John Spear (S&J) #7

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by Joe S, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Ray et al
    We see a lot of # 7s on this continent but not of the John Spear, Spear and Jackson variety. I can't think of this saw as being anything other than a reaction to the #one selling saw, the very popular Disston #7. Disston had been selling many fancier saws but the basic straight back basic beech handle saw was one of its earliest and longest made. Much has been written and studied about Disston saws including many catalogues with the #7 included. I don't think it is a coincidence that Spear and Jackson decided to include this single digit into their saw stable. It is unfortunate that we don't have any early catalogues to suggest a date these may have been sold but Simon suggests 1860. The numbering evolved in the later years to multiple digits as a designation of the type and quality. If someone does have an early catalogue I am sure we would love to see it. I am also wondering if this was an export saw and if there have been many found in Great Britain. I am sure someone can clarify that.
    This 28" straight back saw is in wonderful condition and I had absolutely no buyers regret when it was offered.
    The beech handle is virtually mint, the etch is very visible on a nice shiny well taken care of blade and the medallion proudly displays that #7. The metal in this blade was top notch. It also has the number 6 PPI stamped at the heal. I certainly wasn't sharpened a whole lot.
    enjoy
    Joe S.
     

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    Underthedirt likes this.
  2. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Hi Joe,
    It's interesting to think of the turnabout;we begin with all the early North American sawmakers trained and working from or in the English tradition until one of them, Henry Disston, creates a new American style of saw, and along with it a business that well-nigh takes over the world. Eventually the Sheffield sawmakers, in self defense, begin copying his saws. Hence the John Spear # 7.

    Certainly the above is a bit simplistic, but a grain of truth in it nonetheless. What goes around...
    David
     
  3. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Hi Joe,
    I'm sorry, but I just realized that I have restated your own post without my adding any new value. Still, a good idea bears repeating, as long as I eventually give credit back to where it's due.
    David
     
  4. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Hi Joe,

    That handle is unbelievably tidy, it's a good looking saw that's for sure, 28" it will be good to use with nice long strokes for ripping, are you going to sharpen it up & try it out? Does it have a reasonable taper grind? S&Js are usually quite hard steel, so it should hold a good edge.

    Regards

    Mari
     
  5. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Hey David and Mari
    Thanks for the comments.
    I'm embarrassed Mari to say I didn't try it out and it is something I would have done some years ago. I have not bought a western saw to "use" in a very long time. Not to say I don't have some go to saws for those occasions I need them. I have a Disston and Son #9 I just love the feel of and use it exclusively on just the right rip occasions and for cutting green wood I have a very nice Shirley Dietrich. After the comment I went and measured the blade. It tapers from 1.13mm to just over 1mm. The teeth are ok but the mark is 5 ppi( I misstated 6 the first time) and has been sharpened down to 4 teeth per now. There is very little set so this would probably be only for dry wood. It was OK for the little bit I cut. I probably won't sharpen it but leave it for a person who would like to use it for its intended purpose.
    enjoy
    Joe S.
     
  6. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    This is an interesting one, Joe: some earlier features, some later.
    The ones I think of as earlier are mainly the shape of the handle, with its sharply angled upper edge to the boss. I've seen several of this shape (by other makers also) and have thought to put it at about 1850-1860: I may be wrong.
    The later feature in your case is the point size stamped on the heel, which I feel sure, until I'm corrected, is aways post 1870s (Disston remodelling).
    I've seen a couple over here: the whole saw lacks an etch ("c1950:, I said to myself in 2009), and I don't have a picture of the whole saw from which I've taken the etch ("c1870, I thought in 2013).
    Would anyone like to try and straighten out my confusions?
    I quite agree that the S&J adoption of the no7 convention looks extremely like a Disston copying.
    Simon
    IMG_2498.JPG
    IMG_6021.jpg
     
  7. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Hi Simon
    Is the "point size stamp" dating post 1870 's suggested only for English saws? Henry it seems stamped "points" in the 1850's as in this little #9 I have. The "inchworm" stamp is an 1850 production and on the blade is stamped the "point" 10 stamp. Maybe if Spear and Jackson are copying a saw they would do the stamp also and therefore make the 1860 dating you suggested well with in the time frame. Well done.
    enjoy
    Joe S.
     

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  8. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    Thanks very much for that, Joe: I had until now regarded the use of the point size stamping as one of the more firm dating tools: until HD started it, English saws were always straight backed (with or without a nib) and without a point size. I didn't know that HD used the convention as early as the 1850s, but as you say, if you (ie S&J) are in the imitation game you might as well do it properly.
    I think, though, that the number 7 was probably not made for sale in England, and I've not seen it in any S&J catalogue, particularly the 1880, the earliest the Hawley Collection has. Incidentally, there is an illustration in "The Story of the Saw" (produced for S&J) which has an illustration said to be from an 1845 price list, but that's the only place I know that refers to its existence, and that page from it does not show any hand saws....
     
  9. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Hi Joe,
    Thanks for measuring the taper...:) so it's got about a gauge of grind, that's cool.
    Funny you mention not buying Western saws as users lately-
    I had a nice chunk of Ridged Gidgee (an extremely hard & dense Australian native timber around 72lb per cubic ft) to use as an infill for a shoulder plane.
    I marked out my ripping lines & picked up my Ryoba saw (brand new blade), put the teeth to the line & pulled the handle, brrrrt, 23 teeth snapped off on the first pull stroke. Rather unhappy with that result, I went to my western saw pile & ripped straight through it with a 28" D8 thumbhole 4.5", no missing or busted teeth at all. I had a lot more respect for Henry's saws after that effort...:)
    Regards
    Mari