George Bishop 8" Dovetail saw

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by TraditionalToolworks, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    I consider this to be one of the rarest George Bishop saws.

    I posted my Disston Dovetail Collection a few days ago, and the No 70 is smaller and more dainty than the No 4, as an example. For this reason the No 70 was not a very popular saw. Also, the No 70 had brass plated back and saw nuts, but the saw nuts were very simple, just a plain domed nut with no Medallions. Even so, brass was expensive even back in the early 1900s. The backs had no maker stamp on them, and the only marking was the etch on the blade. Many of them had the etch wear off, but you can typically find some etch left. The brass plated parts were expensive in their time, but because these saws were smaller and a bit more dainty, they could price them close to their other saws. They didn't sell well though.

    This George Bishop saw is even more dainty than a Disston No. 70, and the handle is much thinner, to the point that it is almost too small. It has a brass plated back similar to No 70 and the saw nuts are exactly the same brass plated style and they have a patina exactly the same as my No 70s.

    The handle on this had been broken and it is currently affixed with a screw through the top holding it on. It also has a hole in the handle as well. and the bottom tip was broken off as well.

    It has an 8" saw plate with 1 1/2" useable plate depth. It has been dropped and the back smashed down on the front when I bought it.

    I know I could replace the handle and have a very nice dovetail saw, but I consider it to be a piece of history the way it is. As with the No 70s, this saw was not made to the same quality level as the larger tenon saws, but seems intended for the same purpose, cutting joinery.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  2. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    A few more pics of the little guy, to keep them together.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    668
    Hi Alan,

    Interesting, do you know when Disston purchased George Bishop?

    On the disstonianinstitute site, it refers to Bishop making saws up until the 1920's

    So, is this made by Bishop prior to the takeover? Or by Disston after the 1920's

    The other thing that stands out, is the exceptionally low hang angle, it makes me think that the handle might not be original, or has been user modified?

    Interesting puzzle..

    Regards
    Ray
     
  4. planemaker

    planemaker Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Hi Ray & Alan. Looking at the quality of the handle and the its rather low hang to the tooth line I would doubt its original & more likely a replacement made by a previous owner. You can actually see a shiny area of previously covered saw steel on the underside of the cheek. Apart from this I am sure its a quality saw plate made by a well respected Geo Bishop. Thanks for posting Alan.

    Stewie.
     
  5. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    Ray, I think that's my bad, I don't think Disston did purchase him, Bishop died in 1911, but the company continued on as Ohlen-Bishop until 1938, per Erv's NA book.

    Disston did buy up most of the famous makers though, but I don't think Bishop was one of them looking in the book again.

    These are the companies that Disston Acquired.

    Bringhurst & Veree 1866
    James Turner 1867
    Aaron Nichols 1867
    Hill & Davenport 1868
    Wm & Harver Rowland 1870
    Philadelphia Saw Co. 1911-1971
    Keystone Saw Works 1926

    ---- Following were Acquired and run under National Saw Co.
    Waterhouse Saw Co. 1874
    Richardson Bros. 1890
    Harvey Peace Co. 1890
    Pennsylvania Saw Co. 1892
    Wheeler, Madden & Clemson 1893
    Woodrough & McParlin 1893
    Woodrough & Clemson 1893
    Baldridge & Hogan 1901
    American Saw Co. 1901
    ----

    I'm a bit miffed that he didn't buy Bishop looking at those...:eek:

    I do not know how old the Biship 8" is, but I do believe the handle is original for the saw, although I can't remember if I have taken off the handle. I believe I did as it's flat screw. The shape is close to a Disston No 70 when you match it up, sans the bottom dolphin tail. It's very dainty and has a screw in the top to hold the handle, but the shape of it in relation to the saw, I think it's correct.

    Funny you mention the hang angle...once upon a time I had Mike Wenzloff make me 3 saws. This is before I figured out how to make my own, and before Mike used medallions, stamped backs, or etched blades. I measured a Disston 70 and told him that was the angle I wanted it at. He told me no, dovetail saws had a lower hang than tenon saws did. Then I measured a Harris (London) I have, it also had a similar hang angle. That was the newer No. 70.

    As Stewie noted, the older handle is different, and the hang angle on it is quite a bit lower than the newer ones, so that is something that changed more drastic than the extra step/point, IMO.

    I don't know what type of wood it is, but it has some small details on it that when compared to the No 70 are pretty nicely done. As an example, the chamfers around the mortise for the back. The detail of the point on top, and the lines of the horns and back (front dolphin got knocked off). Most of the finish is gone, but inside the handle some is there and it seems it would have been nice had the rest of the finish been in place...that might be why both of you feel it is replaced. Even though it is a very small handle, especially thin , it is quality IMO.

    That said, I collected and sold vintage guitars for about 10 years. Part of my opinion is based on buying/selling antiques. Some antique dealer have difference of opinions also. I am saying this as I have no idea if the handle did or did not come from Bishop, the etch on the blade makes no questions what type of saw it is. I truly appreciate the little handle, and the details, it's a quality little handle...too bad it has so many wounds...but it's dainty...
     
  6. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    668
    Hi Alan,

    This may or may not be relevant.

    In the 1918 Disston Catalog, there is a "C Bishop" handsaw listed

    But that's pretty inconclusive since they also advertise that they can put customer designed etches on any saw.
    I note (in answer to an earlier question by Simon) also that they offered beech handles on some saws, as well as walnut and apple.
    Here is the disston catalog entry..
    [​IMG]

    The EAIA directory mentions that Henry Disston used the brand "G Bishop", but goes on to say that there is no known connection with the "George Bishop" we are referring to? I wonder if the EAIA directory is confusing "C" with "G"

    Here is the EAIA directory entry
    [​IMG]


    Just speculating....
    It may even have been a marketting ploy by Disston to create a little confusion by offering "C Bishop" in competition with "G Bishop"

    The mystery deepens... any chance of a better picture of the etch?

    Regards
    Ray
     
  7. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    First, this saw was never apart, this was the first time the handle had been taken off the plate, IMO. Inside you can see that the nuts were pretty clean, although I have to use a punch to get the top screw out. It would appear the screws were cut down to suite the need, as both a slightly different lengths, or at least the one is possibly cut down with the less amount of threads.

    You can see the outline of the handle on the unused portion of the blade. I think that is pretty clear that this handle was the only one on the saw. And the work is all quality, as you can see on the handle. You can see the crack much clearer and the screw on the top through the top point, but the small detail work is pretty good, IMO, even the edge around the bottom outer dolphin fin is crafted.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    I had thought Disston bought Bishop, as Disston was the Bill Gates style megalomaniac of the 19th century. In fact, it was Disston who was the first...his son purchased 4 million acres of land in Florida and was the largest land owner in the United States until Disney bought the land in Orlando. Although his son lost it and killed himself, what a worthless POS, I bet Henry was rollin' over in his grave...:D
    I think in general, Disston just figured out that if he had more different saws for sale, and priced them accordingly, people would buy them. Look at all the companies he bought up? Just like Microsoft, sucked the life out of them and turned them into their own products...that's business.;)

    That is why I'm so bitter towards Disston, he bought and killed most all of his competition, just like other people did in modern high tech, ms is one as noted. Disston was a monopoly on saws...so he did deserve to be crushed by power saws...but Henry was long gone by then, one could argue that when Henry had control of the company it was top notch. Maybe Henry had a heart attack when the modern screw came about...lol

    As I said, the screws look to be exactly like the No 70.
     
  9. planemaker

    planemaker Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Hi Alan. Its most unusual to see the top screw running through the hardback. I can't recall any of the Geo. Bishop backsaws being built similar. Most unusual. Is there any chance this could have originally been a 10" saw plate, that has been shortened by 2" at the heel.

    Stewie;
     
  10. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    Stewie,

    I don't think so, it all looks original to me.

    I have run into the same problem myself, unintentionally where I partially drilled one of my backs trying to move the screw evenly spaced. This was intentionally put up into the back though. the bottom of the heel was nicely filed.

    I know you guys are very skeptical over this saw, it is very unusual, but as I said up at the top, I think it's one of the rarest American saws because it is such. The other saw I got with this was bought from an Estate sale in SF.

    The only other thing I can think of is if this was designed for a salesperson to carry around, but in that case, as done with anvils, they usually were not very useable, where this is a very solid and useable saw.

    I should fix the handle and get the screw out, but more often than not I don't touch anything on the saws, because as I mentioned I used to buy/sell antique vintage guitars and antiques are worth more in original condition.

    Look closely at the rear of the handle, you can see there was more craftsmanship put into this little handle than the Disston No 70s. In fact, I would be surprised if a human hand touched the No 70 handles at all, in the shaping state...sad to say...:eek:
     
  11. planemaker

    planemaker Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Hi Alan. From what you have told me about this Geo. Bishop Saw I am happy to accept that it is indeed in its original form. Well done. Looks like you are indeed the proud owner of a most rare type of backsaw.

    Stewie;
     
  12. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    It's a great little saw, IMO. I've actually thought about making a small similar copy of it, oddly enough. It's like a small version of the No 70.

    I have another interesting Bishop with a great etch on it. I'll see if I can dig it up, but I found another interesting Jackson that is a dovetail saw also, I forgot about that. It is very unusual also, but I don't have time to snap pics tonight. It's kinda like a 70 with a decent handle on it. :p However, the back in steel, but smaller gauge and more similar to a 68/70 back, just that it's steel, and it has small saw nuts, brass with one medallion. It was made for a Newspaper company down in Tennessee or somewhere...:)
     
  13. planemaker

    planemaker Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Hi Alan. The Jackson dovetail saw sounds very much like the one I have in my collection. It has a very light weight steel spine. On the spine the "J" in the Jackson is not very early style so its possibly after being taken over by Disston. The medallion is a little different to others I have seen. It has the small eagle with an outer circumference of small stars. It has a similar style to the Disston 70, apart from the handle which is more of an earier style handle. Its a very nice fit to the hand and is wonderful backsaw to use.

    Stewie;.
     
  14. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    Stewie,

    Yes, indeed that sounds like the same type saw. I do have an older Disston with split nuts come to think of it that has a smaller back, it's about 12" long with a 2" plate, but the toe is pretty mangled, I tried to flatten it on an anvil...I have a few Disston/Jackson saws but just a few.
     
  15. planemaker

    planemaker Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Alan. Recently I was completing a rebuild and noticed a twist along its steel length. Well it didn't matter what I tried I still coudnt' get the tooth line straight. Well I was that frustrated after wasting half the day getting no where, I grabbed that hardback and threw it like a boomerang. By chance it hit the neighbours tree 3 doors up. Ooops.

    Stewie;
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  16. planemaker

    planemaker Active Member

    Messages:
    39
  17. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    Stewie, WTF are you doing? Be careful when throwing anything like a boomerang...those things return to hit you in the head! :p
    It does have a low hang like you prefer! :D
     
  18. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    546
    George Bishop

    About the Tyzack - is this really original screws+handle? Looks a bit wrong to me - the tongue is finished in an odd way, and the whole geometry looks distinctly inebriated! I can't see Tyzacks paying a handle maker for this - not even late on a Friday afternoon!
     
  19. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    181
    Simon,

    Are you in the right thread? No Tyzack here...however if your referring to the Bishop, we'll have to agree to disagree. I believe this to be an original handle for the saw.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
  20. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    668
    Hi Alan,

    I think Simon was referring to the Ebay Tyzack that Stewie linked to...

    I was going to post a picture, but it was so horrific looking I couldn't do it.. :eek:

    Regards
    Ray