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OLD Disston & Son saw...with a twist

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Forum topic by Matt posted 04-02-2013 08:43 AM 1492 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt

30 posts in 549 days


04-02-2013 08:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: disston hand saw spear jackson

Hello Everyone and Happy Easter. I joined this forum a few seconds ago because of an interesting saw I bought yesterday and thought someone here may know more about it than I do.

I went to an auction yesterday to try to find a drawknife and some old saws. No luck with the draw knife, but I did pick up what I thought was a nice old Disston rip saw for $35. Before buying, I knew nothing about Disston saws except that they are “good.” I saw the name, the saw looked to be in good working condition and was exactly what I was looking for, a nicely built long rip saw with aggressive teeth. I bought it and took it home.

I started cleaning up the saw before I started my research (new guy mistake, but I bought the saw to use). I googled the etch on the blade—“Henry Disston & Son, Key Stone Saw Works, Philadelphia, Cast Steel 7 Warranted, Patent Ground.” I found the Disstonian Institute and started reading. I found that the company changed its name to Disston & Sons in 1871; the one-son name was used from 1865-1871. I also compared my saw to pictures of saws from those years and the handle is very similar. The nib and split nuts also resemble a saw from those years. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to have found a tool that old.

Here’s the thing—the medallion in the handle is not a HD&S medallion, it’s a Spear & Jackson Sheffield one. The split nuts show that a previous owner took them off and put them back on. I can only guess that the original medallion was lost or broken and a previous owner replaced it. The handle is in fair condition. It has a slight crack but, to me, looks usable.

Is it possible that this medallion is original to the saw, that some Disston saws had Spear & Jackson handles?

Let me know if anyone is interested and I will post some pictures.


14 replies so far

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carguy460

782 posts in 1002 days


#1 posted 04-02-2013 12:12 PM

I highly doubt that the medallion is original to the saw, I’m pretty sure that Disston put their own handles and medallions on at that time. I’m guessing thats a previous owner modification. Either way, thats a great saw, especially if you can read the etch! I’ve got an 1865-1871 era saw that I’m too scared to clean up at the moment, but I’m pretty sure the etch is long gone!

Guess I don’t have a full saw shot…hmmm…

Got a pic of yours? I’d love to see the etch…

-- Jason K

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Matt

30 posts in 549 days


#2 posted 04-02-2013 04:25 PM

Yeah I have several pics of the cleaned up saw! Give me a few hours and I’ll put them up, I have to go to class soon.

Edit- I need to make a photobucket account, too.

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Matt

30 posts in 549 days


#3 posted 04-02-2013 05:21 PM

Ok, here’s the Spear & Jackson medallion. I tried getting 3 other pictures on here but when posted, the focus shifts to the left in the frame, cutting out the right side of the picture. In this picture below, the medallion is supposed to be centered but came out shifted when posted to LJ. Weird. In the picture of the etch, you won’t be able to see the Son part…Gotta fix that.

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Matt

30 posts in 549 days


#4 posted 04-02-2013 05:26 PM

Ok turns out I didn’t need photobucket. This is uploaded from my computer. Here’s the etch.

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Matt

30 posts in 549 days


#5 posted 04-02-2013 05:27 PM

And here’s a few more.

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Grandpa

3158 posts in 1342 days


#6 posted 04-02-2013 06:08 PM

I am certainly not an expert on these saws. I do own a couple of older Diston saws and have read about them. I also doubt the S&J nut is original. I think it has been replaced for one of many reasons. This should be a great user or display saw. This appears to be in fgood shape from the photos.

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carguy460

782 posts in 1002 days


#7 posted 04-02-2013 06:39 PM

Wow, nice saw! The handle looks about the same shape as mine, I’d bet you just have a swapped out medallion! Nice find!

-- Jason K

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Matt

30 posts in 549 days


#8 posted 04-02-2013 08:21 PM

Yeah I figured as much on the swapped-out medallion. I guess it’s kind of like a 2-for-1 deal and I’m very happy to have this good saw for only $35. You can see the hardware isn’t in great shape, the threads on the bolts are slightly mashed in places and the split nuts show they have been taken on and off a few times. I ground down a cheap stubby screwdriver to make it easier to replace the nuts.

I did a little ripping with it yesterday…I will definitely have to practice a lot to get good with it. It also needs to be sharpened. I’d like to us it on some projects next fall with cherry I’m getting milled.

I also got Warranted Superior crosscut saw for $15. I understand that “Warranted Superior” is the name for several lower-priced saws put out by the big name companies back in the day. It feels like a good saw to me and has much, much mor personality than these plastic/rubber handled saws in HD or Sears. So I’m happy with that, too. Finally, I bought a handful of old files and an old tire iron for $3. I cleaned them up and they’re good as new.

View summerfi's profile

summerfi

1066 posts in 354 days


#9 posted 10-13-2013 03:55 PM

Hi guys. I’m new to the forum, and this is my first post. I recently acquired an old Spear & Jackson hand saw that is missing the medallion. I found this thread by searching google.

This is an old thread, and I don’t know if Matt will see my post, but I just wanted to say that if you find a suitable Disston medallion for your saw, I would be interested in buying the Spear & Jackson medallion that was used as a replacement. I see quite a few of the Disston medallions on ebay, but haven’t seen a S&J one yet. Also if anyone else knows where I may be able to obtain an S&J medallion for my saw, please let me know. I’m looking forward to getting the old girl back in good shape and working again.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- "Of all the tools I own, my favorite is a good sharp pocket knife." - My Dad

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Tim

1273 posts in 628 days


#10 posted 10-13-2013 07:10 PM

summerfi, Matt doesn’t look real active anymore, but you could try sending him a private message. Maybe he’ll see it.

Otherwise you could try ebay, or find a new S&J saw that’s in really bad shape except for the medallion that you can salvage the medallion from. The last option is probably the cheaper route, but making sure it’s the right vintage for your saw could be challenging. You can ask more at the saw thread. Pictures of your saw would help there a lot.

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summerfi

1066 posts in 354 days


#11 posted 10-13-2013 07:46 PM

Thanks Tim. The forum won’t allow me to sent Matt a PM until I have 5 posts, but this is #2, so hopefully soon. Thanks for the other ideas too. This old saw deserves to be put back in order.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- "Of all the tools I own, my favorite is a good sharp pocket knife." - My Dad

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Matt

30 posts in 549 days


#12 posted 10-14-2013 04:35 AM

Saw this thanks to email notifcations, summerfi I sent a PM to you if you haven’t seen it.

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Tim

1273 posts in 628 days


#13 posted 10-14-2013 06:14 PM

Glad you saw it, Matt. Summerfi, we still want pictures on the saw thread.

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summerfi

1066 posts in 354 days


#14 posted 10-14-2013 10:02 PM

Okay Tim, I just made a post with pics in the saw thread. Thanks for the encouragement.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- "Of all the tools I own, my favorite is a good sharp pocket knife." - My Dad

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