Awe, the lowly Keyhole Saw. Tossed into the bottom of our toolboxes, lost in the back of a closet, this poor category of saw rarely garners any respect. The only time their needed it seems, is when you have to whack a hole for a light fixture in a sheet of drywall. Until then, though, they just seem to be things that get in our way when we are going through our toolboxes looking for a tool that we really need. After a few short years of being disrespected, their tips get broken off, their blades become bent and some of their teeth somehow go missing, but its a Keyhole Saw, so its no big deal. No respect.
In fact, we treat these "saws of last resort" so badly, we don't even call them by their proper name. We call them Keyhole Saws or Pad Saws, but in most cases, they aren't Keyhole Saws at all. Keyhole Saws have a very fine blade, both in thickness and in height, being only 3/8" to 1/2" high, with a length of about 10" to 14". Because the blade is so thin, the ideal Keyhole Saw has a handle that will allow the blade to pass through its entire length, allowing the blade length to be adjustable.
I bought a Keyhole Saw, the seller called it a Keyhole Saw, and everyone that I have shown it to since getting it has called it a Keyhole Saw. It isn't. It's a "Compass Saw".
A Compass Saw is similar to what you see below in the photos. Compass Saws have a 10" to 18" blade that are normally about 1 1/2" in height at the heel, tapering to a definite point at the toe. The blade can be fixed to the handle or removable, and is made from thicker steel than most saws, due to its shallow blade being unsupported for its entire length.
So here is my £31, 150 year old Keyhole Saw that is really a Compass Saw...
|Pretty flash-looking little saw.|
|As with most saws of this nature, it is missing a few teeth,|
the result of getting no respect. Its filed 6TPI.
|Nice looking handle from any angle.|
|The handle has a couple of strange cracks that must be|
|Pretty handle design, Mr. Mitchell.|
|Opps! It seems to be missing the point.|
So now I need to find someone who can bring this find back to life. I am still looking for an experienced saw technician in Canada. I found one two years ago, but he quit offering the service and shipping back and forth to a sharpener in the United States is more expensive than ever. If you know someone, or are that guy or girl with all the patience needed for saws, please let me know. I have four saws now that are waiting for you.
|This Mitchell Badger Plane was made in 1865 - 1867|
And on another note, I got email the other day from a gentleman in Leeds, UK, who sent me a bunch of photos of an H. E. Mitchell plane that he produced in his first two years of business. It's a Badger plane with a skewed blade that is flush with one side and set back on the other. I was really pleased to get the photos as the plane has multiple maker's stamps on the toe, a mark that I haven't seen before on a Mitchell plane. I have seen the "H. E. Mitchell, Eastbourne", but never with the added line, "Saw & Tool Maker". In fact, this is the first time I have seen any mark for Mitchell that says he is anything other than a Saw Maker. I have also seen his planes marked with the Elms Building address before, but not separated like they are on this particular example. I get the feeling that this particular plane is either a very early one in Mitchell's career, or he made it for some type of exhibition where he wanted his business location information in everyone's face. The plane is a bit beaten up, but I have asked if I could purchase it and I'm waiting for a "Yay" or "Nay".
|In all these years of messing with H. E. Mitchell planes, I|
have never seen one marked with this type
of maker's mark before.
That's all I got today...