Treadle Tablesaw at The Steppingstone Museum

This is our 600+ lb treadle saw at the Steppingstone Museum. You need three people to operate it but it cuts quite well. We usually enlist the hapless passersby to power “the beast”. Once you get this thing rolling if your foot slips off you want to get out of its way because it will actually lift you off the ground.

8 Responses to “Treadle Tablesaw at The Steppingstone Museum”

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  1. Marc says:

    LOL not much different than current shops where two guys watch and one actually does the work. Haha.
    Great video!

  2. Dyami says:

    Very cool, Shannon. Does it have a fence? Do the peddle working guys get in the way of a long rip?

    • Shannon says:

      Dyami, no rip fence, it was used really just for crosscutting. In actuality we don’t really use the saw that much because it makes a lot of noise and it does take 3 to operate. In this instance, a hand saw is the preferred method. Besides, it really quite scary when it gets going!

      Woodcanuck, with all the squeaking it makes, you might not even hear them yell.

      Marc, how many woodworkers does it take to change a lightbulb…

  3. Woodcanuck says:

    That’s awesome. Be careful…I have my doubts that it’s got any flesh detection technology (other than the two guys yelling “DUDE…YOU CUT YOURSELF!!!”
    - Ian

  4. When do we get to see a video of you in period attire using the tools at Stepping Stone? ; )

    • Shannon says:

      You may have to come and take it yourself. It is hard to film while demonstrating and talking to guests. Interestingly, the museum is not real strict on the attire. I looked like Roy Underhill this weekend and my compatriot was in a polo shirt and jeans. When we are not having a special event there is not much attention paid to that detail. I’m still piecing together a “costume” that will work and not suffocate me during the summer.

  5. Brian says:

    I wonder how efficient it is compared to 3 people sawing. A recent fad in software is “pair programming,” where 2 programmers work together on one computer. To the outside world, that’s “two people doing the job of one”, but in the long run, it’s more efficient. Sounds like this saw would have the same kind of pushback :)

    • Shannon says:

      This saw definitely would have push back because it requires no skill to operate but still needs bodies. Historically this was powered by vagrants and they were paid with saloon tokens. You would not want an apprentice or journeyman operating this as it would be a waste of their time. The simpler self powered treadle or hand saw was much more efficient.

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