Disston No 4 Tenon Saw Restoration - Walnut is my new favorite wood.

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Project by docholladay posted 07-06-2010 04:49 AM 4426 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A month or so ago, I found a really nice old Disston No. 4 12” Back saw on Ebay. Only one problem. It did not have a handle. The blade and back are straight. Nice heavy steel back. It was even reasonably sharp. Anyway, I already had a Disston No. 4 and I thought I could just copy the handle from it. In my preparation, Mike Wenzloff from Wenzloff and Sons was generous enough to send me the PDF files that they use for saw handle templates for their saw that is based on the old Disston No. 4. Anyway, for a quality 100+ year old back saw, I wanted a nice quality piece of wood to make the handle. I suppose that Ideally, this would have been made of Apple wood, but none of our local suppliers carry that. I went to Woodcraft on Saturday and I picked up a short lenght of Walnut, Cherry and Maple and decided I would decide when I got home which I would use. I had never worked with Walnut, so I decided to give it a shot. I now know why this wood is a favorite for many. It works so beautifully. I was most amazed at how I could take such fine paring cuts with a chisel when cutting the mortise for the back of the saw. I think this turned out very well. The screws are some that I salvaged from an old Disston saw that I picked up at a flea market that the blade was just too far gone to do anything with. This saw would have originally had split nut screws, but I think these old original Brass Disston Screws finish the saw off nicely. Finally, about 5 coats of wipe on polyurethane and it is ready to cut some tenons.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

7 comments so far

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3745 days

#1 posted 07-06-2010 06:11 AM

That’s a really nice saw handle. I’m sure you’ll enjoy using it for many years.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3138 days

#2 posted 07-06-2010 07:34 AM

sure looks great Doc
I´ll bett it will live up to the new handle
otherwise you can always skip it over here….LoL

thank´s for sharing


View jcees's profile


1060 posts in 3822 days

#3 posted 07-06-2010 02:10 PM

Good job!


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2963 days

#4 posted 07-06-2010 07:50 PM

Nothing like the old tools. Worth all the effort.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View noknot's profile


548 posts in 3464 days

#5 posted 07-14-2010 01:46 PM

Great find even better restoration


View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3112 days

#6 posted 07-19-2010 12:12 AM

Really a nice saw.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View helluvawreck's profile


31351 posts in 2889 days

#7 posted 09-14-2010 02:45 PM

That’s a very nice back saw, doc. You did an excellent job on that handle.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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