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Thread: Two Disston D-12s

  1. #1
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    Two Disston D-12s

    I bought a tool box at a garage sale, without going through it. I found these two D-12 saws in it. I am not a collector, and don't plan to use them so will want to sell them, eventually. I am guessing they're '50s vintage, and look only minimally used (to my eyes). No bends or missing teeth, and the set feels even so may not even have been sharpened.

    I'm not looking for offers yet or free estimates of value, but looking for whether to try and clean off some of the rust, or if they are worth taking to a trustworthy dealer. My experience is that the cost of shipping makes old tools like this not a good deal. In other words, what would you do with them?

    One is stamped with a 10 and the other 8, which I assume is the TPI.


    saw1.jpgsaw1a.jpgsaw1b.jpg





    saw 1c.jpgsaw1d.jpgsaw1f.jpgsaw1g.jpg
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  2. #2
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    I showed my collection of old saws to Dan Raber from Colonial Homestead in Ohio and he singled out a D12 as the best of the lot and a good saw, he wanted to buy it from me, but I resisted. So that one is waiting for a new handle (original broken) and re-sharpening in my workshop. Yours look like a later vintage than mine, I'm not knowledgeable enough to know if they are as good as the earlier ones, the handles look less refined than mine.

    If you're not going to keep them, I'd suggest you perform minimal cleaning, oil them and leave the actual refurbishing to the end user.

    Perhaps others can sing the praises of these saws.

  3. #3
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    There are some D12s currently listed in the SMC Classifieds. You might want to read what is said about the saws there before you consider selling them.

    My experience is that the cost of shipping makes old tools like this not a good deal. In other words, what would you do with them?
    My tendency would be to turn them into users and sell off some other saws if any saws had to go.

    For a good saw shipping isn't so bad according to what Mike Allen says in his Classifieds post. He has sold a lot of saws here.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 09-23-2021 at 6:01 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. I really dont have a need for panel saws, and I'm trying to slowly downsize the shop. I'd rather see someone who will give them a good home end up with them. Otherwise, they'd end up in my estate sale and go for nothing.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    There are some D12s currently listed in the SMC Classifieds. You might want to read what is said about the saws there before you consider selling them.

    jtk
    Jim (and Stan),

    The saws Mike is selling are No. 12s, not D-12s. There is a huge difference between the two models. No. 12s were some of the best saws Disston produced and are highly desired and collectible. The same cannot be said about D-12s. Not saying they’re bad saws, just nothing better than an adequate user when set up properly. You won’t get much for them. I’d keep or donate them to some sort of woodworking school or training program that uses hand tools for teens or young adults.

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    OK thanks for that Stephen.
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  7. #7
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    Stan,

    The one saw obviously has more corrosion than the other one. The one that is more corroded will be hard to clean up. I have tried a lot of different approaches on saws like that one, and the dark spots are normally areas of corrosion with tiny pits. I have had the most success with two different approaches, one being small fine wire brushes that I have gotten from Ace Hardware, but I am sure that they are available from other sources. The other being very fine wire small Dremel circular wire brush attachments. Both approaches take a lot of time, but the Dremel works a little better and is faster.

    The approach used with the wire brushes is to use very very light pressure and use 100 strokes in one direction followed by 100 strokes at 90 degrees to the first set of strokes followed by 90 strokes at 180 degrees to the original set, and finally followed by 100 strokes at 270 degrees to the original set of strokes. Often this has to be repeated, sometimes several times. The results of this approach often leave the corroded areas still appearing somewhat dark. However, if you look very carefully at the pits you will often see that they have clean steel to the very bottom of the pits, but the remaining roughness of the pits makes the spot still appear somewhat dark even though the corrosion is gone. I sometimes also add strokes at 45 degree angles. Even though the spots still appear dark, if you keep the saw plate waxed or oiled, the effort will stop further corrosion.

    The second approach with the Dremel gives nicer appearing results, but it will not be perfect. Again, I use a light touch and hit the dark spots from multiple different angles. It is faster than the wire brush method, but is still time consuming.

    I have also used fine wet or dry carborundum type sandpaper. This does not get down into the bottom of the pits, but will clean up the bulk of the saw plate. I would start with no coarser than 180, and work down to maybe 320 or so, but if satisfied with results will stop at 220. I have even gone to 400 on occasion.

    Be careful with the sanding approach, however. On the old Disstons, the etch is often deep enough that if you use a light touch, and put the paper on one of the 3M rubber pads, so that the backing surface is dead flat, you often will not sand the etch away. A little of this goes a long way, however, and it is easy to sand away a lot of the etch. I don't know about the newer Disstons like yours, however, and you might sand away the etch immediately, so go slowly and carefully.

    For the back of the blade, I place a folded up paper towel between the bottom of the rubber sanding pad and the sandpaper, which gives better contact with the saw blade, and will give quicker results. However, using the paper towel approach on the etch side of the plate will quickly go after the etch.

    With the less corroded saw, I would use the same approach, starting out with the 220 grit or even 320 paper. Take your time, and stay away from the etch as much as you can. If you follow up with 400, it will often shine up the blade a lot.

    The sanding will deposit very fine steel particles in the pits, and will make them appear worse, however, if you follow the sandpaper with a few light storkes with the fine wire brush or Dremel will very quickly clean out the pits and make things quickly look much better.

    I have also used Scotch Brite Pads, starting with the green and going to the red. This will leave a dull finish, so follow the pads with 320 or even 400 grit carborundum paper, which will shine up the plate a lot. Again you may have to follow with the wire brush methods to clean out the dark color from any remaining pits.

    Another approach which is sometimes used is steel wool, however, I have not found steel wool to be very effective.

    Some folks use Evapo-Rust, Naval Jelly, etc. and I have used Naval Jelly years ago, but don't know if these things will attack the etch on newer (or older) Disstons, for that matter, so I can't advise you on these methods.

    For what it's worth, I am fairly certain that the "8" and "10" you saw on the plate under the handle is in units of PPI, not TPI. I have counted the points a time or two, and that is what I have seen. I also am thinking that the US makers rate their saw points in PPI rather than TPI.

    My approaches take a lot of time. I think Steven has mentioned using a brass wire wheel, in his drill press I think, and does extremely well, so I am hoping he will chime in. He gets very good results in far less time than I do.

    Regards,

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 09-23-2021 at 11:34 PM.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Stew, thats info worth keeping for future reference.
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    Stew has some good advice, but here’s a time saver I learned about from a member of an old tools group I belong to. If possible remove the handle and start by spraying on WD-40, letting it soak in for a few minutes. Then using a light touch, scrape the plate with a razor blade scraper. That should remove most of the rust from all but the deepest pitted areas. Razor blade scrapers are cheap and readily available at the big boxes, hardware and paint stores. If any rust remains follow Stew’s advice, but on a valuable tool be sure to use a real brass brush if you want to avoid scratches. Many brass brushes, especially those used in welding applications, are not real brass but simply steel with a brass coating. Btw, the razor blade scraper method works at removing rust from any tool.

    Another btw, I am not the Steven Stew is referring to.
    Last edited by Stephen Rosenthal; 09-24-2021 at 1:48 PM.

  10. #10
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    Then using a light touch, scrape the plate with a razor blade scraper.
    Been there, done that, it works.

    Another thing to try if you have some spare metal or a wide chisel is to scrape it off with a 90º bevel.

    This worked for me on a Stanley #60-1/2 block plane recently:

    #60-1:2 As Found.jpg

    This is light to medium rust compared to other planes found.

    A 1/2" spare no name chisel was ground to have a 90º bevel. On a regular grinder have the back of the blade facing up. Any burr should be on the top of the chisel. If it is on the bottom it will scratch the work. These were made for use on wood but the do work well on cleaning rust off metal. Keep the chisel flat on the work as much as possible. Don't be afraid to experiment.

    a Scraping Rust w:90º Chisel.jpg

    The was read about in a couple of places. It worked so well on wood for me that an 1/8" and !/4" chisel were also set up with 90º bevels.

    After this a little work with some Scotchbrite™ pads finished it off:

    c After the Scotch Bright.jpg

    It might be worth a try.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 09-25-2021 at 3:16 AM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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  11. #11
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    Interesting suggestions. I'm kind of stuck with deciding how much effort I want to put into improving the value of these saws, given that I dont intend to make users out of them. I've got a couple of other old tools out of this box, that will be in the same boat.
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  12. #12
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    Another voice in the wilderness. I own several #12 and D-12 saws. They are hard to beat. I believe I am well informed on Disston saws. In 1928 Disston simply renamed the # saws to the D saws. If anything The D- saws offer more modern steel. I would buy any of them up to 1940. Disston quality remained high until 1940. WWII began the downhill slide from which Disston never recovered. Find the age of a Disston saw by looking very carefully at the medallion with magnification and compare it to this page: http://www.disstonianinstitute.com/medv2.html
    I really do not care for buying a vintage saw that someone else has ¨cleaned up¨. If you want to sell the saws my advice is do nothing. Maybe a wipe down with WD-40 or Krudcutter. Saws with deep pits are beyond re-habbing. For your own user saw the Razor scraper is your friend. Just keep a low angle, it won´t hurt the etch. Usually one pass wiith the Razor scraper is sufficient. Then sandpaper. Read Black Carbide Wet-or-Dry paper, preferably with a random orbit sander. 220 grit is rough and ugly, start with 320 and follow up with 400 and higher. The finer the polish the smoother the saw slides through the cut. As to what the saws are worth if before 1940 and no deep pits I look for a max about $40 USD plus US shipping. I avoid overseas. It somewhat depends on the buyers needs. I have been looking for a 26¨ 10PPI for awhile. It is not as common as the 8PPI. So in this case I would go up to $100 plus shipping for the two saws.
    Every thing you need to know about the 12 series is here: http://www.disstonianinstitute.com/12page.html
    Thatś my story and I´m sticking to it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis Lampe View Post
    Another voice in the wilderness. I own several #12 and D-12 saws. They are hard to beat. I believe I am well informed on Disston saws. In 1928 Disston simply renamed the # saws to the D saws.
    Hmmm. Not quite. The transformation of the line was much more than just renaming the saws from #12 to D12. There were many changes to the saws besides the name. The saws lost their nib, the handle became the "cover top" variety, the plate was not quite as thin a gauge as the older saws, the handles became slightly less refined, wheat carving became less elegant. My research indicates that the saw steel became softer but more uniform. I've seen pre 1928 #12s with steel as hard as 58 C. Post 1928 most were around 50-52C (based on my measurements using the superficial scales and conversion to C).

    Adding to your well informed status. :-)

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