The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Curtis Starr
Phillips County News 

Real Horsepower

Vintage Saw To Work Once Again At Saco Fun Days


PCN Photo

In modern times it’s been replaced by the roar of the chain saw, but Terry Korman tests out a restored cross-cut saw dating back to the 1850s powered by a team of horses near his home northeast of Saco while his 92-year-old neighbor, Sid Simonsen, whose father once owned the saw, watches it operate. Simonsen said he never saw the machine powered by horses.

A touch of yesteryear will be on display at Saco Fun Days this year when Terry Korman, who lives near the Bjornberg bridge northeast of Saco, operates a restored cross-cut saw dating back to the 1850s, powered by a team of horses.

The demonstration will take place Saturday, Aug. 31, at approximately 1:30 p.m. just north of the Big Dome Hotel and will last for a half-an-hour.

“I don’t want to make the horses stand out there too long in this heat,” Korman said.

The saw originally belonged to Korman’s grandfather.

Ninety-two-year-old Sid Simonsen, Korman’s neighbor, said his father bought the saw from the Kormans and he remembers cutting a lot of firewood with it as a youngster. The saw was powered by a Model T engine.

“That’s all we did burn was wood,” Simonsen recalled.

“By golly, he’s sure got it working good,” Simonsen said as he watched Korman test out the saw on a recent morning using a team of horses for power.

Simonsen gave the saw back to Korman several years ago thinking he might like to restore it.

Korman said he restored the saw in 2000 but only in the past couple of years set about restoring the horse-powered drive.

“I never did see a team work on one of these and I always wanted to,” Korman said.”It’s been a lot of work, but I wanted to see it done.”

He used an old seed grinder with a power take-off shaft to create the drive.

Korman gives Randy Shores of Randy’s Machine Shop in Malta a lot of credit for assisting in the project.

“The shafts were all froze up and Randy had to cut them out and make new ones.”

Korman restored the frames on which the saw and drive sit using white oak from Wisconsin.

“There was enough of it left we could tell pretty much how it went,” he said.

Korman said, “It’s been kind of a community-affair deal. Everyone is helping with it.”

Pat Olson supplied the team of horses for the test drive, so to speak, last week and will do so again for the demonstration. Others were on hand to help out as well.

“It’s a pretty smooth running old saw,” Korman observed as he put the saw through its paces cutting up an old telephone pole.

One lever allows him to raise the saw blade high enough to accommodate a log several times bigger than the telephone pole.

A second lever controls a set of gears which allows the log being cut to be moved forward each time a segment is cut.

Korman said he has demonstrated the saw itself twice in the past in Saco and once in Hinsdale using Simonsen’s old Model T engine for power.

The upcoming demonstration will be the first using horses.

Korman said he had people comment to him after hearing about previous demonstrations that they wish they’d have known about them so they could have been there.

He’s hoping advance notice of the demonstration planned at Saco Fun Days will give everyone who wants to see a bit of history in action the chance to be there.

“It’s a lot of work,” he said.


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