My dad's model T buzz saw

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: My dad's model T buzz saw
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron Satzler (Illinois) on Friday, December 09, 2016 - 11:28 pm:

On Dec 7th, I posted a story about my dad’s feed grinder model T engine. Dad’s other running model T engine was used on his buzz saw. This post is about the buzz saw. I regret that in the early 80s before dad died that I did not have sufficient interest in his “junk” to quiz him about when and where he got these engines. Dad and mom were in their prime during the Great Depression in the 30s. It is reasonable to think that trees, buzz saws, and short sticks of wood to burn in the house during cold Kansas winters were critical for rural folks with little money to survive. It is likely that dad built the buzz saw sometime during the Great Depression: probably in the early 30s.

Dad married mom in 1927. They became tenant farmers soon after the Stock Market crash in 29. Eventually, they would rent and move to seven different small farms. Because of my age, I only remember the 6th and 7th farm. Farms generally had plenty of “nuisance” trees along creeks, roads, and ravines available for free wood heat. Like many other families during the Depression, both mom’s cook stove and the house stove used short sticks of wood.

As a 5 year old kid in 44, I remember dad’s buzz saw at the 6th rented farm we lived on but I do not remember the feed grinder on this farm. In the late 40s, we moved to our last farm and there I remember both the feed grinder and the buzz saw.

The buzz saw was mounted on a model T running gear and dad added a wagon tongue. It is likely that the struggling neighborhood furnished various “junk” parts for the buzz saw and dad used his skills to build the buzz saw out of these discarded parts. Those who furnished parts, and others, likely were happy to see the saw coming to their place and, in turn, they got their wood sawed by the model T buzz saw. This is typical of how people survived in the 30s: by helping each other. Government handouts were unthinkable for rural folks.

I remember on the 6th farm my older brother, Dean, and I worked one end of a cross cut saw out in the woods and dad worked the other end. Long lengths of dead wood would accumulate on the right side of the buzz saw parked up near the house. Dad would crank the old model T engine and start the saw blade. A job for me was to take hold of the end of the wood stick, about a foot away from the spinning blade, and throw it onto the pile of short sticks. Guards on machinery were rare but the log platform extended far enough that the cut stick would not fall to the ground. This helped prevent little me from being pulled into the blade. For the big diameter sticks, big brother would come around from his duties helping dad lift logs onto the saw platform and put the big sticks into a pile to be split.

Dad had put a governor, shown in white, on this model T engine and it would lay into any size log that needed cut. Somewhere it got an Essex radiator. This engine would easily start using the mag post. The grinder engine needed a battery. I remember dad cussing some farm engines that would not start but I never heard him cuss the model T saw engine. It was a good engine. It was last started about 1982 after setting about 25 years. It never smoked. Even though not run during the last 34 years, it probably is still a good engine. It’s loose and the carb bowl seems solid. It is ready for its 3rd life.

The person in the picture is my younger brother, Carl. He is the caretaker of both engines.

application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.documentDad's buzz saw
buzz saw.docx (193.8 k)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Saturday, December 10, 2016 - 09:08 am:

Thank you for the pictures and story!!When i was a kid i threw away,and later i ran the table on our saw's.We always used tractor power and the person throwing away handled all the wood the crew brought!! Everyone used a 30" saw but i allways wanted a 36 because you did not need to turn the logs or slab as much! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron in Central Massachusetts on Saturday, December 10, 2016 - 09:29 am:

Let's see if I can't all of Ron Satzler's buzz saw pictures on one thread (a few folks on here have been quick to criticize the multiple threads, but no one seems to be trying to help the guy out):


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ron in Central Massachusetts on Saturday, December 10, 2016 - 09:34 am:

Ron Satzler - if you're having problems posting pictures in the future, shoot me an email (you have my address) and I'll try getting them up on here in one batch for you. We doodlebug guys have to stick together. ;)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Lynn on Saturday, December 10, 2016 - 07:01 pm:

Neat story, thank you for sharing.


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