a 1000 piece puzzle we found at my uncles in Rockyford. The image is of the three elevators which used to in Munson, Alberta (about 12 miles west of our old farm). It was made by the Copp Clark Puzzle company Ltd. (517 Wellington St. W, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1G1) , but we haven't been able to find out who took the picture or when it was taken. It is the only puzzle of these elevators I have seen which makes it a real rarity.

These closeups show the finer detail in the frame

These pictures show some pieces we have left of the chutes from the Agricore-United (ex UGG) elevator in Delia. You can see that the wood has been quite worn down over the years.

Here is a piece of plywood which shows a lot of wear and tear. You can see which areas have been worn down.

Sadly, this wood is becoming rarer and harder to find. Elevator companies destroyed the elevators, and refused to allow people to salvage the wood. Instead, they either burned or buried the remains, wasting thousands of tons of lumber. These pieces of artwork are all that remains of these vanishing grain sentinels of Alberta.