Tools of the Trade magazine presented its first Lifetime Achievement Award to living legend Marshall Burns at the JLC Live Show in Providence, R.I., in March. Burns started working with his father in 1937 making saw blades, often traveling to remote sawmills in the Maine woods to set up the 5-foot-diameter circular blades used to rip huge logs into lumber. Even at 80 years of age he was still making the same trips to hammer those huge blades flat so they'd spin true, and he remains an outspoken advocate of hammer-tempered saw blades today.
Since its beginning in 1934, Burns Power Tools in Fall River, Mass., has evolved and grown with the industry into one of the best- known tool stores in the country. It specializes in custom saw-blade manufacturing and high-quality sharpening services. Burns himself is credited with inventing thin kerf blade technology, and years ago traveled to Japan to help Tenryu designers develop their first product. In 2005 he was inducted into the Tools Hall of Fame. Now, at 90, Burns can be found every day at his shop, where he works alongside his sons and grandson, developing new saw blades and ways to improve their performance. His passion and energy for innovation, quality, and improvement have not diminished the least bit over the years.
– Rick Schwolsky