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Scandinavian Hand Tools with Kim Malmberg


 
  Warran & Ted demands some respect - II by Kim Malmberg  

This is a Warranted Superior hand saw. Nevertheless I will boldly state that it is one of the finest saws I have ever came across.

I cannot confirm the maker with absolute certainty, but the saw features a Warranted Superior medallion with the Disston keystone, so Iíd be surprised if it was made by any other company.

What is certain is that this saw was sold by the Supplee Hardware Co in Philadelphia. According to the etch this saw is "The Genuine and Original no 255" The etch is rather typical to American made Warranted saws. It features an eagle surrounded by two star spangled banners as well as the additional words:

ROYAL STEEL
SPRING STEEL WARRANTED
Patent Temper Temper Ground

The saw also has a secondary etch with the text:

"This saw was made specially for use of the most skilled Artisan.
For quality style and finish it cannot be surpassed.
William H. Supplee"

Staying wit the etch for a while I have some thoughts on these. Is it possible that several saw makers used the same subcontractor for their etches, or did the saw makers really make their own etches?

Bear with me. The etch in my Supplee Hardware saw contains two rows of text identical, both in content and design, to a Woodrough McParlin hardware saw made for Sickels & Nutting in Davenport, Iowa.

How is this possible? I can think of two reasons. Either all or a part of the saw makers had agreed on shared etch templates and designs for certain types of saws, or they shipped their saw plates to one place for etching. Please do let me know if Iím out of my depths here. All Iím saying is that those lines are identical in design and typography. Did they just blatantly steal from each other?

I know, Iím digressing. So back to the origin of my saw. I'm quite sure this is a Disston made saw. It has the feel of a Disston, it has Disston hardware, and I firmly believe the hardware is original. But I have not been able to find a matching model in Disston catalogues or on disstonianinstitute.com.

The only official Disston model that comes close as far as the handle design is concerned, is the no 99, as designed from 1906 onwards.

I'm well aware of the fact that the no 99 was a straight back and mine is a skew back. So I'm not saying this is a no 99 in disguise. But the handles of the both saws are close matches. The few Disston catalogues I have access to do not include this saw in the "Special saws etched to order" section, so I can't say if this saw was listed or not.

As far as age goes, I firmly believe this saw was made rather early in the 20th century. Supplee Hardware merged with one Mr Biddle and became Supplee-Bilddle Hardware Co in 1914.

Although my saw doesn't feature the hardware company name, but only the signature of William H. Supplee, I think the saw could well have been made before 1914. The saw nuts have the narrow screw slots associated with earlier raised nuts. And the handle design is clearly more elegant and well rounded, something which also indicates an earlier design. Having compared it to my Disston Jubilee saw (made for about one year according to Erik von Sneidern) the handle on my W&S saw is much more rounded and comfortable.

All in all this saw is a wonderful example of fine saw making. The spring steel is very hard and well tensioned. The handle has one of the best palm grips I have come across and after some jointing, reshaping and sharpening the saw has been hard at work. It performs beautifully.

Kim Malmberg
Ekenšs, Finland
November, 2014
kim.malmberg{at}gmail.com
flickr.com/photos/finnberg68


 
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