Getting back to the basics. Working with hand tools #3: The latest score. Restoring a 1917-1918 Disston backsaw

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Blog entry by Julian posted 04-15-2009 01:36 AM 2234 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Card scraper holder Part 3 of Getting back to the basics. Working with hand tools series Part 4: Completed restoration on a 1917- 1918 Disston backsaw »

I have been using a Japanese pullsaw for a while and have decided to come back to the western style saw. I picked up this saw online for $30 from an antique dealer. It’s a Disston backsaw from 1917-1918 and is in great shape (no pitting, and straight blade) and is all original except for one of the sawnuts. The teeth were bad and all over the place so I ground them off and am getting ready to try my hand at cutting new ones as soon as the files and saw set arive.

Not being able to leave well enough alone I am making a new handle out of some choice curly bubinga and have ordered a new set of sawnuts. The handle was a lot of fun to make, and was finished with BLO then a few coats of amber shellac, followed by my home made beeswax polish. If all goes well with the rebuild, I might try my hand at building a few saws from scratch.

Here is the saw as it was shown on the website I bought it from.

Here it is with the teeth ground off, and the sawnuts polished.

Here is the new handle.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

4 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3788 days

#1 posted 04-15-2009 01:43 AM

Nice job on the restoration, Julian. Adding the new handle markedly improves the appearance of this saw and, I am sure that once you have set the new teeth you will have a great saw that will give you years of service.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View hoosierbikenhike's profile


7 posts in 3297 days

#2 posted 04-15-2009 02:20 AM

Julian, Nice find! The new handle is beautiful!

View blackcherry's profile


3337 posts in 3789 days

#3 posted 04-15-2009 10:34 PM

I just love seeing this kind of work, great find and nice work on the new handle…Blkcherry

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3654 days

#4 posted 02-21-2010 07:01 PM

Beautiful handle , Julian !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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