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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

E.C. Atkins & Co E.C. Atkins & Co E.C. Atkins & Co

SA210248 E.C. Atkins & Co This is a mitre box saw that originally came with a Millers Falls Langdon mitre box and has just enough of the original decal on the handle to tell us this. The depth of cut is 4". I am not sure if they would have called this saw 24" or 25". The actually cutting edge is about 24 1/2". It is very sharp and was probably never used since it was last sharpened. There is light surface powder rust on the blade. It needs to be rubbed down with one of those white synthetic pads and some past wax. It should clean to better than G+ $69


SA210216 Unmarked This is a small saw out of a children's tool set. Probably 19th Century. The blade is 8 1/2". Nice as found condition. G+ $15


SA210112 Dixon A #5 jeweler's saw with bright polished steel finish. This is a very lightly used tool. Fine $35

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

SA210117 Henry Disston & Sons A 26" Disston D-8 saw with 8 PPI. This saw looks barely used and has probably never been sharpened since new. It does need a light filing now. The blade is bright with a few scattered stains. The beech handle has some losses to the finish and somebody has carved a V into it. Early 1950s Philadelphia production. Fine- $89

Disston Keystone K-6 Challenger Disston Keystone K-6 Challenger

SA201241 Disston Keystone K-6 Challenger A 26" cross-cut saw with 10 PPI. The handle has nice finish and no damage. The blade is smooth and straight with scattered staining. The saw is close to being sharp. It needs just a light touch up and it will make a great user. G+ $59

The Disston Crucible - 3 Volumes

SA201146 The Disston Crucible - 3 Volumes These are a company published magazine, presumably distributed to Disston Employees. Here we have three copies, March 1924, May 1926, and March/April 1927. The March/April 1927 edition has a beautiful attached color picture of the Norther Lights. The May 1926 edition has had the picture removed from the cover and underneath there is a poem. The March 1924 edition has the picture as part of the cover and not a separate piece. These must be quite scarce as I have never seen any others. The May 1926 copy has the second half of an article about the last file maker in the US making files by hand. The first half of the article appeared in the April 1926 edition that I don't have, but I read the second half of the article and found it quite interesting. It is interesting how early trades died out here that perservered in Europe. G++ $59

Langdon Mitre Box Co./Henry Disston & Sons Langdon Mitre Box Co./Henry Disston & Sons Langdon Mitre Box Co./Henry Disston & Sons

SA201077 Langdon Mitre Box Co./Henry Disston & Sons An original saw from a Langdon mitre box. It is a 25" saw with 3 1/2" of usable cutting depth. The back is marked for Langdon and the blade is etched by Disston. Nice as found condition and still sharp enough to use. G++ $129

JNo H. Gunnis, Philada JNo H. Gunnis, Philada JNo H. Gunnis, Philada JNo H. Gunnis, Philada JNo H. Gunnis, Philada

SA201062 JNo H. Gunnis, Philada A 28" rip saw by a rare Philadelphia maker. It is also marked "Spring Steel, 20, Warranted". If anyone knows what a model 20 was, please let me know. The tote is intact with no spur damage. The tote has been removed, presumably to sharpen the saw, and the nuts were not put back properly. One is now missing. The end of the saw was probably reshaped as it slants forward. The saw measures 27 1/2" along the cutting edge. It has 5 1/2 PPI. The blade has some staining but is relatively clean. There are also some hammer marks on the blade. The saw should be useable. It has a bend out towards the end that shouldn't matter. I have never seen or heard of a Gunnis hand saw before. Back saws were far more likely to survive than hand saws. G+ $149

Henry Disston Henry Disston Henry Disston

SA200661 Henry Disston A Disston D-100 Buck Rogers style saw. These have an aluminum handle which was touted to be unbreakable. This is a mid-20th Century saw, but is still a very good usuable saw, better than any new saw today. It is dull and needs sharpening. It has 8 PPI and is 26" long. An owner has scratched his name into the aluminum on the handle. There is no etching on the blade and it sure looks like there never was one. A great saw for the user for a modest price. G++ $85

W. Cresson, Philada W. Cresson, Philada W. Cresson, Philada W. Cresson, Philada W. Cresson, Philada

SA200631 W. Cresson, Philada This is a very scarce Walter Cresson handsaw. Walter Cresson sold out to Disston relatively early to Disston. The medallion is wonderful and has a quiver with arrows and a bow, and spells out "Walter Cresson, Philada, IXL" I believe that IXL is a statement of quality but if somebody out there can fill me in on the details, please do. The saw is 25", with 6PPI. It is filed rip, but with a slight CC influence. The nib is too near the end and I would say that this is a 26" saw that was shortened. Supporting that is the fact that both the upper and lower spur have been shortened, not broken, but cut off. This was clearly to fit a tool box. The blade has a medium patina, but is mostly smooth and rust free. There is light kink at 18" out. I believe that the saw would still be usable, but this is a collector's saw. It is still sharp enough to use though. The impressed mark on the blade is still very legible. The tote is beech. This saw isn't perfect, but it isn't terrible either, and Cresson is an important maker in the history of American saw making. G+ $219

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

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 early 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

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

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

Saw Set

SA200924 Saw Set An unmarked Elipse type saw set. It is missing the adjustable piece in front that the saw rests against. Free to the first person who orders it and spends at least $50 on old tools. Good $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

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

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++ $2495

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


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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