Adventures in Tool Making #3: A Pair of Tenon Saws from a Disston Miter Saw - Shaping, Sanding, Polishing, and Finishing

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Blog entry by grfrazee posted 06-16-2013 05:26 PM 2889 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: A Pair of Tenon Saws from a Disston Miter Saw - Roughing the Handles Part 3 of Adventures in Tool Making series no next part

Happy Fathers’ Day everyone!

I got some shop time this weekend and decided to work on the pair of tenon saws again. Unfortunately, I only had time to work on one of the saws, but the procedure is the same for the other one so it doesn’t really matter.

I left off last time with the handles roughed out and rounded over from the router. Next step was finishing shaping the horns of the handle.

I used a combination of this curved-tooth file that I picked up at an antique store, a Nicholson file/rasp combo thing, and a round file. The next couple pictures show the progression of shaping the horns.

Next was shaping the chamfers around the part with the saw nuts. This was done with that curved-tooth file.

The shaping was followed by sanding. I wiped everything off with mineral spirits, and this is what it looked like.

I decided to use Australian Timber Oil to finish the handle. This decision was mostly based on the fact that my dad had a gallon of it in the shop that he had been using on some molding for the upstairs. The stuff is a combination of boiled linseed oil, tung oil, and alkyd, and is supposedly fairly wear-resistant. I guess I’ll see how it holds up in the long run.

I also polished up the saw nuts for both saws. For this, I hooked a buffing wheel up to the drill press at 1000 rpm and polished them up with Brasso. Unbeknownst to me, Brasso has ammonia in it, which was a bit of a surprise when I got a whiff. In any case, the saw nuts cleaned up pretty well.

The saw plate was pretty rusted. I tried the tinfoil trick for scrubbing it off and the rust laughed at it. Tried Rustoleum rust stripper, nothing doing. I ended up just using the random orbit sander with 150, 180, and 220 grits to get the worst of it off. There was some pitting that I couldn’t get rid of, but oh well. I don’t expect these to look brand new. I have the one I sanded next to the original of the other half for comparison.

After that, I gave the saw a light coating of oil and assembled everything. The timber oil really brought out a nice, rich brown in the mesquite. Some glamor shots of the saw are below.

For the next step, which will be in the next blog entry, I will remove the old teeth and retooth it. I can’t wait to get this and its sibling sharpened and back to work again.


2 comments so far

View Gibernak's profile


124 posts in 3091 days

#1 posted 06-16-2013 05:53 PM

Looks very nice. I’m looking forward to following the process and learning. Thank u fore sharing

View textool's profile


1 post in 1838 days

#2 posted 10-12-2016 12:27 PM

I’ve read this post a few times because I have an old disston #4 with no miter box and I had the same idea. The big difference is mine is 30” long and 6” deep. Not quite as ideal as yours but your post has inspired me to take a shot at it. Whats the latest on your project?

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