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Grandpa's Disston Saws (and a brace)

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Forum topic by Aaron McCain posted 01-26-2016 04:55 PM 642 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Aaron McCain

124 posts in 2306 days


01-26-2016 04:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: disston saw refurbish

My grandfather passed away recently and as I was going through his workbench, I discovered amongst some other items two hand saws and an old brace. I am not a hand tool guy, but I recognized the Disston button when I saw it. With the family’s permission, I am now the owner of the tools, but without my grandpa around to tell me about them, I have no idea of the age.

I am pretty sure both of the saws are Disstons, but the one that looks like an alligator snout, is missing the button. I think they are a D12 and a D8, but that is as far as my research has gotten me. If anybody has any information on the age or how to find the age, I would appreciate the education.

Also, I would love to clean these up and continue to use them as my grandpa did. (They were still hanging on pegs over his workbench with the outline traced on the wall.) Lots of information out on the internet, but would love some advice on where and how to start.

Somebody mentioned that the brace may have belonged to my great-grandfather. We found it in a file drawer, not in use.


10 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 953 days


#1 posted 01-26-2016 05:01 PM

You’re grandpa left you some good tools.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3695 posts in 1732 days


#2 posted 01-26-2016 05:50 PM

Wow, I wish I had some family heirlooms like that.

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

15677 posts in 2473 days


#3 posted 01-26-2016 06:22 PM

You’ve got a 8 and a 12 for sure. The 8 looks like its pretty well used looking at the tooth line but still a serviceable saw. The 12 has got tons of life left. If you can uncover an etch in the center of the plate it may help in dating it but without a medallion it may be a bit tricky. If there is an etch a No. 8 or No. 12 would be the earliest, a D8 or D12 would be a bit later, and a D-12 or D-8 would be the latest.

As to cleaning it, I would knock the heavy rust off with a razor blade taking care not to gouge the plate. From there id go with some 320 grit in the center of the plate, lengthwise strokes, to see if an etch is present. If its there, awesome, if not no big deal. In either case id use some 220 grit sandpaper and maybe a little lubricant to sand back the rust and dirt. Its going to take some time and elbow grease. Just go lightly over the etch (if its there) with the 220.

You’ve got 2 great saws there. Youll love that 12 once its tuned and sharp. A couple of closer pics of the handle may reveal some more information if you can post some. thedisstonianinstitute.com is a wonderful website for disston info.

-- rock, chalk, jayhawk

View James Wright's profile

James Wright

233 posts in 331 days


#4 posted 01-26-2016 08:15 PM

Love those! I have 2 braces that belonged to my Great, Great grandfather, (A Cabinet maker for Norway) I think about the family tradition every time I use them. As to cleaning it. here is a video I recently made when restoring one of mine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP8SbDNV88w

-- James Wright, Rockford IL, https://www.youtube.com/c/WoodWright

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2326 posts in 1764 days


#5 posted 01-26-2016 08:20 PM

The handle on the bottom saw is really neat. Was your trigger finger supposed to go in there?

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14627 posts in 2150 days


#6 posted 01-26-2016 08:28 PM

Actually, that was so two hands could hold on to the saw for the rip cuts.

Have you found any brand name on the brace?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Tim's profile

Tim

3119 posts in 1428 days


#7 posted 01-26-2016 08:36 PM



Actually, that was so two hands could hold on to the saw for the rip cuts.

Have you found any brand name on the brace?

- bandit571

Yup, thats a thumbhole for the thumb from the other hand so you get more power for the cut. Works pretty well and you can run the saw vertically for long rips that way.

It’s great to get those heirlooms indeed. Stef’s method to clean saw plates works great, here’s the way I clean them:
http://www.wkfinetools.com/contrib/CiantiM/cleanSawPlate/cleanSawPlate-01.asp

The handles you either do with a scraper or sand paper. Scraper is easier to get the old finish off and it’s quick to sand after that if you want to. Or more minimalist would be to use 0000 steel wool and some paste wax and/or boiled linseed oil or a rag with some red turtle wax rubbing compound, or even just paste wax and linseed oil and a rag. The more you sand and clean the newer it looks and less patina you keep. It’s up to you how far to go.

Get us some more closeups of the brace and we might be able to tell you more. The maker is often stamped in the steel between the two handles, or sometimes on the chuck. Given the ratcheting style it’s not super old, but looks like a nice one. Now you need some bits.

View Aaron McCain's profile

Aaron McCain

124 posts in 2306 days


#8 posted 01-26-2016 08:37 PM

thanks for the feedback and the advice. Keep it coming! I’ll post some close ups later this evening.

@bandit571 – I didn’t see any obvious brand name. Where should I look?

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14627 posts in 2150 days


#9 posted 01-26-2016 08:50 PM

Usually on the stretch right above the chuck, sometimes ON the chuck, other times…it is on the arm with the knob. Usually on the left hand side of the arms.

Looks like either MIllers Falls with a “Holdall” chuck…or a Stanley No. 945..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Aaron McCain's profile

Aaron McCain

124 posts in 2306 days


#10 posted 01-27-2016 02:38 AM

Brace: Stanley No. 965N – 10in

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