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Don Nichol's Background
Don Nichol learned at an early age that machinery and equipment must be well maintained to work properly.
Don’s father operated the family farm and was a commercial fisherman in Blackland, New Brunswick. He also had his steam engine papers and ran the steam engine in the Blackland Mill. One of Don’s grandfathers owned two saw mills, one in Blackland and the other on the Gaspe Bay side. As a child Don used to be on hand at the blacksmith shop and would watch and help them when shoeing horses or fixing equipment. It was during this time that Don’s pursuit in the trade developed further.
Don jokes that if it made a noise, he was interested in how it worked. On many occasions, he would pull apart a piece of machinery to find out how it worked. He would not stop working on the experiment until he had it back together in working condition.
Leaving the east coast in the mid 1940's, Don moved to Guelph, Ontario where he worked as a machinist. Within a few years he obtained his apprenticeship as a pattern maker and then returned to fixing heavy equipment and machinery.
Eventually, Don opened his own small engine shop in Guelph, Ontario where he serviced lift trucks and rubber tire loaders. Over the years his main product lines were chain saws, lawnmowers, outboard motors, and snowmobiles. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when snowmobiles first became popular, Don’s shop sold close to 500 snowmobiles a season and in the early years he was the only snowmobile dealer in Wellington County. As the business evolved and new product lines were introduced, the lift truck and the loader division was phased out and sold off.
After a few years Don closed his business and went to work for Blount Canada. With his vast knowledge of machinery and chainsaws, Don was well suited for his job in the maintenance department.
Don retired from Blount in 1994 but his interest in chain saws continues to grow. He says it is often quite a challenging project to repair a saw. People even bring him pieces that have been tossed into a box and expect him to put the unit back together.
Don takes great pride and pleasure in his hobby. His collection includes a range of saws from the late 1930's to the present. Anything made before and during the mid 1950's is considered to be a real collector's item. His display includes Hornet and Mall chain saws that were made in Guelph during the late 1940's and early 1950's.
Don feels confident that he has one of the best chain saw collections in this part of the country and is interested in finding others so that they may compare saws. Many of his saws were bought at auction sales and at flea markets, and he is always looking for missing parts to put on other ones.
When it comes to repairing machinery and chain saws, people have learned an important quality about Don's workmanship - if he can't fix it, nobody can!
(Excerpts taken from – The Inside Cut, Blount Canada, December 1992)
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