Friday, October 28, 2016

Found It! (w/pic)

Click image to enlarge.

When I was much younger, I inherited some tools that had belonged to Lyss Fleming, a life-long resident and oilfield worker of Volcano, West Virginia, and a half-first cousin once removed. Over the years, some of the tools have been given away and a few sold, but a few still remain in my possession. One of them is a saw vice for filing handsaws, although, it appeared to have a deep enough throat that it would hold two man crosscuts, also.

Years ago, I had a small sharpening business for a while, using Belsaw equipment. I gave it up, though, when I began driving a mail truck between Parkersburg, West Virginia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I sold my equipment soon after, since I didn’t like the tendency of the handsaw filer to put a bow in the saw blade.
Now that I’m retired, I’ve thought about doing a bit of saw chain sharpening and firewood cutting to bring in a little gas money. I logged for years and always filed my own saws, so it’s not like I’ll have anything new to learn. I got to thinking that an old-fashioned saw vice should hold saw chain just as easily as a handsaw, so I went down to the basement and began looking. Luckily, I didn’t have to look for long.

It appeared in good shape, which is normal I guess; I’m not sure how you could wear out a saw vice. I believe that it will work fine for holding saw chain, too. I could easily see the August 22, 1899, patent date on it, but the company name and such were in a much smaller font, which made it hard for my aging eyes to decipher. Finally, though, I thought that I was reading “?? Stearn Co., Syracuse, NY. When I googled the name, with its city and state, I came up with “E.C. Stearns & Co.” I put two of the links below, the first about the company, and the second about the patents the company held. The second lists my vice, though it doesn’t give production numbers.

I have a few handsaws that I inherited from my dad, and a few others that I picked up cheaply over the years. Most are to the point of needing sharpened (pun not intended, but left intact). One had teeth so badly mangled that I ground the blade edge completely flat, planning to retooth it. I really should work them over once I get my work area cleared and set up. I’m a little leery, though, as it’s been years since I’ve done it, plus anyone who ever HAS done it knows that it’s more art than science, unlike sharpening saw chain. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I DO know that I won’t be sending any more handsaws to be sharpened “professionally” by a certain local company. The one time that I did send a fine OLD saw there, it came back shaped like a rainbow! © 2016


Sunnybrook Farm said...

Looks a little different from mine maybe because your vice is older. They really make the job easier or one might even say make it possible.

Gorges Smythe said...

A leg vice might be a good alternative, SF. I don't think bench vices are deep enough.

Ralph Goff said...

The picture looks familiar. Maybe I have one. I've got a few old antique tools here that I really don't know their purpose.

Gorges Smythe said...

Look it up, Ralph; you might have to file your old handsaws if the grid goes down long enough!

Fredd said...

We city folk just use the saw until it doesn't cut anymore, and then go down to Home Depot and buy another one.

Just pulling your leg, Gorges. City folk don't own saws. We buy all our stuff already cut.

Lady Locust said...

I love things that were "built to last." I wouldn't have known what this one was. Sounds like an enjoyable and purposeful pastime:)

Gorges Smythe said...

LOL - Fredd, I've got THREE of those throw-away saws with the hardened teeth, and NONE of them cut anymore; does that tell you anything?

I guess everyone has to do SOMETHING to pass the time, LL!