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Chain Saw Collectors Vintage chainsaws and other small gas engine saws, collecting and restoring.


Chain Saw Collectors

Disston chainsaw


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  #1  
Old 11-14-2009, 06:23 PM
Arlie Levy Arlie Levy is offline
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Default Disston chainsaw

This is the chainsaw I just finished restoring. It is a 1947 Disston with a mercury engine. It was my dads saw until he passed in 1992. He use to do a lot of logging in the 40s and 50s. I was 4 years old when he got it brand new. This saw cost $1300.00 in 1947. I would like to correspond with other folks that have one like it.
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  #2  
Old 11-14-2009, 06:41 PM
Arlie Levy Arlie Levy is offline
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Disston saw 2.jpg   Disston saw 3.jpg   Disston saw4.jpg   Disston saw 5.jpg  
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  #3  
Old 11-14-2009, 11:34 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

6 or 7 years ago, I saw a double headed Disston with a 6' bar. It was being used at the Delaware Valley engine show in NJ, cutting a 5' diameter redwood log for table tops. Once fired up, both engines were put into the log at about 1/2 throttle. Once in about 5" or 6", both engines were throttled up to full throttle. The saw went thru the log in less than a minute! You could hear them sing for about a 1/4 mile, sounded like a kicked hornets nest! I had an impromptu race with the operators with my mall 7-H single, on a 24" log they were using for making the seats. They were done and shut down before I was 1/4 of the way thru my log! The guys operating the saw told me that both engines had to be nearly synchronized, and had to put out maximum power equally or the saw would break the chain. The guy with the weaker engine (usually on the return side) was in extreme danger if the chain broke, as the broken end would be whipped at him with extreme prejudice I asked them if they had broken a chain yet, and was told yes, at least 3 times, while cutting oak logs. Twice the lead engine broke the chain, just piling it at the operator's feet. after it had cut thru the log. The third time the return engine broke the chain, and the resulting whiplash put that guy in the hospital for several weeks! Needless to say, they no longer cut oak!

The shop where I got my mall also has a Disston single engined saw with the mercury twin on it. It, like the Mall, has a 30" bar and a 3/4 pitch chain. Where the Mall is limited to 3200 RPM and about 8 HP by the governor, the Disston cranks up to around 5,000RPM and makes about 12 HP. The Disston is an 180 degree twin with a smaller piston diameter, and a shorter stroke. Higher RPM and smoother torque make it a powerful machine. You do not want to be at the slave end if the chain breaks!

By the way, the shop's Disston uses a 12:1 fuel ratio, like the Mall, with the exception that it uses SAE 40 Non detergent oil instead of the 30 wt used in the Mall. When warmed up, like the Mall, it does not smoke!

Andrew
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  #4  
Old 11-15-2009, 09:23 AM
caporal30 caporal30 is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Arlie,
I know all about those saws...I have them all....Yours is a KB7AY since it has the oiler integrated within the transmission gear housing. Earlier version was the KB6AY wit a standard transmission and oiler integrated to the helper handle.
They were make by Karl Elmer Kiekhaffer in "Fond du lac" Wisconsin....a Nascar and boat racing fanatic that invented Mercury Motors and more than 200 patents still used and unbeaten to this day.
I have done the complete historical study on his life and his company operation.
During the war ...chainsaw was not a necessity of war and Karl Elmer was able to pursue is business by convincing an army colonel that he could supply engines similar to yours for spying "drones airplanes" ) from 12HP to 90HP with a run time of 10 mins.
The company was sold at the end of the War to Brunswick Corp (pool table/bowling alley's) for 30 millions dollars. Karl stayed president of the Mercury division of Brunswick till his death on Oct 5th, 1983

I am in contact with his son Fred who took over......,currently president of Mercury racing ..exchanging emails from time to time.

Mercury did not fabricate any chain/bar ....An association was made with John Henry Disston for supply on the military contract with the KB6AX which never took place. Eventually the saws were sold for residential use ....adding 2 skinned ribbon air filter elements and a muffler instead of the straight stack exhaust ports and the company slowly became to a halt with the introduction of the single operator DO100 and DO101 which proved to be unreliable and a big fiasco........ But the marine division that we know of today never stopped to perform....

WELLL!!!!!!! enough said.....

Alain,
www.vintagechainsawcollection.blogspot.com


You can red all about the Mercury history on my web site.
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  #5  
Old 11-15-2009, 09:36 AM
caporal30 caporal30 is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

correction: KB7AY=oiler at the helper handle ..11HP
KB7B= oiler in tranny gear system 12HP (DRONES)

must HAD A BRAIN FART...
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2009, 09:11 PM
Arlie Levy Arlie Levy is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Thank you for the interesting information about my chainsaw. Arlie
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  #7  
Old 11-16-2009, 02:45 PM
Rene Elliott Rene Elliott is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

One of the local boat engine collectors has one of these target drone engines he often takes to shows just because no one has seen one around here, we keep telling him he needs to get a radio control outfit and build a plane around it.
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  #8  
Old 11-16-2009, 03:38 PM
makoman1860 makoman1860 is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Its Elmer CARL Kiekhaefer, not Karl. I have had the privelage to restoring one of our drone engines to running condition. The company is still doing well, and luckily most of the drawings and such still exists for the old products, however unfortunately probably never for public viewing. We still have saws, new in the box.
-Aaron
Mercury Marine Engineering
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  #9  
Old 11-16-2009, 09:37 PM
sawcollector sawcollector is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Aaron,
Thanks for posting. It is good to hear that some of the old stuff is still around.
For any that are interested, there is a book that tells the story of Kiekhaefer, called the Iron Fist by Jeffery Rodengen. It is a fascinating read and I very much enjoyed it, although I ccan't help but think that since some of it is not very flattering regarding Mr. Kiekhaefer that some that knew him or work for there may not like it. I am curious if you have read it Aaron, and if so what is your view of the story?
I work for STIHL and have read the Stihl story and for the most part all that I have reviewed it with feel it is accurate.
Eddie
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  #10  
Old 11-17-2009, 07:22 AM
caporal30 caporal30 is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

I have read the book on Elmer CARL Kiekhaefer ...he was a man from another generation.....It is the work of thousands of interviews with his family....A man of power who was building an empire.
When he spoke about the competitor, he would take a "Johnson/Evinrude" motorboat and burn it to ashes in front of the employees and say "Lets kill the enemy" .

The chainsaw business was not is main focus...mainly Mercury boat/patents and Nascar racing who did win many races and trophies.

To my knowledge his son Frederick in the book epilogue did not support all of his father attitude and does not like to be compared with him but did keep the positive legacy of his father.

Only Fred could give us new input on his personal view of the Disston saws (to stay within topic).

Alain,
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  #11  
Old 11-17-2009, 09:36 AM
makoman1860 makoman1860 is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Yes I have read the book, and am lucky enough to work with people that worked for the "old man". There are many more untold stories about him than ones which were told. Stories from his personal pilot ( Carl too was a pilot ) of being waken up at 2 in the morning by Carl to fly the wife of some worker to a specialty hospital, and then picking up the bill personally. I guess in short, my impression was that he was a hard working, focused wisconsin farm kid that was a natrual engineer, knew to hire the best talent he could, and provided you worked as hard as he did, would do anything for his workers. I have never heard of "outboard burnings".
-Aaron
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  #12  
Old 11-17-2009, 10:11 AM
caporal30 caporal30 is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Here it is:... chapter twenty-two........THE ENNEMY.
"Copy of this book is allowed in any form".

Alain,

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  #13  
Old 11-17-2009, 10:24 AM
makoman1860 makoman1860 is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Yes I have read it, but like I said, I never heard of it. Sometimes stories have a way of being blown out of proportion.
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  #14  
Old 11-17-2009, 07:39 PM
Rene Elliott Rene Elliott is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

What a showman! I know they used to throw air cooled VW engine blocks on bonfires because of the magnesium alloy woulkd make an impressive display. In someone's antique chainsaw website they explain that Kiekhaefer delayed Disston's entry into the one man chainsaw market and threatened to sue them for trying to contract with an other engine supplier? I forget why but I had to partially dismantle my D-100 and I swear he designed that thing to get even with them.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:32 PM
Nicholas C. Charest Nicholas C. Charest is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Arlie,
I'm Nick a retired teacher in Vermont. I'm working on a KB7-AY a friend gave me. Got it turning over, spark, trying to do something with the cork carb. float right now.
Hopefully, in a few days I get it running. Enjoying reading " Smok Stak"
Nick Charest, Bennington, VT. 802-442-5130
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  #16  
Old 12-13-2012, 08:59 PM
coyote62ny coyote62ny is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

you can coat the float with gas tank sealeri have done this on several floats both coark and foam. i use lee pedersens gas tank sealer you can order it by mail only 32.75 for a pint or 39.75 per quart send money and a letter stating what you want and he will ship it to you the prices are shipping included. LEE W PEDERSEN 78 taft ave lynbrook new york 11563. i also have two disston saws a KB6-AX military saw which i have running and runs very well about the same as the KB7-AY . and a DA-211 i have just got the engine put back together new rings and gaskets new coils cleaned the points and now i have real hot spark. just need to finish putting it back together .

---------- Post added at 07:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:54 PM ----------

Arlie if you need any more help with your disston you can call me at 607-674-2881 dean
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  #17  
Old 12-14-2012, 09:46 AM
Nicholas C. Charest Nicholas C. Charest is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Arlie,
I really enjoyed looking at your KB7-AY Mercury saw. It looks terriffic. I'm working on one I received as a gift. I had trouble with it turning over, then no spark, then a bad cork float.
I've had it running, now I'm waiting for a new float and hope to paint it up like yours.
Are the little acorn nuts in the top of the air intake special, or can I get them in a hardware store ?
I love the old stuff, frankly I don't trust the new saws. I've got alittle Museum, with old 33 Mcculloughs, David Bradleys, a big 153 Dolmar and several others, just appreciate the old stuff.
Thanks for posting your saw. When I get mine finished, I'll try to do the same.
Nick Charest
Sawmill Road
Bennington, Vt. 05201
1-802-442-5130
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  #18  
Old 12-18-2012, 07:45 PM
Nicholas C. Charest Nicholas C. Charest is offline
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Default Re: Disston chainsaw

Arlie,
Your saw looks magnificent I really enjoyed your photo's. I have a 1946 and I am working on making it run well. I've made alot of progress, but the Clutch lever operation baffles me. How should it work? Once I get by this, and the starter pawl, seems spread to much,I'm going to repaint it. Boy, I hope I can make it look somewhat as nice as yours.
Thanks,
Nick Charest
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