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Thread: How do you clean an older Disston Saw?

  1. #1

    Question How do you clean an older Disston Saw?

    I just picked up this older Disston saw and wanted to know how to clean it up... Oh and I payed $19 for it...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC05122.JPG  
    Beauty is only a light switch away!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Forest Grove, Oregon USA
    Hi Tom,

    I usually remove the handle on saws much worse than yours and sometimes on ones in the same condition if it's a much older example and want to make sure there isn't rust on the blade inside the handle slot. I don't thank that's an issue for yours, though.

    I usually clamp the saw on the edge of a WorkMate, handle off the top by using a thin strip of wood which barely covers the teeth. Then I begin sanding with 400 grit or higher. If that clogs too easily, I drop down a grit and go back up.

    But on yours, which is pretty clean, I would simply use 0000 steel wool and a little mineral spirits to get the grime off, wax it, sharpen it and call it good. No matter what you do, the "etch" on that saw may well be painted on, which means be careful around it else it will come off with vigorous sanding.

    You paid a decent price.

    Take care, Mike

    PS, Pete Taran has some general good instructions at the Vintage Saws web site:
    Wenzloff & Sons Sawmakers

  3. #3
    Alan DuBoff is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Take what I say with a grain of salt, but this is what I would do on that saw.

    First thing I would do is grab a rasp and take it to the handle, round off the hard edges and soften it up. I would remove all the finish off of it, and rub BLO on it, and if I wanted more, I would use Shellac. I like the feel of plain BLO on a saw handle though.

    That saw looks pretty good, I like that era of Disston saws, providing the handle is softened up.

    Make sure you give it a good sharpening, and if you haven't done that before, I would learn how to do that on this saw, it's a perfect saw to learn how to sharpen as they had about 14 or 15 points (not too small), and the quality of the steel is pretty good on those. I typically use 2.5x magnification for that size tooth. I use an OptiVisor I bought from Woodcraft. If you're on a budget, get a cheapo from Harbor Freight. You can get files from LN, LV, or Vintage Saws. I would use a 4 xx-slim for that saw.

    There's another thread in this forum which I had posted a very similar saw I did just as I described. You can see it at this link, and it shows what the saw looked like before I started (it did have most of the laquer removed from the handle already, but that's not hard to accomplish).

    Fettlin' on saws...

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