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“This trade expo shows off every loophole by which the Amish can get their hands on power tools.”

There was an interesting piece on NPR this morning about power tools for the Amish. The Amish have traditionally been farmers, but land has become prohibitively expensive to purchase, so many are turning to woodworking to earn a living. Since their homes are not wired with electricity, their table saws, drills and sanders are retrofitted with gas engines and compressed air tanks. The story is reported from an Amish trade show in Ohio, and it’s worth a listen just to hear a vendor rattling off diesel engine specs in Pennsylvania Dutch.

Laura Cochrane

I’m an editor at MAKE and CRAFT. I like hiking, biking, and etymology.


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Comments

  1. FredB says:

    A windmill is a better match for an air compressor than a generator. There may be a business opportunity here.

  2. robtsou says:

    I love air powered tools! So many tools in auto shops are air powered and have only recently been made in electric form. I would definitely like to see how an air powered table saw works though!

  3. chuck says:

    I’ve always been amazed by these people’s innovation. I remember an article I read years ago about Amish DIY ‘labor saving’ devices like bicycle powered butter churns and washing machines. There’s a company called Lehman’s that sells supplies to the Amish and the Mennonites- https://www.lehmans.com/default. They have a hand cranked rope making machine that I’ve been wanting but just can’t justify buying.
    What do you call an Amish guy wearing one rubber glove up past his elbow?
    A mechanic.

  4. susanne287 says:

    Reblogged this on susanne287 and commented:
    I know this is kind of random, but I found it interesting. Is it me, or do we all find the Amish a bit fascinating? If you live in Ohio, the Amish quietly move about around us. At times, I envy their slower way of life. It seems peaceful to me to ride in that buggy and not to be driving the MusBus to soccer games. And yes, I could not turn the channel from TLC program, Breaking Amish. So I am sharing with you my fascination with the Amish.

  5. I have some Amish friends who have set up a large woodworking shop with some serious old industrial equipment they run with belts off a diesel engine. The shop is retro tech, like something from the 19th century but with a diesel engine. They built channels in the floor for the belts, and various jack shafts to take off power. One guy had in the sawmill (diesel-driven portable mill) a table saw with an old motorcycle engine to run it, which was actually a great idea for something away from electricity.