Pinned tote english dovetail saw

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by Lostarrow, May 28, 2021.

  1. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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    This is my first post , so please be patient . I haven’t used this style of forum for years .
    Hopefully the pictures show up . I was directed here with the hopes that someone can help shed some light on this little saw
    I purchased it recently from an 84 year old gentleman who said it was his grandfather’s . He said that his grandfather worked in a factory in England that outfitted the interiors of ships . He said it was the same company that did the Titanic ( ) take that with a grain of salt of course .
    The saw is very tiny as you can see . The tote even seems small for me with a smaller stature, and most antique tools fit me perfectly . I believe it’s mahogany .
    The back is brass . There are no maker’s markings at all that I can find . The tote is held with brass pins through a well fit escutcheon on each side .
    I suspect that former owners continued to tap the pins over the years to peen them as the tote became loose with use .
    Any help with dates or info of any kind would be greatly appreciated .
    The saw has only been very minimally cleaned , oiled and waxed for protection .
    Thank you in advance . 373247B7-4094-4AF3-8E19-5527530B0C0B.jpeg
     
  2. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Dave,

    I moved this into the Saw Identification Forum. Hope that's ok with you.

    You have a very interesting saw, the handle shape and the fixing screws are unusual. It looks early, and a bit strange, it doesn't look like you would expect a sheffield made saw to look.
    But I'm just making wild guesses.

    It will be interesting to see what others make of it.

    Regards
    Ray
     
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  3. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Hi Dave,
    Yours is a strange saw. It has what is essentially a well-made, unique fastening system, with both brass plates shaped just the same. The handle shape, although seeming familiar, in total actually looks like no other saws that I've seen. The very thin 3/8" spine is reminiscent of 18c saws but narrower. The handle is tiny, almost child sized. The hang angle is very extreme; among 30 or so pre-1830 backsaws in my collection only one has a similar hang angle (see image). The hook is barely formed, almost diffident. However, it looks to be a well shaped saw which suggests that it wasn't owner made, although that is certainly possible. One possibility is that it's actually a child's saw from much later in the 19c that actually got used and resharpened repeatedly. Saws for children usually did not have split nuts, but, rather, were usually riveted since that was cheaper. It appears to be one of those anomalies sent to us from the past to keep us guessing! I have no supportable idea as to when it was made, but thank you for showing it to us to comment on. Perhaps someone else on this forum will have a better idea.
    David
     

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  4. Joe S

    Joe S Most Valued Member

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    Hey Dave
    Welcome aboard.
    I figured I would add my two cents worth and considering cents have been removed from this countries monetary system you can take this for what it is worth.
    I took some pics of examples of some late 18th c. saws and first quarter 19th century saws as well as some saws that have had attachment repairs like yours. I have mulled this saw over after seeing it here and on other forums and I am struggling with the shape of the handle and the lack of a stamp or any identification on this saw. I honestly have not seen an early saw that hasn't been marked somehow especially on a brass back. Removal would be very obvious. You might want to take a really close look at the plate, some were marked.
    Simon's truism that dating a saw by its handle is a "mugs game" is very evident here. My gut tells me this is a later handle and quite possibly, original to the saw. Two hundred year well "loved saws" show a lot of burnishing especially on the palm area and yours has a flat still being worn in look. The examples of repaired saws that I have included have really seen a rough life and like yours, too dear to throw away. The William Jackson has an almost identical repair as yours. It was a late 19th c. saw. The A Richardson Saw from NB had an extensive square brass inset that was screwed together but both seemed to have extended their lives.
    David mentioned the egg shaped handles and the "Diffident hook" and here are two examples. The first quarter saws exhibit all the little extras that seem to be missing.
    I am glad to see you are putting it to use because it is a cute little saw and a shame if it gets forgotten.
    Thanks again for posting and enjoy
    Joe S
     

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  5. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Joe,
    On another board Dave has told us that the handle goes from 5/8" thick at the horns to 1/2" thick at the plate. This makes me lean more towards its being a child's saw. But we'll never know for sure.
    David
     
  6. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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    Someone had posited that the handle may have been repaired with the rivets and escutcheons replacing nuts or earlier rivets . It seems a very plausible argument as the escutcheon has sunken in around the pins from peening .
    The child’s saw is an interesting theory .
    Are there pictures of these “ Children’s Saws “ ? The first question I would have though would be are they actually saws that were made for children or did someone start calling them Children’s saws because they were simply smaller ? The reason I ask is because we have so many instances of people labelling historical finds incorrectly , then it becomes gospel .
    Anything is possible of course .
     
  7. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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  8. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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    Thanks , Ray . It’s a head scratcher for sure . It does have a user made quality about it . I strongly suspect that’s why it doesn’t have a makers mark on it . I’ve poured over it under various lighting and can’t make out a hint of markings on the back or plate .
     
  9. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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    Thank you for your reply ! Please explain further the reference to the hook ( I’m new here, so I’d rather not assume what you’re referring to or miss the opportunity to learn )
    I believe the brass escutcheons were likely filed to shape from one block of brass then cut in half to give two identical pieces . That’s how I would do it, anyway . This might also explain the taper from the horns to the plate if everything was filed down after , perhaps . Just another guess .
    Every question raises three more . I think the camera angle may be throwing people off , as well . I’ll see if I can get some different pictures with a method for you to see the actual hang angle . We’re all just tossing out guesses here and I love to hear all the theories , so don’t be shy about unsupportable guesses . It may spur some further insights even if it’s through your arch nemesis just trying to prove you wrong , haha .
     
  10. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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  11. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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    Here are some more pictures of the handle . It’s fairly rounded in the palm section where the sharp square edge is worn . Putting it in your left hand it shows wear exactly where you would expect it . There’s also grubby sweaty fingerprint marks that are in precisely the right spot for a lefty . I could be wrong , but it sure does fit different in my left hand .
    I took one picture with my daughter holding it . She’s about 5’2” and maybe around 100 lbs .
     
  12. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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    Do this pictures help ? It looks like it’s about 37 ish degrees from the cutting edge ?
    Other saws look to me to be very similar , but I could be mistaken .
     

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  13. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Dave,
    There are different ways of measuring the hang angle but they can all be compared. Isaac Smith of Blackburn Tools has posted some interesting discussions of hang angles and how they're developed. http://www.blackburntools.com/blog/concerning-hang-angles-and-saw-handles/ He also shows what he considers a high angle saw and a low angle saw. He does the reverse of what you did. He strikes a perpendicular to the handle and measures how it hits the toothline, essentially the other side of a 90 degree triangle from your angle. When we compare them in your terms he calls a low angle hang 67 degrees and a high angle 47 degrees. Yours is even higher at 37 degrees. But I was wrong to call it extreme. The Shaw & Marshall saw I posted above has a more extreme 30 degree hang angle, by these measurements.

    I also include some pics of a child's saw I have. Like yours, I can only get two fingers around the grip. Mine has a 6' blade, 9 tpi with a little set and a nib. Riveted 1/2" thick handle. Other than the thinness and small size of the handle, it looks like a real saw. Just like yours. I've seen many of these child's saws with 1/2" thick handles.
    To locate the hook on your handle, looking at your handle from the right to left, you have the top horn, then a bead, and then the pointy thing is what would be the hook if it created a hollow by the point extending further towards the toe of the saw.. Yours doesn't create that hollow, so it's just a pointy bump, or rather an incomplete hook.
    Childs full.jpeg childs handle.jpeg child grip 1.jpeg child grip 2.jpeg child grip 3.jpeg
    David
     
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  14. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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  15. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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    Thank you for the explanations , David ! I thought that’s what you were referring to as the hook , but would rather admit ignorance once then to assume and remain ignorant .
    However we look at it , it was definitely made for those of smaller stature .
    I have found it to be a wonderful little saw for the dovetails of smaller stature that I’m doing at present . If nothing else , this five dollar investment has introduced me to a great group of people with volumes of experience and a whole new world of tools that I need more of in my life .
     
  16. Lostarrow

    Lostarrow Active Member

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    All of these little details you and others have pointed out are fantastic . They’ve really got the wheels turning . I’ve started looking at the hooks more closely after you mentioned it .
    eBay turned up several that had a similar lack of “ hook “ . From the description provided ( as much as you can trust an EBay description ) suggests they are from early to mid 19th c.
    It of course adds no definitive date or explanation for my saw , but I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to point out the subtleties . Cheers .