A Sawzall looks like a robotic arm—or at least, forearm. A slender blade is attached to a bulky body. A Sawzall does pretty much what its name promises: saws everything—wood, metal, even concrete if you have the correct blade. It is crude, but incisive.

What makes the Sawzall different from a table saw, circular saw, and chain saw—indeed, what makes it neoclassic—is that it is the only mobile mechanical adaptation of the crosscut motion. The crosscut technique, in its most pedestrian manifestation, is that of the standard handsaw—a basic drawing back and forth motion that has been used from the time Vikings built their warships up until today, when Boy Scouts cut lengths of wood for birdhouses. The more romantic image of a crosscutting saw is of a two-man lumberjack team ripping a long blade back and forth, a handle at each end.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Phil Busse

Phil Busse left the Portland Mercury after six years as the managing editor to start up the Northwest Institute, a summer program to teach college students about how arts and the media can bring about social change. He also recently completed his home-remodel with all fingers and limbs intact.

News on Facebook Photos on Instagram Stuff on Pinterest Announcements by RSS Sounds on Soundcloud Exclusives on Tumblr Updates on Twitter

Subscribe to our mailing list