Spear & Jackson n°26 with wobbly handle

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by ian_gm, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. ian_gm

    ian_gm New Member

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    2
    Hello !

    This is my first post here. I am completely new to hand tools and have only ever used any sort of tools to do - not very good - diy jobs around the house.

    However, somehow, the bug has bitten and I have started hand tool wood working, and so far am absolutely loving it.

    Enough about me, let's get to the star of this post... instead of buying a new saw, I bought an old dovetail saw on ebay. It was cheaper than any new one I seen and looks so much nicer. I received it last weekend and have had a little time with it and I find it cuts really well. It starts easy and cuts quite fast and straight. I love the feel of it. Knowing it has cut some many dovetails before, it must must cutting them by itself. It certainly feels that way :)

    There is one small issue though, that is that the handle has a slight movement in the axis of the handle - so up and down. It's only slight and doesn't interfere with the cut at all, but I would like to get it perfect. So that's my question... how do I do this ? Like I mentioned, I have two left hands so I'm not comfortable doing anything until I get some sort of advice from knowledgable people (that would be you lot !).

    While I'm here... I can't find much info about this n°26. There seems to be a year (1900) carved into the handle (see photo, I highlighted it), so I'm guessing that a previous owner did that and hence the saw is at least 117 years old !
    If anyone can share any more info about the S&J 26 I would be grateful.

    Thanks !

    DSCF2247_1.jpg DSCF2250_1.jpg DSCF2247_2.jpg
     
  2. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    Unfortunately a common issue with two bolt saws, particularly ones with split nuts.... which exacerbates the issue as the blade rocks to and through and slowly cuts through the bolt shanks and accelerates the problem.

    The fix is easy; cut a thin tapered wedge of hard wood and tap it down the rear of the mortise with a mallet. Then cut it off flush and you have a virtually invisible repair. This lets you use the saw with a degree of control.

    Some people pump the mortise full of CA glue or putty etc, please do not do this.

    S&J themselves attempted to avert this is issue by placing an additional bolt through the spine but cutting and fitting the spine and plate properly prevents the issue.
     
  3. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Another thing to check is that the back is seated down into the mortise and resting on the handle. Sometimes they get worked loose. Tapping the back down until it is seated in the bottom of the mortise, as it ought to be, should also prevent the handle from rocking. I grip the blade in a smooth jawed vise to hold it firmly, then tap the back down with a hammer and a block of wood. Usually a single tap is sufficient.
     
  4. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    73
    The key being one tap, because if you belt the bejesus out of the spine and shift it downwards at either end you can disturb the tension and create another common problem... the S-shaped toothline that won't cut to a line.
     
  5. ian_gm

    ian_gm New Member

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    Many thanks to you both !!
     
  6. steveatkinson

    steveatkinson Active Member

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    Hello Ian,
    You have a good eye, that was a fine choice in saws, especially as there seems to be very little info on this Model number 26, I managed to acquire one myself some time back, I did put some pictures up , I am not sure if the thread was started by me or perhaps I hijacked some one elses.
    I am under the impression this was once a top of the line model, the one I have denotes quality all round, a well carved handle heavy spine and quality steel blade.
    I will be much happier when I can find a Spear & Jackson Catalog that lists the model No26, I am sure I came across a thread that mentioned how the No 52 & 53 came about I am sure it mentioned the 26. I am sure I will get corrected if I am wrong.
    Here is to wishing you get many years of good use from your saw.
     
  7. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    508
    Maybe I can help, with the aid of the Hawley collection's information. The S&J catalogue for 1880 (the earliest that the Hawley Collection possesses) has three qualities of backsaw: the 26 is the brass back, the 26A with a "blued or bright" back [presumably iron]. and the 26B the German steel; I've never seen either the 26A or 26B, but would be interested if anyone here can come up with a picture of one. By 1910 [there's a gap of 30 years in the collection] the numbering was 266, 263 and 260 for the same three qualities, except that the second and third were described as ""bright steel" and "blued steel" respectively; this catalogue states that these numbers are new, with the "old" ones being 260A, 260 and 260 [sic]. The 52, 46 and 49 are there, with these numbers apparently taking over from the old numbers 26A, 26 and 26. Again, I've not seen any of these numbers. By 1927 the best quality were still 260 etc ("Mermaid"), with the second ("Leapfrog") being the 46 and 52 series (with variations). In 1932 the best quality were renamed "Spearior", with the 260 numbers. From the 1920s they also made several inferior qualities with their own numberings, including the number 53, which came in in 1932, as their 3rd quality ("Lloyd Davies") brand.
    In summary, then, it seems that the 52 came in sometime between 1880 and 1910; the other thing to say is that researching S&J's vast output is a nightmare!
     
  8. steveatkinson

    steveatkinson Active Member

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    Simon, thank you, that straightens that lot out then, I am glad you just answered the questions re quality and how they came about there numbers.
    I have a couple of the No 26 saws, one has rather a bright rust free blade with a partial etch left, whilst the other has a full etch.
    I am pretty sure they are run of the mill 26 though, thanks again for the update.
     
  9. steveatkinson

    steveatkinson Active Member

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    The etch on the smaller saw is very clear, unfortunately in this instance the etch refers only to the tool seller, that it has been made for rather than the quality of the saw.
    The larger 14" Saw , the etch is no longer there, perhaps fragments.
    There is a picture of another handle there as well, that is an early 52, another complete etch, again referring to the tool seller rather than the virtues of the saw.
    I included it as a handle comparison, they are very close.
    I would like to try some of the rather exotic sounding 26's as a test or comparison. A26, A260 etc
    I have been looking to try and get hold of tool catalogs in order to help with my research, if any one can point me in the right direction I would be very grateful, I am not fussy as to the type they are, they do not have to be paper they can be digital (computer version) they will all help.
    I do like the "Spearior" versions of the saw, very nice.

    Thanks again guys for your help.
     

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  10. Barleys

    Barleys Most Valued Member

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    Fred Verity appears in the 3rd edition of British Planemakers, with a (presumably factored) plane of "early 20th century" Without being rude, the editors of BPM3 appear to have exactly the same problem as I do with dating their material, favouring this form of words in the same way as I am obliged so often to fall back on using "c1900" – a date that would not be inappropriate, I think, for Steve's smaller no 26.
     
  11. steveatkinson

    steveatkinson Active Member

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    Simon I can see exactly what you mean, without cold hard documented facts (or lack of) there are gaps that need filling, I am sure you are 100% correct re Fred Verity. I did manage to find a Spear and Jackson Catalog with the No260 & 266 both referenced. 1923 edition, so they were out of production by then at least.
    I am sure I find some more info if I keep looking.
    The Slack Sellers another modern saw maker by comparison to many of the others, I would like to obtain a number of there catalogs in order to try and map out there range of saws over there working years.
    Thanks again for your input Simon, the book has been a big help.
     

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