Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

 Reply
By Steliz
#1231155
I was fortunate enough to be given 4 old saws but they are in need of some TLC. I'm not really interested in restoring them just to have them collecting dust in my workshop but I would certainly do it if I could use them.
So, opinions please, on whether these saws can be restored for use.

Saw 1

Saw 1a-min.jpg
Steel back, 10", 12tpi, no markings, split on the handle, slight curve on the blade, no broken teeth but needs sharpening, I can't see how to take out the screws.
Attachments
Saw 1c-min.jpg
Saw 1b-min.jpg
By Steliz
#1231159
Saw 2

Saw 2b-min.jpg
Steel back, 12", 10tpi, Markings - Smithson Sheffield , Advance, Warranted Superior, Chunk missing, special tool required to remove screws, has been badly sharpened but is straight.
Attachments
Saw 2d-min.jpg
Saw 2c-min.jpg
Saw 2a-min.jpg
By Jacob
#1231166
First two are rubbish just bin them - or save them for sharpening practice .
Last two just need sharpening and put to use. Rub off loose rust first and oil the whole saw, wood and metal, with raw linseed oil brushed thin.

The odd shaped end is "the nib" and is a handy depth marker if you are unfamiliar with the saw - it tells you not to pull it up any further before you start the down stroke.
By Cheshirechappie
#1231169
Saw 1 - cheap and basic model, the 'screws' are a form of split rivet installed by forcing them together. It may be worth repair if you can knock the wave out of the blade by holding it up and whacking the edge of the spine with a mallet at each end. If not, bin it.

Saw 2 - Ah - that's much more like it! Definitely worth a clean-up and sharpen, but DON'T remove the screws. Those split nuts are very hard to re-install, sometimes.

Saw 3 - Spear and Jackson 'Spearior' 88s were their top of the range saws in the 60s and 70s, and if it'll saw straight (it might despite the slight wave, provided the wave is slight enough) worth a clean and sharpen. If it won't saw straight, you can either take up saw-smithing or bin it.

Saw 4 - A fairly basic model of early to mid 20th century date. As it's straight, probably worth a clean and sharpen. The odd 'blip' at the toe end is the nib, which has been the subject of all manner of strange explanations (see post above!). As far as anyone can find evidence for, it's purpose is decorative.
By Jacob
#1231194
Cheshirechappie wrote:..... The odd 'blip' at the toe end is the nib, which has been the subject of all manner of strange explanations (see post above!). As far as anyone can find evidence for, it's purpose is decorative.
Not a strange explanation - it's very useful as a depth marker, especially if it's an unfamiliar saw - a recent acquisition. Stops you pulling back too far and buckling the blade on the down stroke. Ergo obviously that's what it's for.
There is no evidence of it having any other use and it isn't particularly decorative.
I know that some supposed saw expert in the past said that no one knows what it was for. but he was wrong. It's odd that everybody repeats this bit of misinformation as though it's gospel! :lol:
By Cheshirechappie
#1231201
Jacob wrote:
Cheshirechappie wrote:..... The odd 'blip' at the toe end is the nib, which has been the subject of all manner of strange explanations (see post above!). As far as anyone can find evidence for, it's purpose is decorative.
Not a strange explanation - it's very useful as a depth marker, especially if it's an unfamiliar saw - a recent acquisition. Stops you pulling back too far and buckling the blade on the down stroke. Ergo obviously that's what it's for.
There is no evidence of it having any other use and it isn't particularly decorative.
I know that some supposed saw expert in the past said that no one knows what it was for. but he was wrong. It's odd that everybody repeats this bit of misinformation as though it's gospel! :lol:


There is documentary evidence (Henry Disston and Sons) that the nib was there as decoration, to visually balance the curly and decorative handles of the 19th century. I don't think anybody has come up with anything else from a saw maker as to why it's there, though literature and interwebs are thick with people proposing theories and stating their assumptions as gospel.

Here's the Frequently Asked Questions from the Disstonian Institute - the nib's purpose is the first question;

http://www.disstonianinstitute.com/faq.html
By Jacob
#1231203
Cheshirechappie wrote:.........
There is documentary evidence (Henry Disston and Sons) that the nib was there as decoration, to visually balance the curly and decorative handles of the 19th century.
Thats not "documentary evidence" it's an idle speculation and sounds 100% nonsense to me.
I don't think anybody has come up with anything else from a saw maker as to why it's there,
My evidence comes from a saw user - myself. I bought two antique hand saws, different lengths, with nibs, and started using them. On the first upstroke I thought "oops I don't know how far to pull" and at that instant the answer emerged in the form of the nib! Brilliant - an instant working explanation, and very useful too!!
Coincidentally- a long time ago I'd actually marked a modern saw with a felt tip at about 4" for the same reason, having kinked one.
Here's the Frequently Asked Questions from the Disstonian Institute - the nib's purpose is the first question;

http://www.disstonianinstitute.com/faq.html
Read it. Perpetuating the myth that "nobody knows" :lol: :lol: Very silly, it is perfectly obvious what it's for and I'm sure I'm not the only person in the world who knows.
By Jacob
#1231209
Cheshirechappie wrote:Hmmm ….. so Henry Disston and Sons say one thing, and Jacob says another.
I'll let you make your own minds up, folks.

"The Disstonian Institute" is just one facetious old saw-enthusiast's blog. He isn't infallible.

I guess the misunderstanding gets perpetuated because anybody familiar with a particular saw very quickly loses any need for the nib.
It's just when it's new and strange, or borrowed, or in the hands of a novice, that the nib comes into it's own. Or a felt tip mark if there is no nib.
But carry on believing that nobody knows what it's for, if it gives you any pleasure!
By MusicMan
#1231210
Cheshirechappie wrote:Hmmm ….. so Henry Disston and Sons say one thing, and Jacob says another.

I'll let you make your own minds up, folks.


Manufacturers do not always know. A few years ago I wrote to a very famous German family firm of clarinet makers to ask if they had records of making a certain obscure type of clarinet. Now this was a small firm that had been in one family's hands for about 150 years, father trained son, son took over, for several generations. He replied emphatically that his family had never produced this type of instrument.

A few months later, I tracked down one clearly stamped with his grandfather's distinctive logo and clearly genuine (it was bought by the Berlin musical instrument museum). He was quite surprised.
By Jacob
#1231214
swagman wrote:Disston Handbook On Saws. 1907

Image


There you go - more evidence that traditional makers don't necessarily know why they are doing some things. A good example from the horses mouth!

I think this is probably quite common - traditions are passed on by rote and people may well not know what a particular thing is for but just carry on doing it anyway.
Last edited by Jacob on 10 Jul 2018, 13:46, edited 1 time in total.