- 6 October 2019 at 10:36 pm #615570
I was at the Pickering (Ontario) antique tools show today and picked up a few tools including two panel saws ($5 each). One, a Disston D8 that could become a good worker after tightening the handle and sharpening — this will be my first attempt at saw sharpening, though.
The other is 26″ long and says Made by Disston Canada, “Keystone K4 FLYING ACE”, but the medallion shows “Warranted Superior”, not H. Disston & Sons. I don’t see one such listed by the “Disstonian Institute” site (www.disstonianinstitute.com) — the closest they have is “K4 Air Master”. Though its marked 5 1/2, it has about 11 tpi probably recut by the previous owner. Is this a saw worth cleaning/restoring? The handle is a bit less comfortable compared to older Disston saws.
The best find was a burnisher for $1 (I really needed one). It has Disston USA etched-in, oval cross-section — I had no idea Disston made burnishers. The steel is hard except about an inch or so close to the handle and works very well.
7 October 2019 at 7:13 am #615665Larry GeibParticipant
- This topic was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Selva.
The “k” series of saws was a line Disston made to compete with other brands cheaper saws. It was made to a price point, and though made with the same steels and beech handles, they weren’t finished as well The blades weren’t polished and the handles didn’t get any of the final finishing steps. Some, like yours, used rivets instead of saw nuts. Others did use saw nuts.i dont think they tapered the saw plates.
Compared to modern saws, though, they are still pretty good. I have a keystone backsaw that I used as my first bench saw. And they limited the keystone offerings to just 3 sizes and a few tooth counts. The models weren’t named in the catalogues until 1935 and changed from time to time.
They were a bit ambivalent about branding them, though. They wanted you to know who made them but wouldn’t grant them the whole Disston cache. The “keystone mfg. co.” Was a convenient fiction. The US made ones were made at Disston’s Keystone saw works just like their other saws.
One of the things they didn’t do was put Disston saw nuts on them. The warranted superior logo was standard. Even there, though, they used the Disston eagle, which Disston used before the iconic keystone. If yours was made in Canada, it might have a Crown on the nut like British saws did.
They did the same for a while with a line they called the Jackson line, though my impression of the ones I have seen is that they are slightly better ( at least beefier). Some of them did have a Disston saw nut.
Disston did make a whole hardware and tool line until the depression, including hinges, butchers tools, files, saw sets, burnishers, hammers, squares, and bevel tools. My favorite bevel gauge is a little Disston no. 3 made with their own 1907 patented locking mechanism. Stanley tried to buy the patent. http://www.datamp.org/patents/displayPatent.php?id=10896
I don’t think they succeeded.8 October 2019 at 12:55 am #615898
@lorenzojose Thanks for the detailed and insightful remarks, as always.
The handle has saw nuts on this one. Probably they started skimping on that at a later time. But it does look like a previous owner hammered on the nuts as if they were rivets. Now I’ve to learn to reshape the handle a bit to make it feel better in my hands.
By the way the medallion has the keystone logo at the centre.
selva8 October 2019 at 3:29 am #615933AlanParticipant
Paul made a video on reshaping basic saw handles. I think it was his new modern Spear & Jackson.
In about half an hour, he transforms it from mass-produced and dull, to a traditional craftman’s masterpiece. He carved an ears-of-wheat design on the face side, cut a hook and nib, and used a spokeshave & chisel to make it less clunky.
The video seems to have gone AWOL. When I asked, I was told they’d had difficulty transferring some of the older videos. If you have Paul’s hand tool book (with the DVDs) it might be on one of those?
Paul’s blog also covers handle reshaping.
https://paulsellers.com/2011/03/from-clunker-to-classic/9 October 2019 at 2:49 am #616249Larry GeibParticipant
I couldn’t see the logo. I do notice the face side is stamped 5 1/2, which would be the points per inch the saw was filed at originally. So it was probably a rip saw. Looks like at some point it was retoothed.9 October 2019 at 3:03 am #616254
Yeah, its supposed to be 5 1/2 ppi, evidently retoothed by someone to ~12ppi. The teeth look good to me, so I’ll keep it as is for a while at least, cleanup, resharpen and see how it goes.
The lack of clarity of the image was my fault — by old habit I resampled it before posting to save bandwidth. If you could still read the 5 1/2, I’m envious of that eye-sight.
selva9 October 2019 at 3:24 am #616257
@alan141 Thanks for the pointer. Following up on that I found a number of useful blog posts like this one https://paulsellers.com/2011/09/saw-handles-revisited/ and a few more close to that period. That lost video you mention would have been nice find if its still in the cyberspace, but no luck within my search foo.
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