skelton saws, Author at Skelton Saws
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From One Great Maker To Another…

 

 

It’s always an honour to have the opportunity to make for other toolmakers and most recently we’ve had the privilege of making for the likes of both Bill Carter and David Barron. Bill ordered one of our new London Long Stroke 13 3/4″ Fine Carcass Saws in English Boxwood. The timber he favours above all others, Boxwood as you may know is a shrub and most commonly found in the grounds of grand stately homes. A superb choice for tool handles due to it’s hardness, it is however extremely rare to find timber large enough to create saw handles and that which is will likely be hundreds of years old. Even Bill, didn’t have a piece suitable for the job, so he called on fellow acclaimed plane maker, Karl Holtey to have a look in his store. Luckily, as you can see Karl had a suitable piece and sent it to Bill for inspection and the then on to us. So it’s a lovely story  behind the saw, a piece of timber from one legendary plane maker to another to make the first ever Skelton Boxwood Saw. We don’t expect that we will make too many boxwood handles, but Shane found it a great wood to work and obviously a true honour to make a tool for such a distinguished maker. Bill is over the moon with his new saw and tells us that he’s ‘never seen such great craftsmanship in a tool.’ It’s very humbling and makes for great job satisfaction. We’ve just received two more pieces of Boxwood in the post for his next commissions…

 

 

 

New Range Of Saws Are ‘Magic’!

We’ve recently added the London Long Stroke range to our Skelton portfolio of saws. A collection of four saws ranging from a 10 3/4″ fine dovetail to a 18 1/4″ fine tenon saw. Shane used the Squire & Peters C1760 saw as inspiration for this new range ( two only to be known left in existence) this saw being probably one of the best 18th century London made saws that he has ever held and used. Shane has tried to step into the minds of William Squire and John Peters and design and make a range of saws that compliment their famous 11 1/4″ carcass saw. Ultimately, he has attempted to anticipate and faithfully reproduce what their other saws of differing sizes might have looked like. With their elegant looks, thinner plates and finer tooth configurations, these saws not only look amazing but the extra length which enhances the speed of cut with accuracy and the joint ready finishes that are produced are second to none. Shane, was at a tool event recently attended by some of the UK’s leading makers and woodworkers and they couldn’t put the 13 3/4″ Fine Carcass down. we are in fact soon to be making one of these particular saws for world renowned and legendary British plane maker Bill Carter. I’m sure most of you also will have heard of and watched the videos of  true craftsman’The English Woodworker’ Richard Maguire and some of you really lucky ones may also have one of his workbenches! Well he was blown away by the 13 3/4″ and particularly so by the feel of it in the hand saying ‘It’s like holding Harry Potter’s wand, magic!’

The following photo’s are of the 10 3/4″ Fine Dovetail with a rosewood handle and the 13 3/4″ Fine Carcass with an ebony handle. And … yes one of the saws is perched on the edge of the famous writer’s grave, Anne Bronte, who is buried here in Scarborough. Many thousands of visitors stand around this spot each year, paying homage to this literary sister, her grave looking out to sea – perfect!

If you haven’t already seen it there is an interesting video on YouTube of The English Woodworker interviewing Shane about our new 26″ Panel Saw – look on ‘HENDJIM’s channel.

 

 

 

Remaking Benjamin Seaton’s Panel Saws

I’m sure that any discerning woodworker out there these days won’t be unfamiliar with the Seaton Chest. Benjamin Seaton’s tool chest containing a full collection of 18th Century tools and a detailed inventory, is undoubtedly one of the most significant artefacts of historical importance we have in relation to tools of that time. It is therefore not surprising that Shane, has been fascinated by this and in particular its saws for some time. It was clear from the outset however, that of them all Shane would most like to remake the panel saws. Twenty six inch in length and with a .045″ plate the Seaton panel saws are fully taper ground and were made by none other than theYorkshire saw making great John Kenyon.

It’s been a year in the making from drawing to finally holding one in the hand, but Shane’s exact copy of the Seaton Saws really are a triumph. Having never even held the original, he’s only had the odd drawings, measurements and notes from various historical texts to work from, but what he has created is an exact copy and is a real feat of craftsmanship given that everything is handmade and he uses the same traditional techniques as were used in the 18th century. I’m not going to say too much about them as we say quite a bit in the product details on the website. However, one interesting thing to note… It is probably true to say that there hasn’t been a traditional saw maker in England stamp their mark as we have done on the blade in well over 100 years, mainly due to the emergence of etching. In the 18th Century this would have been punched before the steel had been hardened. Today we work with already hardened spring steel, therefore as you can imagine this has taken a lot of ingenious tooling (made by Shane of course) and indeed skill to do this and ultimately create an exact replica. Whilst we wanted the saws to be true to the ones in the chest, customers can if they wish substitute the centre saw bolt for our medallion. If you want to hear Shane speaking about the new Skelton Panel Saw, you can watch a video on Jim Hendricks’ YouTube channel HENDJIM For now though, I’ll let the pictures do the talking..

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And the ‘Made in Britain Award’ goes to …

Skelton Saws! Yes, it’s true we are now award winners! Last month we travelled to London for the day to attend the Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) annual conference and awards ceremony. We’d been told that we were finalists for the prestigious ‘Made in Britain’ award a few weeks previously, but never expected to win. The award itself is given by the Marsh Christian Trust in association with the Heritage Crafts Association (The President of which is HRH The Prince of Wales) and is awarded to a small business or individual who is making great quality traditional British products and in doing so are using locally sourced materials. Winners tend to be people who are making their products entirely by hand, last year’s winner for example was Charles Trevor of ‘Equus Leather’ who makes handmade leather goods using traditional tools and British leather. We were therefore, I guess suitable candidates for this award and with pretty amazing and stiff competition were both shocked yet delighted when we were called out as the winners.

Saw making has obviously been around for many centuries, however with industrialisation traditional techniques have been lost and therefore what Shane and I have attempted to do is resurrect a craft that hasn’t been made in Britain in this way for well over a century. Our decision to do this has provided many challenges, but we are very passionate about what we are creating and have always met these with head on and with a determination to succeed. Shane, is a devout perfectionist and together we love creating and providing a quality product and bespoke service to customers that they will be able to both treasure and remember forever.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last couple of years, it is much appreciated. We are both honoured and humbled to have won this award. Please take a look  at the websites of  The Heritage Crafts Association and The Marsh Chritian Trust, as I am sure that many of you would be interested in the work that they both do and may also yourselves benefit from them.

 

 

 

Getting To The Point … (Saw Sharpening Style)

Early yesterday morning, Shane set off for the lyrically famous Yorkshire town of Ilkley. Set below the the rugged moors of Bronte Country is Chris Tribe’s Furniture School and what was to be Shane’s teaching base for the day. Fully booked almost immediately this practical one day beginners course on saw sharpening covered all the fundamental processes necessary for keeping ones saws well maintained and sharp. Good quality and correctly sharpened saws produce effortless joints. Saw sharpening is often overlooked and neglected and this skill has largely been lost over time as people lack confidence in undertaking this task. Covering a number of elements including; jointing, spacing, forming, setting, sharpening, test cutting and correction, Shane’s aim was ultimately to both inspire the students to look after their tools as well as instil them with the knowledge and confidence to enable them to have a go at doing this. Really not an easy task to master,  as you will see from the photographs all participants were fully focused (if not a little saw blind after a while!) and took away many positive elements from the day. So all in all a great day had by all! And what a shame, I didn’t get to go if not only to try out Ilkley’s new ‘Betty’s Tearooms! maybe next time… and yes there will be a next time if you are interested a repeat course is planned for July. If you think that this may be something that you are interested in, please contact Chris Tribe’s Furniture School or see his website for further details www.christribefurniturecourses.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Instrumental…

It would be true to say that over the last year, that the fine bespoke craftsmanship Shane adopts to his saws have made them increasingly popular with leading luthiers. Adapting saws to meet their needs, he is able to custom make a saw to do a specific job with accuracy and precision, something of which an off the peg saw just could not do. Back in November last year at the North of England Woodworking Show we met Nigel Crinson, one of the UK’s leading violin makers. Making a special trip to Harrogate just to try out one of our Limited Edition Squire / Peters C1760 reproduction saws, he was blown away not only by its appearance, but by how well it cut. Fast forward 4 months and this week we posted out Nigel’s very own Squire / Peters saw to him and within a few hours of him receiving it we were sent the following pictures of it already put to work – how fantastic! We receive lots of lovely letters and emails from happy customers, but it is so rewarding for Shane when he sees his own handmade creations, being used to full effect and again creating something that is wonderfully handmade like Nigel’s violins. Nigel who studied at the internationally renowned Newark School of Violin Making so too takes much of his inspiration from old master instruments and has many reputable musicians amongst his enviable list of clients. On him requesting personalisation of the saw, we sent the brass back away to the talented Ian Houghton, who hand engraved this in a style that after much discussion between the three of us we are very happy with. After meeting Nigel in Harrogate, I’m sure he won’t mind me telling you that he sent me an in email of which part of it read:

‘At the show the Squire / Peters felt unbelievably homogeneous with my hand and floated like a conductors baton’

How humbling and very apt!

Nigel is currently the violin maker at the highly esteemed makers that is Roger Hansell Violins Ltd, in Leyburn in the heart of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

 

 

 

Making New Tools To Make New Tools …

More often than not Shane finds that he has to modify old tools and make new ones to aid his saw making. Today’s modification, I can tell you he’s pretty pleased about! An interchangeable needle file handle, this handle comprises of a modified eclipse pin vice with a custom made centre stop to ensure that the needle file tang cannot move. The handle a walnut Holtzapffel Pattern again has been modified by reducing its overall length to ensure that when in the hand the pointing finger is flush to the end of the chuck. All in all a super little tool that will be used extensively on our new range of fine toothed saws. ‘The London Long Strokes’ (Now available to order) Featuring a 10 3/4″ Fine Dovetail Saw, 11 1/4″ Dovetail saw,  13 3/4″ Carcass Saw and 18 1/4 Lightweight Tenon Saw. Pictures will appear on our website soon, please get in touch for more details.

 

Rasping

Rasping Just a snippet of rasping one of our limited edition flamed beech handles. No noisy machines in our workshop, it’s the hand way or no way!

A Once In A Lifetime Restoration…

As you may have realised by now, Shane is very taken with and inspired by the great saw maker that was John Kenyon! Therefore, how privileged did he feel recently when he was asked to restore an extremely rare Kenyon 18th century dovetail saw. Okay, maybe a little nerve racking to some, but Shane, is completely confident in his abilities and therefore is never really daunted about taking on any job. Belonging to a collector (who also now collects our saws) this late eighteenth century saw is the same pattern as the one in the Seaton Chest, and therefore possibly crafted by the same hands? It is particularly interesting because it is stamped ‘Spring’ and ‘London’ which signifies its superior grade of steel, putting this above the competition of that time. (Kenyon’s best grade) The saw came to us without teeth  and after a lengthy discussion with Simon Barley,historian and author of ‘British Saws & Saw Makers from c1660′ and the owner we decided that it would be great to put it back into fully working order again. Shane, believes that he is the first person in over 200 years to have dismantled this saw and knows this because the ends of the nuts and bolts have original rasp scores, which are perfectly flush with one another. This causes a burr to form over the end of the thread which would  never have been there had these been removed. Furthermore the saw was still tight. On dismantling this 9 1/16″ dovetail, Shane found a marking underneath the handle on the brass reading ‘XX2′ (Coincidentally, the same place that we individually number all of our saws) One wonders if this was indeed ‘Kenyon’s numbering system and it would be interesting to know if others were like this. However, as the only other saw of this type recorded is the one in the Seaton Chest of which has never been dismantled, I guess we will never know. What a commission and such an honour to work on such fine historical tools.

kenyon saw no teeth

 

Limited Editions Update

If you’ve read our website then you’ll be aware that in the Autumn last year, Shane introduced the Squire & Peters c1760  Limited Edition (Double Stamp) reproduction saw into our range. A copy of an 18th century London made carcass saw, this has been extremely popular with our customers, not only for it’s elegant looks, true craftsmanship and excellent performance, but also because of its intriguing back story. Only two known original Squire & Peters saws in the world made rarer by it being double stamped, Shane has sympathetically recreated this saw using traditional techniques as would’ve been employed back on Wardour Street, London in the 1760’s. Limited to 25 saws, we now only have 5 left available to purchase, so if you were thinking about purchasing one of these unique and fine saws please get in touch…

Internet Squire (3) sp8 squire flamed beech Squire handle sanding squire brass 1 squire brass 2