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Photos Folding Saw Machine Co., #2 Folding Saw Machine

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by ithinkverydeeply, May 20, 2019.

  1. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    736
    Dec 17, 2018
    [​IMG]
    I put assembled my Folding Saw Machine and I’ll cobble together the information I get for it in this thread:

    The founder Marvin O. Smith was the inventor of the saw and ran the company from 1882(early 1880’s) until his death around 1890. His widow continued to run the company until 1904 and it ceased to appear in the Chicago company listings. However the company continued to produce saws until as late as 1942.

    The one that I acquired is the #2. (the larger of the two machines) It has a 6.5 foot champion tooth blade and the additional Combined Pressure and Saw Guide.
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    “Do Not Step. Stand In Position Shown On Main Board.”
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    I was lucky enough to get a real exceptional example. I am not aware of another with the labels in such good condition. The words for the instructions are all there and 100% legible! It even has the original shipping label on it.
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    There is a logging museum with one of these that didn’t have labels and actually made copies of the labels on this one to reproduce facsimiles for their machine.
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    The Blade has the Atkins Always Ahead AAA etching on one side and the Folding Saw Machine Co. Etching on the other.
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    With my current understanding I’d guess mine to be fairly early in the 20th century, maybe 1902-20 range or shortly after. Because the it includes the Combined Pressure And Saw Guide that was patented in 1902 and apparently sold as an add on for older saw or an addition for newer ones. However mine shows the guide on the decal so it must have been at least 1902..
    But it does not have the carrying handle that later ones had and was not painted red like even later ones still.

    [​IMG]
    Thanks for your interest!
    (I know some of this was redundant but I have a lot more documentation and a catalog that will be forthcoming.)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
    cbr1000, FOG2, Moonw and 17 others like this.
  2. Dusty One

    Dusty One Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 12, 2004
    Pretty Cool !
     
    Yankee Josh and ithinkverydeeply like this.
  3. Bradenk1987

    Bradenk1987 Basic Member Basic Member

    184
    Nov 11, 2013
    That is a museum worthy piece! Nice score.
     
    Moonw, muleman77, Agent_H and 3 others like this.
  4. Yankee Josh

    Yankee Josh Gold Member Gold Member

    984
    Mar 31, 2018
    What an awesome old tool. You're right, the paper labels being all there and intact must make it one of a kind. It's an enviable piece that's for sure. Thanks for sharing it with us!
     
  5. popedandy

    popedandy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Pretty amazing piece of equipment!
     
  6. muleman77

    muleman77

    410
    Jan 24, 2015
    That thing really belongs in a museum. Since it's not, you might be the next best thing. I'm glad it's in good hands!
     
    Nbrackett, Fmont, A17 and 4 others like this.
  7. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    736
    Dec 17, 2018
    A bunch of misc literature I compiled on it:
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    Maybe 1897(?) catalog showing the new feature, the clamp to hold wood in place.
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    Here is a link to the PDF of the 1917 catalog. It has all sorts of cool info, prices, their saw tools, etc.
    http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/1002/6896.pdf

    A few pages it includes:
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    Here is one of their saw tool sets
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    The tone of this 1907 letter they wrote is very scolding and snooty. It’s interesting.
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    1919 letter saying they will sell their machines at a loss
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    1919 brochure
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    Last edited: May 20, 2019
    Agent_H, Nbrackett, rjdankert and 4 others like this.
  8. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    736
    Dec 17, 2018
    1937 brochure, toward the end of production. (Still using many of the old catalog’s pictures)
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    Idk when but judging from the price it was late.($45, it was $15 in 1917) And it’s showing them as “Folding Saw Machine Works, A Division Of Prichardsons”
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    IDK when this was but the funny copy looks like it might have been venturing into the 1940s??
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    A lot of testimonials and written affidavits attesting to its claims:
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    Some of the competition for another human powered drag saw.
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    Well, If you have made it this far and their promotional literature has convinced you that you must have one, send me a pm. ;)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  9. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    We gotta see this thing run! Is there anything I can do to help you get it ready to saw? Sharpening? Other restoration?
    If it has frozen nuts and bolts then Kroil and patience are your best friends.
     
  10. LEGION 12

    LEGION 12 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    My sister lives right down the street from where those were made pretty cool .
     
    Miller '72, A17 and ithinkverydeeply like this.
  11. rjdankert

    rjdankert Gold Member Basic Member Gold Member

    Mar 10, 2011
  12. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    736
    Dec 17, 2018
    Thanks Bob! That was awesome! The #1 does look smaller in stature and his doesn’t have the forward guide/pressure bar either.
    I feel like his height could have been adjusted better and perhaps that was exacerbating the looping arc of the saw.
    (But he would know far better than I.)
     
    Agent_H, Fmont, A17 and 1 other person like this.
  13. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    736
    Dec 17, 2018
    This is the thing right. It could be put to wood right now and I wouldn’t mind testing it out despite my two big fears of messing up the etchings on the blade or the wooden saw guide breaking.

    But this really touches on the big question I have about it. What to do, if anything, to it?

    My original vision was that I would take apart every nut and bolt to steel wool surface rust, and oil the metal pieces with Hoppes gun oil, and the wood I would do a gentle surface cleaning just to get the dust and bug poop off then oil it with some BLO. (Save the large concern about the BLO seeping into the paper labels.)

    Now I really question whether I should oil anything at all and fear I have already done too much...
    Several people I have talked to about museum pieces say the same story. Someone has the antique like a gun from the 1800’s and thinks it’s worth tons of money and the reply is always the same exasperated and disappointed, “yeah but you cleaned it”.

    This poses an interesting dilemma to me. I typically look at antiques like 100 year old axes from the standpoint of being a good steward for this item. It has made it through the last 100 years but may not make it the next 100 years without some intervention. Whether it’s the wood getting so dried out that it cracks or the metal being consumed with rust scale.

    However I seriously question if I should do anything to this. There is beautiful wood under there that could be brought out! But I fear that BLO would so dramatically change the look of the wood that the best thing to do might be to leave it obscured under the years of dust.

    As a test I BLO’d an axe box the other night. Not the same wood but similar in age, dryness and color. It also had print similar to the saw‘s leg. This BLO did not serve the box well aesthetically. The wood might love the oil but it ruined the look.
    Although the black print is still there it is barely legible and the “Perfect” in red ink was totally obscured by the dark tone.
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    What do you guys think? The wood certainly benefitted from the oil but like my wife said “It used to look real, now it looks like it was from the Pottery Barn.”

    So now what I have already done to the saw bugs me. When reinstalling the clamps I rubbed them with oil taking off some surface rust leaving them shining and black in the photos. Later regretting having done this I sprayed them off with brake cleaner. Now dry again but clean relative to the surrounding pieces, and showing the original black paint again with newely relieved parts numbers.
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    Do I just stop and not oil anything? I had already touched some of the parts with a wd-40 pen to loosen up the threads and rollers but it’ll dry up.
    Or should I oil the metal? There are plenty of parts that would benefit from it, especially if the saw were to be used, it could stand some grease and oil on parts.
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    There is a coil spring under the pressure bar.
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    And lots of wood that would be thirsty for oil
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    ...and could potentially break.
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    Of particular concern is the vulnerability of the wooden saw guide that already has a crack.
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    But I’m at a bit of a loss right now...

    Some voices are like “It’s a museum piece and the only thing that should be done to it is to be looked at from a safe distance.”
    I kinda feel like if I am to sell it in the relatively near future I should do nothing at all to it except maybe get a new plastic shield for the stickers. But if I keep it for many years I should consider some oil? Maybe oil the metal only?
    IDK :confused:

    That doesn’t even get into whether the saw should be sharpened or not!?!?

    That being said I’m still all for giving it some gentle use.
     
    cbr1000, Agent_H, garry3 and 5 others like this.
  14. Yankee Josh

    Yankee Josh Gold Member Gold Member

    984
    Mar 31, 2018
    You do have a dilemma! My vote would be to not use it. At least not with that saw. Couldn't you reach out to a museum curator and ask a question or two? Not about restoration but preservation? Very respectable that you are acting so carefully.
    If it were mine I'd likely oil the metal parts but leave the wood alone. But what do I know!? Not much when it comes to such amazing pieces.
     
    A17, ithinkverydeeply and Fmont like this.
  15. Fmont

    Fmont Gold Member Gold Member

    587
    Apr 20, 2017
    That's a real conundrum. I think that if we don't have definitive answers for you on this board, it would be worthwhile to reach out to a curator who deals with Americana. If the rarity and value is that much of an unknown, I really would suggest not to settle for anything less than a definitive answer from an expert.

    Edited to add: I like the BLO on the axe box!! But I am a sucker for the look of oiled wood.
     
  16. junkenstien

    junkenstien

    723
    Feb 15, 2017
    If your gonna sell it i wouldnt do anymore to it.
     
    Miller '72 and ithinkverydeeply like this.
  17. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    I think of it like restoring a steam engine. You do it for the story it tells when running.

    But I'm assuming it doesn't have great value as a museum piece. You should check that. If it's not of great value I'd restore it. Think of the interest you could generate at fairs and lumber jack competitions!
     
    junkenstien, A17, Miller '72 and 3 others like this.
  18. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    As a display piece stored in a controlled environment I probably wouldn't oil.
    I have seen a few examples of that saw and a couple for sale. I might know where there is one for sale now I will check in a couple of weeks.
     
  19. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    736
    Dec 17, 2018
    They had a long production period and do come up with some regularity. There are a couple on eBay right now. An old #1 being offered up for $2500 but I’d imagine he’ll let it go for less.
    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/323403068925

    And a red one (late production from what I understand) for $500.
    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/233217786659

    And what I think is the 1889-90 catalog.
    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/123721488589

    Here are some of pictures of those and others I found:
    Does not have the additional pressure and guide bar.
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    That ad says it “folds up to no bigger than the blade”. But that’s not true. It is several feet longer than the blade when folded.(maybe no wider...?)
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    Check it out! A #2 with stickers and the remnants of a shipping label like mine.
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    This guy is doing it! Nice label and check out those axe handles. I think this is a #1, looks like they had a different label.
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    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  20. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    736
    Dec 17, 2018
    Hmmm...
    I thought mine was 100% complete but I do see something that is missing on that additional pressure and guide bar.
    This additional length of bar stock with a ring at the top to go through that loop on the carriage arm. I have no idea what it would do other than get in the way? (Evidenced by the bent one.) I don’t get it, would it help anchor the log?
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    This looks like a common thing, anyone know what it is or if I could get the same thing off an easier to find old timey tool?
     
    garry3 and Yankee Josh like this.

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