Nibs On Old Hand Saws

Antique hand saws often have a “nib” and a small hole at the end of the blade. What were they for?

Roy Underhill: The nib and indentation are a lot like the vent-a-ports on old Buicks; they are vestigial. The early Dutch were the first to make flat blade saws, as opposed to bow saws. Their saws were highly decorated at the front end for no other reason than to look pretty. The nib is a leftover from that ornamentation. Since then, many myths have arisen to explain their presence, and no doubt some folks have actually put the nib to use, but none of the explanations can be validated. Perhaps such things are more interesting when left as mysteries.

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