Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brooklyn Saw Co. 15" Panel Saw

An 1890's Harvey Peace made Brooklyn Saw Co. Panel Saw!
© 2011 Canis Dirus and The Wolf and Moon™

The Wolf Finds some Treasure in the Attic!

While visiting my parents recently, I noticed an old saw handle peeking out from under several layers of yellowed newspaper. I remember the saw; I think it hung from one of the innumerable nails in the rafters of the old Victorian we lived in back in New York City. Lord knows how many other things hung from those basement rafters, far enough away from curious hands that they survived those earlier years, only succumb to the ravages of a preteen's use. Somehow this saw had survived, unlike so many other tools I would gladly kill for now.

I pulled the saw out of the milk crate it was unceremoniously stored in. The first thing I noticed were the split nuts. Split nuts indicate a saw likely to be well over a hundred years! Split nuts were commonly used by American saw manufacturers from about 1780s through the 1880s.

The next thing that came to mind was my friend Matt Cianci of The Saw Blog. Matt is a saw specialist, and much like myself, an inveterate treasure hunter. He is always on the look out for old iron that needs resuscitation.  My wife would call it rusty junk collecting, but that's why I'm the tool connoisseur and she's not! Regardless, I immediately emailed Matt on my fortuitous find and awaited his response.

The handle, was at one time a nice piece of rosewood... I think, though it might be cherry or apple for all I know.The bottom horn has been broken off and poorly repaired with hot melt glue. Obviously my dad has a penchant for trying out all the newest adhesive crazes known to mankind. I just wish he had tried it on something else! On the other hand, it does make the future renovation somewhat easier.

As if the hot melt glue wasn't enough, paint splatters besmirch its once proud finish, and it now had the look of a chew toy for a particularly naughty puppy. Oh the trails and tribulations it must have been subjected to over the years!

 The plate is in pretty good condition considering what it has more than likely been a very harrowing existence for this poor saw. There are several pits where rust has taken hold, but overall its better than ok. There is a minor warp on the top edge of the blade, but it should not be too difficult to resolve.

The heel is marked with the pitch, in this case 10. Personally, I really like the way the teeth don't go all the way back to the heel like they do in modern saws.

The plate also has an etch, which is how I identified it in the first place. Unfortunately I haven't been able to photograph it clearly enough to make it visible, but I am trying to render it visible by using a photo editing program.

The teeth are a nightmare! I don't think a worse job of sharpening has ever been done to a piece of spring steel. Teeth are all over the place, high, low, unevenly spaced; even the file that did it must have been dull because the metal removed is a burr outboard of the gullet it was gnawed out of!

But even though there are a litany of concerns, it is still a lovely piece of late 19th century tool work.

Matt got back to me with much cheer and encouragement. Through his extensive archive of material concerning all things saw worthy, he forwarded me the following information:

"A quick update....I identified the make of your Brooklyn Saw Co was definitely made by Harvey Peace. I found one in the 1890 Harvey Peace catalog...No. 101 etched with "Brooklyn Saw Co.". Its a panel saw (small hand saw) and the catalog mentioned it was available in 14 to 28 inch lengths. It was def a lower cost model, but a nice saw nonetheless."

My plans for this panel saw are to refurbish it to its former working glory. I will more than likely limit the repair of the tote to cleaning it and then regluing the horn, and leaving it as is. Since it is my first classic/vintage saw, I want the teeth joined and recut to its original 10 point. I'll clean up the plate following Matt's instructions and guidelines on The Saw Blog and this should yield me a nice saw worthy of the time and effort put into it to make it serviceable again.

I suppose I'll have to make a wall of glory like Matt now...

Post Tenebras, Lux
Dirus Canis
The Wolf and Moon™

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A Little Tillotson Saw

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