I. M. MARTIN Found in California -- ID Help / Cleaning Advice Req.

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by LKM, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. LKM

    LKM New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Hi All,

    Thanks to the pictures posted by kiwi and fred0325 and the updates to Simon's BSSM, I think I've uncovered enough of the stamp on this saw to ID it as a John Martin & Co. of Sheffield. I can just make out the sideways M next to what I think is the beginning of MARTIN above SHEFFIELD, as well as the base of two Crowns on either side, one between SHEFFIELD and CAST STEEL.

    However, I need advice on cleaning it up a bit - first things first, the handle is riveted on and I want to know if it's alright with everyone if I removed it by drilling out the rivets.
    FirstScraping.jpg

    I thought it might be old enough to have been supplied with a riveted handle but the design seems too basic and one of the rivets looks to never have been installed, probably because the handle didn't fit.
    Handle_L_As_Found.jpg
    That said, tips on getting a clearer view of the stamp and cleaning up the plate a bit would be appreciated. I do have an evaporust tank set up and have been experimenting on some early 20th century Disston's with good results (rust removal without too much plate darkening) but this plate has some serious corrosion and I would need to remove the handle to soak the plate.
    IMG_20190617_211122.jpg
    IMG_20190617_210531.jpg

    Obviously would also appreciate any info on I (J) MARTIN of Sheffield - I've found a few advertisements for their Cast Steel Files and a few notices of agents in America, but if the dates from BSSM are correct, this would place the saw during the American Civil War. Further, this saw was found in a thrift store here in Northern California, heart of Gold Country, which could potentially explain how it got here. Railroad worker? Someone coming from the northeast to strike it rich? Assuming it came around when it was made and not brought long after by someone moving west.

    Thanks to all for input.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  2. LKM

    LKM New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Info on the trade-mark with side-ways I.M. from an 1852 Gazetteer and General Directory of Sheffield by William White, courtesy Google:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    322
    Interesting find, as Martin branded saws don't seem to be very common.
    I agree that the handle looks like a newer replacement. Some people like to preserve the fixit efforts of previous Owners, and it would be much less work to just keep the existing handle as-is, but I'd also have no qualms at drilling out the rivets and replacing the handle with a more period correct lambs-tongue style handle with split nuts (or maybe carving a lambs tongue into the existing handle).
    I personally don't like the evaporust result on old saw blades as it seems to accentuate the pits in the steel and I don't like the dull grey finish. My preferred method is to scrape (scraper, razor blade, or old wide chisel), then sand paper through several grades. (using a hardwood block with the sandpaper around the blade stamp). Other people seem to like different methods however, so I guess its a personal preference thing.
     
  4. LKM

    LKM New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks kiwi - I was very surprised to find a match for what little I could see of the stamping. Yours and fred's posts were invaluable as I couldn't read MARTIN at all and just had SHEFFIELD and the placement of CAST STEEL to go off of.
    I hear you on the evaporust concern - I have a very dark grey Sandvik plate after leaving it in too long, my Disston's have fared better with a watchful eye but I'm still hesitant.
    So far I've only been scraping with a razor blade, boeshield, and a little copper pot scrubber action. My concern with sandpaper is that the stamp is so shallow in places as is, I'd hate to lose detail by wearing down the steel even with a block to keep even pressure.
    I've read that the darkening is from carbon freed from the steel matrix when the iron is chelated from rust. I'm hoping that if I can remove the majority of rust mechanically and use fresh evaporust I'll be able to get the most detail out of the stamp without needless darkening of the plate ,but we'll see. Much more work to do.

    Regarding the handle - do you know of any other photos of correct handles? I've seen fred0325's post but that's the only other Martin panel saw I've ever seen.
     
  5. kiwi

    kiwi Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    322
    Since the saw handle manufacturing was done by a specific trade in Sheffield in the mid 1800s, and each of these woodworkers would have supplied standard designs to various sawmakers, I think you can use any Sheffield saw from the same period as a guide for the appropriate design for a saw handle for your Martin saw. My impression is that the handle design variations at that time would relate more to saw quality/price rather than to specific Sawmakers/Retailers. So if your saw blade has a significant taper grind, (indicating a more expensive saw), then you might select a more complex handle design with all the nibs and peaks, and fishtail rather than the cheaper London pattern. But if there is no taper grind in the plate, select a simple/plain handle design of that era