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Antique saw - Gray & Sons

by wildisthewind
posted 10-20-2018 05:52 PM


31 replies so far

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

16105 posts in 2980 days


#1 posted 10-20-2018 06:09 PM

Pictures or it doesn’t exist.
.
.
.
(We like pictures.)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1847 days


#2 posted 10-20-2018 06:30 PM

Ditto x2

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#3 posted 10-20-2018 08:22 PM

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#4 posted 10-20-2018 08:51 PM

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#5 posted 10-20-2018 08:53 PM

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#6 posted 10-20-2018 08:54 PM

Haven’t gotten around to cleaning it yet, obviously.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

16105 posts in 2980 days


#7 posted 10-20-2018 10:39 PM

Wow, that’s nice! I’d start by suggesting you let the would-be buyer do any cleanup or restoration. Thanks for the pics. Best LJ saw resources for old pieces like yours include Bob Summerfield and Andy, so hopefully they’ll stop by and provide some input for you.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#8 posted 10-20-2018 10:47 PM

Thanks, that’s a fair point. My impulse is that cleaned up means more desirable, but I suppose there’s no reason for a buyer to trust my ability with restoration.

If no one buys it in the short term, I’ll probably have to gently clean off at least the red rust so it can stay in the shape it’s in.

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KYtoolsmith

76 posts in 221 days


#9 posted 10-20-2018 11:22 PM

Wow! Very nice saw… I agree, a collector piece, not a user. I know several collectors of saws thru the Midwest Tool Collectors Assn. A saw of that age in that condition should NOT be cleaned or “restored” it has more value to a collector as is, undisturbed. Over cleaning, sanding off the original finish on the handle, sharpening etc. will make it just another old user saw…

$.02 from Kentucky…

-- "Good enough" is just another way of saying "it could be better"...

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1847 days


#10 posted 10-21-2018 03:31 AM

Ditto. My rule of thumb. If it has split nuts, I don’t touch it I’m not keeping it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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theoldfart

10617 posts in 2812 days


#11 posted 10-21-2018 04:02 AM

Fridge, your missing out on some good users thinking like that. Not everything with a split nut is a collectible. Keep in mind the British saw makers continued using them long after US makers went to the new styles.

Wild, check with Bob Summerfield on the rarity of that saw. It sure does look good.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1847 days


#12 posted 10-21-2018 12:59 PM

Durp…

I meant: if it has split nuts, I won’t clean it if I’m not keeping it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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theoldfart

10617 posts in 2812 days


#13 posted 10-21-2018 05:17 PM

gotcha Fridge, I stand corrected.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1847 days


#14 posted 10-21-2018 06:13 PM

It is I who needed the correction good sir. I wish I could have split nuts galore :)

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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lumbering_on

578 posts in 851 days


#15 posted 10-21-2018 06:40 PM



It is I who needed the correction good sir. I wish I could have split nuts galore :)

- TheFridge

Say that last sentence five times, and see how it sound.

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Don W

19166 posts in 2929 days


#16 posted 10-22-2018 12:48 AM

Yes, but cleaning that saw means wiping it with a paper towel. Damn that’s in nice shape.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#17 posted 10-22-2018 07:59 PM

So, who knows an interested collector, or how to find one?

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KYtoolsmith

76 posts in 221 days


#18 posted 10-22-2018 10:38 PM

Are you saying that it’s for sale? Might want to post it here in the Woodworking Sale and Swap forum so all in the LJ group have a look-see. I’m a collector myself, and a member of the Midwest Tool Collectors Assn. You have to be a member to advertise there… Set a price and post it…
Regards, Kentucky Tool Smith.

-- "Good enough" is just another way of saying "it could be better"...

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#19 posted 10-23-2018 12:54 AM



Are you saying that it s for sale? Might want to post it here in the Woodworking Sale and Swap forum so all in the LJ group have a look-see.

It would be, yes. Started this thread to ask for opinions on its value, actually.

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1847 days


#20 posted 10-23-2018 01:10 AM

I don’t know a lot of saws outside typical value. I’d give maybe 75$ shipped max if I was looking for a saw and that one was what I was looking for. I’d be happy if I paid 55$ or less for a saw in that condition from a maker I haven’t heard much about.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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summerfi

4227 posts in 2048 days


#21 posted 10-23-2018 01:35 AM

Your saw was made by the British company Charles Gray & Sons. Simon Barley’s book on British saws says the company was in operation from 1849 to 1954. William Gray (presumably one of the sons) took the company over in 1879, and Alfred Beckett owned the company from 1912 on, continuing to use the same name, although he also produced saws under his own name. Your saw is in very nice condition, but not particularly rare or collectable. I would clean it up and use it, or sell it to someone who will do the same. I have a 14” brass back saw by this company which I have restored and use. The only (minor) issue I see with the saw is that the plate has slipped a bit in the spine, as most old backsaws have. This is easy for a saw restorer to correct. The slots in the split-nuts are a little buggered, showing that they have been tightened in the past, but I doubt the handle has ever been off the saw. The 1862 etch someone (prior owner?) added is a nice touch that adds a bit of character. As is, I would value the saw at around $75 based on comparable ebay prices. Restored and sharpened I would value it at $125 – $150.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html -- ~Non multa sed multum~

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#22 posted 10-24-2018 08:23 PM



As is, I would value the saw at around $75 based on comparable ebay prices. Restored and sharpened I would value it at $125 – $150.

So restoration/cleaning will increase the value? Runs counter to what others said above.

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Kazooman

1310 posts in 2314 days


#23 posted 10-24-2018 10:29 PM

I am not a collector, but I am curious. How would you go about authenticating the provenance of the hand etched date? I could take a HF saw and scratch a date on it. It might be “a nice touch that adds a bit of character”, but it would still be a HF saw. That might be a bit too harsh, but it serves to illustrate my question. As an aside, do any of you scratch the current year on the side of a brand new saw you just purchased? Any thoughts on why someone would do so 156 years ago?

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1847 days


#24 posted 10-24-2018 11:21 PM

Restoring will increase the value of done properly and is resharpened and ready to use. It’s easy to lower the value if you don’t know what you’re doing.

For a collectors item, you wouldn’t touch it. I wouldn’t consider it to really fall into that category though as I’d use it and not hang it up.

That scratched in date wouldn’t matter if I were buying it as a user.

Others on here know a lot more than me so I will defer to them. This is just what I consider.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#25 posted 10-24-2018 11:39 PM

Kazooman – I believe the practice of etching the blade was done in a couple different contexts: the saw manufacturer using it in addition to/lieu of stamping to brand their product, hardware stores/sellers adding value &/or for promotional purposes. Others would know better than me, but I doubt an individual user would have added elaborate etching to a blade.

View Richard's profile

Richard

11274 posts in 3394 days


#26 posted 10-24-2018 11:44 PM



Fridge, your missing out on some good users thinking like that. Not everything with a split nut is a collectible. Keep in mind the British saw makers continued using them long after US makers went to the new styles.

Wild, check with Bob Summerfield on the rarity of that saw. It sure does look good.

- theoldfart

Agree +2

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

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summerfi

4227 posts in 2048 days


#27 posted 10-25-2018 02:37 AM

The date etched, or more likely scratched, into the plate was not done by the maker but rather by an owner. It was not an uncommon practice. Kazooman is correct, however, that the etch doesn’t authenticate the date the saw was made. What does authenticate the approximate date is comparing the saw to other saws made by this and other makers of the period, including details of the stamp on the spine. The best resource for doing this is Simon Barley’s 700 page book British Saws and Saw Makers from 1660. Simon is the world’s foremost expert on British saws. His book shows pictures of dated Charles Gray saws that this one can be compared to.

Regarding restoration and value, a truly rare saw should not be restored because it potentially would reduce its value to collectors. As stated before, however, this is not a rare or really even a collectable saw. Restoring it would actually increase it’s value as a user. I and many others have proven this hundreds of times by buying, restoring, and reselling saws, including saws older than this one.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html -- ~Non multa sed multum~

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wildisthewind

11 posts in 215 days


#28 posted 10-25-2018 03:10 AM

Thanks for the reference, Bob, I’ll have to take a look at the Barley book.

Can you clarify why you consider this “not a rare or really even a collectable saw”? I can find very few saws by this maker presently or previously for sale online, which while obviously not comprehensive considering the varied archiving practices of auction-houses & dealers, does suggest at least some degree of rarity. To clarify, I’m not suggesting this has the value of a dolphin-handle Disston or anything of that cachet, but it would certainly seem to be rarer than, say, a Disston #4.

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1847 days


#29 posted 10-25-2018 05:19 AM

Rare as in, there are an uncountable number of saw makers through the years that made saws very much like this. It may be rare, but unless someone is looking to complete a set with this particular saw, there isn’t a whole lot of value in it aside from looking like a very nice user to be.

The amount of sawmakers back in the day was ridiculous.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Kazooman

1310 posts in 2314 days


#30 posted 10-25-2018 12:43 PM

Thanks, Summerfi for the additional comments regarding the date. I was just trying to put myself inside the head of the original owner and t that it was rather odd to put a date on the blade. I agree that the manufacturer would have added that to the markings on the spine if they wanted it, so I think you are right that it was the owner. Initials to show ownership? I can understand that. The year? Why anyone would do that is a mystery to me.

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summerfi

4227 posts in 2048 days


#31 posted 10-25-2018 05:03 PM

The picture below shows a Thomas Ibbotson (also British) saw that I sold awhile back. The date AD 1845 was clearly carved into the handle by a previous owner. The date is consistent with the age of the saw based on its characteristics and comparison with other known-age saws. I own several tools that I inherited from my dad that are inscribed with his name and the date 1939. Why do people put their names and/or dates on their tools? Names are easy—it’s to identify ownership and prevent theft. Dates are rarer and a little harder to identify the reason, so I can only speculate. These tools came from a time when people earned their living with their tools. Tools were a significant monetary investment, and people both took pride in them and took good care of them. Some of these people probably inherited tools from their ancestors, much like I have, and they expected to hand their tools down one day to their offspring. Dating the tools added to the tools’ provenance and cultural value within the family. When a worker showed his tools to a co-worker, he could proudly say, “Look at this, this tool has been in my family for over 100 years and it’s still going strong. It’s obviously a quality tool.” Most of us who have vintage tools value their history if we are fortunate to know it. Dating the tools helped pass that history down from one generation to the next.

I mentioned previously that I own a Charles Gray & Sons 14” backsaw. I thought you all might enjoy seeing pictures of it. The first picture is of the saw as I bought it on ebay for under $20. The other pictures are after I restored the saw. I obviously had to replace the plate because the original plate was broken and unusable. I’ve sold many similarly restored saws for around $125, so I’m sure this saw would bring at least that. So, an increase in value from <$20 to ~$125 is due to the restoration. Again, unless it is a really rare or unusual saw, restoration back to a usable condition does not reduce the value.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html -- ~Non multa sed multum~

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