Saw Shop Questions and Answers: Disston/Porter saws, chipped axe heads, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

It’s time to dip into the logs again for the questions you want to know the answers to!

1. (Question about Disston/Porter saw)

Do not walk, run away from any “Disston” saw that also has the HK Porter name on it. After Disston’s purchase by HK Porter, we were treated to such junk as laminated (aka plywood) handles (which fall apart when they get wet) and aluminum handle mounting hardware, then it went downhill from there.

2. (Question about getting big chips out of axe heads)

There’s really no help for a chipped axe head short of grinding. The purists will gasp at the idea of grinding an axe head but it really isn’t practical to try to file out chips, you’d be forever doing it. For major work, I start with a 36 grit (“medium”) stone on a 6″ bench grinder, followed by a 120 grit aluminum oxide stone on the dedicated sharpening rig (aluminum oxide runs cooler so it won’t overheat and burn the edge), THEN you’re in the ballpark to file the edge out the rest of the way.

3. (Question about sandblasting hand planes)

I would NOT suggest sandblasting any tool you care about. At the very least, sandblasting a hand plane would damage the important machined surfaces of the plane such as the frog seat and the sole of the plane itself. I have yet to see any plane that wouldn’t clean up fine with sandpaper, steel wool, and/or a wirebrush wheel.

4. (Question about a “double bit boy’s axe”)

To my knowledge, no double bit axe head was ever made anywhere near to the 2 1/2lb weight of the “boy’s axe” poll axe. The lightest double bit I’ve ever run across was 3 1/2lbs, so I can say with confidence there’s no such thing as a double bit boy’s axe.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

Elm Plaza, Waterville, ME (Mondays)
Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)
Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Fridays)
298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

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One thought on “Saw Shop Questions and Answers: Disston/Porter saws, chipped axe heads, and more!

  1. Yes, they made many a 2 1/2 pound doubles. called a cruiser pattern. dont care for em, i like a single better 90% of the time.

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