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Trizza

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My grandfather was a carpenter and cabinetmaker by trade, and passed away a year ago. I've been helping my Mum identify some of the tools in his workshop and came across some real lovely tools in there, but today I found an unusual saw that I haven't been able to find any information on it. Its a Disston 11 point crosscut panel saw with full length back and a nib! I've never seen anything like it:


It has a nice handle, and the medallion dates it to 1888-1896 if the medallion is original:


There is no stamp on the back, and the etch is barely visible but I couldn't make out any model number on it.

I'm planning to keep it for my own use, as it cuts fantastically well and its balance is superb, but I'd love to know more about it!
 

WoodMangler

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marcros":36wlgu53 said:
Where was it made- cant read the seal on the handle
I almost can - it's "H DISSTON&SONS" around the top, and "PHILAD.A" on the bottom - so Philadelphia.
 

Blister

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Thats quality , its lovely

The handle is superb , you should keep it and hand it down the generations in your family


8)
 

Trizza

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marcros":7y9wjceq said:
I found this website to be pretty useful. http://www.disstonianinstitute.com/
I've already scoured the Disstonian but it hasn't yielded any hints yet.

marcros":7y9wjceq said:
Where was it made- cant read the seal on the handle
Here's a closeup of the medallion:


Blister":7y9wjceq said:
The handle is superb , you should keep it and hand it down the generations in your family
Thats the plan - my grandfather was much loved and is sorely missed, and I think he would be pleased to know that his tools will be kept and used by his family. I know that I'll think of him whenever I use it and the other tools that I've selected for myself. I think that shows more respect to his memory than flowers on his grave.
 

bugbear

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Trizza":3p5bkjdd said:
My grandfather was a carpenter and cabinetmaker by trade, and passed away a year ago. I've been helping my Mum identify some of the tools in his workshop and came across some real lovely tools in there, but today I found an unusual saw that I haven't been able to find any information on it. Its a Disston 11 point crosscut panel saw with full length back and a nib! I've never seen anything like it:


It has a nice handle, and the medallion dates it to 1888-1896 if the medallion is original:


There is no stamp on the back, and the etch is barely visible but I couldn't make out any model number on it.

I'm planning to keep it for my own use, as it cuts fantastically well and its balance is superb, but I'd love to know more about it!
Given that the back is steel, and is not inlaid into the handle, my best guess is that the rigid back is a very well done user modification, presumably for rigidity and accuracy, and (hence) probably intended for cutting large joints e.g. door tenons.

The lack of a stamp on the back would tend to support this interpretation.

All the factory "half-back" saws (per the disstonian site) are quite different to your saw.

BugBear
 

Alf

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For what it's worth (not much) I concur with the Bear's conjecture. Very nice and a splendid keepsake to remember your grandfather by; better than any off-the-shelf model. But then I do love a user-modified tool.
 

bugbear

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Alf":1sof9cu5 said:
For what it's worth (not much) I concur with the Bear's conjecture. Very nice and a splendid keepsake to remember your grandfather by; better than any off-the-shelf model. But then I do love a user-modified tool.
I just noticed something - only 3 saw nuts. Disstons often have more. I wonder if we're looking at a saw with a replacement Disston medallion?

Trizza - Can you see "Disston" in the etch?

Oh - and hearty agreement (Alf) on the delight of user modified or made tools.

BugBear
 

Pete Maddex

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Hi, Trizza

Colour the etch in with an indelible felt pen then sand it with some fine wet and dry (400-600) on a block it should leave black in the etch and make it more visable.

Pete
 

AndyT

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I too think BB is right - and this picture from Ellis's Modern Practical Joinery (1908) shows just the sort of large tenon cutting where such a saw would be useful:



Is that your Grandad?
 

Trizza

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Thanks for the guesses! It could well be a user modified saw, albeit a very well done modification. My grandfather built quite a few houses, including his own, so he may well have had a need for such a saw. He did rehandle a few of his saws so it is possible that this is not the original handle, which may explain the 3 sawnuts.

Pete, bugbear - it is definitely a Disston, that much is visible from the etch.
 

Alf

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bugbear":2n63tlio said:
All the factory "half-back" saws (per the disstonian site) are quite different to your saw.
However... I was perusing back issues of the Fine Tool Journal this weekend, and came upon an interesting article by Pete Taran on a Disston "half-back" that, well, wasn't quite "half". It, too, had an almost full length steel back, but of more relevance to this thread, buried in the text was also this:

Pete Taran FTJ 56.1":2n63tlio said:
Disston did offer a No.7 hand saw with a removable steel back . These are very scarce indeed, almost certainly because if the back became separated from the blade, the saw looked like any ordinary hand saw.
I know nothing of this, and a cursory search didn't bring up any further info on the backed #7 (but I didn't look that hard, and certainly don't have BB's Google-fu abilities with which to shift out all the actual "back saw" hits) but I thought it was worth bringing to the discussion. I'd expect Disston to be stamped all over the back if it was an original feature (as found in the half-backs), but who knows? Maybe Grandfather Trizza saw an original and got the idea? Go forth and hypothesise, my children... :D
 

andy king

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Trizza":22e3zyi1 said:
Thanks for the guesses! It could well be a user modified saw, albeit a very well done modification. My grandfather built quite a few houses, including his own, so he may well have had a need for such a saw. He did rehandle a few of his saws so it is possible that this is not the original handle, which may explain the 3 sawnuts.

Pete, bugbear - it is definitely a Disston, that much is visible from the etch.
I suppose the easiest way to check if its a replacement handle given that Disston used 4 or 5 nut configurations is to remove it and see what lies beneath (although there are 3 nut saws on the Disstonian site as well)
As its a Disston blade it should clear up the nut configuration if nothing else...

HTH
Andy
 

heimlaga

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andy king":2k30cy5n said:
I suppose the easiest way to check if its a replacement handle given that Disston used 4 or 5 nut configurations is to remove it and see what lies beneath (although there are 3 nut saws on the Disstonian site as well)
As its a Disston blade it should clear up the nut configuration if nothing else...

HTH
Andy
Are you sure?
I have a Diston number 12 with only three nuts. It is a rather small one.
 

andy king

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heimlaga":2yrplb88 said:
andy king":2yrplb88 said:
I suppose the easiest way to check if its a replacement handle given that Disston used 4 or 5 nut configurations is to remove it and see what lies beneath (although there are 3 nut saws on the Disstonian site as well)
As its a Disston blade it should clear up the nut configuration if nothing else...

HTH
Andy
Are you sure?
I have a Diston number 12 with only three nuts. It is a rather small one.
Yep, as I said above, there are three nut versions, but removing the handle will indicate if there are other holes from a different configuration handle, or show if its been re-drilled to fit the current handle - aligning a replacement smack on with an original can need a little bit of tweaking, even on a like for like set up, often showing up as a slightly elongated hole.
It should at least clear up whether the handle has been replaced at any stage if nothing else.

cheers,
Andy
 

bugbear

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andy king":4iciems5 said:
heimlaga":4iciems5 said:
andy king":4iciems5 said:
I suppose the easiest way to check if its a replacement handle given that Disston used 4 or 5 nut configurations is to remove it and see what lies beneath (although there are 3 nut saws on the Disstonian site as well)
As its a Disston blade it should clear up the nut configuration if nothing else...

HTH
Andy
Are you sure?
I have a Diston number 12 with only three nuts. It is a rather small one.
Yep, as I said above, there are three nut versions, but removing the handle will indicate if there are other holes from a different configuration handle, or show if its been re-drilled to fit the current handle - aligning a replacement smack on with an original can need a little bit of tweaking, even on a like for like set up, often showing up as a slightly elongated hole.
It should at least clear up whether the handle has been replaced at any stage if nothing else.

cheers,
Andy
I would be wary of removing handles purely to satisfy curiousity - removing and replacing a brass saw screw without damaging the screw or the handle is difficult IME.

BugBear
 

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