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  1. #1
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    Default Ibbotson Peace hand saw

    Some while back I set the parameters of my saw collecting, at least as far as those I keep are concerned. Generally I have been fairly good at keeping within those boundaries, but this saw was not one of those occasions! I noticed it in a group of saws and it just appealed. I had no interest in the other four saws and I contacted the seller asking him if he would consider pulling it out of the bunch and selling it separately. I told him what I was willing to pay and to cut a long story short he agreed and we struck a deal. His president would have approved.

    The saw says nothing other than Ibbotson Peace, although the medallion is quite unusual. I immediately thought of the Harvey W. Peace firm that made very good saws during the last half of the nineteenth century in the US. However, there was nothing in Erv Schaffer's book on North American saws so I looked further afield.

    In Simon Barley's book Ibbotson referenced Peace and under that name the town of Sheffield had a whole dynasty of saw and steel makers. Under Ibbotson, Peace & Co it explains that Robert Ibbotson was a sawmaker who went to live in the States and became an agent from 1834 onwards. The partnership was in conjunction with Charles and Samuel Peace, whose place of work was the Eagle Works at 84 Russell St., Sheffield. Simon Barley lists this partnership as between 1845 and 1852, but other partnerships carried on the business at the same address in succeeding years.

    Apparently there were at least four sections of the Peace family operating from Sheffield. It is not clear if Harvey W, Peace was a relative, but this article gives a little background:

    Harvey W. Peace

    Harvey Peace was born in 1831 in Sheffield and emigrated to the US in 1849. He started his company in conjunction with one of his younger brothers around 1861. It is not too big a stretch to imagine there is a family connection as he worked as a saw grinder in the UK.

    Enough on the background. This is the saw:

    P1050386 (Medium).JPG

    It is a mighty beast. 28" long and 4ppi with a bead and nib.

    P1050387 (Medium).JPG
    The handle is the classic lambs tongue style and set off the saw plate but low down in the prevailing style of the day. Four saw screws hold the blade on with the top screw being a smaller diameter than the other two. They are of the split nut type as you would expect from this era. The medallion is unusual in that it i slightly domed but also set absolutely flush: Quite a work of art to my mind both in the execution of the medallion and the setting in the timber. Wearing well considering the saw is around the 150 - 160 year mark. Although I mentioned the Ibbotson peace partnership as 1845 - 1952 Barley's book shows a medallion of the same style that was on a back saw (probably a smaller version of the medallion) which was dated 1860 and was auctioned in the US. There is an inconsistency there in the timelines that was not explained.

    There is a little damage to the top horn which I need to glue back before it becomes completely detached.

    The saw plate is thick: Very thick. It does need a little attention with the dog hammers, but only a few taps. The first and third pix are at the toe and heel along the toothline while the middle pic is at the top of the toe. Although it is showing it to be thinner the blade is not tapered.

    P1050389 (Medium).JPGP1050390 (Medium).JPGP1050391 (Medium).JPG

    The saw may not have had much in the way of sharpening. As you can see it is almost 8" deep at the heel.

    P1050392 (Medium).JPG

    Now I will have to find somewhere to keep it in amongst the oddballs!

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

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  3. #2
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    Hi Paul,

    great looking saw that you have there, bit of a rarity and in pretty good condition too,

    have you figured out which model it is?

    It should clean up nicely

    Graham

  4. #3
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    Graham

    I have no idea what model it is and I have to say I am not hopeful that there will be anything under the "patina." but you never know. I don't have any information at all on the saws they produced other than they made backsaws too.

    Something I did not mention before is that this saw has in fact crosscut teeth. It could be the equivalent of the docking saws at 4ppi. Also it is a progressive tooth saw. It has 6ppi at the toe, which may be a little unusual for a crosscut as it would be more normally found on a rip saw. I will have to check other docking saws to see if progressive teeth featured on them.

    So the possibilities are that it was a rip tooth and has been converted to crosscut or that it always was crosscut and featured a progressive tooth. I would ordinarily lean towards the former statement except the depth of the saw would suggest it has hardly ever been sharpened let alone jointed and re-shaped. There is also the possibility that it was a special order. Most of this saw would have been hand made. "One offs" would have been easy.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  5. #4
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    Hi Paul,

    lots of questions there that need a lot of answers,

    I look forward to what is revealed with the clean up
    when you get around to it.

    Graham

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by macg View Post
    Hi Paul,

    lots of questions there that need a lot of answers,

    I look forward to what is revealed with the clean up
    when you get around to it.

    Graham

    I'm onit.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  7. #6
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    Paul,

    I had a look at the link about H. Peace history
    and there was a section on saw models but,
    some were close but nothing the same.
    Very interesting reading though..

    Graham.

  8. #7
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    Graham

    I included that link to Harvey W. Peace really only because, as you say, it was of some interest. I have only a single catalogue that relates to that company and it dates from 1895 after the takeover by Disston and when it was amalgamated into the National Saw Co.

    I don't think Ibbotson Peace was in any way a related company and indeed these saws were British made. They probably only appeared in the United States for two reasons. Firstly, Ibbotson was actually living in the States, which was why he acted as representative for these saws (and other products related to steel making) and secondly in the years before the Civil War and I think immediately after, there was distrust amongst the population of American made product. Remember the "London Steel" statement was perpetuated for a long time and indeed after it was made in the US in Disston's own mills.

    I have started cleaning up the saw and there is no information on the blade. It was from a time before etching, when the blade was stamped. The stamps actually endure fairly well unless they were poorly executed when first done. So I was not surprised there was nothing. I will attempt a little more research and if anybody else has more information or even theories I hope to hear from you in this thread.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  9. #8
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    I decided to do a restoration on this saw and in a way I am pleased I did. It does raise the issue of whether we should interfere with a saw of this age. Some would say leave it as it is and I can see an argument for that line of thinking. My take is that we don't do this in other arenas. Cars and furniture are two scenarios that come to mind.

    Whatever the general feeling is on this I have started the restoration process and this is where I am up to:

    P1050468 (Medium).JPG


    Until I started sanding back I had not appreciated the intricacies of the handle. It was a work of art handcrafted by a craftsman.

    P1050469 (Medium).JPG

    It is unreasonable to expect that a lump of wood 170 years old will be in perfect nick. There are some cracks in the grip:

    P1050471 (Medium) (2).JPGP1050472 (Medium) (2).JPGP1050473 (Medium).JPG

    The saw plate came up reasonably with a little pitting, mainly at the toe, and slightly more staining.

    P1050479 (Medium).JPG

    I thought you might like to see a picture of me:

    P1050478 (Medium).JPG

    I am in a reflective mood. There is no point in enlarging the pic as I become more vague.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  10. #9
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    Your a shimmering light of reflection Paul

    Cheers Matt

  11. #10
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    Hi Paul,

    well the clean up is coming along very well,

    Yes I agree sometimes the design, skill and workmanship
    that goes into saw handles is remarkable.

    I have found with similar dry handles that a good long soak
    in boiled linseed oil helps, in that the oil can penetrate via the
    cracks to swell the wood fibres and close them up.

    Just leave to dry thoroughly, wiping off excess, it may darken
    the colour somewhat but should not impede further finishes.

    With the blade, it too has come up very well, what grit
    did you finish sanding at?

    With regard to the teeth, if you resharpen, will you retain
    the present configuration or change it?

    Graham.

  12. #11
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    Graham

    So many questions.

    I have already applied some BLO and have a few moments ago put the final coat of matt varnish on. There are a couple of further steps which I will leave until I have done them to describe here. It may be a week or so before that happens due to circumstances beyond saw restoration. I put the BLO on to "feed" the timber. Wood is an organic product and the structure has collapsed. The BLO goes some way to reconditioning or at least arresting the degrade. I have never actually soaked a handle. I might try that one day. Usually I apply the oil until it will absorb no more. As you say, this will darken the wood, but I think that is appropriate and old handles should not look brand new even when restored.

    I did a lot of work with 120g W & D. I thought my arms were going to fall off. After 120g I went though 240g, 400g, 800g, 1200g, 1500g & 2000g. With the 120g I had got as far as was reasonably possible to remove the staining. It is impractical to remove pitting other than a little of the surrounding surface contamination. Further work would have come severely under the law of diminishing returns and at least one arm would have fallen off. All the succeeding grits were merely polishing the already clean and bare surfaces. However, because of the increased reflection, it does give the impression that more pitting has been removed than is really the case.

    This saw is a keeper, but not a user, and I probably will sharpen it at some time only if I use it in an exhibition. I took the mild "S" bend out of the plate but there is a gentle single curvature remaining and the saw does not have the tension it should. I certainly won't be changing the tooth shape. Incidentally the progressive tooth I mentioned before is not quite as progressive as other saws I have, which step up in 1/2 ppi increments. This one goes from 6ppi straight to 4ppi.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

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