A two-man saw is a saw designed for use by two sawyers. While some modern chainsaws are so large that they require two persons to control, two-man saws were primarily important when human power was used. Such a saw would typically be four to 12 feet long (approximately 1.2 to 3.6 meters), and sometimes up to 16 feet long (4.9 meters), with a handle at either end. In some cases, such as when felling Giant Sequoias, sawblades could be brazed together end-to-end in order to create longer saws.
The technique in using a two-man saw involved a sawyer standing at either end. Together the sawyers would alternate pulling the saw through the wood. If the kerf begins closing, which can cause the saw to bind, wedges could be inserted in order to keep it open. Cutting from underneath a suspended log, called "underbucking", might also have been employed if binding were to become too much of a problem.
Many variations on the design were used, but they mainly fell into two types. Crosscut saws were used to cut felled trees into lumber, and felling saws were used to fell the trees in the first place. The two applications require slightly different designs: a felling saw has a narrower blade, allowing wedges to be more easily inserted, while the strength of a wider blade benefits a crosscut saw.
Two-man saws were designed to cut in both directions. Careful tooth design was necessary to clear the sawdust during the cut.
Two-man saws were known to the ancient Romans, but first became common in Europe in the middle of the 15th century. In America, crosscut saws were used as early as the mid-17th century, but felling saws only began to replace axes for felling trees in the late 19th century. Some Japanese saws are used by two persons, although they are of a different design.
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