Ottawa fun


| February/March 1991



Ottawa Engine

12234 Harris, Carleton, Michigan 48117.

Oh my God! Is that for real? Looks dangerous. Would you look at that! Some people just stood there and shook their heads. These are just some of the things that people say and do when they see the Ottawa drag saw in operation. I even had one fellow accuse me of making it myself until I showed him that Ottawa book. He could not believe that a company would build that thing and sell it to people.

I am a member of two engine clubs: the newly formed Southeastern Michigan Antique Tractor and Engine Club, and the Early Engine Club of Henry Ford's Greenfield Village. Some of the people that come to our shows are not your typical engine show goers. For some of them it's their first time. So when they see an engine sitting there running, that is one thing. But when they see a drag saw in operation with everything moving back and forth, going around and shaking all over like a big wet dog, well, that is something else! Most of the grown-ups just look and do not believe what they see, but the little kids love it almost as much as the Saturday morning cartoons.

I bought this engine a couple of years ago from an ad placed in GEM. Lou Walker from Belding, Michigan, had the saw for sale. On a cold winter day a friend of mine, Skip Swim, and I decided to take a day and go to the west side of the state just to look around and get out of the house for a while. I gave Lou a call to let him know that we would be stopping in for a visit. The engine that I went out to look at was a Waterloo Boy, but I came home with the Ottawa instead. Isn't that the way things work in this hobby?

Lou had about a dozen engines I looked at. I really started thinking about the drag saw. When I was young, my brother and I would cut wood by hand and then buzz it up with our old John Deere B. I thought that he would get a real kick out of the Ottawa, so I decided to look it over real good. When we removed the cover from the water hopper, OH NO! It was full of water and frozen quite solid. We then decided to run the engine and check it over for any damage. Lou gassed it up and started spinning it over. It popped a few times. When it started, it ran a few times then backfired, ran backwards a few turns then backfired again and stalled. When this happened, something flew off the engine and hit the wall. We said, 'What was that?' We looked around and found that one of the ears from the bolt-on crankshaft counter weights had snapped off. We removed the counter weight, started and ran it until the water was hot. No damage was done.

Lou said it was the most complete drag saw he had ever seen. All the attachments came with it, the drag saw, buzz saw and the tree falling attachment. Then he pulled out an original copy of the Ottawa drag saw advertisement book complete with the original mailing envelope. That did it! I wanted the Ottawa. We settled on a fair price. He even threw in a crank handle I needed for one of my other engines. This made the deal even sweeter. We loaded everything and headed for home. It was well after dark when we arrived so I just left everything in the truck and unloaded it the next day after work.