|Update July 2021: Please note the website linked in this blog is no longer active.
This is more just a thought really. A few years ago I bought the saw above. I am including the description to take the description point by point. Before I start I want to say that this saw is made from good, solid beech wood, good thick brass and quality high-carbon steel. In other words it’s a workable saw.
Here is the quote from the Traditional Woodworker tool catalogue in the USA. This has always been an excellent company to deal with.
“Spear & Jackson is one of the oldest saw manufacturers in the world having started production in 1760. We are proud to be the exclusive US distributor of these legendary Saws that are still being made the old fashioned way in Sheffield, England after over 240 years of production. This Traditional Tenon Saw represents an excellent choice for a quality crafted mid-priced tenon saw.
The following features distinguish this saw:
- Hand-crafted from the finest high carbon steel with resharpenable teeth.
- Solid brass back for maximum rigidity.
- Precision ground teeth for extra sharpness.
- Universal teeth pattern for versatility. Cuts equally well along and across the grain.
- Handles crafted from Beech and securely attached to the blade with Brass rivets.
This saw has the following key features:
- 10″ Length of Blade
- 15″ Overall Length
- 15 tpi
- 3″ Depth of Cut
- 0.025″ Thick Blade
- 0.042″ Kerf
These are very good saws for general joint cutting and for sawing other small pieces of wood. Made in England.”
This description says several things but there are some issues that need looking into
1.The name S&J is indeed one of the oldest UK saw makers, but today’s standards of production reflect nothing of the care and quality of the old makers and so it’s not the “quality crafted” product of old at all.
2. Spear and Jackson told me on the telephone that, “these saws were now made in China, along with most of their other products because it’s more cost effective that way.” So, according to the person I spoke to at S&J that they are not made in Sheffield although I suppose they could possibly be assembled, packed or shipped from there and it does say on the saw in the image that it is made in Sheffield.
3. There is nothing old fashioned about mass manufactured saws today that compares to a man shaping a handle with his own hands as was the case at one time with S&J. These handles are routed by CNC machine and they look and feel that way too.
Now what my point is in this is to say that the steel, brass and plate are indeed good materials, so see this saw as an assembled kit for redefining and improving. The first problem that can be resolved in a minute is that they are always overset, so you have seen or can see my previous blog on correcting that. Dead simple. Secondly, these saws will not arrive as well sharpened as as they should and no where near some of the finer saws costing a hundred plus dollars or pounds, but that is a simple corrective procedure and that too can be found in a previous blog. Filing a saw takes only a few minutes too. Thirdly, it states in the description that the saw has brass rivets, but they are actually brass-coloured rivets in that they are plated alloy. That doesn’t really matter, they do secure the handle to the plate but they won’t polish or look like real brass. I suppose you could replace them with retrofits but that can add more expense.
I don’t have mine here with me to show you so I cannot post a picture of how it looks, but all of my posts show how you can redefine a saw handle and personalise it into a pristine beauty. I have done that with this specific saw and it will come out stunning when you do. Work first on the plate and upgrade the finish with wet and dry abrasive till it glistens. Do the same to the brass back until that polished brass reflects your face; only a few minute’s work and elbow grease. Leave the rivets alone. Unless something has changed they are alloy of some kind and not brass or derivative of brass alloys.