| Before the gas-powered chain saw was invented and put to use cutting down trees, woodsmen used long flat saws, known as cross-cut or thwart saws, such as the one exhibited here. Two men were required to operate this type of saw. Each man would alternately pull and then push while grasping his handle with both hands. The two-man cross-cut saw was used in felling a standing tree and also in cutting the felled tree into manageable lengths. Needless to say, the use of the saw would have been easier when cutting up a felled tree rather than cutting down a standing tree. In the latter instance, the two men would be required to hold the saw horizontally; it would have been difficult to apply pressure onto the cutting edge.
This saw dates to the 1920s or 30s. My dad (Bernard Smith) and his father (Eldon Smith) made their livings for many years as woodsmen, cutting down trees in local forests which they would then saw into planks at the sawmill they owned. This hand saw would have been one of the tools of their trade until they were able to purchase a power chain saw.