Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Still aten't dead yet

Although I'm not so sure I won't ask for a recount...

Nah, to be fair I am feeling better. Not well mind you (don't want to relinquish the sympathy too soon, after all...) but definitely less awful. Not to the point of getting into the workshop, alas, but able to lift the occasional volume of The Woodworker to my streaming eyes and make out the odd snippet of interest. 1940 is currently being perused, and I found the following:

"The Stanley Tool Co. make an ever-ready blade which is attached by two screws to a specially constructed blade holder. This arrangement fits practically all their bench planes and assures a sharp cutting edge at all times. It is a boon to the outworker who has not access to a hone or grindstone. The blades are as easy to remove and replace as a razor blade. They are put up in packets of five and six according to the type of plane they are intended to fit."

The right to look smug to the first reader who can provide the name Stanley gave these short-lived wonder blades. Although they seem to have lived longer than I thought, given the 1940 date and the dates I've seen given for them elsewhere - but maybe they just got delayed on the boat over here...

And for the saw fanatics, discussion of the purpose of the "needle test" used on saws. The theory from readers was it was to test the "set" - the noble lords of The Woodworker had doubts, so "to have an authoritative opinion we wrote to the well-known sawmakers, Messrs. Spear & Jackson, of Sheffield, and obtained the following interesting ruling:

"The test with a sewing needle is not to test the set of a saw at all; it is done to test the accuracy of the bevel filing of the teeth of a crosscut saw"

Hold it right there - did S&J actually use this thing then? Or is the "it is done" used in a loose, by-less-accomplished-saw-filers-than-us, kinda way? I have a mental picture of an apprentice saw filer finally being considered good enough to be presented with his official S&J needle... But back to the authoritative ruling:

"In bevel filing the file is held at about 45 deg. (or 60 deg. for saws for hardwood) with the blade, so that each tooth is filed to a keen edge at its outer or cutting edge, and is bevelled well back at the other side... This forms a V-shape when the saw is viewed from the end, and the needle can travel freeling down this."

But now, for me, the really interesting bit:

"It should be remembered, however, that only the best quality crosscut saws are bevel filed. [My astonished bold] Certain cheaper crosscut saws [like 'not Spear & Jackson's' one wonders, reading between the lines?] are filed straight across."

Blah, blah, explains how you couldn't get a needle down one filed like that and that basically if you had enough set to accomplish it you've got way too much set.

But folks, I'm somewhat taken aback at the cheaper crosscut being filed without any fleam thing. Have I somehow overlooked this in the past? Was it not done on cheaper saws 'cos they couldn't take the fleam 'cos of inferior steel? Or just 'cos it's harder flippin' work to get the fleaminess right so they'd charge extra? Is this exciting new evidence for people to argue about, or have I just dozed off in all the discussions and missed it before?

Tune in next week to find out!

Ah hum, sorry, got carried away there. Maybe tune in tomorrow and read the comments pointing out I was indeed asleep instead...

1 comment:

  1. My feeling is that if S&J did this in practice [or is that, didn't do it] as regards fleam, they left it to the purchaser.

    If so, that makes them the only maker I have heard of that didn't pre-file all their lines of cross cut saws for their customers.

    Thinking about it, it really is akin to offering chisels with or without handles, carving gouges with only perhaps a rudimentary bevel on them, etc...So maybe they really didn't, at least for a time.

    Interesting stuff.

    Take care, Mike


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