In practice, you remove the shoe or wooden platen and screw the device down to a board or bench for stability. After selecting the desired angle on the anvil, you insert it into the main body and replace the wooden shoe. (Note the dowel indexing guarantees the same placement each time.) You choose the correct face on the punch and insert it into the square file guide plate at the top. The saw is placed, and the punch struck. A spring device at the bottom of the pathway of the punch causes it to return above the saw plate after each strike. The front wear plate on the back gives the saw full registration over a short distance if the teeth have been properly jointed before the new filing and subsequent tooth setting.
What Is It?
This tool has none of the pretentious trappings normally found with a more intricate assembly. At 6" long with an overall height of 5", it is finely constructed from some type of rosewood. This saw set is more than just a quick "one off" made on a whim. The diamond escutcheons for the screws that hold the two pieces together, the front wear plate and the vertical guide plate are all made of brass. The anvil and punch are steel and in both cases, provisions have been made to allow for versatility. With the anvil, two different bevels have been filed to give two different offsets. With the punch or sticking tool, each side has a different configuration to accommodate different tooth patterns.
The item is no doubt modelled after a commercial hammer or punch-type saw set, perhaps seen in a catalog or in a co-worker's tool chest. The craftsperson who made this tool was obviously well trained and committed to producing work of the highest standard. This style of saw set was somewhat popular in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
How easy can it get? A piece of exotic wood, a bit of steel, a smidgen of brass to attract the curious, all joined in an effortless combination of practical proportions and utility.
D.S. Orr has been a collector, user and student of woodworking and metalworking tools and practices for more than 40 years. Now retired, he has devoted even more time to these endeavors.