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Masters' Library

  Saws: The History, Development, Action, Classification, and Comparison with Supplement by Robert Grimshaw, (Philadelphia: E. Claxon & Co., 1882).    


The literature of the saw considered as a tool is very meager, although there are a few not altogether impartial treatises on woodworking machinery, by leading manufacturers and others. Since Holtzapffel, in 1846, there has been nothing of importance written on the subject.

But in this work, and at that date, the band saw is dismissed with a few lines; the mulay was uninvented, or unknown; inserted tooth circular saws not dreamed of; the M-tooth shown as a curiosity, and the dimensions and working capacity of the circular and other saws, correct as they were for that date, would make the' present reader smile.

Saws are now much thinner, have better teeth, are of better steel, and run at double the speeds there laid down. Mr. Joshua Rose, in a lengthy article in the Polytechnic Review, Dec., 1876, went quite thoroughly into the action of certain kinds of saw teeth; and his intelligent articles on straightening plates were the first accurate and complete published matter on that subject. From these sources the author has drawn liberally and in some cases literally.


The writer has tried to be thorough and impartial. Naturally his personal knowledge of some makes of saws (notably in the lines of cross-cuts, hand-saws and circulars) is greater than others.

Some makers and users were much more liberal and detailed in giving data than others, and if their saws receive greater prominence than the others, it is not the writer's fault nor intention, and can be remedied in case a second edition be called for.

There are many cases in which information was refused after repeated requests. The collection of material for such a work is at once amusing and annoying. The most contradictory opinions and most impossible data are met with. In the matter of horse power, as engineers differ so largely as to the rating of boilers and engines, it is not remarkable that steam users should differ or err in their calculations.

It is not common to apply dynamometers to sawing machinery; and as this book is not on sawing machinery, and as the power required differs so with the condition of the lumber and the form and sharpness of the saw teeth, etc., we may let that go for a time, and say to users of machines, "A little too much belt power is about enough."

Unless specially stated otherwise, the figures and statements in this work refer to American practice.

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