Pit saw with cranked handles?

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Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby Brian Williamson » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:23 pm

Does anyone have any thoughts about this? An apparently bog-standard pit saw, but with the handles rotated through 90degrees and cranked out of line,

Asaw1.jpg
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Asaw2.jpg
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The lower photo shows the degree out of line (about 3") quite well. It's the lower handle without the wooden tee-piece.

Both handles appear to be purpose made although not quite an exact match. The through fixing at the blade is marginally different.

The question is, why would any one be wanting to work out of the line of the blade? Whatever the reason, it follows that you would need to rotate the handles so that they didn't clash with whatever it was that you were trying to avoid.

Was it set up to rip down something that was already in place and to close too something else?

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Last edited by Brian Williamson on Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby anobium » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:09 pm

I believe this is a hay cutter, it might have been a saw originally but has been modified. I see these quite often in junk sales in France where they are known as ' coupe foin '.
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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby Brian Williamson » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:40 pm

That perplexes me more than discovering the saw originally! Can you explain how they were used? I would have though that six feet of rip saw teeth would have been very hard to pull through a hay rick, and that most hay ricks were a lot wider than six foot.

I'm familiar with hay/silage-knives in this country. They're shortish blades around two feet long and ten or twelve inches wide but with a sharp edge.

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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby anobium » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:43 pm

You may well be correct, the length of the blade was not apparent from your photo.
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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby Brian Williamson » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:48 pm

Sorry, I have just shown the two ends with the top and bottom handles attached, There is approximately six feet of conventionally toothed pit saw between them.

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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby gavin » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:25 am

The lower handle of a pit saw is called a ' box' . Imagine a wooden rolling pin wedged on the blade and you have the idea. A lower metal handle is not used by pit sawyers.
Image
The wedge is normally put in from the bottom - this one is wedged from the top.
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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby HughSpencer » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:57 pm

I think the coupe foin is probably the best answer.
Why would you want to have the handle offset? Perhaps because you don't want to fall off the edge of the stack you are trimming?
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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby Brian Williamson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:31 pm

Here are a couple more photos that show the saw a bit better.

This shows the saw full length (about six foot in total):

DSCN0457.JPG
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This second shows the offset of the handle (just over three inches):

DSCN0458.JPG
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The teeth are very conventionally ripsaw in profile. They do, though, have a slight secondary bevel that means that they come to a point (rather like a crosscut) as opposed to a chisel edge. I'm inclined (in my ignorance) to believe that this is simply faulty sharpening as I don't think that the saw could work as either a rip or a crosscut in wood. But it might in some other material ( I might have to believe in hay yet, but I still feel that a 'saw' would need to slice - that is, the edges would need to be sharp, not just the tips - if it were to work there).

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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby mstibs » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:56 am

I could imagine, that it's a specialized design to cut logs (e.g. construction beams) flush with a surface.
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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby emjay » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:24 pm

I'll go with mstibs, It must be designed to be used close to a wall or some such face. Instead of facing the direction of cut, the sawyer will be standing at right angle to it and the crank will give clearance for his hand against the wall.
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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby jrccaim » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:37 am

Ooh, a puzzle. Love puzzles. Might indeed be a hay-cutter. Assume a haystack. You want to cut off a piece of it to feed the cows. You happen to have a pitsaw. You have at it with the pitsaw. But the straight handles are a nuisance. The handles hit the haystack, and you can't get close to it. So you go to your handy farm forge and crank the handles. Now the handles do not get in the way. But why would you do this? Practice was to let the cows do the cutting themselves! Maybe there was snow and the cows couldn't get at the haystack :) On the other hand mstibs may be right, and you are cutting slabs from a log. Just the ticket for a pitsaw. But alas you do not have a pit! So once again the handles get in the way and you crank them. I find this explanation a little less likely (but not out of the question). It is very hard to use a pitsaw without a pit. Impossible almost, the things are two meters long. Almost for sure it started life as a pitsaw. Then the handles were offset for some reason. Maybe even they were trying to convert the pitsaw into a crosscut. I find this explanation even less credible than the foregoing ones. Have to think some more about this one. Thanks for posting Brian.
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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby 81stBRAT » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:51 pm

Hay cutter very unlikely, how would you srart the cut hay stacks in these parts were 25 ft oblongs 20 ft high. A hay knife is pushed verticaly in the hay cutting a square shape out prong that on your back and down the ladder. Bales made life for stockmen that much easier.
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Re: Pit saw with cranked handles?

Postby chipsrod » Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:31 am

could not be used for hay teeth to small wrong tooth prolfile to thin of a blade and blade to long.i never used one but have cut hay by hand but we stored it in a barn. i have seen two hay saws this week and no way would that thing work.
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