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A sawpit in use near Kalomo, Zambia, in 2007

saw +‎ pit.



sawpit (plural sawpits)

  1. A pit over which lumber is positioned to be sawn with a long two-handled saw (a pitsaw) by two people, one standing above the timber and the other in the pit below.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene iv], page 56, column 1:
      [V]pon a ſodaine, / As Falſtaffe, ſhe, and I, are newly met, / Let them [children dressed like "urchins, ouphes and fairies"] from forth a ſaw-pit ruſh at once / With ſome diffuſed ſong: Vpon their ſight / We two, in great amazedneſſe will flye: []
    • 1672, John Lacy, The Old Troop: Or, Monsieur Raggou. As It was Acted at the Theatre-Royal, London: Printed for William Crook and Thomas Dring, at the Green Dragon without Temple-Bar, and at the White-Lyon next Chancery-Lane end in Fleetstreet, OCLC 228722289, Act I, scene i, page 4:
      'Twas in a Saw-pit then: yet when the Armies meet (I'l ſay that for him) he will draw up as confidently, as if he would take a General by the Beard; and he will as confidently ride out of the Army before the Battel joyns: and if any man ask him whither he goes, he ſays he is ſent for Orders, ſo you hear of him no more; and the next day you find him as ſure in a Saw-pit.
    • 1701 July, “III. Chartham News: Or A Brief Relation of Some Strange Bones There Lately Digged Up, in Some Grounds of Mr John Somner’s in Canterbury”, in Philosophical Transactions. Giving Some Account of the Present Undertakings, Studies and Labours of the Ingenious, in Many Considerable Parts of the World, volume XXII, number 272, London: Printed for S. Smith and B. Walford, printers to the Royal Society, at the Prince's Arms in St Paul's Church-yard, published 1702, OCLC 630046584, page 892:
      By the way, it is obſerved that the nature of the Soil here and there, is ſuch, ſo looſe, ſupple, rotten and ſandy, that meerly of itſelf, it is apt to ſink and fall in; as was lately experienced by a Saw-pit, digg'd hard by, which after a little time by the Earths giving way on each ſide of it, fell in, and fill'd up itſelf.
    • 1719 April 25, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], 3rd edition, London: [] W[illiam] Taylor [], published 1719, OCLC 838630407, page 135:
      [] I was full two and forty Days making me a Board for a long Shelf, which I wanted in my Cave; whereas two Sawyers with their Tools, and a Saw-Pit, would have cut ſix of them out of the ſame Tree in half a Day.
    • 1838, James Williams, “Minutes of Proceedings at Brown’s Town, St, Ann’s”, in A Narrative of Events since the 1st of August, 1834. By James Williams, together with the Evidence Taken under a Commission Appointed by the Colonial Office to Ascertain the Truth of the Narrative; and the Report of the Commissioners thereon: The Whole Exhibiting a Correct Picture of a Large Proportion of West Indian Society; and the Atrocious Cruelties Perpetrated under the Apprenticeship System, London: Printed for the Central Emancipation Committee, Token-House Yard; sold by G. Wightman, 24, Paternoster Row, OCLC 22420137, page 29:
      When master took Atkinson and Warren from the saw pit I was put to work there, but as I was a new hand I did not work well, and master used me very badly for it: it was the first time I ever held a saw; I was never given any regular task, but I did all I could to give satisfaction.
    • 1853 February 12, “'Simmons v. Lillystone'”, in W[illiam] N[ewland] Welsby, E[dwin] T[yrrell] Hurlstone, and J. Gordon, editors, The Exchequer Reports. Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Courts of Exchequer & Exchequer Chamber, volume VIII (Trinity Vacation, 15 Vict. to Trinity Term, 16 Vict. Both Inclusive), London: S. Sweet, W. Maxwell, and V. & R. Stevens & G. S. Norton, law booksellers and publishers; Dublin: Hodges & Smith, Grafton Street, OCLC 173670026, headnote, page 431:
      The evidence in support of the second count was, that some timber of the plaintiff's being on the close of the defendant, he removed it, and it having been again placed there, and become embedded in the soil, he directed his workmen to dig a sawpit at the place where the timber was, and in digging the pit the timber was cut through, and part remained embedded in the soil, and other part was washed away by the river.
    • 1882, B[aden] H[enry] Baden-Powell, “Application of the Forest Act to Forest Offences”, in A Manual of Jurisprudence for Forest Officers: Being a Treatise of the Forest Law, and Those Branches of the General Civil and Criminal Law which are Connected with Forest Administration; with a Comparative Notice of the Chief Continental Laws, Calcutta: Printed by the Superintendent of Government Printing, India, OCLC 221699377, section IV(d) (Control of Timber in Transit and Offences Connected with It), § 6 (Prevention of Timber Piracy), page 301:
      This provision is chiefly requisite in connection with river transit, but the rules could equally be applied to the establishment of sawpits anywhere, where there is the same risk of facilitating timber theft: and they might be applied, for example, to prohibit sawpits being set up in the vicinity of a forest.

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