Antique Chain Saws: A Cut Above

Collection of antique chain saws shows evolution of the saw.

| September 2000

Sometimes it seems that since rural dwellers have more room for storage, they use it for their collections. They use sheds and barns to store treasures that just won't fit in the average garage. Jim Holzhauer, rural Sorento, Ill., is a classic example of that kind of collector. 

Jim collects old construction equipment, irons, hair receivers, garden tractors and farm memorabilia. The bulk of his collection, though, consists of antique saws. Jim has more than 400, everything from antique chain saws to log saws.

Jim's home and mini-museum entryway hold his collections of farm memorabilia and other odds and ends. But the garage and basement play host to his saw collection. The garage, which includes a work area, is home to a forest of "tree trunks" that are covered with saws.

Jim's oldest antique chain saw, a Mercury, dates to 1943. Also known as a Henry Disston, manufactured by a firm of the same name, the two-man saw has a Mercury engine. His collection of Mercurys includes 6, 7, 9 and 11 hp models. Mercury also manufactures outboard motors, he said.

Two-man chain saws are more valuable than one-man saws, he said. Collectible chain saws range in price from $30 to $500, with two-man saws at the upper end.

"It's not like gas engines, where there's a set price," Jim said. "The cost is just kind of thrown up in the air. The prices depend on the condition, size, what they are, and the make."