This was the first saw I bought off ebay. I can’t remember how much I paid, but it wasn’t much. The seller only posted one dark grainy photo, so I didn’t really know what I was getting and at that time I didn’t know what to look for anyway. When it arrived and I removed the wrapping, I literally had goosebumps. I couldn’t get over how beautiful the hand-made tote was. More than once I’ve drifted off into dreamland imagining the work this saw has performed during it’s lifetime and the things it has seen. I believe it was made around 1839, but I don’t have any real proof other than the features. To my eyes, it is a work of art. I wrote about the saw here if anyone is interested.
This is how the saw looked when I received it.
On a saw this old, I didn’t want to do anything to the tote. I just cleaned it gently and gave it a coat of wax. There is a slight chip to the underside of the top horn, but it really isn’t bad enough to warrant a repair.
I don’t mind admitting that I felt an enormous sense of pride to finally sharpen this old girl and test her out. The teeth were quite unevenly spaced, a few were bent and the set was all over the place. I allowed myself a big smile whilst shaping and sharpening it because I realised that these problems no longer phase me. Even though I’ve only sharpened eight saws to date, I was confident I could make this saw sing again. I’m so glad I persevered at saw sharpening.
I decided to leave the saw at 7 TPI (8PPI) and file it crosscut with 15 degrees of rake and 25 degrees of fleam.
One of the main differences between saws made in the early 19th century and saws made in the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century is the hang of the handle. Remember that the hang refers to the angle between the front of the grip and the toothline. Look at the photo below and imagine you are holding the saw with a three finger grip and your first finger is pointing down the saw. Follow the line of where your imaginery finger is pointing. It is the front of the toothline right? This puts all of the power behind the stroke instead of down through the toothline. This means that only the weight of the saw is keeping the teeth engaged in the cut. In effect, the saw does the cutting and the user simply provides the power. Saws with this kind of hang angle only work if the teeth are kept sharp. When they become dull, the teeth tend to skip over the surface instead of cutting.
This wasn’t a problem in the early 19th century because in those days craftsman knew how to sharpen their saws and they kept them sharp.
Now look at the hang of a Disston D8 and follow your imaginery finger again.
It points further back on the toothline right? It is at that point in your stroke (when your elbow forms a right-angle) that you are delivering maximum power. Here the hang angle of the handle directs the power down through the toothline as well as forward, thus keeping the teeth engaged in the cut even after they start to dull.
Having never used a saw with a hang angle like the S&J, I was interested to find out how it felt to use.
The following video shows the saw in action making its first cut in God knows how long. Come and explore the old lady’s curves. :o)
-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)