Lamson & Goodnow

Business had been solid, but growth was flat, so Lamson & Goodnow Cutlery started looking for new opportunities. It was that trip to San Francisco to please his wife that gave Lamson the unexpected reward. He was hoping for a little rest and relaxation, but instead found much more. He found an untapped market of endless bounds; so many people and so few good knives. He wanted to outfit every west coast fisherman, logger and the many cooks with his knives, axes and other tools. Once home, it did not take long for the partners to make the decision to set up shop out west. In order to move quickly, they decided to re-use the existing factory plan, modified to meet the needs of the western local. This not only saved 6-12 months of design/build time, but also allowed them to move a few key experienced workers west, workers who were already very familiar with the existing manufacturing process and layout. The perfect site was found in the foothills, on a river just outside a small town. Here there was a natural dam that with minimal improvements could provide the hard to find power source to move the main mill turbines. But, the terrain was still a challenge. Flat land on which to build just did not exist, at least not in a simple spread like the existing eastern plant. Then one evening while talking and jotting notes on a bar napkin, that problem was solved and within months the new factory was shipping their first blades. Come and enjoy a tour of Lamson & Goodnow Cutlerys - Western Mill.

All photos and comments by Gregg Wenzl

Building on the cliffs on both sides of a gorge had its challenges.

The main mill, wood shop and office buildings were not far away as the crow flies, but that river gorge had to be crossed, which was easy enough to do with a simple bridge.

The elevation changes were managed by having the walkways connect via different floors of adjacent buildings. The mild climates here allowed for outdoor walking, so the old enclosed breezeways were replaced with view friendly covered walkways. That old curved breezeway that caused design and maintenance problems was eliminated, being replaced with a simple bend.

The main office was built per plans, but the geology does not allow for basements here out west. A boardwalk with covered awning were added which allowed the order and invoice workers to comfortably step outside for a breath of fresh air.

Brick was easy to come by, but those slate roof tiles had to be replaced with the wood shakes common out west.

At the top of the hill is the main mill metal shop, which needed water to power the turbines for the metal grinding and finishing machinery.

The wood shop is where the handles are fit and finished. A loading dock was added to address rail shipping needs.

Decking was added on the back of the wood shop. Here the workers can take a break and enjoy lunch with a great view of the falls.

This build was about using elevations to better leverage all the fine elements of a great kit, which for some reason is seldom built. The standard kit layout is tight, thus one cannot truly see the various structures and details. Using a western river gorge setting allowed each structure to be placed at different heights and be better showcased.

The natural spread of this western setting gave the extra separation needed to strengthen the scenes even more.

Jim Lucas and I ( Gregg Wenzl ) hope our efforts encourage others to dive into those South River Modelworks L&G red boxes and create your own version of this under-appreciated kit.

My detailing is not yet finished, but I look forward to completing and placing this L&G mill on my layout
We hope you enjoy this build as much as we do.



All photos and comments by Gregg Wenzl