• Sunday, February 12th, 2012

The machine’s 7 1/2-inch blade, powered by a motor claimed to develop one horsepower, could cut 1 5/8″ thick wood on a table 14 inches deep. Its shipping weight was all of 31 pounds. Sears was selling it for $70 in 1970, and though now it hardly seems an enviable tool, back then I wanted it.

While returning home from competing in high school indoor track meets in New York City during the winter months, I would get off the public bus and browse the tool department at the local Sears store as I waited for a ride to complete the trip. I studied that little saw and imagined exactly how I could use it to make things from wood that would exceed my basement output at the time. I had been carrying in my head a scene from a few years earlier when I saw a man, a real woodworker, cut parts for a box I was making. He used a cabinet saw to do this more easily and precisely than I could ever hope to by hand. Much later, in recollection, I could identify his machine as a Unisaw.

Oddly, having now found, through the wonder of the internet, a picture of that little saw in a pdf of the 1969 Sears catalog, I clearly feel a glimmer of that long ago desire. (Page 26 of the catalog, bottom right corner.) I never bought the saw. But I kept making things from wood, and it’s OK now, life worked itself out and I’ve got a very nice top-of-the-line cabinet saw along with lots of other tools. The love, and that’s just what it is, love, endured and evolved.

It must be about push and pull. The way life is, we spend so much of our time and energy pushing ourselves to do the things that must be done. No complaints, and all that. There are, though, a few special things that call to us. These pull us and don’t let go, not for a long time, maybe never.

Heed that pull. Follow, if you can. It’s your soul calling – and it’s important.

Happy woodworking.

Category: Ideas
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3 Responses

  1. 1

    Rob, thanks for posting this and sharing the catalog,that sure brought back some good memories. My first son was born that year, and I remember looking through that book and dreaming of the day I could afford that stuff. My first purchase was the 7 1/2 ” table saw. Good stuff.

  2. 2
    John Collicott 

    I graduated from high school in 69. I loved spending time in the hardware store of our small town. When I move to a larger community, I spent a lot of time and some money in the sears store. I still have a beauty of a router I bought in the 70s from Sears. The bearing is badly worn, so I have moved on to Milwaukee and Delta. But the pull of good tools on the soul is definitely there.

    The cousin to your saw on that page looks mighty scary perched on that pedestal. I bet the courts would have something to say about that today.

  3. 3

    Rick and John,

    Thanks for the comments and sharing your stories.