Saw Oiler


When cutting any pitchy wood the sawyers would have had a bottle of kerosene with grass or pine needles stuffed in the top to lubricate the saw and dissolve the pitch. The photo here is one typical of the the State of Maine. There were other many solutions. A small amount of kerosene on the saw would dissolve the pitch, and the way to apply it was up to the creativity of the sawyer. A very traditional Oregon solution was to use a pocket flask whiskey bottle with the cork grooved out a little so it would drizzle a little when shaken. The empty bottles were plentiful and easy to carry in the hip pocket while making the sometimes long hike out to the falling site.

Fallers tried to avoid the worst of the pitch seams as well as stump bind by leaving fairly tall stumps. In Oregon stumps 4 to 10 feet tall were common. Never the less every faller had a story of the big pitch seam that he hit. Usually the 'big one' contained pitch measured in gallons. When a seam like that was hit, the falling operation would be abandoned until the pitch drained out.

While they were sawing, particularly if pitch was bothersome, the bottle would be hung above the saw so it would drip on the saw.

- - Updated 02/04/2013
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- - Updated 03/23/2008