Which or are any of these Disston saws worth cleaning up?

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Forum topic by dmr400 posted 06-14-2012 07:22 AM 8782 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2385 days

06-14-2012 07:22 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question refurbishing

Hello all, first poster here. Been lurking for too long :)

I’m slowing turning my power shop into a hybrid one, and don’t have too much experience with hand tools. I was suckered into a garage sale last weekend by a simple weathered piece of plywood, on which was spray painted “MAN SALE—>”. Who could resist?

Anyway, I found 4 rather beat up handsaws, and only intended to buy one (the last in the post). But when he said he’d take $10 for all of them, I walked away with lots of practice material.

They are a bit rough, perhaps too far gone, but I bet there is enough experience here to tell me which (if any) are worth restoring. I’ll keep my opinions to myself for now.

All the saws are currently filed rip, and all will cut though they could all use a sharpening. All of the saws have tapered plates.

Saw #1: Unknown maker (to me anyway), only clue is the medallion which faintly says “Made in East Germany”. 8PPI, 26” long.

Saw#2: Disston D-23: Made sometime between 1911 and 1990 according to a disston history site, I wasn’t able to date it more specifically. 8 PPI, 26” long.

Saw #3: Disston D-95: Manufactured between 1935 and 1950. Starts at 7 PPI, with the majority being 5.5 PPI. 26” long.

And lastly, Saw #4. This is the one I actually wanted. It’s a Disston D-8, manufactured before 1928 (the one part of the etch visible was actually the D with the “8” showing allowing me to date it as at least that old). 27 3/4” long, starts at 7 PPI and the majority is 5.5. Has a thumb hole for two handed sawing on long rips. Plate is in the best shape of them all.

So which are candidates for restoration? I want to turn them into users, but if any of them aren’t worth the effort I’d appreciate knowing in advance. Blade on the D-8 is straight, the rest have some small curves. No major kinks though.

As a follow up, what would you do with them? Of course I plan on leaving the D-8 filed rip, but what about the others? I do not have a xcut saw, and am considering turning one of the others into one. thoughts? PPI for any/all?

Thanks in advance!

4 replies so far

View Ted's profile


2873 posts in 2411 days

#1 posted 06-14-2012 02:08 PM

I’m personally into modern saws. Some old tools are worth restoring for use, but hand saws are not very expensive and today’s saws are just far superior. With razor sharp hardened teeth, they cut 3X faster then old style saws. Granted, you can’t sharpen some of the modern ones, but they stay sharp a good long time if you avoid hitting nails and such. The Japanese style ‘pull’ saws cut really fast and make for a nice thin curf, and they don’t buckle because you’re pulling instead of pushing. Old hand saws are nice for wall decoration, just my humble opinion.

Note that I’m referring to these type saws that you’re showing. Back saws, for instance, is another story.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2465 days

#2 posted 06-14-2012 02:49 PM

Funny you should ask about these. I was using my dad’s old Disston’s this week. They cut fast enough for me * was cutting pine 4×4’s. As long as I’m not cutting a lot of something, I normally just use old hand tools instead of the power tools. Gives me a good workout.

About the pictures, a lot of them are cut off. I can only see a portion of the saw. So, you might want to fix those (checked in 2 browsers).

I say as long as they are majorly bent and seem functional (without broken handles), there’s no harm in restoring them and even using them occasionally.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3559 days

#3 posted 06-15-2012 07:28 PM

I’m not sure about the date of production on the last one. You should go to and scroll down to the link for dating your saw by the medallion. I thought the ones prior to 1928 had “Philada” in the medallion and not “Phila”, but I could easily be wrong. As for which to rehab, I’d say give ‘em all a shot. I’d start with the one that I liked least since you’re going to make the majority of your mistakes on the first one you do. For $10, you can’t lose much so have at it and have fun!!

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Infernal2's profile


107 posts in 2397 days

#4 posted 06-15-2012 08:01 PM

None of them are worth it. Clearly you should just send them to me…...


Seriously though, I understand the D-8 is pretty common (I could be wrong though) and its one I own and personally, after a little love, its been a GREAT saw. If you are interested in getting rid of one of them I could use a rip panel in that size, send me an IM.

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