We are a club dedicated to furthering the art of wood carving. To this end we meet monthly to enjoy the fellowship of like minded artists and craftsmen and to learn from each other how to improve our woodcarving skills. We welcome wood carvers of all skill levels. Even if you have never put a knife to wood, just bring the desire to learn.
this device appeared in the collection, there was much dialogue as to
its use. It is clear that it's a cutting device of some kind, but the
4'1" diameter was out of proportion to the size of the cutting blades
(3"). Was it an agricultural tool? Was it a woodworking tool? Just
where and how it was used remains a mystery. When putting forth an
item for discussion, I usually have at least one or two options to
present to the reader. In this instance, I join the ranks of those
giving an opinion. Frankly, I just do not know what this was used for,
no matter the application. It is entirely possible that I have missed
its purpose and tried to fit it into the woodworking world solely
because of the cutting blades and limited cut in the shearing mode.
This unit resembles a safety planer on steroids, a
device that was sold for many years to fit on either a drill press or
a radial arm saw. It is now out of production, although there seem
to be at least two newer versions available. That tool used inserts
set into a solid disc to provide a planing action for smoothing or
sizing wood. It had some popularity with luthiers, who work with
smaller sections. It was touted as being extremely safe.
Well, not so with this animal, which exhibits correct design for a
flywheel with spokes. These spokes radiate out but not in a straight
line from the hub. This minimizes the stress on the outer rim and allows
for a more concentric wheel casting. The hub style dictates that
this tool was used with the shaft horizontal (plane of wheel was
vertical), with the 1-5/8" shaft locked with the cat head arrangement.
It was then possibly mounted in pillow blocks and driven with a
pulley. Alignment might have been a bit tricky, not only with each of
the eight blades but also the entire wheel assembly. Using a 52"
circular saw blade turning at 500 rpm (a common speed), one gets a rim
speed of around 6,800 fpm, a reasonable cutting speed for wood.
Turning this device at 200 rpm (I would go no higher, given the
construction of this wheel), would net a rim speed of about 2,600 fpm.
This postulation is only a guess, at best.
in the workplace is of the greatest concern. The hobbyist in a personal
workshop should be just as diligent, yet it is clear that rules can be
and are often overlooked by individuals when performing tasks in their
own workspaces. One can only imagine the sound, let alone the air
displaced, when this tool was turning at speed, whatever the workpiece.
There must have been a conveyer system of sorts, as hand feeding would
have been out of the question. The risk to the operator would have
been severe. I doubt if this tool could be used in today's safety
And now I welcome your suggestions as to its use. But
please don't tell me it was used for cutting cornstalks or straw!