Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ken: Saws

How many saws does one man need?

If you've spent nearly a century working with wood, the answer is: Quite a few. In Ken's work shop, he keeps 11 handsaws in easy reach:There's at least one crosscut, rip, all-purpose, hack, fine-blade, coarse-blade, and bow saw plus a back saw that is nearly hidden. Then he needs a table saw and a variety blades:In the barn he keeps a buck saw (along with horse bridles, though he no longer keeps horses):another bow saw (along with a child's sled and some insulators):and spare blades (each blade having a different purpose):He has a couple of two-man saws:and a couple of spare blades. Of the two blades shown above, the deeper, rounder blade in back is for cross-cutting (the extra thickness makes it stiffer, less likely to bend) and the front blade is for tree-felling (less depth makes it easier to insert wedges behind the blade to prevent binding). Both blades are hybrids of peg-and-raker teeth (the single-point teeth in pairs or sets of four) and M teeth (the double-pointed teeth):There's a fascinating comparison of the two types of sawteeth (fascinating, I suppose, to a select few of us) at this Forest Service website.

Then finally, Ken has chainsaws. Somehow I failed to get a photo of one. Maybe next year.

After some 30 years in the construction trades, my body's worn out. Just looking at Ken's saw collection makes my vertebrae twinge and my shoulders ache. Yet, he started helping his dad in the lumber business at age 7 and retired, sort of, from most carpentry a couple of years ago at age 92. That's a working life of 85 years. And just this year, when a tree fell on a neighbor's property, who's the first person she called? Yep. Ken Laundry:

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