[Homestead] Old tecnology and some books on it---horse-powered drag saw

tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Fri Feb 11 15:45:08 EST 2005


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Matt Harvey 
<http://my.execpc.com/%7enostberg/other_stuff/horse_saw/matt.mpg> of 
Campbellsport, Wisconsin,U.S.A. Restored a horse powered drag saw 
having only the iron components and some badly decayed remnants of the 
wooden frame 
<http://my.execpc.com/%7enostberg/other_stuff/horse_saw/beam.jpg>. The 
restoration involved about a month and a half of spare time work. The 
timber frame was sawed on his saw mill that he also built. The horses 
<http://my.execpc.com/%7enostberg/other_stuff/horse_saw/horses.mpg> in 
the image are Matt's , they are the same ones used to pull the logs out 
of my woods as shown in the wood getting section of my guitar 
construction site. In the future he will power the drag saw with oxen he 
is raising. The oxen have grown to full size and he will soon make a 
full sized yoke for them. He made smaller sized yokes for them to start 
their training early. There is no date on any of the iron components. I 
would give an estimated date for the drag saw of circa 1900.

The sawing process is as follows:

gives a command for the horses to start and his obedient horses start to 
move when the log cut 
<http://my.execpc.com/%7enostberg/other_stuff/horse_saw/drag_saw.mpg> is 
made Matt gives the command to stop and the horses stand still. Matt has 
trained these horses well and in training uses no harsh treatment. 
Sometimes the horses were slow to respond as it was a hot day 91f,+33c. 
The man on the platform would give them a tap on the fanny with a stick 
and they would start.

Matt and his wife Eva and daughter Hannah demonstrate at many events in 
their area. Matt is 37 years of age and is a good 
fiddler,blacksmith,woodworker etc. and makes objects for area living 
museums and historic sites.

The function of the drag saw is as follows, the horses rotate a large 
round horizontal gear 
which powers a small gear that rotates a drive_shaft 
rotates a pitman that moves the beam which has the saw attached at the 
end opposite the pitman. The carriage 
that the log is placed upon and chained to, can be advanced to feed the 
log towards the saw. Study the images and the process will be easily 
under stood. The method of the function of this type of saw has its 
origin in Europe and have great antiquity. For some reading about old 
technology I recommend you read -DE REY METALLICA by Georgius Agricola, 
1556, translated by Hoover and Hoover and reprinted by Dover 
Publications of New York,U.S.A. and The two volume series -A Diderot 
Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry by Dennis Diderot 
,1751,52, reprinted by Dover Publications of New York, U.S.A.

I hope you enjoy these insights into the past.

Neil Östberg

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