Here’s an interesting piece of news for those who might remember the early days of the internet. Pete Taran, one of the founders of Independence Tool, has begun making new dovetail saws again under the Ne Plus Ultra line.
The Independence saws were the first premium saws on the market in the mid 1990s, well before Lie-Nielsen, Lee Valley and all the individual makers started cranking up their files. Pete founded the company with Patrick Leach, who now sells antique tools. You can read the entire history here, which is from an interview I did with Pete in 2008.
Short version: Independence Tool was sold to Lie-Nielsen and those saws became the first handsaws produced by the Maine company. The Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw still has the same lines as the Independence tool, which are gorgeous.
Pete, one of the most knowledgeable saw people I know, has remained active since selling Independence. He runs the VintageSaws.com site, where he sells refurbished saws and dispenses advice on saw filing.
And now he’s making new saws again. If you never got a chance to buy one of the original Independence saws, this is probably about as close as you can get. I have no plans on testing them (those days are thankfully behind me). But knowing Pete, they will be nothing shy of perfect.
— Christopher Schwarz
10 thoughts on “A New Saw from a Familiar Face”
well unless Lie Nielsen did something radical they must be pretty close to the original too right?
Patrick Leach has claimed that the Independence saws were better than the Lie Nielsen. He didn’t say why in the short comment I read. I have a Lie Nielsen that I think is pretty nice but I haven’t used any of the other good back saws so have no basis for comparison. I have never been disappointed with anything purchased from Lie Nielsen.
Of *course* Pat would say that…. It would be shocking if he said the opposite. I outlined the differences that I perceived in the piece I wrote for PW. The Independence and Lie-Nielsen tools are both great, world-class saws. So anyone who owns one or the other shouldn’t consider changing horses.
I know people love to debate the finer points of tools until we’re talking about the steel’s grain direction in the toothline and tenths of a percentage point of carbon. But I hope that doesn’t happen here….
No saw manufacturers make their own steel anymore. It all comes from the same sources. So we are left with how well it was filed.
Aside from that, you can make it look prettier, or make the handle more comfortable for a particular user. We could argue hang angles, but I would immediately fall asleep.
Spend a bunch of hours working with a sharp saw, we can all get really good at sawing. For me, that’s all it comes down to.
I have one of his saws. It’s very good. I’ve also made a couple of my own, with folded brass backs I cut from sheet material. My favorite everyday saw is a Wenzloff carcase saw. And I’ll bet the 1095 spring steel we all used came from the same mill, rolled, hardened and tempered.
I have the two Adria saws made by Eddie Sirotich. Plus a sawset from theBestthings made by Wenzloff (?), Ordered saws (swansaw?) made by Adam Cherubine, but he cancelled (because at war).
theBestthings sold the Seaton set. Made by Wenzloff.
Could Lie-Nielson acquire the Crucible lump hammer?
Interesting. Did not know that about Lie-Nielsen.
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