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kent wardecke
02-14-2018, 8:45 AM
I was at an antique mall and came across a tool booth. No chisels, lots of rulers, a couple dozen planes and saws at least 30 of them all of them vintage most had makers marks and many Disstons. The saws had been cleaned and sharpened a few had minor pitting none were cracked. They were priced $20-$30. On eBay it looks like saws sell for $60-$300.
I didn't know what too look for and didn't want to be impulsive so i passed. Can i go wrong paying $25 for a hand saw? Generally speaking is every vintage Disston better than any new saw from a big box store?
I guess i need a rip saw and a cross cut saw and a few smaller saws

lowell holmes
02-14-2018, 9:04 AM
I have old Disston saws. They are excellent saws. I rejuvenated two of them. One was without a handle. I'd say $25 is a bargain.

Brandon SPEAKS
02-14-2018, 9:18 AM
Im not an expert on Disstons, but picked up several recently that I have been doing some rehab on, and one that was professionally done.

I would buy a Disston at that price easily but look out for the following:

1) Sight down the tooth line, perfectly straight is best, slight curve is ok, kinks are not. They can be fixed but that is above my pay grade, I would buy a kinked one to practice hammering, but only at heavily discounted price and knowing that it was for practice and would likely be a wall hanger after my attempt.
2) Close to being jointed, by this I mean if you set it tooth down on a bench that the tooth line is also straight in that regard, or close to it. I saw one once that had a 3/4 inch difference, to get it running you would have to file way down and recut teeth, again above my pay grade if worth it at all
3) General condition of saw plate, does not have to be clean and pretty, just no deep pitting
4) Handle tight and in good condition (how good is up to you, you can repair or replace but gets to be more work, discount accordingly)
5) No or very few broken teeth, if any again discount accordingly

If those are met the price seems like a good deal. I dont worry about sharp, I will sharpen anyway unless buying from a known good sharpener.

Brandon SPEAKS
02-14-2018, 9:22 AM
Oh, and compared to box store saws I prefer a good old saw.

That said I have a few box store saws that work fine, they are throw away when they get dull because of the way the teeth are hardened. From my point of view I would rather have a disston, but I also like sharpening stuff.... That said my dewalt saw cost $15, cuts fine, Im not afraid to keep it in the bed of my truck. Finish cut is not as good as a good saw, but it serves its own purpose.

Jeff Heath
02-14-2018, 9:54 AM
For close to a century, Disston was the benchmark for hand saws. For an extremely long time, they made almost all the spring steel supplied to many other saw makers.

A properly cleaned and filed Disston saw is just as good a working saw as any of the fancy saws being made today, and if you get lucky enough to own one of their London spring steel saws, you're in for a treat.

Deal breakers on any used saw plate are, for sure, pitting along the tooth line. You can deal with some pitting on the plate higher up, but a pitted tooth line will not file well, and thus cut poorly. Also, bent saw plates can be hammered straight, usually, but kinked ones are generally not worth the trouble.

At $25 apiece, how can you go wrong. Cleaned up and sharpened, they are much better than any big box store saw you will find today, and they can be filed again and again for a couple of lifetimes of use, just in case you have kids and grandkids (or nieces and nephews) to pass your tools down to.

Worth the effort, in my opinion, but many just would rather buy poorly made harbor freight stuff, because it's new, than put in a little elbow grease. If you're up to the challenge of learning how to care for your saw(s), it would be a worthwhile effort. At some point, you will probably want to stop throwing away junk tools when they can't be sharpened (poorly made punch process of toothline work hardens saws sold at the box store.....most cannot be filed without breaking the teeth) and enjoy having a quality made tool available to you and your work.

Kevin Smira
02-14-2018, 10:51 AM
for $25, I'd buy at least two...one rip and one XCut. I'd most likely buy 2 of each for $25 though...You didn't give your location...not anywhere near Huntsville, AL are you :)

lowell holmes
02-14-2018, 10:55 AM
Further comment, I went to the shop and checked my saws. I have a D-12 that you can read the writing on the blade. IIRC, it came to me with broken handle and missing saw nuts.
It has five saw nuts and a curly maple handle I made for it. It is 10 tpi crosscut.

steven c newman
02-14-2018, 11:00 AM
I would not worry too much about the straight line of the teeth......they also made saws with a slight curve...called breasted. Supposed to help the saw cut better...
MOST I have ever paid for a saw....~$8 for a Disston D-112.....have seen a D-8 in an antique store...they wanted $53? I walked back out...

Jim Koepke
02-14-2018, 1:11 PM
Kent,

You may not want to mention your location before you pick up a few of these for your self. You may want to pick up a more than just a couple. It is useful to have rip and crosscut saws with various point per inch filings. A 4-5 ppi rip is good for long rips or quick work and something in the 8-10 ppi range for smoother cuts. You may have to recut the teeth if none of the saws are already in range.

Same with crosscut saws, one for fast cuts or large stock and one for finer work.

You may even want to see if there are a couple that can be cut short for panel saws or tool box saws.

jtk

Kevin Smira
02-14-2018, 1:13 PM
Kent,

You may not want to mention your location before you pick up a few of these for your self. You may want to pick up a more than just a couple. It is useful to have rip and crosscut saws with various point per inch filings. A 4-5 ppi rip is good for long rips or quick work and something in the 8-10 ppi range for smoother cuts. You may have to recut the teeth if none of the saws are already in range.

Same with crosscut saws, one for fast cuts or large stock and one for finer work.

You may even want to see if there are a couple that can be cut short for panel saws or tool box saws.

jtk

Damn you Jim!!! :)

steven c newman
02-14-2018, 1:16 PM
Or just drive up here, and pick one out.....I do have a few "Spares"


379065
Maybe...

Barney Markunas
02-14-2018, 1:30 PM
To the OP - consider spending doing a little reading at the Disstonian Institute before you go shopping. Disston made lots of differerent saws and doing a little research ahead of time may help you spend your tool dollars more wisely. Be forewarned, old saw can be like potato chips... it is hard to stop with just one.

Jim Koepke
02-14-2018, 1:35 PM
Damn you Jim!!! :)

Sorry, LOL!

Kent, if you do buy more than a few at a once be sure to ask if you can get a discount.

Last week in an ACE Hardware a person was noticed who looked like the manager. After having looked at a few things, my question was posed to him, "is there any discount for an old fart paying cash?" He asked what my purchase might be. My reply was a wheel barrow and a couple of rakes. He smiled and said, "Tonight the old fart discount is 10%."

The moral of the story is IF YOU DON'T ASK YOU DON'T GET!

jtk

Jim Koepke
02-14-2018, 1:39 PM
Speaking of reading, you may also want to read the great information at http://www.vintagesaws.com

Some very useful information on those pages. The various links are the saws on the left side of the screen. This site is what helped me to learn how to sharpen my own saws.

jtk

kent wardecke
02-14-2018, 7:22 PM
The saws were in Delaware OH.
No worries, saws seem more straightforward than planes

Stew Denton
02-14-2018, 10:25 PM
Kent,

I see it as 2 classes of saws I would buy, one that is in a shape that it needs to be restored, and it is in a condition that it is worth the time involved to restore it. The second type has already been restored and sharpened, The first class is worth $10 in my view, and the 2nd class is worth more than what you say this guy is asking.

Like some of the rest above I have restored old saws, and if the saws are in a condition that makes the worth being restored, IE: straight, aren't pitted, with a handle that is in good condition, the blade has plenty of width left, and it was a good quality old saw when it was new, it ought to be worth $10. That said, I have paid a lot less for very good saws at garage sales.

In my humble opinion, the man doing the restoring and selling the saw has to earn a living, and I don't begrudge paying such a fair price for his labor. To me $25 is a bargain, given the labor involved, for a restored sharp saw.

That said, I would not pay that much for one, because I restore and sharpen my own saws, and frankly have enough in restore able condition that I don't need any more saws. However, if it was a Disston #12 I would certainly pay that much for one. It depends on the saw.

So, I think it depends on a persons situation. If a person either does not want to do the restoring or lacks the time, or is not confident enough to tackle such, but needs a sharp "ready to use saw," $25 is a very reasonable price IMHO. You will have to pay a great deal more than that to buy a new saw that is as good as one of the well restored old Disstons. There are other good brands of vintage saws out there as well.

If you can do all of the restoring, $10 is a reasonable price for a saw that is good enough to be restored, although if you a lucky you can get one for quite a bit less at a garage sale. However, if you need one now, pay $10. Again, I would pay significantly more than that for a Disston #12, in such a condition.

I don't know what it costs to have a saw sharpened in this day and age, it has been probably 15 years since I have paid someone to sharpen one as I now sharpen my own saws. I would guess that it may be $10 or so to have one sharpened now, (wild guess method of cost estimating based on my experience of 15 years ago,) and you need to take that into consideration when considering the $25 figure.

For carpenter size hand saws, I think 3 are a good set, and 4 is better. For the three saw set, I would have an 8 point and a 12 point (or 10 pt but I would prefer the 12) cross cut, one for sizing dimension lumber and one for finish cutting, and in addition I would have one rip saw, and the rip saw could be anything from a 5 point to a 7 point. For the 4 saw set I would have the 8 and 12 point crosscuts, and a 4&1/2 or 5 point rip for ripping dimension lumber or for re-sawing, and a 7 or 8 point rip for finish work. For a single rip, a 6 point, might be a good compromise. Make sure the rip saws don't have a LOT of set when you get one sharpened, commercial guys tend to put more set in rip saws than I like.

Like one of the guys mentioned on another post where such was discussed, this time for planes: which do you have more of, time or money. It will have an affect on you purchasing decisions. Most of my saws were purchase when I definitely was in the more time than money class, and even then I didn't have that much time. Also, you can spend a lot of time looking for old tools that are bargains. If you have time and the skills to sharpen and restore a saw, you can save some nice cash. Like Jim mentioned, there are web instructions for doing both the restoring and sharpening.

Stew

Jerry Olexa
02-15-2018, 1:03 AM
The Disstons in my opinion are the finest steel and saws made in that time period....Today's saw do not compare in steel or quality

Phil Mueller
02-15-2018, 9:31 AM
A little off the subject of Disston saws for $25 - and I do enjoy my Disstons - but donít overlook an Atkins or even Keen Kutter of the same era. I have a few of these and they perform quite well.

Wayne Taylor
02-15-2018, 10:26 AM
I bought about a dozen old saws (maybe 15, I lost count), mostly Disstons, for $5 each at a country feed store/rusted stuff store. They were all surface rusted, and the handles were weathered. No pitting; I live in the desert. I cleaned up three of them, two rip and one cross cut, and refinished their handles. The ones I refurbished work fine. The others are stacked up in my shop waiting for me to get around to them.

I guess this is a "gloat" but I can be excused because I never seem to get any other good deals.

Jerry Olexa
02-15-2018, 11:25 AM
A little off the subject of Disston saws for $25 - and I do enjoy my Disstons - but don’t overlook an Atkins or even Keen Kutter of the same era. I have a few of these and they perform quite well.

Agree with Phil on the ATKINS..Have had very good results with them...

steven c newman
02-15-2018, 7:04 PM
IF the OP wants to...I am a little closer than Delaware, OH. He can come up, and try out a few saws.....Disstons, Atkins, and a Richardson Brothers....

Who knows, he might even wind up with a couple saws....to take home?

Gerald Schram
02-15-2018, 7:35 PM
or bishop or harvey peace and simmonds made good saws also jerry