vintage hand saw?

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Forum topic by drewpy posted 10-25-2015 03:39 PM 837 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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821 posts in 1558 days

10-25-2015 03:39 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question disston handsaw vintage

Hi all. I’m looking for a hand saw to make simple cross cuts without firing up the power tools. I figure this will also give me an opportunity to learn more about them. It kinda started when I drove by a barn sale a few days ago and saw several saws for sale. I had zero knowledge and passed on them but did a little research when I got home.

Here is the site I used for basic handsaw knowledge.

That led me to Disston as they seemed widely available and fairly well priced. I don’t want to break the bank as this will be my first real handsaw and have plenty to learn. I then started looking at the following website to help identify the age of the saws I was looking at.

I know everyone has their personal preference but thoughts are welcome and any other websites that would be helpful for a newbie. I wanted to share these links for anyone else that is a beginner in the world of handsaws.

I’ve struggled getting a grasp on appropriate prices. I understand there are many variables that affect this but wanted to ask if $40.00 for a Disston & Sons 1896-1917 #16 26” Crosscut 9TPI. I saw one a couple of hours ago and came home to get the approximate date and such. It is in pretty good condition. The blade needs cleaned up but us straight with no missing teeth. The handle is intact with wear and tear. The one problem I noticed was the medallion is worn. It is good enough to read and identify but didn’t know if the ware would affect pricing (Not really for this particular saw but for future reference).

Here is one I’m not looking at buying but wanted to get your thoughts on price and such. It’s from the same era but a different model and in much better shape. . I want one that needs some TLC.

Thanks for reading,


-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

4 replies so far

View Francesco Gallarotti's profile

Francesco Gallarotti

10 posts in 1148 days

#1 posted 10-25-2015 04:59 PM

Hi Drew,
22” 10TPI is a great starting point for a crosscutting panel saw.
Beside TLC, the saw will require an initial sharpening (probably some reshaping of the teeth as well) – there are plenty of videos online, but my recommendation would be to look at this one, by Paul Sellers:
Keep in mind that you will need a couple of tools (triangular file, regular file) – you might already have them and they are inexpensive useful tools to have in your drawer – since you will need to resharpen the saw whenever is needed. Also you will need a tool for setting the saw (which means bending the teeth slightly).
Enjoy your hand sawing!

-- Francesco, Italy,

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2163 days

#2 posted 10-25-2015 05:14 PM

On the one hand I see a lot of saws priced at $2-$5. On the other I have to pass up a lot of them to find the good ones with straight plates. You’d pay more than $40 for a lesser quality new saw, so that doesn’t seem unreasonable for a tool you want. Also I’ve never seen a #16 so that adds to the interest.

Before I paid that though I’d make sure 1) There were no chips missing from the handle or you are comfortable repairing them 2) The handle fits your hand very well (with three fingers in the grip and the index finger pointed out straight) and 3) Preferably there would be a decent amount of the etch visible and not much rust over the top of it. If there’s much rust or even serious staining on the etch side you have to make a choice between never completely cleaning the saw up or sanding down enough metal to clean the saw plate up that you lose all or most of the etch.

Two more things: That medallion doesn’t look worn so much as caked with grime. Another option is contacting LJ Bob Summerfield (summerfi on LJ) and see if he has something that would work for you. He doesn’t have any user crosscut saws listed for sale right now, but I bet he could come up with something.
Here’s his website:

View drewpy's profile


821 posts in 1558 days

#3 posted 10-25-2015 05:30 PM

Thanks guys.

Tim – I never even thought about the etching. Something to keep in mind as I look. Thanks!!

-- Drew -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View DocSavage45's profile


8724 posts in 3044 days

#4 posted 10-25-2015 05:39 PM


Maybe it’s where I live but there are many handsaws out there. I have a number of Distons and others. I also have my dad’s hand me downs. I’d look at the Re-Use store (Habitat for humanity) The other situation is a garage sale and flea market.

Paul Sellers (YouTube) is a really great teacher regarding care and use of old tools. He has always been an eBay advocate. Recent discussion on purchasing saws on eBay as the sellers usually don’t know what they are talking about when it comes to saws as all of them are described as “crosscut.” (Paul’s words)

I’d suggest practicing on a saw you are not planning to cherish LOL!

Good luck!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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