Hancox

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by David, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    This saw seems early and perhaps from Birmingham, mostly because of the handle shape. 10" plate, 10 tpi with 3/8" split nuts and poorly sharpened. The handle is only 3/4" thick and the thin (3/16") spine has no taper. All I could find from Google is that Hancox is a name that historically appears in both Birmingham and Newcastle.

    The mark on the spine, being stamped upside down and close to the handle, might not be that of a maker but rather of an owner. Any ideas, comments, or wild guesses will be welcome.
    David
    hancoxfull.jpg hancoxhandle.jpg hancoxstamp.jpg hancoxrear.jpg .
     
  2. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi David,

    Very interesting saw, Just on the general appearance, I would be thinking 1780's the pronounced taper and rounded boss, the split nut screws...
    No Hancox in BSSM, or in the Birmingham Directories, so time to cast the net wider, Newcastle? maybe.

    Ray
     
  3. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Hey David
    Nice saw. Got to be another early saw. I couldn't find anything on the saw even before you showed the saw here so it was a nice grab. My only two early Birmingham saws have very faint names stamped in the plate. It might deserve a very close but non harmful look.
    good luck
    Joe S.
     
  4. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Thanks Ray & Joe,
    I think this one may remain another early saw mystery. I looked closely at the plate and, however much I wanted to, found no evidence of a mark. And I haven't a clue as to how to research Newcastle sawmakers. Perhaps Hancox made it or perhaps not. I would have imagined that an owner might mark the handle before the brass back. But I've seen owner marks in both locations.
    As thin and delicate as this saw is, it's survived a long time in quite good condition. I'll take care of it for a while longer.
    David
     
  5. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    A truly fascinating one. Agree it's got to be early, and not much later than 1780, ie before we have enough examples to be able to say that there were definite and usual patterns to how they were made and marked. If it was 19th century (and it certainly isn't) the name would much more likely be that of an owner. There was very early saw making in Newcastle in the shape of the huge firm of Ambrose Crowley (itself under-researched), but I've never been to the record offices there and have no detailed knowledge aside from trade directories, of which I've not seen all that many. I think BSSM needs a serious update for Newcastle.
     
  6. wiktor48

    wiktor48 Most Valued Member

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    For me it is a very impressive saw. At a first glance it reminded me several things; early Dutch saws with tang-mounted handle (yes, I realize they are different, however, I am talking about my first impression) in Petersburg collection, in Goodman, and in Luyken illustration.

    The other thing it reminded me is a discussions about tapered plate. I like the way the taper made on this saw – at least this is what I think. The angles of the toe edge and the heal edge are at 90 degrees to the tooth edge, which means that the taper was achieved by cutting the top on the plate at an angle. I have had several discussions with sawmakers and read everything about it I could find and I don’t believe there is clear understanding of haw taper was achieved and sources are inconsistent. This saw (at least for me) shows rather clearly that the plate was cut at an angle at the top.
    My two c.

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg Late 17th-early 18th century Duch Handsaw-Goodman.jpg Late 17th-early 18th century Duch Handsaw-Hermitage.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  7. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Hello Simon & Wiktor,
    Thanks for your comments. Simon, I think it'd be great to have some info on Newcastle saws and see if this one could be pinned down at all, selfishly speaking. But haven't you earned a rest?
    burgingreenclipped.jpg disstonclipped.jpg Johnson&Conawayclipped.jpg And Wiktor please see the three attached photos of saws with their tops clipped to enable a canted plate. I've posted them before but never got too much interest in the idea that this technique was the means employed to make a canted plate. I'd be curious to hear what you think. The Burgin, Green & Co is English, 2nd qtr 19c and the Disston and the Johnson and Conaway are American from mid 1840's.
    David
     
  8. wiktor48

    wiktor48 Most Valued Member

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    David, I have seen similar image or two. I know it was not here on this forum; otherwise I would jump on it.
    I am not sure if the cut at the forward part of the blade was done to facilitate the taper. It seems to me counterintuitive. The point created by intersection of two lines of the cut, one angled one parallel (to the tooth line) would provide a pivot point for a back to move. And it seems to be confirmed by the grime line on the plate with is a footprint of how the back was sitting on the plate.
    Why not to cut the plate all the way at an angle and position the back all the way on that edge?
     
  9. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Hi Wiktor,
    Although the cut point on the back might create a pivot point, I think the more important realization is that without the cut the back wouldn't go as far down onto the blade (it would hit the front corner) and wouldn't look as canted. In any case, these are the only examples I've seen that show any traces of the top of the blade being cut. I agree that a long cut all the way seems logical to us. Perhaps in these cases I've shown, the makers wanted to save a moment or two of their manufacturing time and made the cut as short as needed to achieve the cant.
    David
     
  10. wiktor48

    wiktor48 Most Valued Member

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    I am not convinced that the short cut on your examples was used to achieve a taper/cant, although I admit I have no other idea on why it is there.
    Now David, get serious... Are you going to take the back off your Hancox and show us what the plate looks like?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  11. summerfi

    summerfi Most Valued Member

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    Here are plates from two R. Groves & Sons saws, one a 16", the other a 14". They both show the clipped end near the toe. I have a Drabble & Sanderson, a Disston, and a J. Flint that are all straight.

    Groves plates.jpg
     
  12. wiktor48

    wiktor48 Most Valued Member

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    Bob,
    the last image is interesting. It appears to me that the bright line at the top is an original line where the back was mounted. If I am correct, this would suggest that the saw was a regular parallel plate with back parallel to the tooth line. Over time the back slipped down and created an illusion of the tapered saw.

    Any thoughts on that?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  13. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    308
    Wiktor,
    If you measure from the bright line down to the toothline at each end you discover that the saw was originally canted, just not as much as after the back slipped down. The plate, as you say, is a regular parallel plate but it was originally slightly canted.

    I took the backs off those other saws for a reason (either to straighten the blade or because, from the relationship of the spine to the handle, I could see that it had obviously shifted). The Hancox doesn't have those conditions, but I'll take a look and see if I can remove it without causing any problems.

    Interestingly, the Hancox has a spine that is actually longer than the plate (if the spine were made parallel to the toothline). Almost all backsaws I've looked at have the spine shorter than the plate. I think I have just one saw where the spine is the same length as the plate. So, an unusual detail.

    David
     
  14. summerfi

    summerfi Most Valued Member

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    Wiktor,
    I hadn't given that a thought, but you may be right. The bright line is also canted a little though, as David suggested. It measures just over 1/4" at the toe and just over 1/8" at the heel. This seems like too little to be inside the spine. Could the bright line represent the portion above where the spine was gripping the plate? BTW, the saw has a steel (iron?) spine that was very rusted on and difficult to remove.
     
  15. wiktor48

    wiktor48 Most Valued Member

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    I was never very good at geometry but, David, you comment about the length of the brass back being longer than the plate at the tooth line would be correct. This is a longer side of a triangle built of tooth line, back line and the short heel line.

    All comments are very interesting to me personally. The first Hancox picture is definitely stunning to me from the point of view of a taper/cant. The most important element that I see is a 90 degrees angle on toe and a heel in relation to the tooth line. I have never seen such a vivid example of a taper/cant. I admit, it is extreme, but jus because of this it is most important example, to me, of a taper/cant.

    Anyway, David, you have a difficult decision to make. I am not sure if I would be brave enough to take that back of a saw of this stature. I am waiting with great interest.

    Angles... it is all in angles....

    sKeys-saws.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014
  16. wiktor48

    wiktor48 Most Valued Member

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    Bob,
    I am not sure of anything except what I see. So, the bright line for me is where the back was attached. If you still have that back, you might want to examine the fit a bit and see what you come up with. The difference in the width of the line is too small, I think, to make it significant. The back could have been mounted that way - not evenly pressed onto the plate. As to your observation that this could be a portion of the plate that was way inside of the back - not sure... However, if that would be the case, I would think that moisture that rusted the plate would get there very easy and corroded that portion of the plate. I could thing the opposite - this was the line that the back was squeezed on really tight and the moisture didn't get there... Still, even this is rather thickly stitched speculation. See if you still have that back...
     
  17. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Hello all,
    While idly searching the internet on New Years Day I came across an entry in the London Lives website for an insurance policy to the value of 700 pounds, issued in 1781 to a Joseph Hancox, Sawmaker at Kinfare, Stafford. Stafford is about 30 miles north of Birmingham. The webpage at London Lives is at:
    http://www.londonlives.org/browse.jsp?div=fire_1780_1785_79_69855

    Might this be the maker?
    David
     
  18. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Wow... as Fred said very recently "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck." Early, Birmingham and a name that matches. Everything fits. What a great find David and I am sure you are just tickled.
    Very cool!
    Joe S.
     
  19. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Thanks, Joe. Yep, I'm tickled and chuffed to have found a maker to match the saw
    David
     
  20. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    Congratulations on a nice bit of research, that deserves a celebration!.. :cool: not only is it 1780's but a previously unknown ( to us) sawmaker.

    I have searched for Joseph Hancox in the London Gazette, but nothing additional found.

    Ray