bought a lot
of saws during the last four years or so.
And being a overly optimistic kind of person -
at least as far as hand tools are concerned - I tend to bring
home saws which can never be salvaged.
This 28 inch Disston D8 thumbhole ripper was
cheap enough, but at the time of buying I truly wasn't sure if
the saw could ever be brought back to life. The pictures say it
When a plate looks like this, it usually means
it’s beyond repair. Thick rust covering the whole saw plate and
turned dark is a sure sign of trouble.
And a saw plate filed this badly means a lot of
work. This image doesn’t show all the faults, but the toothline
was curving to the inside, as much as nearly ¾ of an inch in
relation to the heel. And it has been filed “The Finnish way™”,
meaning that the user had no idea of how to file a saw, which
kind of file to use and how to use it.
So why did I rescue this saw? Well, this was
only the second Disston D8 thumbhole I had got my hands on, and
much to my surprise, the saw plate was still dead straight. That
is always a sign of something good. As much as I try to call
myself a restorer of saws, I do struggle with getting kinked
plates back in shape. So I have learned to leave those alone.
Well, in April 2012 I brought the saw home,
cleaned it up and left it hanging on my work in progress corner
of the workshop.
This photo was taken in May 2012. The cleaning
wasn’t quite sufficient, but at last I had stopped the saw from
Note the toothline as well as the irregular and
ugly shape of the teeth as well as my clumsy finger prints
around the top line of the plate.
But already at this point I knew the saw could
see action again. The plate has some pockets of pitting and it
will always be scarred from the rust, but the high quality steel
Disston used in this model is very resilient. The plate is well
tensioned and despite the appearance it could become useful
The saw stayed in this shape for more than two
years before I picked it up again. What had kept me from
restoring this saw wasn’t lack of time or inability. It was the
fact that I had to remove almost an inch of the spring steel to
get the tooth profile back. Those of you who sharpen saws on a
regular basis knows that this is not difficult, but a rather
boring and tiresome task. So as much as I enjoy restoring saws,
this part is the least enjoyable.
Since I prefer not to remove the teeth
altogether, my method was the following: First deepen and
reshape the teeth to a correct angle, then joint, then deepen
the teeth again and joint some more. It took me ten deep
jointing sessions to get just about where I wanted. This task
had cost me one mill file and three 8 inch Bahco saw files.