Last month I was at Plimoth Plantation
teaching saw sharpening to the carpenters in the museum, along with
Peter Follansbee (joiner in residence) and Mark Achison (presiding
blacksmith). It was a blast.
One of several highlights of the day
was when Mark pulled out some old saws that had been in the museum’s
collection for a while. He knew nothing about them.
This backsaw is marked ‘Kenyon’ and one
of the earliest saws I have ever held. It’s easily from the middle
to late 18th century. This is a fantastic example of what a cabinet
maker’s tenon saw would have looked like when Paul Revere was
giddy-upping through Boston with his lantern. I’m telling myself
that since it was found in Massachusetts, it was likely there at the
Notice the distinctive, fully rounded
cheek that attaches the tote to the saw plate, and the extreme (by
our standards) taper, or cant, of the depth of the blade.
This big saw measured 20 inches at the
toothline, but was remarkably light in my hand and did not seem
large at all. This is one of the main reasons I love this tapering
feature… it makes longer saws feels more compact and balanced.
Mark also showed me this full size
handsaw marked ‘Thompson & Co’. I dated the plate to about c.1820,
but the tote screams 18th century. Again, the rounded tote says it
all. By the 19th century, the pointed tote cheek we’re familiar with
was all the rage.
I think the shape of the saw and
replacement hardware obviously tell us that this is not the original
plate. But the tote is a draw-dropper for sure. I could stare at
these two beauties all day long…
Thanks for sharing, Mark.