From the Saw Shop, questions and answers: handsaw lamb’s tongues, cracked handsaw blades, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works restored antique tools

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers!

1. (question about when did Disston stop putting the lamb’s tongue on saw handles)

The gracefully curved and carved thin loop at the bottom of saw handles is a dead giveaway to a great old vintage handsaw. Even though Disston got away from carving the lamb’s tongue about 1900 to presumably make the handles less likely to be damaged and save money by making the handles simpler, the shape of the lamb’s tongue persisted on some saws such as the D-7 right up until Disston lost its identity as a separate company in the late 1950s.

2. (question about cracks on the tooth side of a handsaw)

Most handsaws, when abused by digging the teeth in and pushing, will bend the blade. Dig in hard enough and push hard and fast enough and, if the blade doesn’t simply snap, it will partially crack starting at the teeth. A cracked handsaw blade WILL eventually snap. If the crack is far enough toward the toe of the blade and you can deal with a bit shorter saw, it is possible to save a cracked saw by cutting it off at the point of the crack and reshaping the toe.

3. (how to tell if a handsaw needs straightening)

The easiest way to tell if a handsaw needs to be straightened is to watch the way it works. If the saw whips back and forth and vibrates when it’s pulled back through the kerf, the blade is objectionably bent.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Saturday)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

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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