Amazing Tools #2: the "dragsaw"

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 06-09-2009 11:44 AM 3282 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Palax Power100S Firewood Processor Part 2 of Amazing Tools series Part 3: Predator: V8 Chainsaw »

Most of the dragsaws I’ve managed to find online seem to be from years in the range of 1910 to 1920, and feature a mechanical movement similar to, but the reverse of a locomotive’s drive wheel and connecting rod. Instead of a steam-driven piston driving a circular wheel, an engine-driven wheel drives a reciprocating piston, which is attached to a large cross-cutting saw. There are all manner of models on YouTube in every state of restoration or disrepair, but I particularly like the following example. It shows the motion well, including the finishing stroke. Most other videos give up far before that. I think I need one of these, connected to an exercise bike ;)

This one in particular makes me feel the power that one of these things can hold, and I worry especially for the man’s legs and feet!

UPDATE: Don’t forget to check out the dragsaws littering Google Images Those things could buck some pretty big logs! Perhaps the most incredible thing about the following image is that the historical site whence it comes claims that the man pictured – one John Shambolt, c. 1917 – is using the dragsaw to turn that tree into stove wood! What a waste of such enormous lumber! Makes me long for a time when – and a place where – resources were functionally infinite. Of course, I’d miss the internet ;)

old-timey dragsaw with enormous felled tree and man

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

2 comments so far

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 4719 days

#1 posted 06-09-2009 02:33 PM

Okay Gary, I know what you’re doing watching all these videos. You are trying to find a way to cut up the lumber you’ve been hauling around in the back of your pickup. . So when will we see your homemade v8 powered dragsaw?

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23286 posts in 5011 days

#2 posted 06-09-2009 09:14 PM

I got a chuckle out of the operator wiping his brow as the saw did all the work :-)) I’m sure dropping the blade into the sod is good for it! wonder why he didn’t put a piece of wood there for it to drop on?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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