|Forum topic by Brit||posted 03-24-2011 08:45 PM||17139 views||0 times favorited||9 replies|
03-24-2011 08:45 PM
I recently acquired this wonderful piece of English heritage and thought I’d share it with you.
This is a vintage 8 PPI (7 TPI) 26” crosscut hand saw made by Spear & Jackson in Sheffield, England over 100 years ago when Spear & Jackson were at the forefront of saw manufacture. The saw plate is cast steel, taper ground and has a straight tooth line. There are no missing teeth and no kinks. The plate tapers from 0.036” just above the tooth line to 0.026” along the top edge. The plate measures 7 ½” at the heel and 2 ¼” at the toe.
The teeth have a gullet depth of 0.094” with 0.007” of set having been applied to the top third of the tooth only. Although in need of sharpening, the teeth have previously been sharpened with a 15˚ rake angle, 20˚ of fleam and minimal slope. For a great downloadable explanation of saw tooth design, click here.
I believe this saw pre-dates saw plate etching. Instead, the plate is stamped with the maker’s mark as shown below. If you look closely, you can just make out the last few letters of the words CAST STEEL below the word Sheffield.
The toe of the plate features a tiny delicate nib and it beggars belief how such a small piece of metal has stayed attached to the plate for so many years.
The saw handle is truly a hand-crafted work of art that just invites you to pick the saw up. When you do, you’re rewarded with a glove-like fit that leaves you in awe of the craftsman who fashioned it. It features a hound’s tooth in front of the upper horn and a lamb’s tongue in front of the lower horn. The hang of the handle is such that the saw feels wonderfully balanced in the hand. If I ever make my own saws, this handle will definitely be used as my template. The handle is secured to the plate by means of four brass split nuts, the topmost one being slightly smaller than the remaining three.
Split nuts are notoriously difficult to remove on old saws, partly because they are made of brass and partly because after securing them in place, the craftsmen would draw-file the nuts to be flush with the handle. If I was to try to remove them and one of them broke off, the chances of finding a matching replacement would be slim to none and I would have to get the existing one silver soldered. Also, it is not uncommon for small chips of wood to break off around the nuts as they are rotated. Since these split nuts show no signs of ever having been removed and the handle is still securely fitted to the plate, I will not be attempting to remove them in order to clean the saw plate. I will follow the tried and tested saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
The other side of the handle features a lovely Spear & Jackson medallion as shown in the inset above. The dark diagonal mark above the medallion is the name stamp of a previous owner. It also appears faintly on the other side of the handle. After carefully examining both stamps under a magnifying glass and identifying different letters from each side of the handle, I came up with the name of Mr W. JOHNSTON.
I feel immensely privileged to be a part of this saws history and a tremendous amount of responsibility when it comes to preserving/restoring it. The current state of the saw plate is typical of cast steel saws of this vintage. There are patches of black staining, some pitting and some rust.
The lighter horizontal streaks in the picture above are where the previous owner has cleaned the saw using some form of abrasive and this evidence can also be seen elsewhere on both sides of the plate. They then coated the plate with an excessive amount of what I assume to be paste wax, which is the usual means of protecting a saw plate after cleaning. Some people would argue that saws this old should not be cleaned and I have some sympathy with that view. However, since an attempt has previously been made to clean the plate and there is evidence of rust at present, I feel justified in cleaning the plate now, so that future generations can experience the same thrill that I felt when I picked up this saw for the first time.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this great saw. If you would like to see how the saw plate looked after cleaning it with Hammerite Rust Remover Gel, click here.
-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)