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LJ Fun #3: Tool identification update

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Blog entry by Schwieb posted 929 days ago 4226 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Tool Identification Part 3 of LJ Fun series no next part

Thanks loads to those that took a look at this and responded. You know, if it had a little coarser teeth the ice saw suggestion seems plausible. I decided to take this apart and clean it up some to see if I could find any maker’s marks on the metal blade. I didn’t. In the way I received the saw, the handle was more or less straight off the back end of the saw.

When I took it apart, I realized that the blade was broken and originally went further into the handle. You could see the outline on the metal to show that the handle actually was set at an angle to the blade. Someone cut a little notch in the blade to catch the screw to help secure the blade, probably the same guy that did the handle repair. I drew a simple sketch to visualize what the handle might have looked like.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.



13 comments so far

View stefang's profile

stefang

12541 posts in 1931 days


#1 posted 929 days ago

Hi Ken, thanks for the interesting mystery. I have been trying to remember where I have see a similar blade design (without any nibs), and I just realized it resembles my tree pruning saw which is smaller but with the same basic shape.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1712 days


#2 posted 929 days ago

DOOH !
sorry Ken can´t help you :-(
but I look forward to see the mistery solved

take care
Dennis

View sandhill's profile

sandhill

2102 posts in 2521 days


#3 posted 929 days ago

I thought I posted a response but I guess not so here it goes.
I believe it was used to cut bone for amputations during the civil war, you may have some value there.

-- Bob Egbert AKA Sandhill http://www.sandhillwoodworks.com/

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2130 posts in 1705 days


#4 posted 929 days ago

To support sandhill’s observation, here is an example of a field saw profile during that time period. The profile seems correct. Perhaps the name engravings have rubbed off over time.

Keep us posted :)

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9574 posts in 1215 days


#5 posted 929 days ago

Bone saw… Could be!

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

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1476 posts in 2058 days


#6 posted 928 days ago

I doubt very much that this was a bone saw. I wish it were, because it would have some actual value. Even then they at least boiled surgical equipment. This saw has a wooden handle and this just wouldn’t have been satisfactory. I think it was a woodworking saw although the ice saw suggestion has merit. It came from NW Ohio, I know for a fact that my ancestors would cut ice from the nearby creek in the winter and pack it in sawdust (from their sawmill of course), and keep it as long as they could in a cellar.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12541 posts in 1931 days


#7 posted 928 days ago

Not to be contrary David, but the bone saw looks quite different to me with a very short nose and the reinforced back. The teeth also look much finer than the mystery saw. Also, it seems with a metal handle, the saw would be easier to clean before and after a messy surgery where wood with or without a finish would quickly deteriorate with repeated cleanings.

It would have been interesting to know if there is any set in the teeth of the mystery saw. That would at least tell us whether or not it was used for fine work. After thinking it over, I admit that my pruning saw theory probably doesn’t hold water because wet wood teeth would most likely be much coarser and probably a different configuration.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12541 posts in 1931 days


#8 posted 928 days ago

I made this list after on a a more web searching. Most of these options have already been mentioned, but it’s worth seeing them together, so here they are:

1. Purely decorative
2. Used to attach strings for blade guards
3. Used to be broken off to test the blades temper by the manufacturer
4. Used to start a kerf
5. As a warning sign that the saw is coming out of the kerf.

No. 3 sounds logical to me because blades with nibs were apparently not in the past made from spring steel as they are today and it seems plausible that there was a need to test the tempering on a blade as a quality control.

I know from my own experience that tempering was normally based on the color of the steel after heating, during the tempering process, but I also know that this process isn’t fool proof, so some way to physically test the steel would be a better proof of success.

After being broken off the remaining nib could be ground smooth and left as proof to the customer that the blade had been tested. On the minus side, this theory doesn’t explain the need for two nibs which this particular saw has.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2130 posts in 1705 days


#9 posted 928 days ago

No worries Mike, feel free to be contrary :)

I didn’t specifically mean that this saw was used in the Civil War or specifically for surgical purposes but I would not assume that this is the original handle for starters. Do keep in mind that the saw has had some alterations. Also, keep in mind that folks often had to butcher their own animals and oftentimes a saw was used on the bones of the livestock. The shape of the saw is very similar to a bone saw and doesn’t look like any woodworking saw I have ever seen. I do admit, however, that my knowledge of wood saws is pretty limited.

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View DamnYankee's profile

DamnYankee

3233 posts in 1159 days


#10 posted 928 days ago

based on my research I would likely go with a bone saw from about the 1800s (Civil War +-). Very similar in shape and design to ones I’ve found from that era.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1476 posts in 2058 days


#11 posted 927 days ago

Based on comments received thus far, Here is an update: There seems to be no set to the teeth of the saw. The blade thickness is 0.034 in. The shape of the nib at the leading end of the saw lends itself to be broken off as Mike suggested. This wasn’t done on this saw obviously, but if it were, it would make it a better candidate for a piercing cut. The saw shape resembles a Disston patternmaker’s saw a little bit. Bone saws typically had a rigid back.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12541 posts in 1931 days


#12 posted 927 days ago

I think that the nibs would be the remainder of the broken off piece. I doubt we will ever solve this unless some documentation is found from the period when the nibs were added, and that sounds highly unlikely to me.

I also read somewhere on the net that the nubs help remove splintering on the edge of the kerf, just to add yet another purpose for the nubs.

Personally I think it may have been invented by an ancient fanatical religious group who worshiped nibs and they were probably called nibites.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Schwieb's profile

Schwieb

1476 posts in 2058 days


#13 posted 927 days ago

I’m laughing out loud Mike, Nibites indeed!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

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