1. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hello all,

    When I first started saw collecting there were one or two people who paid for saws what I paid for this and I thought "Which lunatic would pay that for a saw?" Well I have now become a fully certified member of the asylum!!!

    And having got the saw there is an outside chance that it has been shortened. Which, if correct would be a bit of a downer. I say this because the blade of the saw at the handle end is not at right angles to the back. (See photo no.3).

    This is the second time that I have seen this on a saw and I am not sure whether it is original or a later user adaptation. But if it has been done later it has been done well and in defence of it being original, the depth of the back is in proportion to blade length, although the handle looks a little on the large side for such a small saw and the stamp is very asymmetrically placed.

    Any ideas on this anyone.

    Anyway, come what may the stamp is a beauty with the "London" so low on the back that it is disappearing off it. Also note the slight downward distortion in the back where the stamp has been applied.

    Fred

    HSMOB has Howel for 1806 only. Are there any better dates in existence for him.
     

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  2. Deesinister

    Deesinister Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    58
    NIce little saw

    Hi Fred,
    I can help a little, but not alot.

    Goodmans has Howel (1 L ) as the following

    "HOWEL, Joseph
    At Mary Le Bone
    1770: Took Apprentice (Not sure what this means)

    and then

    HOWEL(L), Joseph
    Kings Road., Chelsea
    Sawmaker. 1806, 1809: Insurance Policies. J.V.HILL was Joseph's Foreman.
    Joseph Howell spelt his name variably with two "L"s.



    The shortening is an interesting question. The Stamp is very close to the handle but I would have thought that if you were going to shorten the saw you would remove the front of the blade as this would have had the most wear. But hey I'll leave that to the more experienced guys here.

    Lovely little saw though.

    another thing that puzzeled me is why you would have two stamps with different spellings. I can understand a clerk making an error in a manuscript but surely he would have made his own stamps.

    Cheers
    Al
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  3. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    371
    Hey Fred
    What a "Sweetie" that is. I have seen a few over the years. There was one sold not too long ago at the online seller "www.oldtools.co.uk" so you can get an idea where the stamp is in relation to the rest of the blade. How long is your saw and can you give a pic of the reverse side. Have the brass nuts been messed with or just tightened. Your last pic shows it probably hasn't been sharpened in a long time, that little last area that never seems to get jointed is still there. That wouldn't be there if it was truncated recently. I personally think it is a perfect shape and nothing really has been done to it. I also seem to fret over stuff that is really just a maker who decided to hammer his stamp not in the spot we expect it and also not hitting it perfectly straight or in the middle of all that brass.
    Al seems to have all that I have ever found on Joseph so sorry I can't add more there.
    I would be tickled to own such a cutie....enjoy.

    Joe S.
     
  4. TobyC

    TobyC Most Valued Member

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    216
  5. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Thank-you both,

    The nuts have certainly been off it, or at least I am pretty sure that they have as the top one hasn't seated properly on replacement.

    See various pics below.

    I have also put on the warts-and-all photo of the chipped bottom horn, but that, whilst a nuisance doesn't bother me too much. As I always say to finicky people who complain about blemishes on the items that I sell "If you had been around for X years (in this case 200) you may not be in perfect condition."

    I have also put an image on of the small but very cute shoulder and chamfer as I like it so much.

    Looking at the saw that Toby posted, it could be a very near relative of mine in terms of size and proportion and so I am now assuming that mine has not been shortened and that the placing of the stamp is for reasons that we shall never know. I suppose that angling the blade like that gives you just a little more length for the same sized back.

    Thanks
    Fred

    The blade is about 7 1/2 inches long.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
  6. Deesinister

    Deesinister Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    58
  7. TobyC

    TobyC Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    216
    Part of that handle is broken off. I think Fred means the back end of the blade in reference to the spine. Am I right Fred?

    Toby
     
  8. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    You are right Toby.

    Whilst I have the Moses Eadon on my watch list at the moment contemplating whether or not the mangled handle is too off-putting for me to bid on it I was, as Toby surmises, wittering on about the blade at the handle end where it emerges from the handle itself.

    On most saws, the blade is at right angles to the back, but on this saw the angle is in excess of 90 degrees making the rear of the blade slope backwards slightly. The reason for this eludes me unless it is a later adaptation done when shortening a saw (hopefully a now discarded notion), or it was a way of getting a little more blade length on a small back, or something else entirely.

    Fred
     
  9. Deesinister

    Deesinister Most Valued Member

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    58
    aaahhh I see.

    Sorry guys, I misread and thought Fred was talking about the pitch of the handle. Now it all makes alot more sense.
     
  10. pmcgee

    pmcgee Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    184
    http://thebestthings.com/saws.htm
    SA130385 J. V. Hill late Howel A 14", 11PPI rip brass-backed saw with a very heavy brass back, which is characteristic of this early 19th Century London maker who took over the business of Howel, an 18th Century London maker.

    [​IMG]

    SA120177 J. V. Hill, Late Howel, London

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2013
  11. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    546
    A beauty, Fred - I'm envious!
    Here's my data base entry for Joseph Hill, then for Howel.


    HILL, Joseph Vaughan LONDON
    64 Cromer Street, Gray’s Inn Road [also given as Judd Street] 1834-1836
    5 Chichester Place, Gray’s Inn Road 1839-1863
    252 Gray’s Inn Road 1864-1909
    Saw maker and tool dealer, but also produced many planes marked J.V.Hill; a letter head from his early days describes him as a wholesale saw manufacturer. He was foreman to J.Howell (Howell’s own invariable spelling), planemaker of Chelsea (1806-1840), hence the markings below. His use of a zigzag bordered mark is exceptionally late; his marks on saw backs are invariably more deeply struck than almost any other maker’s. Recent research by Jeff Warner has shown that his prosperity (considerable: he died a rich man) was probably based on his business being close to the piano-making area of London, The longevity of the firm was due to its continuance under the same name for several years after Hill’s death. The firm exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition.
    His saws appear to be the most commonly found of all London makers, and he could perhaps have factored for dealers and ironmongers in London. [no evidence for that guess - there is no London retailer's saw that I've seen "Made by XXX a London saw maker"]


    HOWEL(L), Joseph LONDON
    King’s Road, Chelsea <1799-1828
    Saw maker; the spelling with a double L is from the directory, although his mark was invariably with one only. The first date above is taken from a newspaper notice, which printed a list of tradesmen willing to attest to the good character of “an Artist in Distress†applying for charitable funds. The continuation of this business is assumed to have been in the hands of Mary Howell, but went thence to the much better known J.V.Hill.
    (Fred: will send you the 5 Howel marks I have by separate email - if you can make them work on this site, please do!!)
     
  12. greyhound

    greyhound Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    47
    Hello all,
    I've got another "J.V.Hill | Late | Howell" 10" dovetail saw with an unusual handle. The handle seems not as refined (originally) as most commercially made saws. What I mean it lucks details and a bit flat and squarish. I restored this saw to send to a friend and also wonder how old it might be. Another interesting detail, the plate is razor thin, you can saw with it without any sharpening, really. This is the saw with thinest plate I have ever I have ever had in my hands. I have another one 6" much more recent with almost as thin plate.
    I'd appreciate if anyone can help me to date this HLH saw and have any ideas why its handle might be not finely finished.
    Thanks
     

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  13. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hi,

    Welcome to the forum. None of the questions that you ask have an easy answer. But here goes, and see if anyone agrees with me.

    First, the date. Taking the general dates from Simon's post above, after the change from I Hill to J.V. I don't think that the stamp change much during the remainder of the life of the company, which itself, continued after Hill's death. There is a mark in BSSM which is very similar to yours dated at about 1880, and judging from the shape of the boss on your saw, that is probably somewhere near right.

    Secondly, the handle. The handle looks OK to me for an 1880's saw, although I don't know whether or not the lovely elongated top horn should put it a little earlier. The thing about the handle, as with the rest of the saw, is that it has been cleaned very well and looks to have had all the patina removed. This may account for the rather stark looking nature of it. I think that the edges are not overly squarely cut for what may well be a "later":) saw.

    The thin saw plate is perhaps also a sign of it having been well cleaned. You can see the remnants of knocks, dings and pits in the plate, but only very slightly as though a fair bit of metal has been removed in the cleaning process. Perhaps making an already thin plate even thinner?

    Do I understand correctly that you restored this saw yourself? If you did,was the plate already thin before cleaning?

    I think a long time ago on here, Ray mentioned that it was perfectly acceptable to restore old saws to the condition that any user would wish them to be in. This saw, I think fulfills that criterion.

    Fred
     
  14. greyhound

    greyhound Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    47
    Thank you, Fred
    I did indeed cleaned everything except for the fixings, cleaning the plate alone took over 20 hours.
    I do restore saws for woodworkers and believe these saws should be used as intended. I fund it very challenging sometimes but well worth it. After about 60-70 restorations, however, I realised that I better learn about the saws I handle and should, perhaps, hod my horses in some cases.
    The saw. It was in very clean condition when I got it with nearly no damage (apart from few tiny nibbles) to the handle and no nicks on the back. The plate, however, was pretty rusty with most pitting halfway under the handle where most steel was removed. The plate thickness after cleaning: under the back (where least material removed) — .33mm; at the toe about .29mm; under handle — .22-.21mm.
    I also have a Moulson Brothers 8" with a thin plate which is .37-.38mm. This one has a rosewood handle which was badly-badly damaged.
    As I said the saw came to me very clean and looked almost unused (except for the plate) with almost no patina. The handle looks to me less refined then the other HLHs (of the same era, I think, because it has exactly the same markings) I had, all curves are more prominent and horns seem thicker and less smoothly finished. The top horn has a pointy end, the bottom is nicely curved, similar to the other the other 10" I had. The nib on the top of the handle is more prominent (taller) though.
    So, the saw is late 19th C 'ish and should make a good present, then. All left to do is sharpen it.
    Thank you very much again, Fred. I think I'll have a lot more questions or I should get Simon's book instead.
    p.s. I just got my Moulson Br's out to compare and the handles have a very similar 'squarish finish' with the nib sticking out as well.
    p.p.s. The reason I mentioned the handle being unusually, in my view, made/finished and the thickness of the plate is, I have a slight suspicion and hope there's a small chance of being true, this saw was made for actual saw-making to cut/extend slots in handles. Wouldn't this be so cool... but I'm dreaming of course.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2017
  15. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    141
    That handle looks like it was run through a planer... how thick is it? Anything much less than 15/16"-3/4" and I'd be suspicious. The face of the split nuts sitting proud is another tell, they should be flush or even pulled in a bit. That would account for the artificially squared off look.

    The plate looks like it has also been replaced or messed with as is not correctly fitted at the toe - the spine overhangs the plate too much. Mari once pointed out to me that front edge on old English backsaws is not always at 90 degrees - many, especially older ones seem to sit at 85-88 degrees as opposed to truly perpendicular to the spine - and this is on saws with tooth-lines parallel to the back, not an obvious canted plate. This is often another tell that plates have been messed with.

    The delicate nose treatment and possibly slight taper on the spine could also make this saw earlier.

    The saw looks very much over-cleaned, with all the patina and age removed. Brass takes so long to patinate that anything more than a light clean with a cloth and metal polish is normally over-kill.

    As for handles, a bit of 0000 wire wool (if there is dried, hard crud) and one of the better home brew restoration recipes (e.g. equal parts pure pine turpentine/white vinegar/white spirit/pure linseed oil) wiped on with a cloth and then buffed off tends to quickly remove the crud and dirt, yet restore a bit of colour and a soft sheen that is easily maintained and nice to handle.
     
  16. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    141
    p.s. saw plate thicknesses are traditionally quoted in thousands or an inch, as this corresponds to the old standard wire gauges used for sheet metal goods back in the day. 0.33 mm is about 12 thou, which is incredibly thin and in the region of today's machine-stamped disposal "razor saws".

    Most small backsaws are in the region of 20-25 thou, anything thinner than that would be considered very thin and only used for the most delicate work.
     
  17. greyhound

    greyhound Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    47
    Thank you for your comments, DS Dweller
    I did "messed up with this saw" and cleaning everything to the state it is in was intentional.
    This is how I have been restoring saws so far, made for working wood, rather then "sitting in a cupboard" and this have been my "credo" up until recently. I joined this forum to learn more about the saws and their origins and history.

    I know about sensible restoration techniques and will take more care from now on. Most of the saws I cleaned up are quite common, good make but not super rare. I got a few interesting examples recently and thought I should do some research and ended up here.

    Now, the saw in question:
    The handle has definitely not been altered in any ways until I laid my hands on it. I sanded it lightly, oiled and finished with a coat of BLO+bee wax+ terp mixture.
    The plate is about 2+mm shorter because I sanded off a bit of metal from the ends to straighten it (up until you raised the point, I did not realise the front edge had slight angle by design). The plate was slightly tapered as well which I "rectified"... silly
    The "...split nuts sitting proud..." — I did not tightened them fully, they were sitting flush with the handle and should be when fully tightened.
    It seems, I messed up this saw but it should make a very good user tool...

    Thank you again. I've learned quite a bit already and, sure, be more respectful when I find a saw of better value.
     
  18. greyhound

    greyhound Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    47
    Writing the above reply, I remembered one more thing I wanted to find out.
    The plate in this saw, at the top, where it fits into the brass back, is slightly hollow in the middle (the toe and hill ands are about 1,5mm higher). Is it something to do with tensioning or just a neglect?
     
  19. greyhound

    greyhound Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    47
    I confess, I sanded a lot off the plate overall and even more below the handle, but it was unusually thin originally, even thinner then my little Moulson Brothers which has a plate about 15 thou (under .4mm) thin. I am very impressed with this plate - it's 10" long and about 2" deep thin as a razor and still very straight and does not wobble or warps.
    ...will report more after on this sharpening and testing
     
  20. greyhound

    greyhound Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    47
    Hi
    I promised an update on how this saw cuts when sharpened. Even though my discovery is embarrassing a little, I should do as promised.
    I took me sometime to get the saw sharpened. A brand new file which I took out to shape the teeth (about 18tpi pitch) wasn't good because it bent teeth when the plate was thinest. So I jointed the plate again and used one of my "blunt" files and shaping vent pretty smoothly from there. Setting the teeth was challenging as well and took a while to get the set more or less right. After over an hour of this fiddling, I started testing the saw by ripping a 8mm cherry offcuts and it looked promising until it got deep enough, about 18mm, for the plate to get caught in the kerf and it loose its tension. I straightened the plate and tried again on a thicker, 12mm, cherry piece, it lost tension when the cut was about 5mm deep... very upsetting.
    So, I guess, this saw is not a "good user" in its current state. Perhaps I will manage to find a suitable replacement plate and turn it into a decent tool as intended.