Atkins 53 - a $5 handsaw

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Blog entry by swirt posted 11-12-2010 11:39 PM 7790 reads 1 time favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
I may have a saw problem. I picked up a 20” Saw made by the EC Atkins Co Inc for $5 at a garage sale. My wife rolled her eyes. I bought it under the guise that it was a cute little saw for my 2yr old son to use. It was true. It was a cute little saw, and I did buy it for my son to use. I didn’t need a saw that small.
  • Then I started cleaning it up. I couldn’t have him holding a dirty saw, he might catch something.
  • Then I started refinishing the handle. I couldn’t have him using a rough and ragged handle.
  • Then I sharpened the saw. I couldn’t have him using a dull saw … dull tools are more dangerous than sharp ones.
  • Then I started researching the saw and the company history. I couldn’t have him thinking I didn’t know anything. Atkins saws are not as well documented as Disstons.

So in the end, this is what I …err…. HE ended up with:
An Atkins 53 configured for fine rip cuts. (probably pre-war)

If you are interested in more Atkins Saw Info or the process I followed for this saw makeover, you can find way too much info here. Atkins 53 Saw restore

And if anyone knows more about how to determine the age of an Atkins Saw, I’d be interested in what you know.

-- Galootish log blog,

17 comments so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3060 days

#1 posted 11-12-2010 11:55 PM

Swirt, you are a man after my own heart. My sons are older (15 & 17), but I have been collecting tools for “them” for years. Actually, since my oldest will be leaving home for college next year, I am putting together a basic tool kit with things for fixing the car, plumbing and of course some basic carpentry tools for him. My father didn’t allow me to start out on my own without a set of tools. Anyway, that is the excuse I give my wife when she looks at the 15 or 20 hand saws that I have. I can only take the excuse that they are for different tasks, so far. Nice little Atkins that you, “your son” has there. That little 20” size is acually kind of handy when you need a saw to put into a tool box. Very nice work on the handle. I have mostly old Disston’s in my collection, but I do have a couple of Atkins as well. They were a very good quality saw and were almost as prominent as Disston in their day. Good to get them started young. Enjoy that he likes to be in the shop with Dad while you can. The days when Dad isn’t quite so cool, come around sooner than you might think.

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3116 days

#2 posted 11-13-2010 12:25 AM

uuuu a very niiiice score congrat´s with your new toy Steve ….eerrhhmmm your sons new saw
its looking realy nice speciel if I compare to those I have seen here in Denmark

i realy do want to visit US but I´m afraid it wuold take me 5 lifetimes to put enoff money in the bank
so I cuold haul an aighteen wheeler with me round from fleamarket to fleamarket to fill a container
to bring back with me full of old tools

take care

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2973 days

#3 posted 11-13-2010 02:51 AM

Dennis all you need to do is get Doc to adopt you, then he will get you all the old saws you can handle. ;)

What makers of old saws do you find in Denmark?

-- Galootish log blog,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3116 days

#4 posted 11-13-2010 05:17 AM

I realy don´t know it
becorse the most I have seen is pictures on a site little like craiglist
and they had no fancy carving or srewheads maybee they are good saws
but you don´t investigate it but I will look after next time I´m passing one on a fleamarket
but the most saws we have here is framesaws or bowsaws as some prefer to say
I think if I see one with some of the fancy thing on its proppebly English
the other more plain cuold be german made


View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2973 days

#5 posted 11-13-2010 05:36 AM

Honestly, I like the plain, non-carved totes better. I’m always hesitant to really make the grip the way I want because it would mean removing some of the carving and I hate to undo the work put into it. My understanding is that these Atkins totes were embossed rather than carved….still I’d rather just have smooth contoured wood there. ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3116 days

#6 posted 11-13-2010 06:17 AM

yah but I think its one of the reson they still around in so large numbers
and one reson why they are on the markets now is that people don´t know
how to sharpen a saw anylonger
and that they can buy cheap one time only univesel saws now if they want a saw and throw it away
when the hardened teeth is dull


View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3108 days

#7 posted 11-13-2010 08:39 PM

Nice saw for your? son. I’m very pleased to see the TLC this old saw got for your? son. lol Great restoration. But you did a much better job making your son. Handsome young man you have there.
Both hands safe and total focus on the task at hand, Great training Dad.

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2973 days

#8 posted 11-14-2010 04:45 AM

LOL lilredweldingrod. Thanks. He’s a good kid… though he is 2 and his favorite word now is “No” so he does have potential to make the vein in my forehead bulge from time to time. But he likes time in the shop with me and he really likes to saw. The little saw really was for him…. I just grew more and more attached to it as I prepped it for him.

-- Galootish log blog,

View mafe's profile


11725 posts in 3090 days

#9 posted 11-14-2010 05:08 PM

Thats one lucky boy, one lucky father, and one heck of a beautiful saw.
Best thoughts,

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

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2857 days

#10 posted 11-14-2010 07:25 PM

Swirt, I think a nice Stanley No 3 would be an excellent 2nd tool for him? :)


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2973 days

#11 posted 11-14-2010 09:17 PM

Alba that’s a good idea… but I was kind of thinking along the lines of a No 10… he likes Rabbits LOL

Plus he sort of already has a No3. It’s a 1203 from the Stanley Handyman line. Most importantly it has Green handles and an orange frog…. colors are very important to him.

-- Galootish log blog,

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2889 days

#12 posted 11-15-2010 03:55 PM

Looks like five bucks very well spent to me.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View PaBull's profile


956 posts in 3666 days

#13 posted 11-18-2010 05:17 PM

Thanks Swirt, I have a ton of saws, either given to me or bought for an apple and an egg, I need to fix up.

Be well, Pabull.

-- rhykenologist and plant grower

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2973 days

#14 posted 11-18-2010 07:15 PM

Oof I just took a look. You have your work cut out for you. Looks like it will be a fun old collection of saws once they are all restored … or some are used for parts ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3649 days

#15 posted 11-18-2010 07:26 PM

very cool. growing up with the good stuff!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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