Gas Engine Magazine

The Urban Ottawa

By Staff

3901 Heavenly Way, Louisville, Kentucky 40272

After reading all the exciting stories about engines which were
found deserted in the far north and midwest, that were lying in the
deserted mines and the old farmers’ barns, never did I think I
would be lucky enough to ever find an engine of my own. For you
see, I live in the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky.

I was having my house remodeled, when the workman noticed all my
engines. He asked me if I knew of anyone who bought them, as his
uncle had one for sale. I took the fellow’s name and number and
I figured he probably lived in the next state. I sure was surprised
when he told me he just lived ‘up a hollow’ only seven
miles behind my house!

When I drove to the barn where the engine was sitting, the
farmer told me that 47 years ago his dad and he were cutting wood,
and that his dad had a heart attack. They just covered the engine
with an old stock trough and forgot about it.

When we lifted the trough off the engine, was I surprised when I
saw an Ottawa 4 HP log saw with the limb saw attached to the rear!
Upon closer inspection, I found the head was badly busted and the
piston was stuck. Because the owner believed in using excessive
grease and oil, the whole unit was preserved very nicely. The
magneto and fuel mixer had even been covered with tar paper.

By this time I knew I had to have the Ottawa, if only I could
‘strike a deal’ with the farmer. As I was reaching for my
wallet, which contained several twenties and a blank check. I asked
him if he had a price in mind. He told me he would be well paid to
just see the engine restored to like-new condition, and also, see
it run again. Well, I must say I then made the world’s fastest
hand shake on record!

I immediately loaded the saw rig into my pickup and left for
home, where I stripped the engine down. I filled the cylinder with
penetrating oil for a week and then I drove the piston out the back
with an oak wedge, which I cut to fit the cylinder. The head had to
be sent to a machine shop to be welded, shaved and new valve guides
installed. The only other parts needed were two piston rings.

After cleaning the parts for painting, I decided to replace the
clutch with a matching flywheel. By cutting off the log saw
mounting bracket, the other flywheel fit snugly. I then hid the
tapered shaft with a belt pulley. Next came four coats of original
green paint.

I only had to make a few minor adjustments to get the Ottawa
running smoothly, then I loaded it up and returned to the
farmer’s house. I cannot remember what he said, but I will
never forget the smile on his face when I cranked the engine up. He
then told me he had been well paid and I knew that all the work I
had done on the ‘URBAN OTTAWA’ had been worth it.

  • Published on Mar 1, 1989
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