Disston saw – any advice greatly appreciated

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  • #60841
    David Tucker
    Participant

    Hi

    Our local tip attempts to recycle/reuse items and over the past year I’ve managed to stock my workshop with quite a few tools at minimal cost: woden vise, acorn plane, beech mallet to name a few.

    The other day I happened upon a clutch of hand saws. Now normally these are plastic handled, or woodworm ridden, or rusted through rubbish. But these were sharp, straight and clearly loved for a long time by their previous owner.

    I’m a bit nervous about cleaning this particular saw, the etching is faint but can make out Henry Disston & Sons ( !), but for all my searching I can’t determine the model number, the handle does not have a medallion and only 3 screws. The blade is 26 1/4″ and 7 1/4″ at the handle.

    I attach a couple of photos, any information about the saw and how to progress greatly valued.

    Attachments:
    #60870
    Jim Mount
    Participant

    based on the lambs tongue handle, the carving on the top of the handle, and the presence of a nib, this would be an older saw. I clean my saw plates after removing the handle, using wd-40 and wet/dry sand paper. If there is loose rust/flakes scrape with a razor blade first. I start at 220 grit and go to 600, Use a sanding block, which will help preserve the etch. How much to sand is a judgement. For myself, I want a user tool, so I don’t need it shiny, but I do want it smooth. Typically the etch will contain the model #. For more information on your saw, go to the Disstonian Institute [Google it]. Enjoy your saw…if you have been using a modern saw, this will be a whole new experience for you

    #60902
    Eddy Flynn
    Participant

    thats a nice find i wish i could find things like that at the tip at ours you cant even stop too long and the staff are trying to move you on its a shame because i bet there are loads of great finds as people dont see the value in old tools

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
    ,

    #60928
    David Tucker
    Participant

    Our tip has a depot where “worthwhile” goods are put aside, a lot of tat, but you’re right tools are generally not valued at all. You have to sift through the dross, but every now and again a gem!

    Thanks Jim, can’t I’ve searched the Disston inst site, but can’t find any info on the handle.

    Seems saws of this size have 4 or more bolts generally, the panel saws having 3 occasionally.

    As for the etching, the spot where the number should be is worn away.

    #60929
    sidreilley
    Participant

    Nice find David! Looks like it’s got a lot of life left as it doesn’t show a lot of sharpening. If you can make out an etch now, it should get clearer with a little judicious scraping with a razor blade and sanding with a block. With the nib and handle shape, it looks like maybe a #7 or #8 but I’ve never seen one without a medallion on the handle. The handle looks like apple. You might want to check the Disstonian Institute site, as it’s full of information to aid in dating and identification. Neat saw.

    #60981
    David Tucker
    Participant

    Ah, so the etch will get clearer. That’s worth knowing, I was tentative to touch that side thinking I’d lose any marking that was left.

    That’s most useful thank you Sid.

    From what I can make out of the mark now it looks most like the marks illustrated 1920 – 1930 on the disston Institue site.

    Thanks all.

    #61328
    timmer
    Participant

    Just wanted to second the advice on using a razor, wd40 and wet’n’dry. I recently unexpectedly uncovered an etching on a very rusty looking unassuming saw using this method.

    #61336
    Frank Joseph
    Participant

    You can clean a saw with vinegar soake it for 6 to 8 houres it will turn black but that will clean off with oooo steel wool. There are a few web sits about cleaning saws it would be worth the time to look them over.
    Frankj

    In South Jersey the good part of New Jersey, USA.

    #61337
    Michael Petre
    Participant

    A milder alternative to vinegar or citric acid bath is a molasses bath. Dilute 1 volume of molasses with 9 volumes of water, then add your rusty items. I have restored a box of files and rasps that way, they look brand new. I will try it on saw blades next.

    #61359
    Frank Joseph
    Participant

    Go to Logan cabnet shop he has a nice blog and has a few posts on cleaning saws and sharpining

    In South Jersey the good part of New Jersey, USA.

    #61408
    David Perrott
    Participant

    There is no Disston medallion which is a bit strange. In my limited experience I have never seen a 26″ saw with out one. Most generic ones will atleast have a warranted superior medallion. Maybe a panel saw but not a full size. The handle looks like a no.7. I just got a 20″ no.7, for $3!. It has a medallion but no etch. Maybe take the handle off and see if there is other holes. Maybe someone changed the handle.

    #61422
    David Tucker
    Participant

    3 bucks is a steal, engage smug mode sir!

    I have been thinking the same thing David about the handle. The handle is well made but doesn’t seem to quite fit the info for Disstons of that era I’ve found on t’interweb. I’ve just got some molasses (thanks Michael P for that gem) – I’m going to practise on a not so crucial tool first, and then strip the Disston…

    #61423
    David Perrott
    Participant

    Not sure where you are but I used a cleaning product called simply green and sand paper to do my cleaning. I think on the website thesawblog,he gives his method. I follow his method. Don’t forget, what ever removes the rust and crud, can and will remove the etch. I removed the etch on the first saw I refurbished. You can test on the back side of the saw. I don’t go crazy cleaning the saw blade anymore. Most of them I can’t read the etch to well. I have several “warranted superior” saws that I can’t read the etch.

    As for flea markets I have been lucky. I have bought some great things for next to nothing. A number 4, wooden planes, saws, moulding planes, no single item more than $8! Most times people will almost give away saws, but that’s the last thing I need. I would like to get rid of some of my 26″ saws.

    #61425
    David Tucker
    Participant

    I’m in the UK, haven’t come across simply green, going to be VERY careful around the etch…

    In the same purchase as well as the Disston I picked up another 26″ saw (no manufacturer, but it feels good), 3 panel saws (2 decent Sheffield made, the 3rd better than average new-ish Tyzack), a gentlemans saw, a weird 60s saw with about 8 interchangeable blades (which my son is going to get for Xmas) 2 saw setting tools. Oh and a barely used camping gas burner.

    Total? £4.50 (That’s $7.52 according to google). I couldn’t quite believe it- barely the cost of a disposable hard point saw!

    #61467
    Philo_Beddoe12
    Participant

    It looks like some paint streaks on the bottom of the handle. I’ve had great success removing paint without removing the original finish on some of my saws by using boiled linseed oil and fine (000 or 0000) steel wool and a lot of elbow grease. It has even made the finish better on some of them because it has evened out some light/dark spots. I wonder if maybe that is not the original handle. Either way, it’s in great shape. Excellent find!

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