During a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, for the JLC LIVE tradeshow, I made a couple of tool-related side trips. The first was to the nearby Leatherman factory, where I saw multi-tools being made. The second was to an amazing private chainsaw museum in southern Washington.
The museum is owned by Wayne Sutton and is located in a garage-like structure attached to his house. Wayne has been around chainsaws and motors all of his life; his father was a timber cutter and bull buck—the person who supervises tree fallers. When Wayne got out of the Air Force, he went to work at a local saw shop. A year later, he bought the place and ran it with his wife for 20 years (he's now a territory manager for Stihl). His older customers could come in and talk about the saws they had "back in the day" so Wayne decided it would be cool to buy some vintage saws to "decorate" the shop. After the first saw, he was hooked; after the 20th saw, he knew he was a collector. His collection of chainsaws, now numbering in the thousands, fills the museum plus a couple of outbuildings.
Although the museum is private, it is occasionally open to other collectors and anyone else who contacts Wayne and can convince him to give them a tour. I was thrilled and honored to visit. Truth be told, before my visit I wasn't that interested in old chainsaws—but I am now.
The museum is cool not just because it contains a whole bunch of incredible chainsaws, but because of what Wayne knows about his collection. He can tell you what any given chainsaw was used for, where and when it was made, and the significance of the features and technologies it contains. Check out the slideshow to the left and you'll see what I mean. And be sure to look for the links when you're reading the captions.