Atkins Backsaw

Monhagen Saw


Love Your Saws with Matthew Cianci


Filing a Lamb’s Tongue...

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So I recently acquired a nice old Disston #7 in need of a handle from one of my Woodnet connections (Thanks Dave!)


Judging from the medallion and etch, which is clearly visible, I’d say it dates from just before the turn of the century…

Prior to my taking possession, it seems that the previous owner out of spite, or perhaps a sick sense of humor, installed a tote on this poor old saw that more resembled an oven mit than a device to comfortably operate and control the saw blade. Thankfully though the devious bastard did at least retain the original nuts and said medallion in the installation.

Since I don’t happen to have a proper donor handle on hand, that means I have to make a new one….which is a fun project indeed.

I selected a nice piece of figured maple that was just big enough for the handle pattern, which I sketched from another #7 and an old Atkins rip saw…its a hybid of the two and kind of has that old school vibe to it…here it is roughed out and ready to be contoured…

I slotted the handle, drilled and counter bored for the nuts and installed it to take a look…

Looks good so far. Next I contour the handle and I’m ready to define the lamb’s tongue, which is the focus of this post.

The last time I made a handle with a lamb’s tongue I carved it in with a Two Cherries 1/2 inch carving chisel (coincidently given to me by the same guy that sold me this very #7…thanks again, Dave!!!) But this time I wanted to try a different approach, so I decided to use a triangle file to create the carved detail of the tongue.

I do this because I’m curious if this is the way factory workers would have originally created the detail on the saw’s original handle way back in Philly where this saw was born. I’m not aware of the methods used to create the lamb’s tongue’s in Disston’s factories… no literature I’ve read reveals this point, but I’m wondering if files were in fact the way they did it.

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