Skip to content

R, Groves – tenon saw makers of note

I have many different tenon saw types made by makers from the USA and England. I have used some from other European countries, but have not found the quality or a history for making fine tenon saws. Whereas Henry Disston (nothing to do with modern-day Canadian Disstons, which have made extremely low grade handsaws since the 60s) made the finest tenon and handsaws, one of the best makers I have enjoyed the work of is Robert Groves who started making saws in 1770. I have owned one 14” tenon saw for over 30 years and have accumulated the three more you see here to complete my collection. Now I don’t want to cause conflict, but when I say collection I am talking about user tools not shelf sitters and backdrop images to conjure up impressions of being a woodworker.

The bottom saw I bought via Ebay for £19 including shipping. They will sell for more from now on, but if they sell for under £100 they are still better value than any UK maker in the last 75 years. They are still better value than any modern maker anywhere too for that matter. Look out for a good R Groves saw. They are wonderfully made.

Oh, need to correct my last paragraph. Bob Wenzloff is a best for me and of course Tom Nielsen’s dovetail saws are are very nicely quality saws too. Cost is of course a factor but you would be hard pressed to find better and that’s good to know that standards are improving after the poor grades that came to pass in the 60s through 80s and 90s.Their saws are lifetime saws and so that’s good economics for me.


  1. Ken64 on 23 June 2012 at 5:24 pm

    HaHa you just want to pick one up and start sawing. I ended up buying Lie Nielsen saws, and I love them

  2. Greg1910 on 29 December 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Does anyone know if Canadian made Disston’s were of good quality before the 1960’s? I live in Ontario and expect to see quite a few at yard sales, flea markets, etc.

    • J Guengerich on 30 December 2012 at 1:46 am

      Hi Greg, I’m sure that more knowledeable people will comment, especially Canadians. I’m the other Ca… California. I try for the older Disstons although three of my favorite Disstons are the nest of D-95 with the Disstonite handles. Many might poo-poo them, since they don’t have wood handles but they actually have great saw ergos. And.they sharpen, stay sharp very well, and saw extremely well. I would assume that the company held the same standards in Canada. Come to think of it, maybe the Disstonian Institute will hold some answers for you.

      It is great reading.

      • Paul Sellers on 30 December 2012 at 8:52 am

        The Canadian transfer was the beginning of the end for the Disston saw. I have some them that I bought in the 60’s and still use them but they have never felt like the old Disstons at all. The are clunkers with thicker plate. An unrefined version and a mere shadow of the old Philly Disstons. Sorry, but that is the case.

        • Greg1910 on 30 December 2012 at 2:45 pm

          Thank you for replying. I’ll stay clear of them.

  3. John on 3 March 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Greg I started joinery in the early 60s my first saws were canadan Disston but I soon change them for older American far superior with the panel saw you could bend the blade all the way to the handle with out damage and you play a good tunes on it monty john

  4. Daniel on 2 November 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Found an R Groves & Sons back saw for $4 this AM. Thanks for the tip.

  • John2v on Framings and PanelsHi are doing well with your written English. A large panel in a door or a decorative panelled wall inside a building would be made with vertical and horizontal timb…
  • Tucker Tuck on All in a Day’s WorkoutIt's so hard to be in the present. We tend to spend a lot of time thinking about what's not right in front of us until we learn to see more and more of it with the experience and a…
  • Nick Latraille on Vlog 015 Up!Mr Paul Sellers, thank you so much for being my “mentor” when it comes to woodworking. But your whole outlook on life is truly inspiring, I know for me and probly many others that…
  • Jay Gill on All in a Day’s WorkoutThe photo of the horses is really spectacular. Looking at it snapped me back to countless early morning in North Carolina and Hertfordshire. As always thanks for all you do. The th…
  • Stephen McGonigle on All in a Day’s WorkoutI think you must be one of the most contented people alive. You have work you love, enjoy and are good at. You teach this work to others and receive their thanks. You work with fam…
  • Glenn Philipson on Vlog 015 Up!Funny that since I chose to become a lifestyle woodworker I have no time or interest in the TV. My watching is all related to my wood and the highlight is without a doubt your Vlog…
  • Derick Wallace on Woodworking AlternativesThank you Paul for guidelines. Will seek advice and read your suggested books to try and educate myself. Will hopefully give feedback on my journey in future.
Scroll To Top