Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: A Pretty Old Disston

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Borger, Texas
    Posts
    1,174

    A Pretty Old Disston

    Hi All,

    I am working on one side of my fence, and am replacing thin pickets with ones I have salvaged from neighbors fences that the recent high winds blew down and they are replacing. I usually use a panel saw for that because work space on my sawhorses and plank is limited. I just grabbed one and headed out to the job, and while using it stopped to look at it because it was getting to the place of needing sharpening, and when looking at the teeth looked at the handle and realized that the medallion was a pretty old style. I have had the saw a long time.

    Curiosity got the best of me, so I went in and looked at the Disston Institute site, and the etch and medallion had the same age overlap. The etch was listed as being used between 1865 and 1880, and the medallion was one listed as being used from 1876 to 1877. Not ancient but by my standards a pretty old Disston that is one of my users. Now I know that there are question on these dates, but no matter what the real date is, it is still a pretty old Disston. Kind of neat to be using it!

    The blade has a very slight curve to it, but again very slight, and there is some areas of pitting but not too bad. The top horn has a bit of chip out, and the handle does need to be refinished, but when I get around to that I will probably chisel out the chip, glue in a small piece, and work it down to the original profile before refinishing. I also need to clean up the blade and still need to sharpen it, but overall it is not a bad saw.

    It is a 20" Disston 7 panel saw, and the etch says "cast steel" so it must have been made with good steel, but I thought the Disston 7s were one of their less expensive saws, so wondered "why cast steel?." Part of the etch is not readable, a bit of it is covered with corrosion, and it took a while to make out the "7," but eventually the 7 became clearly readable. It is stamped an 11 point, and a quick check with a tape indicates that it is such, so much of the original plate width is still there. The nib is still there and in good shape.

    I then switched to a sharp 16" Disston 7 for the job, made probably in the '10s or '20s, and I couldn't help making some mental comparisons between the two Disston 7s. The handle of the old saw is much more finely shaped, more oval with not as large flats on the grip. All in all a nice saw. Kind of neat to realize I had it and like to use it (but it still needs sharpening.)

    Have any of you recently found that one of your user tools is a lot older than you had realized?

    Regards,

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 04-20-2019 at 10:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
    Posts
    6,214
    I have an old D-12 that was a rust bucket with broken handle. I now is shiny with a five saw bolt curly maple handle. It is a 22" 8 point crosscut and has new saw brass nuts. I had it re-toothed at Circle Saw in Houston. The etch is readable.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Denton View Post
    H

    It is a 20" Disston 7 panel saw, and the etch says "cast steel" so it must have been made with good steel, but I thought the Disston 7s were one of their less expensive saws, so wondered "why cast steel?."

    Stew
    Not sure what you're getting at here. Cast Steel WAS their (obstensible) lowest grade of steel.
    The lineup went like this:

    Cast Steel
    Refined Cast Steel
    London Spring Steel
    Refined London Spring Steel
    Extra Refined London Spring Steel

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Borger, Texas
    Posts
    1,174
    Lowell, not sure, but that may be one you posted a photo of, nice looking saw with that curly maple handle.

    Joe, good points, I thought "cast steel" was supposed to be pretty good stuff, so learned something. Although my experience with the Disston 7s has been really good, so apparently even their lowest grade of steel was still pretty good stuff.

    Stew

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
    Posts
    6,214
    I did post it. It is a nice sharp saw.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Borger, Texas
    Posts
    1,174
    Hi All,

    Strange coincidences happen. I was trimming the old western cedar 4X4 posts that formerly held up much of my neighbors fence before the wind got to it. I have plans for them. Cutting off the part of the 4X4 post that was in buried in the ground is not a task that really suits a 16" panel saw, even if it is western cedar, so I got out a 26" 8 pt cross cut which did a nice job. When I went to treat the 3 saws with Camillia oil to put them away, I had to laugh...it was a D-7, I think it is probably one from the 1930s or so.

    Three Disston 7s, three lengths: 16, 20, and 26; 3 point counts: 8, 10, and 11; and possibly 3 time periods. The D-7 is likely 1928 to 1940. The 16" is hard to date, the etch being the type probably used between 1900 and 1910, but the medallion seem to be later, most likely the '30s, so you got me on the date of that saw.

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 04-21-2019 at 12:40 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •