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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Borger, Texas

    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?


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

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