How old is my Back Saw?

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Blog entry by 929649 posted 06-23-2014 10:09 PM 1261 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have an old Diston Backsaw. 12 inch blade, 14tpi. Several years ago I cleaned it up and sent it out to be sharpened, but the guy told me it was too old and the steel was too brittle to sharpen…anyone ever run across that? I’ve tried to identify the age, using the medallion and the stamping on the backbone but here’s the twist. On the backbone, where it reads “Henry Diston and Sons”, the words “Warranted” and “Cast Steel” are reversed from everything I’ve seen. Any advise would be appreciated. Art

3 comments so far

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2594 days

#1 posted 06-23-2014 11:23 PM

Sure looks like an 1871-1875 medallion to me, but you might get better answers from the guys that hang out in the saw thread. Those are split nuts on the other side, right?

View summerfi's profile


4361 posts in 2320 days

#2 posted 06-23-2014 11:41 PM

Art, I think Tim is correct. The medallion is from 1871-1875 and the stamp is from post-1871, but not by much. These taken together indicate you have an early- to mid-1870’s backsaw. I wouldn’t get too hung up on the placement of warranted and cast steel. They are the reverse of what is typical, but these anomalies show up from time to time in Disston saws. Whoever was doing the stamping that day just got the stamps reversed. It may even add to the value of the saw. It is a very nice old saw.

They guy who told you the saw couldn’t be sharpened was probably full of BS or just didn’t want to do the job. Occasionally very old saws are brittle, but I doubt that is the case with your saw. I’ve sharpened several saws older than yours with no problem.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View 929649's profile


2 posts in 2066 days

#3 posted 06-24-2014 12:26 AM

Thanks guys, 1870 to 1875 is about what I thought. Tim, yes they are split nuts, however 1 is missing. Summerfi, I looked everywhere for 1 with the stampings like this one, but I guess your right. Maybe like cars, it was stamped on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon….I hope your right about it not being too brittle to sharpen, cuz I’d really like to be able to use it. Thanks for your help. This is my 1st time on this site and you’ve both been a big help. Art

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