T. F. Shurly Arrow Head Saws

This is the hand saw that got me started researching Canadian saw makers, specifically the group I refer to as the Flint Gang (J. Flint, R.H. Smith, T.F. Shurly, Shurly-Dietrich, and Shurly-Dietrich, Atkins).

This particular one is a T.F. Shurly Arrow Head (Arrowhead) saw that I found at a garage sale in 2007. When I spied it among the other items it was priced very low and looked beyond redemption. The seller actually seemed embarrassed by the asking price and ended up giving me the saw for nothing since I was buying a few other rusty items from him. It was a very nice gesture and a fateful one for me.

The saw is 10’’ long with 2-1/2″ of blade below the spine and 12 ppi filed rip.I cleaned the saw up a bit hoping to find an etch on the blade, but there was nothing there.

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Here’s a close-up of the medallion which I have always thought looks very cool.

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As an aside, I noticed that the Arrow Head saw blade had a “W” stamped into the heel. I have never learned what this “W” denotes, but have had a variety of suggestions from friends including things such as “Wood” and “Wanadium”. Thanks guys! You might want to put on those respirators when working with solvents. =8)

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The number “12” was stamped into the handle in three places, which makes sense since the blade is 12 points per inch (ppi)

Curious to learn about any Arrow Head etches, I did some research. Eventually I read that some of the T.F. Shurly saw blades were etched with the following elements:

‘TF SHURLY CO LTD ST.CATHERINES ONT. CANADA’
with a picture of a winged flint arrowhead and a banner
‘THE ARROWHEAD SAW’
Scattered around this logo in various spots are:
‘PATENT GROUND’, ‘VANADIUM STEEL’, ‘EXTRA TEMPER’, ‘UNEQUALLED IN QUALITY, UNIFORMITY & SERVICE’
This all reportedly fit into a 3″ space!

That was a good start and eventually I got hold of a photo of an Arrowhead etch, similar to the one described above. (Thanks Rob B!).

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I’ve also acquired a couple of printed items with the Arrow Head logo on them.

The Revised Price List below was originally printed for the R.H. Smith Co. and clearly shows its transition to the T.F. Shurly Company in 1917. Note that C.J. (Cosmo) Shurly was President of the R.H. Smith Company at the time. Cosmo was also the father of T.F. Shurly, confirming that this transition was a family matter as well as a business one.

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The envelope also shows the Arrow Head symbol and confirms that T.F. Shurly was still in business in 1922.

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It was interesting to discover all of this information. And shortly after that I found some additional etch information.

It started when I managed to acquire a couple of R.H. Smith saws. One of these saws — a 20 inch, 10 ppi crosscut panel saw — was particularly filthy with a heavily oxidized blade and a nice R.H. Smith Medallion on it. I carefully cleaned the typical etched area on the blade and noticed a partial etch.

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It was the first time that I had seen an etch like that. I couldn’t really make it out clearly, but it looked like it had “T.F. Shurly” written in cursive script on the bottom line of the centre etch. If it did say “T.F. Shurly”, then that would date the saw to around 1917 when T.F. Shurly took over the R. H. Smith saw works. Perhaps T. F. Shurly was using up the last of the R.H. Smith Medallions on its saw handles.

I was very curious about what that blurry etch said. When I posted an inquiry on an online old handtools forum, one of the members took the time to make a drawing based on an etch he found on a saw that he owned. (Thanks Kiwi!).

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Kiwi accompanied his drawing with the following comments:

“Looks like it might be a T F Shurly ‘Gold Coin’ etch, reading;

‘For Beauty Finish and Temper
this Saw cannot be Excelled
T F Shurly Co Ltd’

and followed by Shurly’s registered trade mark etch featuring the two faces of a gold coin (per UK sovereign coin issued 1901-1910)

I don’t seem to be able to get a good picture of my etches (on 26″ crosscut and 24″ panel saws, both with “Warranted Superior” medallions) so I’ve sketched my approximation of the etch for the attached pic.”

This was all very interesting to me. And it pushed me to do research on the “Flint Gang” (J. Flint, R.H. Smith, T.F. Shurly, Shurly-Dietrich, and Shurly-Dietrich, Atkins) which continues to this day.

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