RESTORATION OF A Wade One Man Drag Saw


| August/September 1997

  • Wade one man drag saw

  • Pitman rod bearing
    Figure 8b. Pitman rod bearing with babbitt poured. Egg shape of bearing shell indicates use of saw with worn bearing.
  • Pitman rod bearing halves
    Figure 8c. Pitman rod bearing halves after boring.
  • Cross head saw holder
    Figure 9. Cross head saw holder mounted on glide rods. Note old welds on this part.
  • Left view of dragsaw
    Figure 10. Left view of drag saw showing fuel tank, engine and jack shaft sprocket.
  • Timer case, points and cam'
    Figure 2. Timer case, points and cam.
  • Crankshaft and babbitt main bearings
    Figure 1. Crankshaft and babbitt main bearings centered in lathe to cut pivot for timer case onto the left main bearing.
  • Fuel tank
    Figure 5. Fuel tank with rusted parts cut out before new bottom was soldered on.
  • Fuel tank and radiator tank
    Figure 5. Fuel tank and radiator tank after repairs.
  • Male taper, nut and key'

  • Left side of engine
    Figure 4: Left side of engine showing timing lever, timer case, points and cam.
  • Pitman rod bearing
    Figure 8a. Pitman rod bearing prior to pouring babbitt. Note shim stock separating bearing shell halves.
  • Jack shaft sprocket and crank
    Figure 7. Jack shaft sprocket and crank. Note that they are welded together.

  • Wade one man drag saw
  • Pitman rod bearing
  • Pitman rod bearing halves
  • Cross head saw holder
  • Left view of dragsaw
  • Timer case, points and cam'
  • Crankshaft and babbitt main bearings
  • Fuel tank
  • Fuel tank and radiator tank
  • Male taper, nut and key'
  • Left side of engine
  • Pitman rod bearing
  • Jack shaft sprocket and crank

3666 Millbrook Terrace, Salt Lake City, Utah 84106

Sometime in the early 1980s while visiting my sister Jane and her husband Jon in northern California, I asked Jon if he knew of any one-cylinder engines in the community. To my surprise he indicated he had one, or parts of one, in his 'bone yard.' When we looked at his machine I saw a small single flywheel engine powering, via a chain drive, a bull wheel and a pitman arm which in turn drove a reciprocating saw holder. All of this was mounted on a badly rotted wooden frame. Jon and I discussed how the machine might have operated and left it as we found it. On another trip in 1990 I asked Jon if I could borrow the outfit for restoration purposes, and he consented. I transferred the saw outfit from his bone yard to mine, suffering only a few detached rotted wooden parts in transit to Utah. In early 1991 Jon sent me a photo copy of an advertisement in a September 30, 1920, edition of the Plumas National Bulletin clearly identifying his machine as a Wade one man drag saw.

Engine Disassembly

In 1992, between other projects, I began minor limbering up of the chain drive and pre-disassembly oiling of engine. The engine was stuck.

In 1993 I began disassembly in earnest. All accessible points were bathed with penetrating oil, and oil was injected past the piston and exhaust port with compressed air. The Wade Company's use of standard pipe threads at the spark plug, intake and exhaust ports greatly facilitate this process.



Although the compressed air system soon had oil moving past the piston, it remained stuck. I heated the piston and cylinder. Overheating resulted in melting of the babbitt main and connecting rod bearings, but some piston movement was gained. I removed the crankshaft and flywheel from the connecting rod and made an attempt to pull the piston from the cylinder by mounting a slide hammer on the connecting rod. The slide hammer distorted the badly rusted big end of the connecting rod. In retrospect the connecting rod was probably rusted beyond salvage.

I finally tapped the piston out of the cylinder by inserting a brass rod through the spark plug hole (this is a headless engine). This tapping produced a minor chip on the upper end of the piston, but I now had a pile of freed parts rather than a frozen hulk!

Ron
3/12/2016 12:58:02 AM

Operating one of these saws can be a terrifying experience. There are a lot of moving parts with no guards. That being said, it's a real kick in the butt. Cut up a 4 ft dia Fir log and had the whole neighbor hood there watching and helping.


BobT
9/6/2015 12:55:02 PM

Turns out that I owe the author an apology. Wade made different versions over the years and some did have a left hand thread. I strongly suggest each owner confirm the thread direction before working on the saw. Sorry for creating additional confusion over this. Bob


BobT
9/3/2015 3:41:59 AM

The author says the crankshaft is threaded with left hand threads on both the flywheel and sprocket ends. The crankshaft is threaded with conventional right hand threads. The crankshaft or flywheel could be damaged if someone tries to remove the flywheel by following the information here and forcing it the wrong direction. I know this article is 15 years old but the text should be changed to reflect the correct thread direction.