Finding old tool treasures: Disston National Hardware saw.


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works
Biddeford, ME

Sometimes it’s hard to see much of anything worthwhile in old tools. When you get a tool that’s been unloved for some time, rust, accumulated crud, and damage from lousy maintenance can hide the charms the tool might have had. Sometimes they can be worth digging for though.

I had a handsaw in rough condition brought into the shop for sharpening yesterday. It was dull, the composite handle was severely abused, and the blade was caked with hard pitch.

dirty handsaw blade

Lo and behold, when I cleaned the blade up nicely, I found an excellent, legible etch.

Disston Nation Hardware Special etch

This saw was a commemorative issued by Disston for the 1950 Nation Hardware Show! 60+ years old (and a very cool piece!), this saw deserved a little TLC so I cleaned the blade up extra nice, straightened it, put a great edge on it, and spent a little time repaiing enough of the handle damage to make it solid again, altogether a darn nice saw. Certainly far ahead of most of the Chinese junk being sold today.

Clean up 20 tools and 19 will be nothing special, just decent user tools. It’s the one that has the story to tell that makes it worth doing.

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