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Thread: Got two disston saws

  1. #1

    Got two disston saws

    Got these from a family friend the other day. Is the backsaw from a miter box? Started cleaning them up, I guess I’ll have to learn to sharpen them. Anyone know anything about them just by the pics?

    15B8AF3F-2FDF-454F-908E-28D84B6CC4F3.jpg672F2813-8151-4236-BC9C-79D9184EE569.jpg

  2. #2
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    I'll let The Saw Guru proclaim what these are...just a guess...a No. 4...and a No. 12?

  3. #3
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    Clear shots of the medallion would help some.

    Any other visible marks would also help.

    Not really any way to my knowledge of knowing if a back saw originally came with a miter box.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
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    Zac,

    I am with Jim, no way for me to know as to whether your back saw came from a miter box for certain. However, a lot of the miter box saws I have seen do have the heel sloped forward like yours does. How long is the tooth line? That length will give a strong hint I it came from a miter box.

    The handsaw definitely has a #12 type handle, or perhaps one of the other Disston PREMIUM saws. That saw is an extremely desirable one. It is DEFINATELY worth restoring.

    That model sold for more money, and hence not many were sold. I have only personally seen one, it is still a premium saw. You have a jewel right there.

    Stew

  5. #5
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    If you have not already downloaded a program about sharpening and setting handsaws, I suggest you do so.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    If you have not already downloaded a program about sharpening and setting handsaws, I suggest you do so.
    Implies a CNC capability. I sharpen by hand with files. Download a program?? Please expand on that.
    Joe

  7. #7
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    See this site. Buy a saw set, saw files, and make or buy a saw vise. It is fun trip.


    https://www.google.com/search?q=shar...hrome&ie=UTF-8

  8. #8
    Jim, Steve, Lowell. Thank you.

    I jiust got got around to measuring them.

    The back saw is 25 3/4 at the teeth. This is the medallion. I ask about a miter box because the family friend I got it from is a situation where I can go rummage around for tools. I don’t want to be gluttonous, but if there is a miter box to match it I will probably go for it.
    7EDDA137-A283-456C-93D9-16252D956BF8.jpg

    The rip saw is 26 1/2. This is the medallion. He seems to have carved his initials into the handle. I want to be objective so I ask: what two initials do you see?
    0247C58B-E24F-46FE-B39C-88D5AC7D66EA.jpg

    I would like like to refurbish them and use them. Haven’t got around to cleaning them much yet. I can’t see any pattern on the blade. It is very tarnished.

    Ajy advice is appreciated. Thank you.
    Last edited by Zac wingert; 09-18-2018 at 4:17 AM. Reason: Left out information

  9. #9
    The medallions day “PHILA” which I assume means they are made in Philadelphia.

  10. #10
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    One other measurement on the backsaw...between the spine and the teeth.....if it is around 4"..then look for a Stanley No. 246 Mitre Box.....It would also fit the later No. 2246.

    Scrape the tarnish/rust off with a razor blade. Then use Simple Green and a few 3M stripping pads ( scratchy pads) then see how it looks. Bolts can be cleaned up, using either good old Brasso, or a fine brass wire wheel. Murphy's Oil Soap does a decent job of cleaning up the wood parts.

  11. #11
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    Check out the medallion date info at the Disstonianinstitute site. “Philada” was pre 1917, “Phila” was post 1917.
    You can narrow it down further comparing your medallions to the ones shown on the site.

  12. #12
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    Zac,

    There is a lot I don't know about the history of back saws, however, the ones I have for dovetails, casework, and tenons all run from 10" to 14", although I have read that many years ago it was not unusual to have somewhat longer tenon saws.

    That said I personally don't know of an application where you would have a tenon saw that was 26" long. Also tenon saws are rip saws. Thus, if your back saw is a crosscut saw, I believe that is almost certainly a miter box saw.

    I hope one of our saw experts will chime in on other historical applications for a really large back saw like you have, other than for a miter box.

    Regards,

    Stew

  13. #13
    Interesting. I didn’t notice but the panel saw with the premium handle is actually stamped “PHILADA” and the back saw is PHILA. Can’t imagine what the back saw is for too.. it’s very, very heavy.

  14. #14
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    That saw is heavy, because it is for use in a Mitre box.....Disston made the saws for about any maker of mitre boxes.....so did a few other saw makers. Disstons were known as a No. 4 saw.

  15. #15
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    Zac,

    I am definitely with Steven. The weight is dead give away.

    My miter box saw is also very heavy. In my experience, a heavy saw like that is unhandy, tiring to use, and hard to control freehand, in short, I believe also that it is a miter box saw.

    Regards,

    Stew

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