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Thread: Disston v Badaxe

  1. #1

    Disston v Badaxe

    Hi guys,

    I'm curious if there are any experienced and skilled sawyers here that are familiar with quality old Disstons or other quality handsaw AND have had an opportunity to have a good play with one of the handsaws made by Badaxe?

    There doesn't seem to be any real world reviews out there ahort of maybe one or two brief ones in mainstream woodworking media.

    Is this because nobody who owns nice Disstons has any need or desire for a modern saw and those who have boight a badaxe have no need for an old saw or bought the badaxe because they couldn't find a nice old saw to begin with? Hence there just aren't experienced sawyers out there with both?

    I just find the lack of info surprising and I was hoping to read how the modern saws do given that taper grinding, hammer tensioning, and even steels used are apparently very difficult to get right vs the older saws that had this down pat. Do the Badaxe saws get this all right?

    Cheers, Dom

  2. #2
    The main difference is the steel used for the blade. Almost all saws made today use 1095 spring steel. I prefer the older type steel in Disston saws but I have no real specifics. Also, I dont like the war like connotations of bad axe tool names like "Stilletto" and "Bayonette", but to each their own.

  3. #3
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    I do this stuff for a living, have for 45 years, and for backsaws, have never used anything but the old ones. I have no complaints at all with the old ones. I've never had one of the new ones in my hands, but can't believe it would matter for what I do with them. No difference in the saw would make a difference in the amount of work I produce. The sharpening would, but I do that myself, like I want it. No question that something like "hybrid" filing would only be an irritation to me.

    The saw in the picture has paint splatter, the handle is a little bit loose, and nothing has ever been done to it but sharpening. I'm sure I didn't pay much for it. It matters not at all how they look to me. I get paid to produce work. The saw in the picture has small teeth, hence the small sawdust. That sash project used Heart Pine that has all sorts of different grain sizes, in the hundreds of pieces, so I just kept one saw out that worked on any of it. I don't remember the tpi, because I don't keep up with that sort of thing. I remembered what size file works on it.
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    Last edited by Tom M King; 12-22-2019 at 8:51 AM.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by Craig Regan View Post
    The main difference is the steel used for the blade. Almost all saws made today use 1095 spring steel. I prefer the older type steel in Disston saws but I have no real specifics. Also, I dont like the war like connotations of bad axe tool names like "Stilletto" and "Bayonette", but to each their own.
    Agree... The weapon / 19th century military analogies are over done in their marketing. I haven't tried any Bad Axe saws, but my suspicion from having tried the LN panel saws is that the modern 1095 steel is stiffer; hard to say 100% because these are shorter saws, but that was my subjective impression.

  5. #5
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    I'm curious if there are any experienced and skilled sawyers here that are familiar with quality old Disstons or other quality handsaw AND have had an opportunity to have a good play with one of the handsaws made by Badaxe?
    Dom, the reality is that you are not comparing apples with apples. Regardless of the steel type, the chances are that the vintage Disston will have a thicker plate (0.20”) than a modern Badaxe (0.15” or 0.18”). The thicker plate will be more effort to push through the cut, and the saw will weigh more. Then the teeth will not be sharpened in exactly the same way, which can make a significant different. All to many collective differences to compare objectively. I have Disston tenon saws I have sharpened and they cut well but still feel less balanced than more modern backsaws with thinner plates.

    Which is better? Who can say once both have been re-sharpened at least once by oneself. Which one feels better in the hand, has the better balance, and is better made? Ultimately, unless one is a novice to sharpening, that is the reason for purchasing a new saw. A new saw, sharpened by a respected sawyer, is sure to cut well. I have been sharpening my own saws for a while now. I have a few “big name” saws that I enjoy using, as do I enjoy saws I have made and saws I have restored.

    Regards from Vienna

    Derek

  6. #6
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    In my humble but heavily biased opinion - Teeth can be changed, set can be changed, steel (in reference to saws) is steel . . . what causes me to pick up one saw over and over again is how it fits/feels in the hand. I'd rather buy a few cruddy sawplates that have no handles and make my own that fit my hand well than to say "old is gold" or "boutique or bust". I have saws from Lee Valley, from Disston, from Atkins, from Craftsman, and others that I'm not remembering right now. Only 3 still have the original handles, the rest have handles made from a couple of templates that I found works for me.

  7. #7
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    First saw I tried sharpening (10pt. CC) ended up hybrid, but it was not deliberate! It still cut better than it did before I had my way with it.

    Because of all the hyperbole about hybrid saws, the other day, while perusing Josh Clark's list of tools for sale, I noticed he had several saws sharpened hybrid, by a well known sawsmith. Because the price was fairly cheap ($55.00) and Josh said the saw was sharp, I ordered it, just to see what a hybrid will do. If I don't like it, I'll change it.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Zaffuto View Post
    First saw I tried sharpening (10pt. CC) ended up hybrid, but it was not deliberate! It still cut better than it did before I had my way with it.

    Because of all the hyperbole about hybrid saws, the other day, while perusing Josh Clark's list of tools for sale, I noticed he had several saws sharpened hybrid, by a well known sawsmith. Because the price was fairly cheap ($55.00) and Josh said the saw was sharp, I ordered it, just to see what a hybrid will do. If I don't like it, I'll change it.
    Hi Tony.
    Please let us know what you think after you use that saw. I'd be interested in hearing.
    Merry Christmas!
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    Hi Tony.
    Please let us know what you think after you use that saw. I'd be interested in hearing.
    Merry Christmas!
    Fred
    Will do Fred. By the way, Josh is a great guy to deal with. Have been buying from him for years, and hhis stuff has generally been great user grade, at excellent prices.

    Merry Christmas to you!
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  10. #10
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    Iíve got an old Disston 12Ē Carcass saw (cc), Bad Axe 14Ē Sash (cc), Bad Axe 16Ē Tenon (rip), Adria Dovetail (rip) and a Disston 26Ē that came with my Millers Falls miter box. The two Disstons with miter box cost me less than $50, the other three more than 10x that amount. Because of the different sizes, itís an unfair comparison but I have to say my favorite and most used among the bunch is by far the Disston Carcass. Starts easy, cuts very fast and just feels perfect every time I use it, with a distant second being the Bad Axe Sash. I will say they all cut really well, but if I had a redo Iíd opt for an older Disston rather than pay the mortgage on a new high-end maker. I hope Pete Taran responds to this thread, as heís probably the most knowledgeable saw guy on the forum.

  11. #11
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    It is a great pleasure to use a properly sharpened saw fitting comfortably in to one's hand saw. This is what led me to purchase a quality saw vise. It has been worth it.

    Thinner plates are great on dovetail saws.

    Beyond this, the main difference, to me, between a well tuned old Disston and a well made modern saw is going to be the price and shine factor.

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

  12. #12
    Thanks guys, great discussion and inputs so far, but i was asking more specifically about handsaws rather than backsaws. I was wondering if Badaxe got their D8's on par with he old Disstons, as I understand that taper grinding, hammer tensioning, getting the right stiffness from the plate etc is more nuanced than for a backsaw which I understand is far far simpler.

    Anyone have thoughts on the Badaxe and Disston handsaws/panel saws? I actually just ordered a 26" saw with 6.5tpi - my first proper rip handsaw, and then wondered if these new saws match up to the old Disston D8's, D12's etc or if the old saws have some magic that isn't able to be replicated - beyond the nostalgia/history/charm etc.

    Cheers, Dom

  13. #13
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    Sorry. Most of the time here, when someone says handsaw, they're talking about backsaws. I don't think there are many people here who really use handsaws. There was another thread, started today too, that went into tapering.

    For rip saws, the D8's are hard to beat for large toothed rip saws. The thumb hole is comfortable to get the second hand in play.

  14. #14
    I have the Badaxe D-8 rip saw. It cuts very fast and leaves a rough surface. It is the only rip saw I have ever used. I have my fatherís and grandfatherís Disston D-8 crosscut saws, both are late 40ís vintage. I used my fatherís quite a lot before I was permitted to use the Shopsmith. I donít have a strong opinion of the difference between Disston and Badaxe. They cut wood. I am no expert or even aficionado.
    Last edited by Thomas Wilson; 12-22-2019 at 8:46 PM.

  15. #15
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    I donít have a Bad Axe handsaw (but a few backsaws). I do, however, have a pair of Wenzloffs ó another modern premium saw maker. The Wenzloff is a great saw but I much prefer the pair of Disston D8 I have. Not sure why but these two Ebait, unrestored saws just cut sweet. Iíve seen suggested that it may be the steel that is the difference.

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