Ulmia Circular saws
The company Ulmia was founded in 1877 by Georg Ott in Ulm. In 1879 the patent application was filed and the first precision hand-held mitre saw was manufactured.
Probably every german carpenter has held and used at least one tool of the Ulmia company in his hands during his training and professional life. I can hardly imagine a German carpentry workshop that has passed by tools of the Ulmia company. Whether a planer, smoothing plane, frame saw, rabbet plane, scraper burr extractor, mitre clamps, veneer vein cutter, tenon jointing gauge or precision angle: these tools have always been the embodiment of high precision, high quality, durability and solid workmanship in detail. The angles, bevels and strokes were even surrounded by a touch of luxury that was unheard of for German tools with their rosewood and zaponized, polished brass finish, as otherwise only known from fine English tools.
The quality of the workmanship of all these hand tools was always impressive and consistently high for over 100 years, the variety of tools offered was great - but this did not protect this company from becoming insolvent in 2002 and ceasing operations in July 2002.
A unique tradition was thus interrupted, the hand tool division was sold to a smaller company for workbenches, which secured the name and trademark rights of the venerable Ulm company. The new production under the old name was awaited with a lot of scepticism, whether the quality of the hand tools has been maintained is beyond my knowledge.
A completely unnoticed topic is the mechanical engineering department of the Ulmia company, where, among other things, highly qualitative circular saws were designed and built, which are still well represented on the used machine market today and are characterized by the highest robustness, precision and value retention. Even machines with cast-iron housings from the 1960s are still in frequent use today and continue to function well with minimal maintenance.
For many years we have been using several Ulmia circular saws on a daily basis, but only the newer models in welded steel construction - as far as I know, the first of these lighter and larger models were the Ulmia 1708 and 1710.
My first model of this series was a 1710S around 1983, even then the almost 4000,- DM was a relatively high price, but I quickly learned to accept it as completely reasonable, because the whole design was very robust, the cuts were true to size, reproducibly precise and clean.
Since then, many more saws of this series have found their way to our company, and I cannot help but admit a personal preference for these machines, which sometimes leads to purchases that would not be necessary. But the nice thing about these machines is that they are always for sale when you realize that the third Ulmia 1710 is really not necessary.
So a 1710 from the workshop of a large cleaning company in mint condition with almost all accessories found its way to me, later on a 1710 S with some improvements compared to the 1710, a 1710 SN, several small Ulmia 1708 and an Ulmia Universa 2, an extremely rare model in the same size as the 1708. Finally, a very well preserved and very well equipped Ulmia KS2 has been added to the first KS2, also from the carpentry workshop of the WDR broadcasting company in Cologne with all documents, even an original huge construction drawing of the rip fence. How this internal document came to the thick instruction manual is a mystery to me and was surely not intended by the factory. A cute little KS1 recently completed the list of my machines, and although it's only on the shelves so far, I'm happy every time I see it.
Anyway, I am always enthusiastic about the high quality of these small machines, the constant development of the engineers at Ulmia is actually visible in every model.
It is all the more regrettable that no more machines are built under this name, and for me it was difficult to find out anything about the circumstances of Ulmia's insolvency. I still had contact a few times with a former employee of the company, Mr. Maier, who was involved in the development of the KS2 and held patents for details of this machine, but due to the old age of the Mr. Maier there was little to find out about the history of the company.
A word about the search for spare parts for these machines: there is a company Ulmer HWS, founded after the bankruptcy, which, contrary to the hopes of many people, has no specific Ulmia original parts for these machines at all, except for the standard parts available almost everywhere, such as motors, switches, ball bearings, handles, splitting wedges, V-belts etc. And these standard parts can usually be obtained much cheaper from the usual dealers.
This means that it is only possible to find and buy specific Ulmia original parts through classified ads or Ebay.
I quote a message from 2017 from the forum woodworking.de :
"The company Ulmer HWS has NO spare parts for Ulmia machines! After the insolvency of Ulmia Ott in 2002, two former old employees founded the company Ulmer HWS to market their knowledge and skills. One of them told me personally that there were no more spare parts available, as they were all scrapped in the course of the bankruptcy proceedings. So it would be good to do without this link, so that nobody has to have false hopes".
For the interested Ulmia fans here is the sadly auction plan from September 2002:
INSOLVENCY AUCTION SALE
On behalf of the insolvency administrator RA Michael Pluta, Ulm, I am auctioning the complete fixed assets as well as the remaining stock of the company Ulmia GmbH & Co. KG, Heuweg 3/1, 89079 Ulm / Donau. Machines and equipment will be called up - spread over 3 auction days:
Catalogue I - Woodworking: on Friday, 20 September 2002, from 11 a.m.
CNC woodworking centres - four-sided planing machines - many thicknesser and surface planers - calibration sanding machines - cut-to-length and cut-to-size lines - vertical and horizontal panel saws - gluing presses - vacuum panel suckers - format and table circular saws - planer body production lines - panel and frame presses - a contour sanding machine - double end tenoners - dowel bar machines - edge banders - band saws - small machines - planer benches and much more.
Catalogue II - Metalworking: on Saturday, 21 September 2002, from 11 am
CNC machining centres - CNC lathes - Universal lathes and milling machines - Surface grinding machines - Hydraulic and eccentric presses - Column and in-line drilling machines - Cylindrical grinding machines - Automatic saws - Workbenches and much more.
Catalogue III - Office and vehicles: on Saturday, 28 September 2002, from 11 a.m.
High-quality desks and file cabinets - office swivel chairs - PC systems - fax machines - copiers - safe cabinets and much more.
The auction of the inventory ( original Ulmia tools, such as angles, planes, chisels, carpenter's saws, tool boxes, vices, mitre saws, rule saws, files and rasps, workbenches, and much more. ) starts already on Monday, 16 September 2002.
Auctions will be held daily - except Sunday - between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., while stocks last.
There will be ample opportunity to view the machinery (listed in the catalogues) from Monday, 16 September 2002, daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The production halls are open during the auction of the stock.
Place of the auction:
Firma Ulmia GmbH & Co. KG -
89079 Ulm / Donau