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Buying antique tools by mail can be fraught with risk, because of all of the hidden problems that tools might have. Even in person, these problems are sometimes missed, and even new tools sometimes have functionality issues. However, I donít believe that there is any type of tool that is more problematic to buy remotely than a saw. If a saw is kinked, it is really not worth picking up of the ground, and 9 out of ten saws that I see have a kink or other bend that makes them none-functional. Often, I see these same saws bought by colleagues, and then offered for sale as ďstraightĒ usable saws. I donít think that they are being dishonest, I just donít think that they do enough woodworking themselves to really know. If we say that a usable, you can be assured that it is. All of our saws will have straight, usable, blades, unless we state otherwise. Most of them will need at least a light sharpening. Rarely will they need setting. It takes a lot of sharpenings before you really need to set the saw teeth.

I believe that learning to sharpen your own saws is a basic skill that all woodworkers should possess, and we offer all of the files that you might need in our new tool department. However, if you feel that you are not ready for this, or just donít want to bother, there are few places that will do a great job of sharpening a vintage saw. Do not, and I repeat, do not, take the saw to a local saw service. They will remove the handle and put the saw in a machine. Note that saws need to be sharpened regularly, so sending the saw out every time it gets dull is really not a practical solution. Sharpening a saw is not rocket science. Anyone can do it well with just a bit of practice and some patience.

Explanation of Our Condition Grading System

Frequently Asked Vintage Tool Questions

Geo. H. Bishop & Co. Geo. H. Bishop & Co. Geo. H. Bishop & Co.

SA200352 Geo. H. Bishop & Co. A 10" backsaw with 15 PPI. This saw is as clean as they come. It still has most of the original bright bluing on the back. You almost never see that. The blade is bright with a perfect etch. The etch tells us that it was a model 8. The handle is applewood and also in very nice condition. I have owned this saw for many years. There is one thing that has always perplexed me. On one side, you can see part of a hole, the rest being covered by the forward screw. If this was a hole drilled all of the way though it would show on both sides. I feel absolutely sure that this handle is original to this saw, which appeared to be unused when I got it, or I would not have kept in my collection for all of these years, I have used it some and it is still sharp enought to use. My guess is that they started to drill the hole off and stopped when they caught the mistake. It is a gem. Fine SOLD

Hammacher Schlemmer & Co Hammacher Schlemmer & Co

SA200338 Hammacher Schlemmer & Co A 10" Disston made back saw that is marked on the back and etched for Hammacher Schlemmer & Co. The etching is not bright and to read it you have to hold the saw at the right angle to the light. It has 14PPI and 2 1/2" depth of cut. There is some pitting the right side of the blade, but nothing that will stand in the way of this being a great working saw. It has an aggressive hybrid tool filing now. The applewood handle has no damage. A great Disston made saw for a very reasonable price. G+ $109


SA20034 Unmarked This saw is not marked, but is clearly by Disston. It is a 16" back saw with a 3 1/2" depth of cut and 11PPI currenly filed with a hybrid tooth that is typical of how the old timers filed saws like this. They almost never when for a pure cross-cut or a pure rip on a back saw. It has been nicely cleaned. It is probably from the 30s or 40s. The handle has no damage. It needs a light filing but it is a good honest saw for a user and is cheap because it is unsigned, so that a reseller could put their mark on it. G++ $89

Wheeler, Madden, & Clemson Wheeler, Madden, & Clemson Wheeler, Madden, & Clemson Wheeler, Madden, & Clemson

SA200245 Wheeler, Madden, & Clemson This is an early Wheeler, Madden, & Clemson with a stamped blade, that is also marked "XLCR", which I think referred to it being of high grade. It is a 26" rip saw with 5 PPI. The handle has no damage, but somebody has varnished it. The blade has a medium-dark patina but it is not rusty and would make a great user if you so desired, although I see this as being more of a collector's saw due to its age and nice condition. G+ $129

Henry Disston & Sons Henry Disston & Sons Henry Disston & Sons Henry Disston & Sons

SA200187 Henry Disston & Sons A Disston #12 26" 6 TPI saw. It is currently filed cross-cut, but it is about the worst amateur filing job that I have seen. The saw is about full original height and was probably only sharpened once, but by somebody without a clue. If you are skilled sharpener you can put it right, otherwise I would send it out. This is not the saw to learn sharpening on. The blade is straight and smooth, but with quite a bit of staining. The etch is totally legible. The applewood handle has a dark patina and no damage. This will make a great user once it is properly sharpenend. I priced it low because of that. G+ $145

Beardshaw & Son Beardshaw & Son Beardshaw & Son Beardshaw & Son

SA200158 Beardshaw & Son An early 19th Century English made cabinetmaker's dovetail saw. The blade is 6 3/4", but it seems clear to me tha tthis saw was shortened from an 8" saw. The maker's mark is too far to the front as it is and the front edge does not look professionally finished. The handle has a chip off of the right side of the upper spur, but still maintains its original profile. One of the screws has the owner's inititials engraved on it, with engraving that is of jeweler's standard. This is really cool. The blade and back have some very light corrosion but are overally not bad. The blade is not perfectly straight, but it is close and I think that it should be usable. It has 12 1/2 PPI. Really a delighful saw and a rare survivor. G+ $99

Henry Disston & Sons Henry Disston & Sons Henry Disston & Sons

SA200131 Henry Disston & Sons A nice 26 inch #16 saw with 8 PPI. The teeth are filed very aggressively, closer to rip than to CC. The blade is also etched for a hardware store in Boston, H.M. Sanders & Co, 72 Elliot St. The blade is smooth with a medium patina and both etches are clear. The wheat carved applewood handle has nice color. There is a ship missing from the lower surface of the upper spur, but both spurs are still full original length. The 16 was a high-end Disston saw and this will make a great saw for a discerning user. G++ $145

Geo. H. Bishop, Cincinnati, Oh Geo. H. Bishop, Cincinnati, Oh

SA191240 Geo. H. Bishop, Cincinnati, Oh A nice example of the classic Bishop patent dado saw in 14" size. There is a light coat of protective lacquer on the blade and the handle. I am sure that you could remove it with denatured alcohol if it bothers you. The etch is a little faded but still totally legible and the blade is clean. It needs a light filing before you use it. These saws are invaluable if you are doing sliding dovetails. G++ $109

T. Tillotson & Co, Sheffield

SA19123 T. Tillotson & Co, Sheffield A 10" carcass saw with a lovely open handle. It has double medallions on the handle. The blade is bent and kinked beyond any hope of redemption, but if you want to have a go at replacing a blade, this is a wonderful saw and I would love to see it rescued. Or, it looks great as a decorator piece just as it is. Good $39

Richardson, Newark, NJ Richardson, Newark, NJ Richardson, Newark, NJ Richardson, Newark, NJ Richardson, Newark, NJ Richardson, Newark, NJ

SA1910101 Richardson, Newark, NJ This is a rare saw, for a number of reasons. It is an early Richardson with the distinctive handle style, which makes it scarce. It is brass-backed, which is also scarce, and finally it is a scarce 16" size. Add these up and it is a rare saw It is in as found condition. The brass back is crisp with nice patina. The blade dark, with some patches of light rust, but still straight and usable if cleaned a bit. The handle is crisp and would be amazing but that both the upper and lower spur are damaged. What a shame, as this is an amazing saw for the serious saw collector. G+ $269

John A. Duncan John A. Duncan John A. Duncan John A. Duncan

SA191056 John A. Duncan This is an early saw by a maker that I have not found any info on. The mark is along the lower edge of the back in a manner that is more typically British. The handle, which is fantastic, is applewood, which is typically American. The handle has no damage and a rich patina. You won't find a nicer handle. The blade is 12 1/4", and has a dark patina. It isn't straight and would not make a user. The blade and the handle are untouched, but an idiot has taken a wire wheel to the back. He has taken about half of the patina off, so it doesn't look too bad. This saw has a great look and is clearly worth some research. G+ $159

Henry Disston & Sons

SA19108 Henry Disston & Sons A very clean and lightly used Disston D-23 Lightweight 26" saw with 8PPI. There is some minor staining on the blade but they don't get much better than this. It could use a very light filing and it will be ready to go. Fine- $99

Montomery Ward

SA190915 Montomery Ward A well kept and attractive 26" rip saw with 5 1/2 TPI. The applewood handle has really lovely color. The etching is rather faint but the blade is nice and clean. Sighting down the blade, there is an ever so slight bend out towards the end where it doesn't matter. In fact, it is so slight that it wouldn't matter even if it was closer in. This will be a great user. It needs only a light filing. It was probably made by Simonds, but being marked Wards makes it worth a bit less. All the better for a user. G++ $85

E.C.Atkins, Perfection

SA19079 E.C.Atkins, Perfection A 26" saw with 7 TPI, filed with an aggressive cross-cut configuration for fast cutting. The wheat carved applewood handle has no wood missing, but there is a small old split in the upper spur that was never glued up, but seems stable as it is. This is a nice honest saw that has not bee heavily used. The blade has a pleasing medium patina. There is a hang hole in the blade at the end. The etching is about 60% and I can read perfection, but I can't read the model number. I think that it is a bargain for what wa a higher end saw when new and is still in great user condition. G+ $95

L.B. Towns, Philada L.B. Towns, Philada L.B. Towns, Philada

SA190438 L.B. Towns, Philada A 28" rip saw with 5 1/2 PPI, but a rare Philadephia maker. I have never seen a saw by L.B. Towns before, and had not even heard of him. He is recorded in the Schaffer book, which sadly is the only reference book available on American saw makers. While Simon Barley has created a mastperpiece for British saw makers, there is a real dearth of information in American makers. The teeth are finer towards the end to start the saw and it is still crowned. It has two flaws, both of which I forgive for such a rare saw. Fouth teeth are broken, but none are consequtive, so you don't notice so easily, and the upper spur has been repaired. The applewood hadle has a lovely patina and the repair, while not invisible, is not obtrusive either. An important saw for the Philadelphia saw collector. It is actually still pretty sharp and as straight as the day that it was made. G++ $275


SA190441 Jackson A 12" back-saw with 12 1/2 PPI. Filed cross-cut. It has an open handle in applewood. The owner has branded his name on the handle as was often done in Philadelphia. The blade has an even dark patina. The blade has 2 3/4" of clearance. It is dull but would sharpen up to be a great user. It isn't perfectly straight when you sight down it, but it has no kinks and could be made dead straight if you retension it, but is fine to use just as it is. G+ $85

John A. Duncan John A. Duncan John A. Duncan John A. Duncan John A. Duncan

SA19039 John A. Duncan An open handled steel back saw by a maker that I have no information on. The open tote is applewood and absolutely looks like Philadelphia work. The tote is in perfect condition with wonderful form and color. The way that it is marked along the lower edge of the steel back, "Cast Steel John A. Duncan Warranted" looks more British to me. so I don't really know. The blade is 12 3/8" long and has 10 PPI. There are scattered spots of light pitting on the blade and it has a dark patina. The blade is not very straight, not terrible, but not as good as I would want in a user saw. The back on this saw has been lighty hit by an idiot with a wire wheel. Otherwise it is in untouched condition and is quite appealing. I hope that a saw collector will appreciate this saw. If any one knows the maker, please let me know. G+ $245

Balfour Balfour

SA190317 Balfour's Tungsten Steel Hack Saw Blades This is an original old stock box of 9" hack saw blades. The box once had 5 bundles, but 4 remain now. Each bundle contains 12 blades. I am not sure of the age, but certainly they must be pre-war. The box shows some age but the blades are really nice. At less then $2 each they are a bargain by any measure. NOS $95

Harvey Peace, Brooklyn, NY Harvey Peace, Brooklyn, NY Harvey Peace, Brooklyn, NY

SA190278 Harvey Peace, Brooklyn, NY A good early Peace 14" back saw with 13 PPI. It has a great eary applewood handle with no damage, although at some point in the distant past some finish was added to the handle. The blade is sharp and usable as it. It isn't perfectly straight, it has a faint wave towards the end, that could be removed by retensioning. I have seen new saws that were worse. This is not really a saw to buy to use, but it would be fine to use as is. The etching is faint but mostly legible. The blade has some light pitting, mostly on the left side in the last third towards the end. The medallion is really great. I really like this saw. G+ $198

Grove & Shoemacher, Philada Grove & Shoemacher, Philada Grove & Shoemacher, Philada

SA190237 Grove & Shoemacher, Philada A 14" backsaw by a rare Philadelphia saw maker. This handle is great. No damage, no scratches, crisp. Somebody did hold the handle with some kind of paint on their hands and there is some rubbed off onto the handle. The blade is straight, but with overall light oxidation. There are 4 teeth missing, all up towards the front, two in a row, and then another two in a row. This saw is in crisp usuable condition, but it is a rare collector's saw, not something for a user to buy. G+ $299

Boxwood Pad Saw

SA190253 Boxwood Pad Saw A boxwood pad saw that has been lightly polished. The boxwood has nice color. The handle has a pronounced curve to it. It won't impact it's use. The blade is not perfectly straight but could be improved and used. New blades are cheap and we used to sell them until recently when we decided to discontinue new tools. G+ $36

Early Hacksaw Early Hacksaw Early Hacksaw Early Hacksaw Early Hacksaw

SA19026 Early Hacksaw This is a finely made metalworker's saw that I would date to the 18th, or perhaps early 19th Century. I hestitate to put a country on it, but French would be my first guess. It has about a 17 1/2" blade. The handle is boxwood and the tang goes all the way through and is rivetted. The overall length is 27 1/2". The bare metal surfaces have been nicely cleaned. The fine details on hte ironwork are very appealing and well executed. The boxwood handle has a superb patina. It does have a few shrinkage checks in this dry air here now. This tool has been in my collection for years. It is a connoisseur grade tool. G++ $465

John H. Gunnis, Philada John H. Gunnis, Philada John H. Gunnis, Philada

SA190223 John H. Gunnis, Philada A 10" backsaw by a rare Philadelphia maker. According to the Schaffer book, Gunnis sold out to Disston in 1861. This is the only example that I have ever seen of his work. The saw is in honest as found condition. It has a dark patina on the blade and the steel back. The applewood tote has a rich patina. There is one chip out of the lower spur, and evidence that the saw was dropped onto the spur. This damage has some color to it, so it didn't happen recently, but it doesn't look too old either. There is some light pitting on the saw plate, primarily on the left side towards the front. The blade is still smooth and usable. The saw has 13 PPI. The blade is not perfectly straight, having a very subtle curve. It is still well within tolerance to use and it would probably retension straight. It certainly is not kinked. Of course nobody is buying this rare saw to use. For the serious saw collector. G+ $295

Henry Disston & Sons Henry Disston & Sons

SA1901105 Henry Disston & Sons A scarce #80 cabinet saw. This is the first saw of this type that I have owned. It has a double-sided 12" blade and the angle of the handle can be changed to adjust for which side you are using. It is 10 TPI on one side and 15 PPI on the other. The blade is smooth with a medium patina. The etch is still legible, but only if you hold the saw at the right angle to the light. The finish on the applewood handle has signficant wear. For these two reasons I didn't rate the condition high, but this is a good honest example of a very scarce saw. G+ $99

Union Hardware Co. Torrington, Conn. USA

MI190124 Union Hardware Co. Torrington, Conn. USA An adjustable length hack-saw that currently has a new-old-stock 10" blade installed. As found, it has seen use but no abuse and was properly stored. G+ $27

Henry Disston & Sons

SA181241 Henry Disston & Sons A 14" Disston saw with a heavy brass-back. It is as found and the back has never been polished. The handle is beech and has no finish left. The wood looks like it has been cleaned with a chemical at some time. The blade is tapered, but that might just be because the back is pushed down in the front. The blade has a medium patina. The teeth have been jointed so that they are allmost gone, as if somebody wanted to change the tool configuration. The blade isn't perfect straight, but I think that if it is retensioned it will be fine. It isn't kinked. This is a quality saw that would be worth letting a pro prepare, or do it yourself if you know saws pretty well. G+ $85

Drabble & Sanderson, Sheffield Drabble & Sanderson, Sheffield

SA181217 Drabble & Sanderson, Sheffield A 10" brass-back dovetail or carcass saw with about 18 PPI. Unsurprisingly with such fine teeth, they are quite unevenly filed. The blade is etched with a London retialer at 4 High Holborn. The name looks like F. Presely but I am not sure. The saw is as found and needs a careful cleaning, but if done properly it should look great and the etching should be legible. The handle has a crack on one side, and on the opposing side, the same crack caused a piece to fall off. It won't affect use. The back is pushed forward making the blade look short, but it is not. It is unusual to find a brass-back saw in England that has not been polished in some way or other. G+ $85

Richardson Richardson

SA181220 Richardson A 12" back saw with 15 PPI. The depth of cut is 2 7/8". There is an old chip off of the right side of the upper spur. Otherwise I would rate this saw higher. It is a really nice saw with a smoothen even patina. G+ $95


SA200342 Disston A Number 10 saw wrest. This is not for cabinetmaker's hand saws. I assume that it is for big timber saws or something like that. Nice as found condition. Free to the first person who orders it and spends $150 on old tools. G+ $0

Reliance Saw Co, Philada Reliance Saw Co, Philada

SA18101 Reliance Saw Co, Philada This is a 14" back saw with a mark that is recorded in Erwin Schaffer's book, but with no info. I have never seen this mark before, but the saw is obviously an early Disston made saw. The saw may have been lightly cleaned by a collector, but it essentially looks as found. It is not straight and should not be bought as a user. There is a kink about half way down the blade and while it isn't terrible, I don't see this saw every been used again. Enjoy it as a rare example. G+ $129

Henry Disston & Sons

SA180920 Henry Disston & Sons A 26" 9 PPI #7 handsaw in as found condition. The blade has some light surface corrosion but is really quite good and will clean up well. The etching is clear. The handle has no damage. This saw looks to be about full original height and may never have been sharpened. It is dull now, but the teeth are even and well set, so all it needs is a light filing and of course a cleaning. G+ $99

E. C. Atkins and Company E. C. Atkins and Company

SA180864 E. C. Atkins and Company An apparently unused Atkins Number 58 "Reliable" saw with 8 PPI an 26" long. The blade is bright and clean like new not stains. The handle has some very minor marks on the finish but is otherwise perfect. This kind of condition just doesn't come along in saws. This saw is probably 1940s or 50s. If it was older it would be worth a lot more in this condition. A gem. Fine SOLD

Paul J. Devitt, Phila, Patent Ground

SA170488 Paul J. Devitt, Phila, Patent Ground A 26" skew back panel saw with 8 PPI. A lightly used saw with a particularly nice handle. the handle really rates fine. The blade has scattered staining and a few spots of very light rust. It is very smooth and will work great once it is sharpened. It is dull now. There is one perturbation in the blade about 7 inches from the end, but it is slight and I don't believe will have any impact on use. I am not sure off hand who made this saw but it is a quality American saw made from this hardware store. G++ $89

P.B. Pealey, Philada P.B. Pealey, Philada

SA170436 P.B. Frayley, Philada This is one of the most worn saws that I have ever seen, but it is well cared for with a nice handle and patinated but rust free blade. I have never seen this early Philadelphia mark before but a saw collector has confirmed that it is P.B. Fraley who worked in Philadelphia from 1849 until 1859 when he was bought out by Disston. There are two letters that are not very clear, "Fr" but the rest is very clear. It is a 14" backsaw and the blade is down to only about 1 1/8" at the end. A real survivor. Good $195

Harvey W. Peace, Vulcan Saw Works

SA17046 Harvey W. Peace, Vulcan Saw Works A nice as found 10" carcass saw that has 11 TPI filed CC. The teeth are very unevenly filed and are dull. One thing that I have found is that if the teeth are sharp, it harly matters how uneven they are. Sharp trumps even every time. The blade on this saw is pretty clean. The etching is not bright but it is still legible. The applewood handle has no damage, but it has extensive marks, mostly on the left side, but another saw touching it in storage. The back has a signicant amount of original blueing, now turning brown, but also some rust about 2/3s of the way out. Overall a good 19th Century American saw for a user or a collector. The supply of good old backsaws is quickly drying up. G+ $115

Masterpiece Saw Masterpiece Saw Masterpiece Saw Masterpiece Saw Masterpiece Saw Masterpiece Saw

SA14031 Masterpiece Saw This is a wrought iron framed hack saw with an ivory handle. It is a magnificent piece, and may be a true masterpiece. A masterpiece was a piece that proved that a craftsman was ready to be a full fledged member of the guild. Hence the term, master piece. These pieces were typically of extraordinary quality and beauty, as is this saw. The one thing that might argue against this, is that this saw is signed, in three places, with a maker's mark. I don' think that a masterpiece would have been signed because the craftsman would not yet have had his own mark. The mark on this saw is a circle with a teardrop hanging from it. It is neatly marked in three places, but could easily be missed as the mark is tiny. I believe that this saw is French, and 18th Century, or perhaps a bit earlier. The detail and quality of execution are of the highest order. Even the handle is subtly sculpted in a way that sets it apart from the pack. The condition is also just what you would want, with a lovely uncleaned patina overall. This saw has always been appreciated and has never been neglected in a bad environment. The top rail shows some of the striation lines of wrought iron and has some bending and straightening that clearly date to the original period of use. This is a true museum quality piece and I would love to see it go to a museum. G++ $2995

Creighton & McNair Creighton & McNair

SA161065 Creighton & McNair A 10" open handled dovetail saw with 15PPI. I have owned this saw for nearly 30 years and in that time I have never seen another by this maker, nor have I found any reference to the maker. The double eagle mark, and the general style of the mark, all speak to it being a mid-19th Century Philadelphia saw. The condition is very much as found. The tote has some wood losse to the upper and lower spurs, but it is pretty minor. The tote has scraches on both sides from being scratched by another saw in the till. The blade is actually straight and usable, although obviously nobody is buying this saw to use. The eagles were struck with the stamp canted so that the top of the eagle fades out. UPDATE: One of our customers, who is a knowledgable saw collector, has informed me that Creighton & McNair was an Alexandria Virginia hardware store that operated circa 1849-1852. I bought the saw locally here, not far from Alexandria. It was probably made by Disston, although it could also be Johnson & Conaway. G+ $395


SA161085 Unmarked A lovely early hack-saw of the style that is often marked by Peter Stubbs, but this one doesn't seem to be marked. Lovely original condition, properly cleaned by a responsible collector. The blade is 8". The handle is decoratively turned applewood. Highly recommended. A strong G+ $99

Stair Saw

SA141070 Stair Saw An elegantly formed, craftsman made stair or dado saw. The lines on this saw are simple but wonderfully proportioned. I am just not sure what wood it is made from, although I would guess ash. A very nice example of a common tool. G+ $69


SA141022 Buck An as found rosewood handled pad saw that has never been polished. The nozzle is very darkly patinated and the handle is dark enough to pass for ebony. The blade is old but unmarked. It is still a good blade, which is unusual with these. A nice example that just wants to be wiped off with some wax and a rag. G+ $59

Decorative Dado Saw

SA140424 Decorative Dado Saw A delicate and elegantly formed dado saw. The blade is 5 1/4" and it is 8 1/2" overall. Nicely patinated beech. Craftsman made tools vary widely in form. Some are strictly utilitarian, and some, like this one, are subtle statements of the maker's fine taste and skill. G++ $99


SA12059 Jeweler's Saw This is a frame saw for a very fine blade, like jeweler's use, but this one is probably too large to really be a jeweler's saw. It takes a 9 1/2" blade. It holds the blades with pins, like a woodworking frame saw. One pin is missing, but these are just cut off nails. The handle is rosewood with an elegantly turned steel fitting at the end of the ferule. Lovely untouched condition. A real quality tool. It has no blade with it. Fine $45

Antique Saw

SA90930 Geo. H. Bishop An important and rare brass-backed miniature dovetail saw. The blade is 8 inches, but it this is not a normal 8 inch saw. The tote is tiny. It is sharp and appears unused. I have owned it for 20 years and I have never seen another like it. I remember the day that I bought it a prominent dealer of that time offered me $1K for it, but even then when that was quite a lot of money, I could not bring my self ot part with it. Now I want somebody else to enjoy it. Fine $395

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