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Thread: Is this old rip saw a user or a wall hanger?

  1. #1
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    Is this old rip saw a user or a wall hanger?

    I looked all over town for a rip saw. I want to be able to rip stock, sure, but I also want something with big teeth to learn to sharpen saws on. This was the only one in town, so I bought it.

    The more I read up on old saws, the older this one seems to be. 30 inch long, plate is 9 inches tall at the heel. Compared to my Disston D8 which is etched, the Spear Jackson mark one this one looks to be stamped. The progressive tooth pattern at the toe is delta in both tooth size and rake, rather than just size, or just rake.

    Looking real careful I am pretty confident the brass strap at the bottom of the handle was a repair, but a thoughtful well executed job.

    Another odd thing is two of the handle connectors are threaded bolts and two are riveted.

    Most all of the vintage Spear - Jacksons I can find online have five bolts, two above and two below the medallion.

    I suspect it was made before 1850.

    Question is, would it be a travesty to treat this saw as a user? Should I build a wall hanger for it and let it retire gracefully?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    Question is, would it be a travesty to treat this saw as a user? Should I build a wall hanger for it and let it retire gracefully?
    What is a travesty are wall-hangers. If it is straight, use it. Imagine if you were a saw...made to saw with the best of them, and you had to sit by and just watch. If it had been thoroughly used, or had a big bow/kink, I could see "retiring" it, but this thing has been sitting somewhere itching to fulfill its purpose as a tool, not a portrait. It's not as if you are likely to wear it out.
    Last edited by Noah Magnuson; 01-13-2019 at 9:07 AM.

  3. #3
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    I have and would clean the grunge off the saw plate, re-tooth it, sharpen it and put new handle on it.
    I have done this to old saws. You will not regret it. You might also put new saw nuts on it. On second
    thought, the old handle is fine. Only make a new handle if the old handle is broken.
    Last edited by lowell holmes; 01-13-2019 at 11:13 AM.

  4. #4
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    Seem to recall that the brass strip was put on those saws by the ones whom made the saws....strip is the same age as the saw...cotton ball and some Brasso to shine it up.

  5. #5
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    Spear and Jackson was a very large saw maker. The strip on the handle is a user mod and was done to render the saw usable after the lower part of the handle was broken. It did not leave the factory like this. Contrary to Lowell's advise, I'd joint it and file it and use it as is. If the handle is sound and not loose, I would use it as is.

    Finally, 30" saws are not at all common. By 30" I assume you are talking about the length of the blade? If so, they are pretty scarce. In 27 years of collecting saws, I've only had 2 or three come through the shop, all were sold to Collin Beggs, a timber framer who has a standing order for long saws like this. The fact that you found a pretty rare saw in really good (not rusted up) condition in Alaska is quite remarkable. What is the number stamped under the handle? What is the pitch near the handle if there is no stamping? I'd enjoy seeing more pictures. I don't think the saw is before 1850, more like around 1860 or so, Are there three crowns stamped in the blade around the main stamping? They may be very light and hard to see.

  6. #6
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    I would never discard old parts, but keep them. There is no reason to replace a whole handle.
    The saw I restored had no handle.

    Oh by the way, I have eleven Disston hand saws, all sharp and ready to cut. Only two have new handles.
    Last edited by lowell holmes; 01-13-2019 at 3:44 PM.

  7. #7
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    More pics attached. I am inclined to use it, rehandle it if needed. The tag on it at the antique store said "purchased from an old time Fairbanksan in 1954" give or take, so probably on a shelf for the last 60 some years.

    I found a similar listing on picclick, https://picclick.com/Spear-Jackson-S...336506948.html. The blade profile, handle shape and bolt pattern match mine exactly.

    Stamping in the corner on mine reads "4 1/2", I love the wear pattern from the index finger of a right handed previous owner. The effort that went in to the handle repair tells me this was a really good saw once upon a time and likelly will be again once the teeth are put to rights.
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  8. #8
    We all look at history different. Those who are extreme in wanting to forget, to those who are extreme in preservation. The more you do to that saw, the more you delete a piece of history. Using it once in a while carefully isn't going to hurt it, but replacing the handle sure will. In my eyes, that would be a shame, but it's not my saw. Think about it. 150 years old.
    Don
    TimeTestedTools

  9. #9
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    Think about it. 150 years old.
    Some folks aren't even half that old and have knees, hips, teeth and even hair replaced.

    IMO, if the saw is worth a great deal to someone who wants to hang it on a wall, sell it to them for enough money to buy its modern equivalent. This is how many of my tools were able to be purchased. Sell the ones that people pay a lot of money for and buy a good user (not so collectable) cheap.

    Otherwise, treat the saw well and use it as it was made to be used.

    How much collector value would be lost on such a saw if in 20 years there was a list of projects the saw was part of making?

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  10. #10
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    A cosmetic cleaning and sharpening an old saw will only add to it's value. Also, after you see one of these

    https://www.google.com/search?q=tain...hrome&ie=UTF-8

    You will enjoy a new hobby, resurrecting old handsaws. You will need to buy or make a saw vise. I did both.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=home...hrome&ie=UTF-8

  11. #11
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    I agree with Jim. I have an old D-8 Disston thumb hole rip saw in similar shape. It has a couple bumps and bruises and plenty of age spots. I could resore it but it wouldn't cut any better. I don't use it often, but when I do it works very well. I had a couple more that I sold to collectors. This will probably follow that same path when I find a less collectible user.
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

  12. #12
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    Here is a saw vise you can build. I did.

    http://www.leevalley.com/en/newslett...2/article2.htm

  13. #13
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    I do like the saw vise linked above better than any other plan I had seen online before. I'll study it a bit more, but I think that's the one to build for me. My vise isn't deep enough to use the LN one, I built one, but my jaws are only 3.25 deep and don't clamp very far up on the plywood panels. I like the clamp above the bench top on the popular woodworking plans, but this one seems it should be much more stable in use.

    My plan is to sharpen the old rip saw, use it until the handle gets loose and re-evaluate. I don't imagine I will be putting a lot of miles on it with 4 1/2 teeth. I am looking for an 8tpi rip already.

    I'll keep an eye out for NOS matching replacement handle in the meantime. I am in the process of hanging a new handle on a 1930s double bit axe and had no qualms about tossing the old haft on that one.

    I guess one option would be to replace the rivets with new threaded fasteners, but it looks like the original medallion is riveted in place.

    Thanks for all your input.

  14. #14
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    Scott,

    Finding an 8 TPI rip might take a bit of time, because they are pretty rare.

    A much easier and cheaper way to get there is to buy an 8 point cross cut saw, and then resharpen it to be an 8 point rip. Very easy fix, and there are a bazillion old 8 point cross cut saws out there because the 8 point cross cut was by far the most used saw framing carpenters used. In fact probably almost all carpenters of all types carried at least one 8 point. My guess is that well over half of the full size old carpenters saws out there are 8 point cc saws. You should be able to find them CHEAP at a big flea market.

    Back when I was carpentering, working for a carpenter, the single most common saw the carpenters carried was an 8 point cross cut, the second most common saws he also carried were either a 10 point or 12 point finish crosscut saw or a rip saw with either 4 1/2, 5, or 5 1/2 points. If you had 3 saws with you, I did later on as well as did some of the other guys earlier on, there was one from each group listed in the previous sentence. I was a little different as I carried 8 point and 12 point crosscuts and a 7 point rip, and still do. I plan to eventually carry a rip in the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 point range too. I carried the 7 point rip simply because I had a good 7 point rip and my 4 1/2 point rip was somewhat sorry.

    One thing, of course, is that an 8 point saw and and an 8 TPI saw are not the same thing. The 8 point saw is the same thing as a 7 TPI saw. The way they count the teeth is always different by one tooth in the "point" system versus the "TPI" system. However, the 8 point and 8 TPI rips are close enough that I don't think it will make a lot of difference which you use for practical use. I consider my 7 point rip a finish rip saw, and the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 varieties for faster cutting for more rough cutting. That said, Christopher Schwarz recommends a 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 point panel rip saw for fine woodworking.

    The manufactures use the "point" system, and if an American made saw is clear of corrosion enough to read, and still has enough blade left for the stamping to be read, down between the bottom of the handle and the teeth, close to be heel of the saw blade will normally be a small number stamped. This number will be the "point system" number of teeth that was the original manufacturing. I have seen many, and have a few that the stamped number clearly does not match the actual point count that the saw currently has, so over the years some of the old saws have been re-toothed. My 7 point rip was one I had re-toothed from a different tooth count.

    If you want a true 8 TPI saw, you can buy an old 8 point and have it re-toothed to an 8 TPI saw. It will cost a bit more to do that but it is the fastest way to get to a true 8 TPI saw if that is what you are especially looking for.

    It is likely that you knew all of the above, so I do not want to offend, but thought to give my thoughts on the topic.

    Regards,

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 01-15-2019 at 1:45 AM.

  15. #15
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    Scott; those early type saw bolt assemblies (flat screws) were made using a soft brass. The split nuts are also quite thin and are only secured to the shank by 1 1/2-2 coarse threads. In most cases, its extremely difficult to remove these early split nut assemblies and not cause some damage to the exposed threads.

    Its likely an earlier owner had made an attempt to remove the saw handle to repair the broken lambs tongue, and got as far as removing the 2 bottom split nuts before realizing he had damaged those threads.

    Stewie;


    Spear & Jackson continued to offer these flat screws in some catalogues up until at least 1939, although their availability might have meant that they were used for repairs, rather than being fitted to new saws of that date. The design virtues were the speed and neatness with which it could be finished, its vices, at least for the collector, the difficulty of removing one with a reasonable chance of successfully re-fixing it. The brass was far from hard, the threading crude, and the holes in the blade seldom easy to relocate; the result from personal experience and observation of others handiwork, is a screw that did not sit flush, even if they can be properly tightened. It has to be emphasized that the saw maker were of course not thinking of the future, nor of the collectors who might want to dismantle a tool to see how it was made; they were making a tool for a price, and had 2 aims- something that worked, and which could be finished as quickly as possible.

    page 77; British Saws & Saw Makers from c1660; SIMON BARLEY.
    Last edited by Stewie Simpson; 01-15-2019 at 12:36 AM.

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