COLLECTION: Tools & Equipment

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"Tenon" Backsaw

Origin: England
Overall length: 19 5/8" Blade: 14 9/16" x 4"
Iron, steel, wood and brass
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2000-106
Backsaw of classic late-18th c. form with a slightly tapered steel blade bolstered by the addition of an iron or steel spine. Closed wooden handle is attached to the blade with two brass screws secured by slotted & threaded washers.
Label:Saws with blades made from panels of steel were too flexible for precise work. By adding a substantial metal spine to the back of the blade, the problem was solved. This backsaw was used to cut clean edges and tenons by Thomas Lees, the Joiner whose name is engraved on the blade. Today, modern versions are sold as mitre saws.
Provenance:Purchased for Colonial Williamsburg by Don & Anne Wing, The Mechanick's Workbench, at the David Stanley auction of tools, September 29- 30, 2000, in Leicestershire, England. Lot 225. According to the catalog entry "Thomas Lees worked as a joiner in Manchester ca. 1770 he then became a publican (kept a bar) until moving to a house in Frodsham in the early 1800s where the saw was found during a house clearance". We have no substantiation of this history.
Inscription(s):The right hand side of the blade is engraved "Thos Lees, Joiner" in script, followed by an illegible abbreviation (perhaps for 'etc').