SAWgery #1: Surgery on an old Disston

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Charlie posted 09-15-2013 06:05 PM 1821 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of SAWgery series no next part

This old Disston had seen better days. It had been reground/retoothed so many times that the etching was half gone and the toe was only about an inch tall. So… rather than pitch it, and because I am learning how to sharpen my own hand saws, and because some folks on here with more experience than I suggested it, I decided to perform surgery…. or in this case…


This was a Disston D20 skewback. Kind of narrow in the toe to begin with, but this one had been just ground too much…

This saw plate had some bends near the toe. Left, right, then a clockwise twist. So I came back to where it was straight and that’s pretty much how I decided where to cut it off.

Now it’s straight

Handle removed

Not sure if photo will show but only the top half of the etch is still there. The rest is ground off.

There is an eagle and liberty bell etch to the right of the Disston Bros etch and it’s also half gone. Only the top part of the liberty bell remains. Kind of a shame

Better idea of how much I cut off

Also had to clean up the butcher job at the heel from previous grindings

and round over where I had cut it off at the toe

Don’t have a saw vise yet, and waiting for saw files to arrive, but I had ONE file and a workmate and ended up with this

Don’t laugh… it actually worked pretty good except for the being bent over part. When I put the file into the saw I kind of felt around for where it felt right. This was not ground perpendicular to the plate. It had a bit of an angle to it, so I followed that and did one side, then the other. Mind you this was my first time sharpening so ….. not bad surprisingly. It felt kind of natural once I got going.

It needs the teeth set really badly. Because so much had been ground off, I sighted across the plate and some teeth have virtually no set to them at all. My saw set should be here Thursday and this is my practice saw, so we’ll see how it is after that. Right now it cuts pretty well, but wants to bind some.

And I couldn’t help but shine up her “buttons” a bit

So that’s it for SAWgery.
I’ll add an entry here once I get the teeth set so we can see how well I did with that file :)

3 comments so far

View Charlie's profile


1101 posts in 2792 days

#1 posted 09-15-2013 07:36 PM

Wow… more research on the saw itself. It’s not a D20 as I first thought. Because of the eagle and liberty bell etch, this is a D115 saw from Disston’s Victory line. The hole pattern in the handle WITH the victory etch (eagle and bell), and it being a skew back means it could be as early as 1928. I’m trying to follow the history of the victory etch changes and it could also be from around 1940 or skip ahead to 1945. So even more of a shame to cut it, but better to keep it going than end up in a land fill. The steel in these is considered to be among the best that Disston ever used.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4179 days

#2 posted 09-15-2013 07:41 PM

Nice saw, I am looking for a short Disston crosscut handsaw.

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2922 days

#3 posted 09-15-2013 07:44 PM

Make a handle for the tip section to make a lock saw (Drill holes and saw to link up holes)

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics