Adventures in Tool Making #1: A Pair of Tenon Saws from a Disston Miter Saw - Cutting the Saw Plate

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Blog entry by grfrazee posted 05-13-2013 02:27 PM 2791 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Adventures in Tool Making series Part 2: A Pair of Tenon Saws from a Disston Miter Saw - Roughing the Handles »

I recently came back from spending a couple months in Kansas for work. On one of my weekend trips to an antique store, I found this lonely, broken miter saw tucked in a dark corner. You can see the broke handle, but you can’t see the horrendous rust on the back side. For $10, I decided to give it a new home.

Of course, if the saw knew what I was planning to do to it, it might not have agreed to follow me out of the store. Since I already have a Disston miter very similar to this one, I decided to put it to good use by chopping it in half and making a pair of tenon saws – one rip, one cross-cut.

First things first, gotta remove the handle and tuck the saw nuts away for later.

Next I used a white metal marker as a makeshift layout fluid and scribed my cutting line. The saw plate was about 24” overall, so I cut it in half for two 12” saws. Maybe a little short for a tenon saw, but oh well.

Next came the cutting. I put a metal cutting bit on my Dremel and went to work. I stopped every so often to cool the metal with a water-soaked rag. Don’t want to ruin the temper on the blade steel. I started with the blade clamped in my leg vise to cut through the back spine.

Cutting with the blade oriented that way was awkward, so I switched it so that the saw was held in place with my newly-available holdfasts. That worked a lot better.

I discovered that I could cut partway through the blade then bend it to snap it off. To remove the sharp edges from cutting, I used one of the small sanding drums on the Dremel.

The saw is now in two pieces. The old handle was put back on just to see what it might look like.

Next I cut out a matching notch in the heel of the “new” blade so that it is similar to the heel from the existing blade. In retrospect, I probably should have omitted this step to keep the blade as long as possible. Oh well.

And this is where this blog post will leave off. The saw plates are cut to size and all sharp edges (save the teeth, of course) are removed. Making the handle will come next.


5 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3729 days

#1 posted 05-13-2013 03:46 PM

Looks like fun. Curious to see how they turn out.

-- Brian Timmons -

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4578 days

#2 posted 05-13-2013 04:05 PM

I think this was a great idea and I hope it turns out well (not too short)-

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4111 days

#3 posted 05-13-2013 04:12 PM

Nice work and very resourceful.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3251 days

#4 posted 05-13-2013 05:57 PM

If this works out, I’d say for 10 bucks you got yourself a GLOAT there :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 3384 days

#5 posted 05-13-2013 06:55 PM

Thanks for the comments guys. If the saws look too stubby, I could always trim some width off the blades so they look more proportionate. That’s a lot of cutting and refiling though…


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