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History of Logging Displayed at Haines Estate
Written by Allison Czapp,
Visitors at the Ye 'Ol Antique Logging Exhibition and Workshop, hosted by John B. Haines IV in Marlborough on Saturday, gather to watch a demonstration of a 1950 vintage two-man chainsaw by event exhibitors, left to right, Nevin Hoffman, Andy Price and Joe Jordan.

            Saturday morning was bright and brisk, with a few whorls of snowflakes lightly sweeping the Upper Perkiomen Valley — excellent weather for the annual Ye 'Ol Antique Logging Exhibition and Workshop, hosted by John B. Haines IV in Marlborough. 

                The exhibition started nearly a decade ago as a place for community members to get together and have some fun during the winter months, Haines said. 

Saw blades whirred, hit-and-miss engines popped, chainsaws screamed and people gathered to watch and learn about the commonwealth's logging industry, past and present. 

                "Where can you have so much fun," asked Rick Anderson of Oreland, Pa. Anderson, who was chatting with a group of friends, said he comes to the annual event "to see what life was about years ago" — and to get a firsthand look at all of the "dangerous antiques." Nearby, a circular saw spun freely, powered by a hit-and-miss engine.

                An annual fixture at the event, Gary Haldeman of Palm displayed a variety of logging saws from the early 1900s. Many of the saws were from the renowned Disston Saw Works of Philadelphia.  

                "They make you work," Haldeman said of the saws.

                Haldeman, who was at the event with his son Brent and assistant Mike Smith, bought most of the saws in his collection locally at auctions and flea markets. 

                "My grandfather was a carpenter, so I got all of his old hand tools and it grew from there," Haldeman said of his collection. "I have a whole shed full of saws."

                Beautiful rounds of fresh cut cedar lay in a pile at Haldeman's demonstration site, luring visitors with their rosy hue and fragrance. One couple took a slice home, intending to make it into a clock.

                "I come every year since they started the saw party," Haldeman said. "I enjoy the day outside and a lot of people never saw stuff like this." 

                Across the path, Arthur Cooper of Reading was manning the gas-powered reciprocating saw, a piece that belonged to Haines' father. Cooper guessed that the saw, attached to a hit-and-miss engine, dated back to the late 1800s or early 1900s. 

                The saw was the solution to the massive physical labor required by the hand saws. As the reciprocating saw powered through a sizable log, visitors stood around to watch. When each round was nearly cut through, Cooper repositioned the saw blade, securing it by tapping a metal peg into the log, then stepped back to let the machine do its work once more. 

                Cooper has worked for the last 50 years for Windsor Service, one of Haines' H&K Group companies. He gestured to one of several buildings on the property that housed floor-to-ceiling displays of antique trucks, tractors, oil cans, engines and more. "You'll find my name on a lot of things in there," he said of his restoration and mechanical work.

                Outside the building, visitors lined up at steaming kettles of chili and potato-bacon and wild rice soup being cooked over a fire. A team of volunteers also grilled burgers, hot dogs and sausage sandwiches, which guests ate while gathering around the campfire or strolling among the exhibits.

                The event also featured several demonstrations, including fence-post and chair making. Bruce Grasberger of Trapp was making hickory brooms and scrubbers. One end of a cut hickory sapling was frayed with a small knife to make a broom suitable for sweeping out a hearth or home. 

                In the midst of it all, two docile oxen stood among the crowd, while a perennial favorite, Charlie, Haines' Watusi steer, posed for many visitor photos in the barn. 

                But the biggest draw of the event was the chainsaw demonstrations. Chainsaws of all sizes and styles, including a variety of vintage two-man chainsaws, were heard buzzing across the property, cutting through conversations and the occasional pop of the hit-and-miss engines powering saws of a bygone era. 

                A crowd gathered while a man expertly sliced through a massive log. Marty Bair's  logging truck, parked nearby, was loaded with more enormous trees that were to serve as fodder for the day's demonstrations. 

                "We had a little of everything," Haines said. "It's a neat day. ... We're just really happy [host the event]. It's a way we can give something back to the community. It's a great community."





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