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Eddie Newland, 39, Owner of Automatic Saw Filing Co.

Some days it’s real fun, some days is not so fun, but that’s part of being in business. We hand file everything, everything. All steelwork, we hand finish them. It’s not dangerous. It does a better job. It’s just done the old-fashioned way, a lot nicer and personal job. Some others just use machines and stuff, just automatic machines. They just automatically put them in machines and just leave it alone. With hand filing, you look at each tooth and do each one by one.

[People] come in here to get service done on their tools, to get their blades sharpened and stuff. And ’cause we give good service and guarantee our work.

It’s just like any other business, I reckon. It’s just more personal. I just got one employee. His name is Robert, and he does all the small-engine work. That’s what he does, and he’s been here 17 years. I got two boys, but I don’t know if they are going to do it or not. They’re still too young to do it. One is 7. One is 13. [I’ve been] married 15 years.

I ride and train horses in Powhatan. I have about 10, plus I take outside horses and board, and I have a breeding program. [I breed] two to three a year. I’m just on a small scale. They’re quarter horses. Use them for farm horses, you can use them for everything. You can race them. They’re just good all-round horses. You can buy a horse from a thousand on up. [Sharpening] is what I make my living on. The other is a business, but it’s hard to make a living. And I think that’s about it.

— As told to John White; photograph by Stephen Salpukas
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