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A rare Disston "back"saw??

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Forum topic by RS Woodworks posted 710 days ago 1677 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1855 days


710 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: disston saw backsaw back saw medallion rare beech handle tote spine tpi steel

Hey folks. I picked this little saw up at an antique store the other day. The price was right and it’s in good shape. Some discoloration to the blade but it will clean up fine. I’ve never seen one like this, and I’m trying to figure out if it was made by Disston like this, or whether it was a user modification of long ago. This is exactly how I found it, nothing has been done to it yet.

First, the beech handle seems to be original, but I’ve never seen a back saw with this style of handle. This reminds me more of the handle on a Disston pruning saw I have, but it’s much smaller. The saw nuts appear to be original to the handle, but I haven’t taken them out yet. The medallion is a 13/16” model used on their backsaws from 1896 to 1917. The blade is clearly lacking a back spine. The funny thing is, on close examination, it appears that it never had one! There is no discoloration or scratches to indicate a spine was removed. And certainly, the handle is not designed to accept one. The blade is 10” long and 2” tall across it’s length. It is quite a thin plate, and has 18 tpi, quite fine. I can see no blade etch at all.

I bought this saw thinking it would be great for dovetails, and I’m sure it will be. But I’m curious to know if anyone has ever seen one like this or if this is original made by Disston or a user mod. Any info or help you can provide would be great. I’ve thoroughly checked the Disstonian Institute site, and no luck there.

Thanks!

Ryan

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


7 replies so far

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chrisstef

10431 posts in 1609 days


#1 posted 710 days ago

Ive never seen anything like it but i will say its a neat looking saw. Looks like it would pretty comfortable as a dovetail saw. Good score.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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Brandon

4137 posts in 1554 days


#2 posted 710 days ago

The saw handle looks to me like one you’d find on a compass saw. I wonder if the saw plate was just switched out.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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ACP

28 posts in 1814 days


#3 posted 710 days ago

Hi, I don’t post here very often but was looking at your post and have to reply. I have a saw just like this except mine has a spine. It has the same handle and my medallion is an old style eagle but warranted superior. The spine is an ugly black metal. I got it from my friends neighbor who was like 90 and it was his dads. I sharpened it up and it’s my 14 TPI dovetail saw. It is very comfortable and cuts wonderfully. Your handle is nicer than mine. My saws’ had come loose over the years and I had to shim the nut with a washer to provide a tight grip.

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RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1855 days


#4 posted 709 days ago

Thanks guys, the handle definitely looks like that of the #2 compass saw from the catalogue found here. (p. 147) Closer inspection and I think Brandon is right, there is an outline on the saw plate from another handle previously being attached. But What is the blade from? Only thing kind of close is the Joiners saw shown on page 151 of the catalogue, but the shape of the handle seems different than whats left on the blade. Of course, I don’t know that the blade is Disston at all and may be from another source all together.
Now that I know this is a modified saw, I’m going to clean it up and see if I can make out any remnants of an etch at all.
I do know for sure the handle was never fit with a blade that had a spine. ACP, do you have any pics of your saw? I assume the handle has a notch to “let in” the spine?

Here are a couple more pics.

Thanks for looking guys!

-- 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

14661 posts in 1171 days


#5 posted 709 days ago

I saw a saw exactly like that this week end, but with a spline. A brass spline too. It was made in Sheffield. I can’t remember the maker, it was one I had not heard of (Tyler or something like that). The guy want $50 for it, so I passed. The only difference the horn more pronounced.

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

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RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1855 days


#6 posted 709 days ago

There are planty of similar saws out there similar to this that have a spine (not spline). Clearly this saw never had one.

-- 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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ACP

28 posts in 1814 days


#7 posted 709 days ago

Here’s mine. Similar, but lacking a horn.

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