The Slippery Slope #2: Pop's Basement Treasures

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Blog entry by chrisstef posted 10-17-2010 11:35 PM 1740 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Pop's Hand Planes Part 2 of The Slippery Slope series Part 3: Pop's Toolbox »

With the excitment of stumbling upon those early handplanes, my interest in woodworking now reaching new heights , i dig deeper into the treasures sitting in my grandfathers basement:

Among the many coffee cans, cigar boxes, drawers, and shelves were sitting a bunch of hand saws. I never thought of having a use for an old handsaw and i certainly didn’t see any value to them either, but these were Pop’s (my deceased grandfather), “i bet they would look kinda cool in my man room”, i thought to myself.

So i brought home another box of old rusty tools that probaly hadn’t seen the light of day in 30 years. Among them 3 hand saws and a drawknife. After a cleaning my pot of gold continues to grow.

Turns out this old saw had some value to it … A Henry Disston #7 – dated around 1912, nib still on it and everything. As with the block planes i inherited, these saws possibly outdated my grandfather. Its very possible that these tools have become a 4th generation heirloom.

..... And a Disston D8 dated 1920’s

... And a Disston D7 dated to the 1920’s

Finally a T.H. Witherby Drawknife manufactured in Winsted CT.

Until the next round .. thanks for readin the ramblings of a young man sliding his was down the slippery slope of hand tool infatuation.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

8 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7376 posts in 2841 days

#1 posted 10-18-2010 12:57 AM

Nice find Chris. I work in a 9ft x 9ft space, so a table saw is not on the cards for me. Just as well I like using hand tools. Personally, I really enjoy hand sawing (even ripping) and it can be very satisfying as long as the saws are sharp :-)

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3114 days

#2 posted 10-18-2010 12:57 AM

waow you realy hit a treasure filled box with that basement :-)
don´t worry about all the green light you see in the horisont around you
it is just all the other handtool L Js including me with open mouth

my adwise to you is get everything home from that basement
and give it at least an oiltreatment before you store it and then when you have time read
alot about old tools and how they are used
and then between projects clean them ,tune them and bring them back to use in the toolbox
one at a time so you have time to learn how they behave and can/shuold be used
some of them is even maybee collecters items so take care you don´t destroy them with
tooo much restoring

enjoy the journey with the tools

View chrisstef's profile


17386 posts in 3005 days

#3 posted 10-18-2010 02:04 AM


Ive had the tools for almost 2 years now and between myself, my cousin and my uncle we all took most of the tools. And like you have suggested between projects i have been cleaning them up. The pics shown are them as clean as i can get them without going nuts. Ive got a couple of coats of paste wax on the them .. in your opinion is that enough to keep them from rusting up?

Eventually id like to clean up the tools my uncle and cousin have so that they can be once again passed on.

I havent gotten around to sharpening the saws in fear of screwin em up but one day id like to do a hand tools project, maybe a small coffee table or something. It must be nice without all the noise and dust.

Thanks for reading fellas … more to come

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2970 days

#4 posted 10-18-2010 04:31 AM

Those are all very nice. I believe the last saw in the list (the pointy one) is called a ship point saw. Yours looks like it has been sharpened a bunch of times throughout its life. You can tell this not only from the narrow tip at the end of the saw, but also the teeth are very close to the etch.

You’ve probably already seen this but just in case

-- Galootish log blog,

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3161 posts in 3107 days

#5 posted 10-18-2010 04:53 AM

Nice looking saws! Paste wax is a short term solution, especially if you live in a humid climate. If the place you have gotten them from was in a high humidity environment, the damage may be already done. Manufacturers use a coating of Cosmoline ( when shipping iron products overseas to keep them from rusting. You don’t need to do that here. If you want to prohibit further deterioration of these saws, simply clean them and spray a coat of finish on them. Paint works fine if you are not using them anytime soon. You can remove paint a lot more easily then adding metal to replace the rust. Just be sure to cover the wood parts so they don’t get painted. I recently bought a Record lathe that was over 20 years old and still had the Cosmoline on it (the guy never even put it together!). Paint thinner, a cloth and a lot of elbow grease will take it all off.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3114 days

#6 posted 10-19-2010 11:04 PM

I don´t know what is the best way to protect them other than using them ..LOL
but isue of sharpening the saws I think one of the best way to learn it beside learning
by having a master at oyur side to guide you is to see the DVD Lie-Neilsen sell
hosted by Tom Law with the title Hand Saw Sharpening
and here is the link just scroll down to it

good luck

View chrisstef's profile


17386 posts in 3005 days

#7 posted 10-20-2010 03:11 PM

Thanks Dennis … I just picked up a book on sharpening from the library and along with the video link you sent hopefully i will be able to give these saws a full restore, sharpened and all !

On a side not … if you look in the first picture it looks like someone had punched a “T” into the blade. My grandfathers name was Vincent but everyone called him Jim (his middle name) ... hmm i wondered … so i called my mother. “Hey mom what was your grandfathers first name … Anthony … or Tony for short.”

This will mark the 4th generation .. priceless.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3114 days

#8 posted 10-20-2010 05:31 PM

fanstastic to hear and when you do it my surgestion is that you do it on the top of the blade close
to the handle , or on the handle ,give you a bigger chance of doing it with out making a kink in the blade
I know its maybee being too scary but why taking the risk :-)

take care

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