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JOEL Joel's Blog

Norris Saw Collecting


Thomas Norris & Sons is Norris Saw Collecting 4widely considered to be the foremost maker of infilled English hand planes ever. This is arguable as both Spiers and Mathieson made very nice stuff too, but overall, in the post WW1 period Norris reached a "golden Age" just as the rest of the infill plane industry was collapsing. The reason for this was the "Norris Adjuster" which was patented in 1913 and gave the company a little edge over their competition. This innovation, coupled with a realization that there was no market anymore for inexpensive planes (that market being sewn up by Record and Stanley) pushed Norris to new heights of quality that only ended with the onset of World War Two and the passing of ownership away from the Norris family.
All this is well and good but for a tool collector such as myself, who is busy manufacturing saws, I would much rather have a more appropriate tie in. Hence the "Norris SAW". Yip, I'm not making it up. Norris before they began to specialize in plane making were for the first 30 years of existence, a general hardware store and sold a lot of different stuff. Some items, like this dovetail saw they branded with their mark and that makes it collectible.

In most respects, except for the Norris stamp this saw is a pretty common tool. 6" long, filed 15ppt rip with a repair to one of the spurs. The saw cuts, but the filing was poorly Norris Saw Collecting 5done with an irregular set and uneven filing. This is not the original sharpening by a long shot. From the stamp we can date it to from the 1872-1894 period and I'm betting it's from the earlier part of the period. Another bet is that is was made by a local sawmaker, not private labeled by a big Sheffield firm. I have no real evidence but a gut feeling. I'm probably wrong as this is the first Norris saw I have seen.

Join the conversation
10/21/2007 Jacques Rouillard

You may already know this but just in case...There was a sawmaker in the
Lambeth district of London by the name of Albert Copley. I think that their
shops were only a few streets apart. I have a veeeeery elegant ebony stuffed
shoulder plane that has a Copley stamped blade. Nigel Lampert has seen
pictures and believes that it is either a Norris kit made by Copley or made
expressly for Copley. It looks just like your Norris in the picture here but the
wedge has a tapered form. Anyway, if they were trading planes they might
have been trading saws.


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