Sunday, 10 October 2010

Irony (ī′rə nē, ī′ər nē)...

noun pl. ironies -·nies 

A combination of circumstances or a result that is the opposite of what is or might be expected or considered appropriate

If you recognize the saw in the above image, you will appreciate that it is the saw that was the subject of some hub-bub I caused while writing about it a short while ago.

I had done some research before buying it and all that research stated it was a Veneer Saw. At 19" in length, a number of major dealers and other authorities felt that it was manufactured for cutting large sheets.

The day this saw was delivered to me, Lee Valley's July Newsletter showed up in my InBox and surprisingly, their "What Is It" article featured a perfect match to my new saw. Written by D.S. Orr, the article basically stated that there were a number of suggested uses for this saw, but cutting veneer wasn't one of them.

I was perplexed. Not only had I purchased it as a veneer saw, I had also just paid Daryl Weir to retooth this saw as a traditional French veneer saw. I went into research mode and ended up talking to one of the most respected marqueteur and 18th century furniture restorer in North America, W. Patrick Edwards. He informed me that the saw was a trim saw for use with a mitre jack, and writing about it, I got carried away and ended up inadvertently being pretty insulting to Mr. Orr.

To explain one more time, I had no idea who Mr. Orr was at the time, I had tried to contact him about it but didn't hear back and I couldn't find anything about him while doing extensive searches on the internet. Because of all of this, I stated I couldn't put weight on what his article stated simply because I just didn't know who he was.

Man, did I end up eating crow. Doug Orr is one of Canada's leading vintage tool authorities. He has contributed to a number of worthy publications and his opinions on all things in the vintage tool area is highly respected. It also turned out that he is a hell of a nice guy and I had already done business with him the previous year. I have also learned that Mr. Orr works at not being known, hence the reason I could not find out anything about him on the web.

Which brings me to starting this post with a quote from, defining the meaning of "Irony".

Mr. Orr is one of the individuals behind the Tools of the Trades Show that is held bi-yearly in Pickering, Ontario, Canada in conjunction with the Tool Group of Canada. This show not only draws a fair crowd of collectors, it also boasts an impressive roster of dealers. Even Live Free or Die Auctions of Martin J. Donnelly Antique Tools fame has a booth at each event. I had met D.S. Orr about 8 months before writing this article when I purchased a couple  of wood molding planes from his booth, one of them the H.E. Mitchell ogee that I wrote about in the previous post.

I headed straight to his booth the moment I walked through the door for two reasons; to face my medicine, and to see if he had turned up any more Mitchell planes. He was gracious, funny and helpful. We talked about the article, his; not mine, thank God, and he mentioned that he had turned up more research to support his argument because, while I do not believe the saw was originally designed as a stair or floor saw as his article stated, he does not believe it was used as a trim saw either.

Are you catching the irony of all of this?

It would be ironic enough that the large Mitre Jack that is in the image that accompanies the "Scie a Recaler Boite a Recaler", a Trim Saw for use with a Mitre Jack, was purchased at that Tools of the Trade show, but I'm not done yet.

Yup, it was purchased from D.S. Orr.

Not only was he very gracious about my purchase, he even gave me a discount to boot.

Now that is a gentleman.

And that is also a textbook definition of "Irony".