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Dating disston

I did a quick search online to attempt to establish an age for this saw.

is a great resource for anybody wondering about Henry Disston and his famous production of handsaws.

At our 2nd stop I passed on a Disston keyhole saw hoping that I’d find something more appealing as the day went on.

I looked and looked and was convinced that the day was going to be a wash.

To begin, pour a little mineral spirits onto the plate.

Start by wetting the sandpaper in the spirits and then make long strokes applying medium pressure from one end of the plate to the other.

I decided to flip the tote every few hours to ensure that each side got the same exposure to the BLO.

The next step for me was to start deep cleaning the saw plate. After a few minutes of scrubbing the plate was actually silver. Once again, I didn’t get a picture of this step-sorry.

After some haggling, I walked out with a Henry Disston & Sons No. She’s approximately 34 inches from tote horn to the toe of the plate and solid as a rock.

This method seemed to leave the nicest finish and removed the least material. The handle retained the owner mark and wear from years of use.

The next step for the tote was to stick it in a bath of boiled linseed oil (BLO) to soak for 24 hours.

Some people swear by the scraping method, others think that sanding is the way to go. I was so impressed with how the tote looked that I forgot to take a picture before moving to the next step.

I decided to try and use an abrasive buffing wheel with a Dremel tool and was very happy with he results. When it was done, all of the built up gunk, paint and varnish had been removed.


  1. Sanford Levy Hi. I have a question about dating Disston saws by their medallions. From what I have read here and elsewhere, it seems that a Disston saw could be dated fairly well by its Medallion, as shown on the Disstonian Institute web site.

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