Saturday, July 14, 2012

Living History: Two Man Saw Activity at the Farmers Market, July 15, 9AM -2PM

 Two Man Saws

The two-man saw is not that remote from our lives; there were still many in use as late as the early 1960s when the gasoline powered chainsaw all but supplanted it for the purpose of sawing down and cutting up trees. Even as the chainsaw became an option, the two man saw continued to serve as either a cheaper or lighter piece of equipment to carry into the woods for felling trees and processing them. Chainsaws were often large and heavy in the beginning, so they were often relegated to commercial use in while the humble farmer continued to use the two man saw and bow saw.
 saw vise

The two-man saw usually had composite handles that would tighten with a clockwise turn. The examples will will be using at the Farmers' Market have handles made of metal and wood. There is an eyelet that the blade fits through; the handle tightens snugly against the blade when tightened. 

Two man saw blades had a number of configurations. Particular blade sets were intended for either soft woods or hardwoods. We have a selection of seasoned walnut, a cherry that was felled a month ago, and some freshly cut ash logs 5-inches in diameter for our demonstration ( Complements of New York Heartwoods of Warwick, NY). These different varieties of wood will require different levels of effort to saw.

 Set tool

One of the saws we will use, depicted above, has oblong narrow teeth that have never been offset. To maintain the other saw a special tool, a set tool, was used to bend teeth so that the bite of the saw could be widened. One tooth would be bent  while the next was bent out and so on. The saw was held, or clamped in place, for the purpose of maintenance by a saw vise that was mounted to a bench.   
These saws have been cleaned of surface rust and oiled; this was always a part of the maintenance routine. A flat file was employed to maintain the saw teeth edges; the file was run down each tooth in one direction. The whole set of teeth would have to be periodically “tuned up’, or sharpened, with the file.

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