Buy this as a saw kit

Update July 2021: Please note the website linked in this blog is no longer active.

http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com/Tenon-Saw-Spear-Jackson-Traditional-10/productinfo/794-9540B/

Hello everyone,

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.

Have fun!

16 thoughts on “Buy this as a saw kit”

  1. Patrick Anderson

    Paul

    As there’s only $10 difference between them, do you think that this saw is a better option than the veritas carcass saw?

    1. Absolutely not. The Veritas is the best value saw in its class and the quality of cut matches the best. I am simply offering this as a valuable project in terms of a great exercise.

      1. Patrick Anderson

        Ah okay. I’ll stick with buying the veritas saw unless the Tyzack I’m watching on ebay stays at a reasonable price.

  2. Based on your recent post regarding saw set, would you adjust this set or leave it .018″ wider than the blade ?

  3. Hello paul,
    Five or six months ago I bought a Spear and jackson “Predator saw” Unfortunately it is hard-point, has a set large enough do ski down in snow-plough etc. never again

    1. Predators are good! I have a couple of Predator saws and three 22″ vintage saw (1xEnglish & 2xDisston – 1xCanadian & 1 USA? – total cost £3 or was it £9 inc. sheath ) – the Predators run rings round the old saws; the Predators cut like the proverbial hot-knife through butter, incredibly fast. I use the Predators (one gold & one red, which are exactly the same except the color as far as I can tell, 7TPI fleam toothed) as my cross-cut saws. I have just sharpened 2 of the vintage saws and the 3 of them will be my rip saws.

      BTW The Predators have bolts & nuts holding the blade/plate to the handle, which could, perhaps, be used to (cheaply) replaced the rivets on newer wooden-handled S&J saws.

      1. I think you must not have mastered saw sharpening Tone because it takes about four minutes to sharpen any old saw to cut like a predator and it will cut so for a century IF you know how to maintain and sharpen them correctly whereas the Predator is after all just another built in obsolescence saw.

        1. 🙂 Indeed I have not mastered saw sharpening. Until today I had sharpened only one tenon saw (and left too much set on that). Today I sharpened 5 vintage saws (2 sabre saws, 2x 22″ saws and a tenon saw).

          I have only used the vintage saws “as found” until now. So they might yet surprise me. But they weren’t in bad shape and one seems about as sharp as it can be. They certainly cut better after sharpening but whether my early attempts will match the Predators remains to be seen (I doubt it but you have given me hope :D).

          The Predators were purchased before I discovered saw sharpening (through your videos). But credit where credit is due, they cut brilliantly. If the vintage saws get even close, I will be delighted.

          BTW Keeping the faith, I just ordered S&J 22″ 10TPI traditional saw from Hurst ( https://hurst-iw.co.uk – their ad was under your youtube video ). It can be my finer (second cut?), resharpenable crosscut/plywood saw. And perhaps later, rip saw. Hurst have keen prices (£15.85 + £3.50 shipping!) and I ordered a couple of other items (inc. Eclipse junior hacksaw blades – for saw sharpening!) to make the most of the shipping charge. Great deal if you want to buy more than 1 saw 😉

          1. You’ll be surprised how good you’ll get at this. Also, remember that a crosscut like Predators are made for crosscuts even though they might go under a name like ‘universal‘ . They are a lot less effective for ripcutting.

  4. Hi Paul,

    I must say that discovering your blog and YouTube Channel has change my way of working/thinking woodwork: thriving as much as i can towards the hand tools , even though learning alone is …tedious. My question: i do not have the money to buy two extra good saws for tenons ( crosscut and rip). I am looking at veritas. Which one do you suggest? # teeth?

    Cheers,

    Hugo, quebec, canada

    1. Paul Sellers

      You only need the 10″ or so long 16 ppi/tpi rip cut for dovetailing.A 12-14 14-16 TPI will work for tenoning.

  5. Paul you happened to mention the type of metal in the screws. I noticed the old saw I bought on e bay had steel rivets holding an oak handle. You can see clearly the stain marks around the rivets .Oak and steel don`t really like each other. Then there are back saws with a steel plate and a brass back . Surely that will create rust quicker . There are others with steel backs. Beech wood does not react against steel screws . It took a long time for saw makers to work through the incompatible nature of metals and woods . I still admire the oak handle though and don`t mind the stains . Also I seem to be noticing very old blades with handles that look quite new , almost virgin , without any smoothing where the hand rubs on those edges .

    1. I often carve oak. Oak tannin reacts with steel in a beneficial but unsightly way. The blue-black oxide formed is actually protective against rust, it is in fact the basis of “rust convertor” products. Embrace the blue-black beauty of oak & steel! 😉

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