Disston Saws

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Forum topic by Blakep posted 11-05-2010 08:28 PM 5274 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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232 posts in 2828 days

11-05-2010 08:28 PM

When did they stop making Disston saws? I saw a couple earlier today at a antique store but didn’t know anything about them.

7 replies so far

View swirt's profile


2782 posts in 2998 days

#1 posted 11-05-2010 08:37 PM

True Disstons ended in 1955, After that they were bought up by Porter so the medallions will have Disston HK on them. Those are not as good.
There is a wealth of Disston info here

I have several Disstons and they are all great saws.

-- Galootish log blog,

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 3814 days

#2 posted 11-05-2010 09:10 PM

A lot of folks will say that even though Disston truly ended in 1955 that the attempts to cut costs really killed the quality after 1923 or so. All of mine are 1890s -1910 so I can’t speak to this personally. the Disston name lives on in saws until 1984 I think when the D23 was eventually abandoned by Sandvik the Swedish manufacturer. Ditto to swirt, Disstonian Institute is a great site.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View swirt's profile


2782 posts in 2998 days

#3 posted 11-06-2010 05:15 AM

Good point. The general rule I follow (because I am no good at remembering specific rules) is that pre-war is better in most cases for any old tools. Whether they be Stanley Planes, Millers Falls Drills, or Disston Saws…

blakeP – One fair way to delineate the prewar saws is the use of USA on the medallion. If it has USA on it, it came after 1940. Variations of “Philadelphia” came before that ... and Eagles before that.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2803 days

#4 posted 11-06-2010 08:03 AM

Ditto on disstonian institute. Look for the Eagles or the Penn Keystone on the medallion. If you don’t see those, keep looking. Disstons from early on are still out there everywhere in good shape.

-- Nate,

View RalphBarker's profile


80 posts in 2795 days

#5 posted 11-06-2010 04:49 PM

On the flip side of the saw coin, one could always do their part for the economy and buy from one of the boutique sawmakers. ;-)

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2782 posts in 2998 days

#6 posted 11-07-2010 04:16 AM

Good point, Ralph … but that helps their economy at the expense of mine. ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2806 days

#7 posted 11-07-2010 01:08 PM

And now you need the saw filing vice, some files and lots of practice ! :) I haven’t come across anyone that does a good job “professionaly” around here.
Story.. My mother in law’s dad was a fine woodworker, shipwrite as well. Many years after his passing she decided to get one of his prized Disston’s re sharpened and went
to the area shop that did EVERYTHING in sharpening from lawn mowers to sissors.. The guy took a look and said ‘oh, mrs, I can’t do this, we’re all automated, and the machine’d wreck this beautiful set and angles..” She was stunned..but handed it over anyway there being no other option . It does cut very well, but not the way it did when the old man did it by hand. My sharpening, learned by trial and error long since then is probably worse than the machines but
IT’S MINE ! Oh and Disston quality ? I have hanging on the wall a prime example of the demise of same. Most of the old stuff, be it Disston or Stanley was made for years and years. Some of my stuff was made for a century before being replaced. The saw..a D-100 made only from 1961 to 1966..An aluminum handle with wood insert..I cleaned it up from the auction box, sharpened, smoothed out the wood insert and gave up after a few strokes.. the angle of the handle, the ballance all off.. Give me a nice wood handled old one any time !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

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