1. Peter Armstrong

    Peter Armstrong Member

    Messages:
    23
    Greyhound
    I have a few Hill late Howel saws and I had the plate replaced on my 7 and 9" dovetail saws. The original plate on the 7" was .020" and the 9" was .015" so they did come thin from the factory.

    If you look at the photo you'll see your handle looks the same as my 9" but not the same shape horns as the 7" I've found all my open handle Hill late Howel handles are the same outside dimensions but the distance between the horns vary. The reason is like modern saw makers they had different size options, if you measure enough of them between the horns you'll find 3 different sizes about 1/4" between each size. There are different size handles in the closed handle saws too and given the outside dimensions of these saws handles didn't seem to change from 1834 to 1909 trying to date them by the handle shape is not going to help.

    Peter
     

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  2. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    544
    Peter's observations on handle features and their usefulness, or otherwise, cheered me up, as I have laboured greatly to try and find a way of being more definite about this aspect of saw dating, and feel I have made very little progress. Do you (Peter, that is, or indeed anyone else) think that the different sizes of handle, as measured between the horns, are significant? Could different handle makers have slightly different templates to work from? I imagine that a firm of the size of H/l/H would have had more than one of these tradesmen if not in house then at least subcontracting for them. The trade practices of the London saw makers are even less well known than the Sheffield ones, as there are not, to my knowledge, any trade rate books extant.

    Simon
     
  3. Peter Armstrong

    Peter Armstrong Member

    Messages:
    23
    Simon

    I think with different tradesmen there could be slight difference in sizes, but with these open handles the outside size is same and it's the inside distance between the ears that is different and I find 3 sizes all 1/4" between them. Production wise the outside shape could of been done in bulk and the handles finished by my skilled tradesmen.

    The closed handles vary in size too but it's the outside dimensions that change, so it a different process to the open handles.

    Peter
     
  4. David

    David Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    280
    Peter, thanks for those comparison photos. I'd even like to see more if you have them to show us, since they show us so much more than looking at an individual saw. However, judging solely on the basis of these two, I'm not sure I'm convinced that the difference in measurements between the top horns was intentional, done to fit different size hands.

    Am I correct in thinking that your 9" saw at the top, with the I. Hill mark, might be earlier? Certainly the differences in the two handles seem more than just different dimensions between the horns. The fineness and thinness of the horns (the bottom inside horn as well) on the 9" are in striking contrast to the comparatively unfinished horns on the 7" saw, (especially notable in the resulting width of the top horn on the 7"). Also apparent is the difference in degree of interior rounding at the top of the hand opening, under the nib/peak.
    It seems that more attention was paid to the finer details of finishing on the 9" saw. And yet the 9" has hardly any slope to the top chamfer as compared to the 7" saw.
    Surely the two handles were made by two different workers, seemingly not working to the same standards, although perhaps roughly from the same template. Couldn't these apparently differing standards of finish be the cause of the variation in measurement between horns? I wonder if seeing your other examples could resolve this question?

    David
     
  5. Peter Armstrong

    Peter Armstrong Member

    Messages:
    23
    David
    The 9" is a I Hill with no sun making and maybe the earliest of the Hill saws and at first I thought it was earlier saw with a more elegant handle but when started looking at more and more Hill dovetail saws on line the more I looked the more I saw the same shapes on the bottom horn. All I'm saying is what I've seen, I have 4 open handles saws I Hill no sun, I Hill, J.V. Hill with the London under Howel and J.V.Hill London under the Late. If I stack them on top of each other the outside dimensions are the same. Just my view but if a tradesmen can follow the outside lines of a template why would he be so off on the rest of the handle.

    That 7" saw had lived a much harder life than the 9" saw so don't read to much into the edges not being as refined as the 9"

    Peter