Ignore the rest - Look at the handle. (Wingfield Rowbotham)

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by fred0325, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hello all,

    I am developing an unhealthy and obsessive interest in saw handles, and this one I think is beauty. For those of you who know anything about British steam locomotives, then this must be the "Mallard" of the closed tote saw handle world. It is also on a make of saw that you don't see all that often and so it is even more attractive as a bit of an odd-ball as well.

    The saw is 16 inches from blade tip to the tip of the lower horn with an 11 inch blade. The teeth per inch don't really matter because there are no usable ones, but it used to have 111/2 teeth per inch.

    To get the down-side out of the way first, it looks as though someone has gone along the cutting ege with a small ball-pein hammer ( they probably did to try to beat the kinks out of it, without much success), and I know the horns are chipped - but who cares?

    Now for the nice bit. Look how streamlined it is; how high it sits on the saw; look at the accentuated and elongated lambs tongue; look at the horns and the beak - well just look at it. ( I know it is nothing in comparison to Joe's Barnard saw or Pedder's open tote saws, but they are open tote with a greater freedom of design.)

    ((If you read this Pedder, it may be an idea to copy or adapt this handle as a design for one of your saws. I am sure that you could do wonders with it.))

    In order to compare it I have overlaid it on a Tyzack and Turner and on the unidentified saw of a few topics ago ( and I thought that handle was nice). These photos give some idea of just how elegant the handle is particularly in comparison to the plodding and pedestrian Tyzack. (This is the lighter colour of the two comparison handles.)

    Now I know little about the ergonomics of saws and I am sure that some of you do, but I would imagine that there is a limit on how high a handle can sit above the blade of a saw (or how far back from the blade) before it adversely affects the path of the horizontal and vertical forces applied to it.

    Judging from using the Tyzack, weight will come into it as well, as this saw is virtually heavy enough to cut just by moving it horizontally over the wood, whereas the Wingfield is light and needs downward pressure.

    If it doesn't take too long, could someone explain the ergonomics, or if it does take too long, a book or website that does.

    Thanks for bearing with the ramble,
    Fred.

    PS. The photo's don't do the handle justice and all that I know about Wingfield Rowbotham is that they were taker over by Turner in 1898. Their start date may have been 1791 but they may have been called Wade Wingfield and Rowbotham them. They were still active in 1914.
     

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  2. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    667
    Hi Fred,
    You sure know how to ask the big questions..:) The ergonomics of sawing.. that's a topic for research if ever I saw one.

    That's a beautiful saw, I don't know about pedder, but I now have it on my shortlist of desirable handles.

    I can't lookup Wingfield and Rowbotham at the moment, I'm away for the week, but I will see what I can find when I get back.

    But, back to the question of handle placement and saw ergonomics, the first variable you refer to is called the "hang angle", that is the angle between the line of the teeth and the center line of the grip. It's generally accepted that when you have the correct "hang" for a given saw, the line of force is through the center of the tooth line of the blade. Just grip the saw normally and let your arm hang down by your side, the index finger should be pointing somewhere near the center of the teeth line.

    So, this means (if you think about for a bit) that shorter saws (which are often open handled) generally have higher hang angles, and longer saws which are generally closed handled have a lower hang angle.

    However that's not the complete story, in addition to applying the force in the right line, it also has to be controllable, and sometimes those considerations can lead to a best balance compromise. Complex topic, and worthy of more discussion.

    Regards
    Ray
    PS Just require a clarification. What are the blade lengths of the two saws?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2010
  3. pedder

    pedder Active Member

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    Hi Fred,

    this is a beautiful handle. Very fast.

    Fast?

    Klaus and me tend to two directions in handle desing. Klaus likes the sport car looking handles with high hanged handles in flat angles and I like the handlepart almost vertical. Ferrari and Range Rover.

    Ray referred to the rule that the index finger should show to the middle auf the tooth line. I think it is much better if the finger point to the toe. Why do I like that? We used extrem heavy splines on our first saws an use heavy splines now. Our saws don't need any downward pressure. Just steer them thru the wood.

    With a high angeled handle you tend to press the saw downward. In addition to the heavy spline that can be too much power, the saw will grab. You can reduce this effect by filing it less aggresiv, but I don't like that. So we reduced the weigth of the spline and lowered the handle a little bit.

    That being said, we will try to build every saw a customer asks us to do. :eek:)

    Ray, the upload of pictures now works fantasticly fast and smooth!

    Cheers
    Pedder
     
  4. KlausK

    KlausK New Member

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    1
    Hi Fred and all,

    I want to jump in here. Since I´m new in this forum, I want to introduce myself. My name is Klaus, I´m the saw making partner of Pedder (Two Lawyers Tools). But it would be wrong to call myself a saw maker. I´m just the handle maker. Pedder who makes the blades is the saw maker of us both :).

    That to be said at first, I do like the handle you show, Fred. It seems to be unusual in several ways but it is intriguing for sure. What I do like especially is the "forward" design of the handle. All design lines which characterize the handle are parallel what I call a very proper and clear design. The front of the cheeks and the part which goes to the lambs tongue have about the same angle as the the hang angle is. The saw seems to say: "Please give me a run, I want to eat some wood". The maker had a keen eye for design and avoided every detail which were able to disturb the clear design settings. Visually it is great. If it´s functionally great as well, is hard to judge by having nothing but some pics.

    Unusual is the high hang angle on a closed handle. I´ve never seen a closed handle with similar high hang angle before. That must not be wrong however. As Ray mentioned, the right hang angle depends in the first line on the length of a saw. The shown saw with the length of 11" could have an open handle also. Length and depth would allow that. Open handles with comparable high hang angle are not too rare. So it´s imaginable, that the saw works well with the high angeled handle.

    Pedder and I did several tests with different hang angles on open and on closed handles. Our conclusion is that the hang angle influences the cutting characteristics of a saw remarkably. A blade which works well with a lower handle may chatter with a high angeled one. A saw which works well with a high handle will get slower with a lower one. It´s one of the important decisions on saw making to find out just the right hang angle for the saw. The old tool makers knew in the most cases what they did so I guess that this saw was configurated just in the right way.

    Since the handle is beautiful and a kind of unique it probably would be well worth to give a reproduction a try. This could be a real challenge. Let´s see.

    Klaus
     
  5. pedder

    pedder Active Member

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    OK. I've to step in here. On many of our saws I only do a little filing, so I'm more of a saw filer not a saw maker. ;o)

    I really did know, that Klaus likes the handle. The lines lookes much like the first handles he made.

    Here is a picture showing our saws one year ago: You will see the differences.

    Cheers Pedder
     

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  6. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hello all,
    Thank-you Ray, Pedder and Klaus for your comments. It is really good to hear from people who "do" something and have the experience, rather than those who merely talk about it.

    On looking at the saw in the light of your various comments, it could quite easily be an open handle with an additional elongated lambs tongue. I don't have many open handled saws but the height of this handle, whilst higher than my closed handle larger backsaws, is not as high as some of my shorter bladed open handle backsaws. So in that sense it is a compromise, neither Ferrari nor Range Rover. Perhaps an up-market Audi.

    I also like the comment about the weight and the fact that heavy saws only need steering. It is fascinating but intuitively ( and also apparently, practically) true. This saw, although brass backed is relatively light and does need downward pressure. Hence the high angled handle.

    I would love to be able to give it a run at a proper cut, but in order to do that, it would need at least 6.5mm grinding off the blade (where the hammer marks are) and then straightening (if that is possible). Unfortunately that is not going to happen soon.

    One interesting thought has crossed my mind. As a saw wears down ( for example my unidentified saw of a few posts ago), if the hang angle is to be maintained (irrespective of where it should be - toe or middle: I'll let Pedder and Ray sort that one out), then the angle of the handle should be changed to accommodate the degree of wear??? Or is that one degree of pedantry (if that is a word) too far?

    Thanks again for the comments
    Fred
     
  7. pedder

    pedder Active Member

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    40
    Hi Fred,

    Ray and me can't work out hang angles. There are too many. But let me quote Adam Cherubini from his long saw page: http://www.adamcherubini.com/Long_Saws.html

    Generally speaking, I find the 18th c saw styles to be superior to the later 19th c models. The reason is a little complicated. Saws cut by applying force behind the teeth. They don't really need or benefit from a force pushing the teeth down into the wood. Earlier saws typically have their handles designed to focus the sawyer's energy behind the teeth. Later styles had handles that were higher on the heel and focused a portion of the sawyer's energy into downforce, pushing the teeth down into the stock. I have a theory about why this is:

    When saw teeth become dull, they ride up over the wood instead of cutting it. When that happens, downforce is required to re-engage the teeth. By making saw handles that used some energy for downforce, makers like Disston were able to produce saws that would go on cutting even when dull. This would be a very good feature for carpenters or craftsmen who lacked the ability to sharpen their own saws. Though the saw would cut slower when the saw was dull, more force could be applied and the cut could continue. I suspect all of us have at least one such saw in our garage or workshop.

    18th c saw makers seemed to use the weight of the saw to produce downforce allowing all of the sawyer's energy to go into cutting. Over the last 4 years, I've compared these different styles side by side and found the 18th c style saws to be faster cutting. The downside is that when these saws become dull, they become almost unusable. I think the 18th c saws were designed for professional users who knew how to sharpen them and wanted maximum performance.

    I think Adam is fully correct here.

    Cheers Pedder
     
  8. pedder

    pedder Active Member

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    40
    Yes that nails it!

    One could relaxe the rake a bit, that would do the same thing. Changing the hang angle is a major operation.

    Cheers Pedder
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  9. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    667
    Hi Pedder,

    Thanks for reminding about Adam Cherubini's thoughts on hang angles, rake and saw length I had forgotten it.

    There is something nice about a long tenon saw, the 14" sash tenon is much better than the 12" modern tenon, and of course the even more traditional 19" tenon saw, now I begin to wonder if some of these differences in "feel" come about because of the lower hang angles?

    There is an article here on saw design where Ian discusses his experiences with some of these design issues, like Ian, I generally don't file rip exactly, I like a little fleam, maybe 5-10 degrees, but of course now we are veering off into an even more complex topic of saw filing...:)

    Regards
    Ray
     
  10. pedder

    pedder Active Member

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    Hi Ray,

    This saw I really would like to try.
    [​IMG]

    Heavy spline and vertical handle. Should aw really good, but I doubt many will like the optic.

    The funny thing on Adam's thought is his design of dovetail saws:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers
    Pedder
     
  11. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Messages:
    1,084
    Hello all again,

    All that I can say at the moment is thank-you for the comprehensive set of replies. I shall have to chew them over very carefully and often before I fully understand them, if I ever do. It has turned into an excellent reference work, especially for those unfamiliar with the topic such as me.

    I also have to apologise to Pedder for the throw-away comment about re-hanging the handle as the saw wears. It was a little tongue-in-cheek, (perhaps even "lambs tongue-in-cheek".) I did surmise that it is an unrealistic task. I must learn how to use the "smilies" to denote a perhaps not altogether serious comment.

    Fred
     
  12. pedder

    pedder Active Member

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    40
    Hi Fred,

    no problem on this side. :eek:)

    Aggressivness (if there is such a thing) on rip cutting back saws is determinated by at least 4 factors:

    Pitch
    Rake
    Weight of the spline
    Position and angle of the handle

    To make a good cutting saw you have to fine tune between these factors.

    A good example is the Veritas dovetail saw:

    coarse pitch 14 tpi
    relaxed rake 14°
    medium heavy spline
    Low positioned handle

    Compare to Gramercy

    fine pitch 18 tpi
    aggressive rake 0° (or 4°)
    light spline
    high positioned handle

    Both saws are fantastic tools. If you change the weight of the splines between these saws the Veritas would become slow and the gramercy to aggresive.

    Cheers
    Pedder