LumberJocks

Saw Talk #18: Vintage Spear & Jackson 26" Handsaw - Sharpened and Tested

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Brit posted 772 days ago 6595 reads 0 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Two Disston D8s - A Quick Progress Report Part 18 of Saw Talk series Part 19: It’s not me, it’s the saw »

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)

Enjoy!

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.



38 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

14888 posts in 1201 days


#1 posted 772 days ago

Andy, your blogs are great, but you are missing the most import part of working with a handsaw. Its how you hold your mouth. It must be something like this!!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Brit's profile

Brit

5127 posts in 1476 days


#2 posted 772 days ago

I’d say if your pulling faces like that Don, then your’re doing it wrong. LOL.

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I actually find sawing by hand very therapeutic and relaxing. I’m not saying you won’t work up a sweat sometimes but hey, what’s wrong with that? I’d rather push a saw than run on a treadmill in some sweaty gym.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1537 posts in 1061 days


#3 posted 772 days ago

That video was great except I would have preferred if the background music was shut off during the cut, so I could hear for my self what a beautiful sound that old lady made going through her first cut in years. You are a lucky man getting such a nice saw on ebay, here in the US the saws are generally not so old and the really nice ones go for big money.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Don W's profile

Don W

14888 posts in 1201 days


#4 posted 772 days ago

I’m hoping as I get better at sharpening I acquire a taste for it. I don’t mind sharpening planes, chisels, even chain saws, but there something about filing a saw I need to really motivate myself. At first I thought it was because I wasn’t very good at it, but i think its the other way around. I suck because I hate it. I don’t even like rip saws, and they are easy.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View ShaneA's profile (online now)

ShaneA

5289 posts in 1232 days


#5 posted 772 days ago

Another fine job sir. The saw looks amazing. What is next, after you get them all ready? The bench build?

View Brit's profile

Brit

5127 posts in 1476 days


#6 posted 772 days ago

exelectrician – I do normally mix more of the recorded sound with the audio track so you can hear the saw, but today there was so much wind noise being picked up by the camcorder’s microphone that I had to reduce the recorded sound more than normal. Not ideal I know, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5127 posts in 1476 days


#7 posted 772 days ago

Shane – I’m not sure yet.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6809 posts in 1785 days


#8 posted 772 days ago

Alright were cruising now! The progress is comming more quickly, another great restore!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Brit's profile

Brit

5127 posts in 1476 days


#9 posted 772 days ago

My new files arrived today, so I will get back to the backsaws tomorrow.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brad's profile

Brad

842 posts in 1374 days


#10 posted 772 days ago

Wow…I feel like I just watched a porno movie…the good kind.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9817 posts in 1252 days


#11 posted 771 days ago

Wow, that’s some serious tool porn. Nice stuff, Andy! You’ve got a fine saw, Congratulations!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View barecycles's profile

barecycles

253 posts in 962 days


#12 posted 771 days ago

Love it, love it!

I’m so glad that saw ended up in your possession and not somebody who might do this to it!!!

-- Sweeping up sawdust in Texas

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4119 posts in 1490 days


#13 posted 771 days ago

Andy that must be a pleasure to use.

barecycles not before breakfast, it spoiled

ma porridge, :(

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Brit's profile

Brit

5127 posts in 1476 days


#14 posted 771 days ago

Thanks guys. The Oldies are the Goldies.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5127 posts in 1476 days


#15 posted 771 days ago

Jamie – Billy Connolly used to say that his radio got covered in Museli every time ‘Thought for the day’ came on Radio 4. Sounds like you had a similar reaction and I can’t say I blame you. Maybe we should start a Free the Saws movement and raid these peoples’ houses. We could take secret undercover video to show their mistreatment of old saws. Just think, there could be a Panorama special. Questions might be asked in the House.

Ok, maybe not.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

showing 1 through 15 of 38 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase