Saturday, February 23, 2019

Vernon & Co. Handsaw

Most American sawmakers sold their saws under a variety of brand names. Wheeler, Madden & Clemson was no exception. Their 1871 catalog lists saws branded You Bet, Vernon & Co., Speir & Co., and L. Wheeler in addition to their main Wheeler, Madden & Clemson line. I acquired a Vernon & Co. No. 10 saw plate several months back that had no handle. The picture of this saw in the catalog shows it to have a steel side plate on the handle.

I'm not a huge fan of steel side plates, and since this is not a valuable collector saw, I decided to make a new handle more to my liking. I used some of the figured Norway maple that was cut on my sawmill, and I enhanced the grain with amber dye. The results are pretty stunning.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The French Mitre Saw -- Scie à Recaler

A friend recently sent me an antique French mitre saw, or scie à recaler, for restoration. His saw had been around the block a few times and rightly had the true appearance of an antique. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to make one. I ended up making three, and two of them are now listed for sale on my Saws for Sale page.

When it comes to woodworking, the French have traditionally done things a bit different than their British or American counterparts. The use of frame saws instead of handsaws is one example. When it comes to cutting miters, instead of a miter saw and miter box they adopted the scie à recaler and the boite à recaler, literally the saw to recalibrate and box to recalibrate. In that sense, recalibrate relates to sawing the desired angle. We call the boite à recaler a miter jack. This type of saw can also be used to make 90 degree cuts in a device known as a flat jack. In the drawing below, the flat jack is above and the miter jack is below. Both are called boites à recaler.

The pictures below are of the three scies à recaler I made. Two are 20" in length and one is 18". I'm not aware of anyone else in the world currently making this type of saw, so a new one is probably a pretty rare thing. Antique ones are not very plentiful either.