Soft metal in hand saw plates

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Forum topic by Brett posted 04-16-2015 09:28 PM 587 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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660 posts in 2101 days

04-16-2015 09:28 PM

I read an article recently about restoring hand saws. The author said that if a saw plate is bent into a U-shape (or tighter), the saw plate should go back to being straight when it is released (assuming it was straight to begin with). I have a few older hand saws, so I decided to try this out.

My older saws (a Disston and Lakeside, both pre-WWII) straightened out nicely, but I was surprised to see that my newer saws (a 20-year-old Disston and 30-something Disston-made Warranted Superior) retained a significant bend of an inch or more. I could straighten out these newer saws by bending them in the other direction, but their softness gave me a little concern.

Are these newer saws worthless for restoring, filing, and using, or should I look for saws with better steel?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

3 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3029 posts in 1380 days

#1 posted 04-17-2015 12:49 AM

I can’t speak with any authority, but from what I understand, if they bend from doing that then they don’t have the proper spring temper. It wouldn’t be surprising that newer saws would be lower quality.

So I don’t know that I would say they are worthless, but if you want high quality saws you should look for better ones.

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 1676 days

#2 posted 04-17-2015 03:37 PM

New saws lack some very important, but easily missed features. The first is the steel is not that great, but it will work but dull quicker. Second and most important is that because the blade does not taper from tip to heal and from top to bottom, your saw will get stuck in the kerf much easier than a tapered blade. There are a few other things, but I think those two are really the only ones that matter for using.

The handles also are poorly shaped and need a good rasping and sanding before they become comfortable.

View TobyC's profile


580 posts in 1294 days

#3 posted 04-17-2015 03:54 PM

The newer saws will work just fine, but they will require a little more set because of the lack of taper. Those 20 and 30 year old Disstons may have taper though, you’ll have to check.

The steel in the new saws is the same that is used in those expensive custom saws that are made today, so by all means save them, sharpen them, and use them.

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