The Craig’s List ad said there were some old woodworking tools. That’s it. No pictures, no heart-throbbing prose. Still, the garage sale was in an older neighborhood. And close by in case it was a bust. So I fired up my Chili-Red Mini and motored on over.
Five minutes and $5.00 later I walked to my car clutching a Disston 16” backsaw, some brass screws and brass l-reinforcing thingies. The saw cost me 300 pennies. A bit of sleuthing on the Disstonian Institutes Website revealed that the saw was born between 1878-1888 per its medallion.
Here’s the prize of my quest:
As grungy as it looked, I was very happy overall. The top horn was split off but I figured I could find some apple wood to mend it.
A Horny Situation
In the interests of expanding my rehab skills, I decided to fix the horn. And to ensure an aesthetically-pleasing repair, I sought out two vintage handles. But that didn’t work out too well. The aged applewood didn’t pair well with either of the two donor handles. So I set them aside to wait for another handle repair. The horn would stay as it was.
After experiencing a “glassy” look from the use of polyurethane finishes I decided to go with BLO followed by wax. That’s it.
I like the natural feel of the wood in my hand. BLO + plus was works pretty well.
The original tooth line suffered from calves and cows so I had some evening out to do. I also tried adding some slope to my sharpening for the first time.
Here’s the finished rehab.
This baby has some pleasing heft to it. I also like the longer, 16” length versus my 12” Disston backsaw. I find it easier to keep it true through the cut. And the longer length allows for a longer stroke through the work piece.
And here’s a look at the cut finish.
So all it took to add a nice user to my saw next was a five-minute drive, three dollars and two fun-filled rehab hours.
Not bad for a 125-year old saw. I wonder if 125 years from now (c 2138) some woodworker will get as much pleasure from finding this treasure as I did. I can see her driving up to the garage sale in her fusion-powered Mini Cooper (some things never go out of style.) “I found it among some other tools on a table,” she’ll say to her husband. “And I only had to hand over three $1,000 bills!” Her ever-supportive husband is sure to reply, “What a steal sweetie!”
-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."