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Old Disston saws: good users at good prices?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 08-10-2012 03:50 PM 2799 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Brett

621 posts in 1336 days


08-10-2012 03:50 PM

Which models of Disstons saws are generally viewed as good saws for using (as opposed to collecting) and also are available at reasonable prices?

For example, a No. 12 is supposed to be a great saw, but the ones that I’ve seen that are still usable are priced too high. On the other hand, No. 8s are available at (comparably) good prices, but I’m not sure whether they make good saws for everyday use.

Where’s the sweet spot on Disston saws that are low cost and high quality?

-- More tools, fewer machines.


4 replies so far

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RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1905 days


#1 posted 08-10-2012 04:04 PM

Brett, I’ve restored and used dozens of Disston (and other makers) saws. You really can’t go wrong with any Disston model, so don’t be too concerned about which # it is. Rather, pay attention to how old the saw is, and it’s condition. Go over to the Disstonian Institute and familiarize yourself with the features of a saw made prior to 1928, essentially with a Disston, it will have the number designator (say the 8 on a D8) inside of the D, rather than next to it with a hyphen. Why prior to 1928? Well power circular saws were invented in 1926, and they took a couple years to catch on, so after 1928, the quality of hand saws started to go down. Disston still made some decent saws until about WWii, but after that, they got really cheap and crappy.
Pay attention to the condition of the saw, a solid handle, straight blade and good condition of teeth is far more important than what model it is. Some of the other makers of pre 1928 also made great saws. I am just finishing up a restoration on two saws made by George H Bishop, and they will make fantastic users, and they often sell for cheaper because people don’t know that they are every bit as good as Disstons. The same can be said about Simmonds, and other makers but some of them tend to be more collectable (Harvey Peace, Richardson, and some British makers as well).
So, I guess what I’m saying is, look for a great condition older saw, rather than a specific model. An older D23 will still be a better saw than a newer (post WWii) D12 or D16. But have a good look at that website and the different models, and you will get a real good idea of the differences in the models so that you can then choose from there what suits your needs.
Ryan

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

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Brett

621 posts in 1336 days


#2 posted 08-10-2012 11:20 PM

Thanks, Ryan; good stuff.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1905 days


#3 posted 08-12-2012 05:05 AM

No problem at all. Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions.

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View Don W's profile

Don W

15029 posts in 1221 days


#4 posted 08-12-2012 12:35 PM

Brett, Matt Cianci has a article you may be interested in, http://thesawblog.com/?p=1004

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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