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Posted 4 years ago


(105 items)

I bought this saw and think it may have been for cutting hay.Any input is appreciated .The wood handles appear to be original. The blade looks very primitive and shows wear.


  1. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    You are correct, that's what it is.
  2. RonM RonM, 4 years ago
    Thank you Walksoftly.
  3. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 years ago
    They were used as a scythe for hay now and then, more commonly used to cut ice on a pond before electricity and we all had ice houses.
  4. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    I beg to differ.
  5. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 years ago
    Obviously you never cut hay or ice. Could you cut acre after acre bent over at ground level with this to cut hay? It is made for and used in a standing position with a two handed up - down motion. I used one many times but it was only used to cut hay around trees or fences. You need sharp edge for hay but not for ice. This is late 1800 early 1900 ice saw.
  6. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    This was to cut hay not green grass, when hay was stacked in the loft of a barn or a stack out side it was hard to pull it out of the stack later with a fork. This was intended to be used standing up & cutting vertically down through the stack.
  7. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 4 years ago
    Obviously you worked on a different farm than I did. Everyone does things differently. We didn't cut dry hay we used a rake to pull and fluff it. The fork was for carrying and pitching it.
  8. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    In the early days the grass (green) was cut with a mower, or scythe prior to that, it was then left to dry in the field, some would fork the loose hay (dry) into piles to be taken home later. With mechanization the hay (dry) was raked & then pitched onto a wagon to be hauled home, then it was pitched into the loft or stack again with the fork. The only time the hay saw or hay knife was used was for retrieving the feed from the stack, when it was too packed to pull out with a fork.
    Link for an advertisement for a "Holt Lightning Hay Knife"
  9. Dr_Rambow Dr_Rambow, 4 years ago
    I've got one just like it hanging in my house too! I knew if was for hay, but never really thought about how it was used. Those links certainly cleared that up. Thanks gentlemen!
  10. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    Your'e welcome Dr R
  11. RonM RonM, 4 years ago
    Thank you all for the comments and info. My saw still has a small area of the original red paint on the blade.I was tempted to scrub it clean,but I'll leave it now. Dr Rambow,you make good choices.
  12. pickingupbones pickingupbones, 4 years ago
    I got 2 or 3 of these hay knives. Have seen them in antique shops marked ice saw. I also have an ice saw
  13. walksoftly walksoftly, 4 years ago
    More info on the Holt Lightning Hay Knife.

    "The design for this style of hay knife was patented by George Weymouth of Dresden, Maine on March 7, 1871.
  14. Bootson Bootson, 4 years ago
    I have one too. Good information all the way around.
  15. tmaca tmaca, 4 months ago
    Haven't read all the comments, but it IS a hay cutter. Specifically, looks like a Lightning Hay Knife, used to cut through stored hay or, after baling came into existence, to cut open round bales of hay. To see one being used in modern times, go to
  16. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 4 months ago

    T A
  17. hotairfan hotairfan, 4 months ago
    I definitely agree with walksoftly. I have two myself hanging on the wall. As he said, they were used in the days of loose haying.
    When moved to the mow from the wagon, the hay grapple could handle only so much and these hay knives would be used to cut the bundles smalls enough to free it from the intertwined hay for easily release and lifting

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