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Matt Harvey 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. 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 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:

Matt gives a command for the horses to start and his obedient horses start to move when the log cut 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,which 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