A world’s first and revolutionary in both its design and construction, the Mallard Saw is in a class of its own. Featuring a unique dual tensioned and adjustable blade, this saw adopts truly modern features highly beneficial to the user, whilst still having the cosmetics and romance of an 18th century backsaw. Inspired by and sharing its name with the record breaking Mallard steam locomotive, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built in our native Yorkshire, Shane has replicated the shape of the front of this magnificent engine on this saw. A crossover saw, the back is made from one piece of beautiful bronze, and it is accentuated with matching bronze side plates that are reminiscent of a fine English shotgun and the mark of true craftsmanship. Mallard 13 like the locomotive is fast, precise and cuts like it’s on rails!
13” Crossover Saw
Canted blade 2-1/16” at heel to 1-3/4” at toe
English Flamed Beech open pistol grip handle M-L (Other timbers and sizes are available)
Rip & Crosscut are both 16ppi/15tpi
As the blade is not in contact with the wood, it can withstand any movement that may occur in the timber due to temperature & humidity
Blade is fully supported by the bronze back as it enters fully around the saw cheek
Unique construction enables superior tension to be applied to both the blade and tooth line thus eliminating any vibration when in use
Prices start at £1350 and increase depending upon customisations
At 70ft long, weighing 165 tons, painted in Garter Blue and with its distinguishable convex shaped front end, Mallard is one of the most recognisable and loved steam locomotives in the world. Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built in 1938 at the Doncaster Works in our native Yorkshire, its aerodynamic body and high power ensured that Gresley’s engine could reach speeds in excess of 100mph. On the 3rd July 1938, just south of Grantham and under the control of driver, Joseph Duddington, Mallard did just that. Reaching the remarkable speed of 126mph, Mallard flew into the record books, becoming the fastest steam locomotive in history. A record which has never since been broken. Driver Duddington along with Gresley always maintained that Mallard could go faster and was capable of reaching the 130mph mark, however the outbreak of the second world war in 1939 thwarted any further attempts and Mallard’s livery turned to black.
Mallard was retired in 1963 and was restored in the 1980’s. Covering around 1.5 million miles whilst in service, one of Mallard’s last outings in 1986 was here to Scarborough, running along the track that’s about a 100m from our workshop. An iconic engine and a true feat of design and engineering in the 20th Century, Mallard is now housed in the National Railway Museum in York and is enjoyed by thousands of visitors young and old each year.
Sir Nigel Gresley 1876 - 1941
Standing on the concourse of King’s Cross Station, London and below the window of his former office, is a finely crafted and above life size bronze statue of Sir Nigel Gresley. Arguably one of the greatest innovators in British Railway History, Gresley designed some of the most famous steam locomotives including Mallard and Flying Scotsman recognisable names known throughout the world.
Born Herbert Nigel Gresley in 1876, Gresley was raised in Derbyshire and attended Marlborough College before serving an apprenticeship at the Crewe Works of London & North Western Railway. Rapidly rising through the ranks, he finally became Chief Mechanical Engineer at the newly formed London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923 and by 1936 Gresley, had received a knighthood from King Edward VIII.
During the 1930’s Gresley lived at Salisbury Hall near St. Albans in Hertfordshire. A beautiful home with a moat, it was here that Gresley developed his passion for keeping wild birds and ducks including various species of Mallard. It is hardly surprising therefore that he named his locomotives including Mallard after various birds, others including Osprey and Bittern.
Interestingly, Gresley’s bronze sculpture that was unveiled at King’s Cross by its creator Hazel Rees in April 2016, was initially designed with a mallard duck at his side. However, this decision was rather controversially over-ruled by Gresley’s grandsons who claimed the addition was ‘demeaning’ What a shame! Personally, one feels that this quashed the artistic vision of the maker and surely the duck would’ve drawn in more passers by both young and old to read the small erected plaque of a character who essentially will be unrecognisable to many?
King’s Cross Station London Hazel Reeves – Photo By Roger Bamber
Photo By Andy Fallon
A revolutionary designer of the first three-cylinder model and who’s engines were nicknamed ‘Streaks’ because of their speed and sleek design Gresley, sadly died in April 1941 aged 64 after a short illness. A British railway legend, who’s innovations were always on the right tracks!
Skelton Saws Mallard
Skelton Saws Mallard
Shane’s vision was to create a saw that had never existed before, both in its design and construction. A saw which was both rigid and fully tensioned, one whereby more tension could be applied to the blade that was possible than with any existing saw with a conventional back.
A Meeting of Minds…
The fact that Gresley’s locomotive engines were considered ‘elegant both aesthetically and mechanically’ appealed to Shane and in particular he was drawn to 4468 Mallard because it was innovative. Clever in its design, eye-catching yet still traditional the engine was solid, and of course Shane liked that it was ‘no messing’ and fast. It did exactly what Gresley had said it would do, overtake all the other engines and he wanted to apply all of these attributes to his saw. Two very different concepts that at heart both still looked traditional, but with a pioneering flair.
Unique like the locomotive and in a class of its own, Skelton Saws Mallard with its solid back which is machined from one piece of 2” bronze, demonstrates Shane’s skills as a precision machinist and highlights his abilities as an all-round master-craftsman. This is a saw that cuts accurately and fast, but because of its rigid construction it eliminates vibration when in use.
Mallard Saw Back Milled From 2” Bronze
Adopting the iconic shape of the front of the head-turning engine on the saw, it is true to say that there has never been a saw with such looks before. The blade sweeps up in a convex radius and when it meets the brass this sweep turns into a concave radius. This mirrors the sweeps on the locomotive, convex over the nose of the train turning concave up through the chimney, all very pleasing to the eye.
Shane, believes and says that,
‘There’s nothing that is made that can’t be improved upon or developed in my eyes’
Adopting the same mindset as Gresley, who’s work paved the way for the future, Shane’s creation of the Mallard Saw is an exciting new dawn in saw construction.
A Meeting of Hearts…
Whenever Shane, presents me with an idea for a new saw, whether it be a reproduction of an old historical saw or his own invention, one thing that has to be clear is that we both have to have a shared passion for the story behind its being. With old saws we both essentially have to step into the minds of the original makers and ourselves fall in love with their passion for their craft and ultimately their tools. It is then up to us to sensitively recreate their story, reproduce their saws and in doing so to create our own story. When you delve deep into the archives, as you would expect some saw makers have a more interesting story than others and one wonders what story ‘Skelton Saws’ will leave behind… One of my favourite quotes interestingly is from the Canadian author Margaret Atwood who says:
‘In the end, we’ll all become stories’
With Mallard Saw it was easy for me to connect with the back story for sentimental reasons. I’d been aware of the Mallard locomotive from a very young age, as my grandad Frederick Greenwood Mollon, had shown me it many times both on our visits to the National Railway Museum and as we flicked through his beloved collection of steam locomotive books. Working as a Fireman on the steam locomotives himself in the 1950’s & 60’s and earning just £5 a week, his family including my mother lived in the designated railway workers’ cottages on Londesborough Road in Scarborough. Later in life my grandparents lived in a house opposite and whenever I stayed, grandad who had the most infectious humour, would walk me over to the platform and we’d watch for the signals to change before waving to the trains going by. Sadly, he never lived to see the birth of ‘Skelton Saws’ but I know he would’ve been immensely proud of what we have achieved, and would’ve certainly loved the Mallard Saw. So, ten years after his passing and in the 80th Year celebrations of 4468 Mallard’s speed record, this is a little nod to him.
Fireman, ‘Frederick Greenwood Mollon’ Hands Down The Annett’s Key To The Signalman
The Limited-Edition Mallard Saw
To celebrate 80 years of 4468 Mallard achieving the speed record in 1938, we have produced 8 special saws, one to commemorate every 10 years for the record being retained. Each 13.5” Carcass Saw has a very exclusive gun-barrel blued back, peacock blue saw nuts and pin and has traditionally colour case hardened side plates. All these processes undertaken by one of the country’s leading finishers to achieve a luxurious ‘London’ finish. Customised as specified by the customer, each saw in itself is a bespoke piece.
A Limited-Edition Mallard Saw With Engraved Personalisation & Hand Chequered Handle