Full Chisel Blog

July 6, 2008

Spears & Jackson 7 point, half rip hand saw

Filed under: Sawing,Sharpening — Stephen Shepherd @ 6:23 am

I have posted pictures of this saw before in other places, but I thought I would put it all together in one place.  This is just one of those saws that I came across in my hunt for old tools.  I have many old saws, this one was a used saw, but there is plenty of use left in this fine old tool.  I have put the saw in good order, I still have to repair the top horn on the tote, but I have used it, and I am pleasently surprised on how well it cuts.  (Lower saw in photograph below).

S*J and Bishop

Here is the Medallion, and while it looks like it is made of iron, it is actually brass:

Spears & Jackson Spears & Jackson brass medallion

This was under the handle it is marked X.  This may be a mark meaning Extra?  One of the holes just caught the edge of the saw and one hole just missed.

Under HandleUnder Handle

Here are some interesting saw setting marks, it has been suggested that they were done with a center punch or nail set.  These ended up showing after the teeth were sharpened, there were small dimples in the side of some teeth, but none interfere with the sharpening, but may cause problems during subsequent sharpenings.

Saw setting marks

And as was also pointed out by Mike Weszloff that the saw handle looked altered, and low and behold it was, how did he know that?

Altered handleAltered handle

The saw nuts, spanner nuts and medallion are of brass, some were buggered up from an early attempted removal without a spanner bit.

Spanner boltsspanner bolts

spanner nuts

I had to freshen up the kerf in the spanner nuts so it left it a bit shiney.

Spanner Nuts, shiney

So I took some black gunpowder and sprinkled some on the top of the nuts and in a flash they were looking good.  (Kids, don’t try this at home).

After the defligration

Now I did sand the blade, some water and sharp sand rubbed by hand removed most of the rust.  Also the callouses on my fingers and palm abraded faster than the rust.

Sanding Blade

When I jointed the teeth flat, and apparently no one had ever removed the handle to sharpen the saw, it had quite a sway back, left little near the heel of the saw.

Jointed teeth

This is the saw after it has been disassembled, the blade hammered straight, the teeth jointed off (lost a lot on the heel), sharpened, (I may have to set some teeth near the heel, but didn’t set the teeth), whet, then reassemble, after freshening up the kerfs in the spanner nuts and put it to the test.  I did have to whet the side twice to get it to track, but it is sweet.

Spears & Jackson, sharp

And after a few test rips, a pass or two from the whetstone and the saw was tracking perfectly, so I sawed this piece in half.  I could hold it in a vise until the very end.  I held the saw still and passed the work over until it was split in two.

S&J half rip in use

What can I say, this is one fine half rip saw, and the thinnest kerf rip saw I own.  I have used for a few other rip cuts and it performs flawlessly, with the exception of some surface rust that is still coming off.  I think after some good use I will remove the blade and give it a good bath attached to the Volta Pile and remove any remaining rust.  Although out here in the dry arid West I have to intentionally make rust as it seldom occurs without help.



  1. Argh–I forgot to take the pic of the S&J I showed on SMC…I did bring the camera in today. I’ll get it uploaded today.

    Gotts love them S&J saws.

    Take care, Mike

    Comment by Mike — July 6, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  2. As far as darkening scratches on saw-nuts, etc. goes, I usually use a wee bit of gun blue, though even a magic marker will do the trick. That’s a lot of work to put into a saw, so I’m glad it turned out for you. I don’t think I’d be terribly impressed to find the holes in the saw plate that far out for the tote… that seems to indicate that the plate wasn’t cut properly.


    Comment by Metalworker Mike — July 6, 2008 @ 2:20 pm

  3. Stephen,

    A few weeks ago I picked a S&G rip saw up with the same Medallion as you have posted. Its handle has the top horn broken off but other than that its in good shape. The coolest part is the wear mark from the index finger. Makes you wonder how much use it takes to rub wood away like that. Any Idea on dating these saws?


    Comment by ron — July 6, 2008 @ 3:52 pm

  4. And the difference between a Rip and a Half-Rip is? Enquiring minds and all that stuff…


    Comment by Gary Roberts — July 6, 2008 @ 5:53 pm

  5. Gary,

    As near as I can tell rip saw have coarser teeth and intended for thick boards, half rip saws have finer teeth and are intended for ‘half’thickness’? boards. Now don’t ask me what half thickness is because I think that is less than full thickness. I hope that makes sense?

    You need a larger gullet in the saw to remove the wood when ripping on thick boards or they will clog up and reduce the effective cutting ability of the saw. Thinner boards won’t need large gullets as the thin boards release their dross easily.

    I am also thinking after using this saw, that the saw is thinner and lighter than a full rip saw. I will put the wire gauge to the saw on the morrow, I know it is taper ground and has little set, a thin kerf.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — July 6, 2008 @ 6:22 pm

  6. Gary and Stephen.

    Unfortunately, there is no documentation I am aware of that definitively answers the half-rip or rip question beyond the number of teeth. All the early publications when listing PPI/TPI ranges for saws make the distinction of teeth though. So while we may not know application issues, the usage of either stems from the work at hand.

    But whether one uses a coarse or finer pitched saw on a given species changes aside from thickness. So I think there is by nature an overlap.

    fwiw, I tend to use coarser saws than many people for a given application. I like to hand saw wood…but I also like to get done.

    Got the photo…need to figure out how to upload it from my wife’s laptop.

    Take care, Mike

    Comment by Mike — July 6, 2008 @ 9:59 pm

  7. Here’s the S&J handle picture.

    The bottom portion of the upper horn is splitoff. One can sort of tell how the horn would continue. If there isinterest, I can draw this to scale and extrapolate the horn on the drawing–it would be as close as one S&J to another. In this era, they were mostly hand made and so there was variation.


    Take care, Mike…time for dinner…

    Comment by Mike — July 6, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

  8. Ron,
    Are you going to rehabilitate your saw? I sure am happy with mine. As for the date, I have no Idea, but it is probably before 1870. Maybe someone else can add to this.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — July 7, 2008 @ 6:33 am

  9. Mike,

    Thanks for the picture, I will make a pattern and restore the horn. And that rip/half rip thing certainly is interesting.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — July 7, 2008 @ 6:35 am

  10. […] have posted pictures of this saw earlier it is the Spears & Jackson Half Rip Saw, with a broken upper horn on the handle.  I did not have a large enough piece of beech to do the […]

    Pingback by Full Chisel Blog » Hand Saw rehabilitation — July 23, 2008 @ 9:02 am

  11. […] put in good order that have prompted this reconsideration of the Rip Saw.  The first is the Spears and Jackson 7 point half rip saw that I have gone on and on about and the other is the recent addition to my […]

    Pingback by Full Chisel Blog » Reconsidering the Rip Saw — July 27, 2008 @ 8:09 am

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