Gaysville’s Chainsaw Man

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Front Page / Dec. 1, 2016 10:25am EST

At 89, Lambert Still Has Shop Full of Work
By M. D. Drysdale


Frank Lambert stands at the work bench of his Stockbridge shop. Located just across the river from his home, the building was originally the home to a business that built hang gliders. (Herald / Tim Calabro) Frank Lambert stands at the work bench of his Stockbridge shop. Located just across the river from his home, the building was originally the home to a business that built hang gliders. (Herald / Tim Calabro) Frank Lambert just doesn’t know how to quit. And his customers like it that way. Ever since July of 1979, they’ve been stopping in regularly at a long building along Route 107 in Gaysville, leaving off their chainsaws, or buying a lawn mower, or asking for some needed tinkering on a piece of power equipment, or looking for some obscure part of an obscure machine.

Welcome to Lambert’s Power Equipment and its 89-year-old owner, who started the business 61 years ago and still posts open hours from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every weekday and from 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays.

The building itself is a bit of a curiosity. It was erected for the construction of hang gliders, according to Lambert. There was a sewing room upstairs and assembly on the spacious ground floor, which now is filled wall-to-wall with old chain saws, small tractors, lawn-mowers, and hundreds of parts for all of them.

Grew Up in the Woods

Lambert’s knowledge of chainsaws is no mystery. He grew up in Rochester, working in the woods for 10 years with his lumberjack father. It wasn’t easy work, and his father wasn’t an easy boss.

“He was a pretty rugged fellow,” Lambert said. “If he told you there’s something to do, you’d better be doin’ it. Or you could get your rear end booted.

”It’s some different today,” he reflected.

Overall, Lambert himself worked abut 40 years felling and cutting trees in the woods, a notoriously dangerous occupation.

“There was three times that I almost got killed,” he admitted.

“The first time I was cutting trees with my brother Henry and the top of the tree, a big ash, broke off. It fell right beside me.”

The second time was when he was partly up the tree, cutting off a big limb. The limb, instead of falling meekly to the ground, was under pressure and swept up in the air— with the live saw still in it. It then came sweeping back at him, the chain still running.

The flying chain saw just missed him by “inches,” he said.

“I smoked back then, and I had to smoke three or four cigarettes before I could settle down,” he said (although for most of us, it would take a lot longer than that).

The third incident came when he and Henry cut into a big tree, which split in two under the pressure. Half of the tree hurtled straight down at him, burying itself a foot deep in the ground—right next to his foot.

“The Lord was with me that day,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys who get killed in the woods.”

Liked the Work

Despite the danger, however, Lambert liked the work—“the outdoors, the fresh air, not being hitched to one place.”

And along he way, he began to acquire a reputation for being able to fix chain saws and other equipment.

“I liked working on this stuff, and people liked my work, and one day I told my wife Lois that I might as well stay in this business,” he recalled.

He first built a small workplace near his home on the White River, but customers kept coming, and when the hang gliding operation went out of business, the owner approached Lambert, saying “I’ve got a place down there that you ought to have.”

He purchased his current building in July of 1979 and shortly afterwards took on the dealership for Jonsered, a high-quality Swedish chainsaw. And because people who use chainsaws are also likely to use other small engines, his business grew in several directions.

He doesn’t have any problem getting work, he said.

“Once you get a good reputation, you get a lot of customers.” he explained.

At 89, Lambert has slowed some in recent months, having to spend time twice in the hospital.

“I’m going to do this as long as I can keep doing it,” he told The Herald. “I don’t want to just sit around; I believe in keeping busy.

“Your body,” he explained. “Likes to keep doing things.”

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