DRAG SAWS

What kind do I have?

Before the development of chain saws, drag saws were used for both felling trees and for cutting the fallen trunks into usable lengths.  The first ones, probably in the 1890's, were large heavy units built on large skids using a large stationary engine as the power source. There was a built in winch which would drag the saw along the length of a large log to each cutting station.  As time progressed the engines that powered the saws became lighter in weight which allowed them to become somewhat portable.  Various manufacturers would use one of their existing double flywheel engine designs mounted on a frame with the appropriate mechanism to operate the saw blade.  The engines themselves were sometimes modified somewhat with changes in water hopper design, removal of one flywheel, etc.  Most of these type of saws were likely manufactured in the 1920's and 1930's with development having started before 1910.  At about the same time small two stroke engines were being developed to power drag saws.  This made for much smaller and lighter portable saw units that could be handled by one person. Manufacture of these smaller saws did start as early as 1909 and probably continued into the late 1940's or early 1950's.  The images below show these 3 basic types.

Most of the information and pictures on this and the following pages has been supplied to me by Chris Jerue.  He is a young man that lives in Washington State and has a large personal collection of drag saws and literature relating to them.  He is very much involved in researching and preserving the history of these interesting machines that were crucial to the early logging industry.  Chris has complete drag saws and parts for most makes, and decals for Wade, Multnomah, and Harsch built Vaughan available.  Chris can be reached at:

 

Click here to see more about this type of saw.
 

 

 

Since there were quite a few manufacturers of the smaller two stroke cycle drag saws the following information is given to help show both the differences and similarities of the more common units.  It is difficult to sort some of this information out due the fact that several different names might end up on saws from one manufacturer for marketing reasons.  Below are links to different pages with pictures to show the specific details of each make of saw.

Click on the picture for that maker's page.

Vaughan:

 

Multnomah:

 

R. M. Wade:

Wade, Ward Sawyer

Wolf Iron Works:

Timberwolf, Ward Sawyer

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Updated: 04/14/2008

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