Marshall Burns may be one of the last bridges still spanning the historic past and boundless future of the tool industry. Certainly few people have witnessed firsthand the changes in tools and technology that he's seen in his lifetime. And even fewer have taken part in shaping that change.
2005 Hall of Fame inductee Marshall Burns may be the last man in the tool industry who can tension a saw blade with a hammer.
Credit: Photo: Compoa
In Burns' case, he literally spent his career shaping the future of saw blades. Burns started working with his father in 1937 making saw blades and 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.
He grew up in an anvil room, hammering steel plates flat and tensioning them with carefully placed hammer blows. He says that's how the best blades are still made today. One of his greatest moments though came when he traveled to Japan to meet with Tenryu saw makers to describe his design for the first thin-kerf blades, which as everyone knows, have since taken over category. Burns grew his father's business into Burns Power Tools in Fall River, Mass., and raised his own two sons in that store. Both now carry on the family tradition, running an independent tool store?where an independent, pioneering father created a life and a legacy to be admired. This year we honor Marshall Burns, who joins our Hall of Fame for his innovative design and production techniques that improved the quality of saw blades for us all, and for having put his heart and soul into a lifetime of work in the tool industry.