Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Update on the 1880's Disston Panel Saw

Sometimes in our crazy world there are simple acts of kindness that make all the difference.  This is one such instance.

I wrote about this saw a couple of weeks ago here.  I had fixed up the saw and it cuts nicely, but there was one saw screw/nut missing and I had to use a current-day steel machine screw and nut as a replacement.

The lower screw is definitely not "period correct"

Here's the other side

Well, due to the incredible generosity of Kevin F., a reader of this blog, I got a replacement bolt/nut.  Not just one - he sent me several replacement bolts!

Three more recent (though still old) bolts top:
Two older bolts at bottom - just the right size I need!

One of the bolts was this medallion, which looks like it dates from 
1896-1917, according to the Disstonian Institute website

The bolts on my saw have 5/32" diameter on the threaded part.  This is thinner than every saw I've seen, probably because it's a bit older (1880's) and maybe because it's a smaller saw.  The two older bolts pictured above had that same diameter.

An original from my saw (bottom) and one just received (top)

You can see a slight difference in the two bolts above.  The original one has a much rougher brass shaft and the threaded portion of the shaft is shorter.  There is also a difference in the thread pitch.  The diameter of the nut was slightly larger than would fit into its hole in the handle, so I did a little filing - both of the nut and of the hole - to make it fit.  Now the saw is looking so much better!  And I didn't have to drill out the hole in the saw plate!

The lower bolt is the replacement

And the other side

Note the missing nut for the medallion.  Unfortunately that nut was long gone and the threaded part of the medallion's shaft had broken off.  But the medallion stays in place without a nut holding it in the saw.  The saw plate is held quite nicely with just two bolts, and I don't have the wherewithal to fix that broken shaft, so it'll stay as is.

While I was at it, I've had another Disston (a D-23), probably from the mid-1940's, that was missing a bolt.

D-23 with missing screw ...

... and with the replacement

Ahhh, so much better!!  And it's all thanks to the generosity of another woodwork enthusiast.  Thanks again, Kevin.  I hope I can return that kindness some day.  I really appreciate it and so do these two old saws!


  1. That is awesome, I have a similar 1880s or so Disston panel saw and it's my favorite saw. Not all original saw nuts as i too struggled to find some but i did find some that worked. I just love that you can sharpen and use a saw that old and it cuts beautifully....also cool that Kevin helped you out.

    1. In this season of giving thanks, I'm so thankful to Kevin for helping me out with the saw bolts. I just love using old tools like this and I get a kick out of it every time I use it. I hope yours gives you just as much of a thrill!