Kenyon Best Cast.Steel Double Refined

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by David, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. David

    David Most Valued Member

    Hello folks,
    While following blind trails around the internet, as is my wont, I came across this saw for sale, with its unique die stamp and a four screw handle. Both features are unusual for a Kenyon and caused me some doubts as to it's authenticity. I emailed Simon Barley who thought it most likely to be real and very uncommon, and worth a bet. So I bought it and show it to you all now to get your thoughts about it. I had misread the die stamp when I first emailed Simon and had told him it read Sheffield rather than Double Refined, since I was only clearly reading the "fi". Now that I have it in hand, I know better.
    The screws have certainly been removed and shifted around before, and one is clearly a replacement. That being the case, I removed the screws and the handle to see if there were more than four holes in the plate which would have caused more doubts. But there were only four and they'd never been enlarged, so I trust the handle is original. However, the blade doesn't quite seem to have the rounder nose that earlier Kenyon hand saws have.
    The earliest dateable four screw saw I have is a Shaw & Marshall, who probably ceased operations in 1828 more or less according to BSSM. And the use of a dot between Cast and Steel seems to cease sometime around 1830 or 1835, I think. But all of these dating methods seem so tentative and uncertain that I remain very unclear about when this might have been made. Knowing that we can't be sure, I still would appreciate hearing what you all think about dating this saw.

    kenyon best full.jpg kenyon best handle front.jpg Kenyon best handle rear.jpg Kenyon best die stamp.jpg
  2. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

    Hey David
    Nice Saw. Everything I see seems to confirm your probable dates of 1825 -35. If we follow some of Simon's guidelines it would put it around this date. Most notable; all block capital letters, no place of manufacture, dot between cast and steel, double refined c1820, a nice rounded nose and a straight lower horn "all saws c1780-1830". Fasteners probably not original and I wonder about the enlarged second fastener hole if it may have been larger at one time. Medallions were made at that time but I know of no Kenyon saws with that feature. See what others have to say but I think you are spot on and no need for concerns from this observer.
    enjoy that one
    Joe S.
  3. Force

    Force Active Member

    Hi David
    That's a great looking saw you got there and I would agree with Joe that date wise 1825-1835 would fit with what I can see.
    The fasteners and the larger second hole probably an historical enigma you may never know the answer to. With the age of the saw there's no reason to say some of the fasteners maybe second replacements, with the possibility of the second hole being drilled out to accept a larger replacement then later in life for whatever reason an original size replacement reinstalled. Just a thought anyway.
    A nice saw in a good age group.
    Well done.
    Cheers Chris
  4. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

    Hi David, wow that is a lovely Kenyon! With the four fixings & "Best" cast.steel "Double Refined", perhaps it was a 1st quality line- a cut above the other 2 & 3 bolt plain old cast steel Kenyons? Thanks for sharing, it should feel right at home at your place...:)


  5. David

    David Most Valued Member

    Thanks, folks, for your comments and agreements on possible dating of this saw, which are all helpful and reassuring. I'm of the mind that the larger screw hole was some owners later addition, perhaps to replace a failed screw, but I guess we'll never know, unless we get lucky somehow.
    Mari, I think one of the most interesting thoughts I've had about it is that it presents such an early example of advertising ("Best", "Double Refined"), which are actually pretty meaningless terms but may have helped sales. Advertising as we know it today seems to have come into force in the early 19c, while the first ad agency in the US started in about 1840. So, yes, Kenyon may have intended this saw to be seen as a first quality line, but I doubt that it differs much from any of their other saws. The blade certainly isn't distinguishable by me from others I have.