I found this saw at a garage sale a couple weeks ago. After waffling about it (because of its rough condition), the gentleman gave it to me because I had asked about its history and he could tell I was more interested in putting it to work than putting it in a collection. It was looking pretty bad, but it's a Disston with a fairly straight plate and I wanted to see if I could get it into shape. It's a 26" skew-back saw with 7 tpi, filed crosscut. There was some very bad rust and pitting midway along the tooth line.
|Disston D-?? as found - could not see any indication of model number through the rust and grime|
|Rusty area along tooth line|
|The worst of the pitting (shown after clean-up of the plate)|
|The handle and bolts were intact - just has peeling finish|
|Per The Disstonian Institute, the medallion dates this saw to 1917-1940|
|I e-mailed the former owner about these initials (MC or MG or McC or McG)|
and he's going to look into it.
After some sanding I could make out the etchings. And this is where I messed up - I should have been cognizant of the etchings and been much more careful about where and how aggressively I sanded. The three pictures below show the etchings that appear right to left on the left side of the plate. This picture didn't show it well but the word "VICTORY" is written in an arc above the etching (you can see the "V").
|Can you see the eagle?|
Caption below Liberty Bell "PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD"
|For Beauty, Finish and Utility this Saw cannot be Excelled - Henry Disston|
|This is a D-115|
From a page out of a Disston publication below, the D-115 had a rosewood handle, as does my saw.
|Page 6 from 1918 Disston publication "The Saw - How To Choose It and How To Keep It In Order"|
Image from a Disston publication shown on "DisstonianInstitute.com"
|Photo from Disstonian Institute|
|Photo from Disstonian Institute of a D-8 saw|
|Out of the citric acid bath|
|After more sanding|
|Right "Victory" etching with eagle|
|Middle "For Beauty, Finish ..." etching almost obliterated|
|Arrgh!! Almost nothing left of the keystone and model number.|
Well, with the saw plate cleaned up I turned my attention to sharpening. If you've not sharpened your own saws before, take a look at these two resources. Andy Lovelock's youtube video on "Sharpening Western Saws" is incredible. Over 2 hours, it is very complete and easily understandable. Pete Taran's website "Vintage Saws" has a great treatise on saw sharpening. By all means check them out.
First up was jointing the teeth to create a small flat on every tooth. Some teeth were shorter than others, so it took several strokes with a flat file to get down to where every tooth had a flat. The tooth line was slightly breasted (I don't think it was like that originally), and I kept it that way. Jointing it all the way straight might have removed some of the pitted steel, but I opted not to do that.
After jointing, I shaped the teeth as if I was filing a rip pattern (i.e., perpendicular to the tooth line), except with a negative rake (-14°).
|After initial shaping of the teeth|
|Can you see the two teeth that are not fresh steel all the way across the tooth?|
I measured the thickness of the saw plate and the amount of set and the data are in the following picture. Note that the saw plate is very thin at the toe. I'm not sure if they were made that narrow or if there has been so much wear over time. I thought saw plates were only tapered in one direction, but this shows taper from tooth line to back and from heel to toe. To determine the amount of set to shoot for, I used a plate thickness of 0.036", added about 25-30% to that, and aimed for about 0.046" total set. I'm OK with the couple thousandths variation that you see.
|Showing plate thickness (numbers on plate) and total set (numbers below teeth)|
The bolts did not have square shanks to fit in square holes, like some newer saws have. Rather, the holes were conical on the medallion (left) side of the handle and the bolts have small protrusions near the base of the shank that engage with the conical walls to keep it from rotating when tightening the nut.
|Conical walls of the screw holes|
|A saw bolt and nut. Note the bits that stand proud of the shank of the bolt.|
What a feeling of satisfaction putting this saw to work again! If the toothline steel holds up, this will be a great saw.