Historians of the various tools trades have long wanted a work specifically on saws and this, the first, is an attempt to match the detail and scholarship of the best that cover planes, cutlery, spanners and measuring tools. The author is a frequent writer and lecturer on saws and the history of their manufacture, and is able to base his work on 15 years of original research and the building of a personal collection of saws - probably the largest in the world - which is housed with the rewned Ken Hawley Collection in Sheffield's Kelham Island Industrial Museum. Together, these collections form a unique research base and visitor attraction. This scholarly book is illustrated with almost 2000 photographs, the majority by the author, and with its listings of saw makers and dealers forms the most comprehensive directory to date of British names in the tool trades.
After a professional life in various branches of medicine Simon Barley became interested in using hand tools for the woodwork in a barn conversion. He volunteered to catalogue the saws in Ken Hawley's collection and wrote a thesis on Hand Tool Manufacture in the Industrial Revolution based on the rich 18th and 19th century survivals in Sheffield's industrial base and unique City Archives. His own collection of saws is now housed alongside the Ken Hawley Collection Trust's at Kelham Island Industrial Museum, his knowledge continually increased by correspondence with saw collectors and historians all over the world.