Mitchell Wreaks German Steel

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by David, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. David

    David Most Valued Member

    Hello all,
    This saw just arrived today, relatively fresh; two centuries out of the box. It was originally a 9 1/2" dovetail, but with the broken heel the tooth line is now just 8 1/4" long. The spine is 23/32" at the handle and tapers 1/16" down to the toe. 7/16" screws. The handle is a mite thin, as early saws can be, at 13/16" thick. The handle has a wobble to it and a previous owner has tried for an additional fastener in the rear, now missing.

    I love the turn-up at the bottom front horn. It's nice that such an unnecessary but elegant detail has survived. The handle's chamfer and front hook are closely reminiscent of a closed handle brass backed Mitchell saw that Joe posted back in 2009.

    BSSM has dates of 1811-1817 for the partnership, and I assume the caveat that it was one of many that the principals were involved in, so the dates are not definitive. Ray has posted dates earlier of 1805-1819 for Mitchell Wreaks. If this saw is actually from the early end of these dates it may well show the first use of the German Steel mark.

    In any case, these dates are good enough for me and I'd guess this saw is from somewhere in the first two decades of the 18c. (Thanks, Joe, for the correction...I meant 19c) I'm delighted it's still with us.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
    Underthedirt likes this.
  2. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

    Hi David,

    That's just gorgeous, I love the way the grip flares out towards the base of the handle, similar looking to the Squires, Kenyons & early Groves with the sharp point on the boss too.
    That's quite a deep brass spine, I bet it gives it a nice weight to track with when cutting, thanks for sharing...:)


  3. fred0325

    fred0325 Most Valued Member

    Hi David,

    This was on a buy-it-now and I hesitated for too long a time. The price was high but within the bounds of reason, it was the other add-ons (for me) that made me pause.

    But such is life. It is a nice saw and, I suspect, the only one of its kind known so far. And, perhaps best of all, it is now on public view.

    You may wish to make Simon's day and send him a copy of the stamp.:)

    If you look in BSSM under Thomas Boulsover, there is an entry that connects Joseph Mitchell and John Wreaks back to said Thomas Boulsover, at least via the buildings used and by Mitchell being Boulsover's son-in-law.

    It therefore has a very desirable pedigree as well as being a lovely saw in its own right..

  4. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

    Well done David
    So glad it went to a good home. The original listing didn't even have the Wreaks include in the pic though the lister said it was a Mitchell Wreaks. The large spacing of the names may also confirm some of Simon's musings about two separate companies selling a single product. Might this also have been a factored saw but it seems so early for that? I know you were suggesting it was an early 19th century and not an 18th century saw because if it was from the early 1700s you would certainly have something very, very special.:).
    enjoy that wonderful saw.
    Joe S.
  5. David

    David Most Valued Member

    Thanks, folks, for your comments and appreciations.
    Mari, I think it only looks like a deep spine because the blade has been so used up; there's only 1 1/8" at the heel and less than 7/8" at the toe and, yes, I heartily agree with your appreciation of the flaring of the bottom horns. They just snug right up to your hand so that the saw almost grasps you, rather than the other way around.
    I hesitated also, Fred, before committing. I had a message into the seller asking if they could confirm that the stamp actually read Mitchell Wreaks. I waited for a couple of hours before realizing how silly I was being; of course they wouldn't claim a mark that wasn't there. Then I hit the BIN button.
    Joe, I'm not familiar with Simon's thoughts about two companies and a single product. I have seen Mitchell Thompson saws with just as large a space between the two stamps. Perhaps they considered their partnerships to be still tentative and were avoiding too much of a public embrace? An arms length pursuit of profit? In any case, as Fred has rightly suggested to me, speculation is such fun.