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JOEL Joel's Blog

An Unusual Old Saw


An Unusual Old Saw 4The small saw in the photograph is of a fairly rare, and not very useful chest saw by Holtzapffel(after 1827). With a blade only 12" long, it is a miniature version of a full sized panel saw, complete with nib. At one time it was probably part of a larger kit of tools belonging to a household tool chest, of the sort sold by many higher end tool shops. (For comparison, the larger saw above, a Disston Victory Saw, has a more common 26" blade.)

In other news, I was very sad to read last week that Andrew Lunn, owner of Eccentric Toolworks, has decided to stop making his custom saws. I had the opportunity to meet him several times at Woodworking in America and really admired his saws.

Knowing how hard it is to keep a business afloat, I understand his wanting to get out before it became drudgery. You can read more about his decision here. I find it sad that there is one less member of the group of modern toolmakers around.

We wish Andrew well and we are looking forward to reading about his next adventures.

Join the conversation
04/19/2011 Doug Boor

I'm always keeping a watchful eye open for Disston Victory saws with the pre 1928 tote. Looks to be a D-115? What is the ppi for the one in the photo. Great looking saw, thanks for blog, always enjoyed.

04/19/2011 Lance
I really enjoy old tools but am relatively new to it. You mentioned the "nib" of a saw in this blog. Can you explain whet it is? If it's that protrusion I see near the top front of several of my old saws, can you tell me what it its purpose?
It is the protrusion at the top of the saw near the toe.
I have no idea what it's for. There is much speculation but no confirming contemporary documentation.
04/19/2011 Trevor Walsh
Actually, a post on Dan's Shop, and his post about a find provides an 80 year vintage documentation of the usage of the saw nib for cleaning sawdust and splinters from the cut on large pieces.
A 20th century cigarette cards theory on the nib, (which by the way makes no sense if you think about it) comes over 50 years after saw styles changed and the nib disappears from most saws.
It's one of many theories that have been postulated, but there is no documentation from the early 19th century, when these saws were manufactured, by anyone who might be considered an authority.
04/23/2011 Lance
Thanks Joel & Trevor!
04/24/2011 Nick
Could that small saw be a salesman's sample?
It is not a salesman sample. As I say in the body of the text these saws are found in small tool boxes that were sold to the gentry for the occasional house repair done by house staff.
It's also a handy size for anyone needing a portable saw.
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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.