Australian Saws

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by Underthedirt, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Hi Chris, thanks for your remarks, & yes you are correct, the thumbhole rip has a ppi stamp on the heel, quite deep & noticeable on the other side, the panel saw has a ppi stamp too.
    I was chuffed to find them, I've heard lots about them but never seen even a photo of a River Lett saw...:)

    Regards

    Mari
     
  2. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Two Denman & Robinson of Melbourne saws, an 26" aggressive 7ppi xcut with a beech handle & Sheffield W/S medallion, plus an 8" bb gents saw 16.5ppi xcut, stamped on the brass spine.

    I've had the 26" saw for about 3yrs scratching my head over the etch, I presumed that it was just another Bowden when starting to clean it & I was very surprised to see a worn etch ...man & Ro...son, Melbourne! For the life of me I couldn't work it out, so I put it back on the shelf until hopefully more evidence would come to light, & when I found the little gents saw the penny dropped.

    Denman & Robinson had a reasonable sized workshop in Oakleigh & were saw Drs & cutter sharpeners, I believe that they have closed now unfortunately.


    Regards


    Mari
     

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  3. Model T Ford

    Model T Ford New Member

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    Hello All,
    I contacted the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum to see if they had any further information on River Lett Saws. They kindly provided the following information:

    "Information on the saws is fairly scant. All we have is the following:

    The River Lett saws were made by Geoffrey Kensett. He worked at the Factory during Second World War and started sharpening saws in a shed from 1946. He later leased a "rec" building to manufacture saws and was in business from 1947 to 1950. The blades were made at the Factory from English steel. The handles were coachwood supplied by Tom Kirk's saw mill at Mount Wilson, we assume he shaped them himself.

    He made various saws including rip, panel meat and a 24" handyman saw. Over 20,000 total were made in the 4 years. Many were exported to New Zealand.

    We may find more on the saws as we continue to catalogue our archives.

    Kind regards,

    Donna White
    Custodian
    Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum"

    So there we are. A bit more information about Australian saws.
     
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  4. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Dear Model T,

    Thanks so much for contacting the museum & posting this, its invaluable information & fascinating to read...:)

    Regards

    Mari
     
  5. Model T Ford

    Model T Ford New Member

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    Yes very interesting Mari.

    20,000 saws in 4 years is 5,000 p.a. Assuming 46 weeks per year production that's 109 saws per week, say 22 per day without any delays. That's one saw produced every 20 minutes. Geoffrey must have had a few people helping him I would think.

    It would be interesting to know how he distributed / sold the saws, and then why he stopped production. I have not been able to trace any adverts for the saws, so maybe Geoffrey sold his saws through hardware merchants?

    From what I have read on line over the years it would appear that around about 1950 the likes of Stanley, Disston and Spear & Jackson were taking advantage of import tarrifs and started to "manufacture" saws in Australia = assembling saws from imported components and then export them and sell locally - maybe some of the handles were made locally?

    Geoffrey most likely would have found he could not compete with the big manufacturers when they rode into town, and decided to close the business.

    Or maybe it is as simple as his lease ran out and he didn't renew it so shut the business down. Or he simply retired and shut the business down.

    Hopefully the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum will unearth more information in the future as they sift through their archives.

    Regards,
    Trevor
     
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  6. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Thanks for your reply Trevor, I'm surprised that the River Lett saws were only made for 4 years & then finished up in 1950- that would explain why they are hard to find.
    Also, some of the handles that Disston used on their locally "produced" D8s look to have been made out of Meranti- not beech, so I would think that those were possibly made here.

    regards

    Mari
     
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  7. Deesinister

    Deesinister Most Valued Member

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  8. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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  9. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    Just be careful with Gumtree, it's a snake pit without checks and balances... caveat emptor.
     
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  10. gmac

    gmac Active Member

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    Mari

    I have finally got around to cleaning up another River Lett saw, that I found at the Naracoorte swap in May.

    It is the same as your 28" 4 1/2 ppi thumbhole rip saw, with decal and in slightly better condition.

    The shaping of the handle is very rudimentary and not highly finished showing the machining marks,
    but it is not damaged and I was able to save the decal when refinishing.

    Graham.

    river lett saw a.jpg river lett saw b.JPG river lett saw c.JPG river lett saw d.jpg
     
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  11. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Hi Graham, wow you've done a great job on the River Lett ripsaw, it looks great, the handle & decal are in awesome shape, enjoy it, they are a hard to find saw..:) thanks for posting it up.

    Regards

    Mari
     
  12. gmac

    gmac Active Member

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    Hi all,

    I am a happy chappie, as I've managed to pick up another Marsden back saw
    from the same Adelaide hills shop that I've been lucky at before.

    The new edition is a 12" Marsden back saw.

    It is the third Marsden back saw I now have and fits nicely between the 14" and the 10"
    all are 13 ppi. and in fair condition.

    Am not sure if there was ever an 8" or 16" manufactured,.

    Graham.
     

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  13. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

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    Interesting to see W H Blakeley across the middle of this Disston saw display at the Melbourne Exhibition (I assume he was the local Disston agent/retailer at that time)
    [picture stolen from the facebook "Axe and Woodworking Appreciation" discussion group] Disston Saw Display Melbourne.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2020
  14. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    • Lots of nice Disston saws in this image from 1888. Of special note, the four panel saws just to the right of top center, with a half-back at top and the very rare full-back at the bottom. Only three of those full-backs have been reportedly found in the US of A so far.
    The saw at far lower left of the image has the five screw pattern of either a #10, a #14 or a # 15. To date, the # 10 is the only one reported to be sometimes found with an etch, while the #14 and # 15 have only been seen with die stamps. So it's likely that the one pictured in 1888 (20+ years after etching was introduced) was a #10. This image strongly suggests, then, that the #10 was among the standard production line of Disston saws, something that up til now has been a subject of debate.

    David.
     
  15. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

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    The Disston #10 idea is very interesting, and the bolt pattern would be correct, but all the Disston #10s I've been able to find details on have a straight heel and the display model appears to have a curved heel. Maybe a late model #10 variation ? or something else ?

     
  16. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Well, it would definitely be a late model, being from 1888 and certainly etched (only one of the 15 or so # 10's that I've heard of was etched). But I agree with you; all the #10s that I've actually seen have straight heels. I don't necessarily think that that feature is absolute, however. As an example, I've seen, for real or in images, about six #14 eagle saws and all the examples except mine have straight heels. Mine has a curved heel.

    Too little information and too few examples to be sure of anything besides "I never saw that variation before on that model saw".

    The only etched Disston saw model I can think of that the five-screw pattern matches though, is the # 10. So we are left here trying to sort out the puzzle once again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
  17. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    Going through my pre 1900 Disston catalogues there's more than a few saws in the Blakeley display photo that I can't identify- fifth and seventh along the arc from the bottom left are ??? as well. Saw 8 from the left is a '99. Some of those panel saws are unusual as well - although the panel versions can look a bit weird with reduced number of bolts and scaled down handles etc. The 12's can be readily identified by the loop handles and the 7's by the lambs tongue handles (although they could be metal cutting variants, say a 340). There's also a Centennial 76, which is relatively common in Australia but scarce elsewhere.

    Of note is a backsaw shown with a pistol grip handle - H4, H5 and H7 etc all had closed handles and it sure doesn't look like the lightweight Model 70. I've seen an example of this saw which was found locally. It isn't in the catalogues.

    Interesting game to play with this photo - "pick the model number". Maybe somebody could publish a version with the model numbers annotated on it?
     
  18. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Hello all,

    Here's a W.H.Blakeley of Melbourne, 28" rip, about 4ppi.

    Regards

    Mari
     

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  19. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    This is an interesting saw, not mine but a friends- it's a W.H.Blakeley pad / keyhole / table saw. Interestingly, the handle is an adapted handsaw handle- probably factory done, the blade is extremely thick at the toothline & taper ground along the length, bottom to top, the blade is stamped. Hard to believe that they could compete for sales against English & American offerings with a rudimentary offering like that!
    Did they not have an in house handle maker at the time, or did the not have the tools or materials for making a proper pistol grip handle?
    I would believe that this is quite a rare saw.

    Regards

    Mari
     

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  20. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    Disston 10" steel back No. 4 backsaw with a local hardware store etch: "Bethell & Thurston William St Perth". Never seen a Disston primary line model marked in this fashion, normally the hardware store etch is secondary to the Disston etch.
     

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