Drag Saw

Drag Saw

In the early twentieth century prior to the development of the chainsaw, the dragsaw was the powersaw in common use. It was mounted on a 6 to 8 foot frame, designed to sit with one end on the ground and the other up on the log. Dragsaws were usually equipped with "dogs" to hook them on the log and they used a 6 foot long blade. The teeth were designed to cut only on the drag stroke, hence the name. They were reciprocating saws which could be powered by a steam engine or, as in this example, by a gas engine. The early gas engines were heavy and not particularly reliable. This one has an external battery and two tanks, one for gas and one for water, which cooled the engine. These saws could not be used for felling trees and were too heavy to move around in the woods for bucking. They were most commonly used for cutting cordwood. Once they were set up, they would cut blocks from a large log and the operator could even split wood in between repositioning the saw to make its next cut. This particular dragsaw is a Ward Sawyer No. 5000, which is clearly stenciled on the frame. It was made for the Montgomery Ward mail order business. The blade also is clearly marked "Lakeside Montgomery Ward." It probably dates to the late 1920s or 1930s and was used by Joseph Veilleiux.