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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 saw is 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

Barber & Genn Barber & Genn Barber & Genn Barber & Genn Barber & Genn

SA210942 Barber & Genn An early, possibly 18th Century 14" brass-backed English saw. The mark is 17mm wide, but looks just like the mark that Simon Barley estimates as 1790 and states is 20mm wide. The saw has been well used and is short, but it is still in usable condition. The handle has no damage. The brass back was hand polished a long time ago and it is regaining its color nicely. Under a magnifying glass, the mark is crisp and perfect. I can't imagine how they hand cuts stamps this small. There are some dings on the brass back. Saws this early are really scarce. This is the only saw by this maker that I have seen in my career as a collector and as a dealer. G+ Sold

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

SA210911 Henry Disston & Sons A scarce Disston Diamond Jubilee saw, celebrating the first 75 years of Disston, from 1840 - 1915. Sadly also perhaps marking a turning point, since after the Great War, things were on a steady downward slide. This is a 26" saw with 10 PPI. THe blade is clean with a clear but not bright etch. It has been well used and is worn down a bit, but was well cared for. The rosewood handle is damage free. There is a light bend in the blade about half way out, but not enough to matter. The blade is sharp enough to use, but needs a light touch up. This is a not an easy saw to find and this is the nicest one that I have had. G+ $199

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

SA210786 Henry Disston & Sons A 26" Acme 120 with 10 PPI. The blade needs a light cleaning but is quite nice with a decent etch. The teeth on this saw have been reshaped a bit, but they are not far off the original shape, and they now have a light set. It would not be hard to put them back to a pure original configuration, but the saw should work well as it is. There is a slight wave in the blade out towards the end, but not enough to create a problem. The handle looks correct, but the patina lines on the blade don't match, so this handle is probably originally from another similar saw. It seems unlikely that it was just moved slighly on the same saw. I priced this saw to be a bargain for a relatively clean Acme 120. G+ $165

King City, Blish, Mize, & Silliman Hardware Co. Atchison, KS King City, Blish, Mize, & Silliman Hardware Co. Atchison, KS King City, Blish, Mize, & Silliman Hardware Co. Atchison, KS

SA210655 King City, Blish, Mize, & Silliman Hardware Co. Atchison, KS A 26" cross-cut saw with 8 PPI. In as found condition and neediing a light cleaning, this will make a great user saw once you clean it and sharpen the blade. It is a No. 25, if you anyone has an old catalog from this company, which is still in business today. The applewood handle has no damage. I am guessing that this saw is 1930s or 40s. G+ $65

Shapleigh Hardware Co. Diamond Edge Shapleigh Hardware Co. Diamond Edge Shapleigh Hardware Co. Diamond Edge Shapleigh Hardware Co. Diamond Edge

SA21062 Shapleigh Hardware Co. Diamond Edge A DE Number 155 26" saw with 7 PPI that is filed with a very aggressive cross-cut filing. The blade has the Union Pacific Railroad logo etched on it as well. The blade is very clean with some very light scattered staining, but still rates fine. The handle has a chip out of the lower spur and some tool box wear. It is sharp enough to use now, although the sharpening job is a bit uneven. It looks like a Disston made saw to me, probably a #7. Really a nice saw that overall I rate G++ $149

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

SA210479 Henry Disston & Sons A 20" Acme 120 panel saw with 12 PPI. Acme 120 saws are not common, but short ones like this are really scarce. This saw has had the teeth sharpened on a machine and a slight amount of set added. It should not be that hard to recreate the original tooth shape and there is not enough set in it to even notice. The handle has been refinished by a collector. There is also a hang-hole in the saw plate. The etching is clear but slightly faded. It looks like somebody polished the plate with an orbital machine and if you look closely you can see light marks. These could be polished out as they are very faint. There are no kinks in the blade but there is a gentle curve to one side. An expert could probably remove this. Kinks are a different story. They are pretty much hopeless. This saw is so scarce that it is worth putting some work into it to make it a collector's grade piece. G+ $145

Henry Disston & Sons Keystone K-4 Air Master Henry Disston & Sons Keystone K-4 Air Master Henry Disston & Sons Keystone K-4 Air Master Henry Disston & Sons Keystone K-4 Air Master

SA210456 Henry Disston & Sons Keystone K-4 Air Master A Disston K-4 panel saw in a scarce size 20 inches, with 10 PPI. This is the one with a B17 bomber graphic. The blade has light surface powder rust but should clean well with a white pad and wax. The graphic is faded and might improve a bit with cleaning, but I am not sure. The blade is straight until the last inch. It doesn't really matter at the end like this, and it is much easier to straighten out at the end. It needs sharpening, but only a light filing will be enough. This will be a great user in a handy size. G+ $65

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

SA210421 Henry Disston & Sons A Disston 26" D-20 with 9 PPI. The D-20 is the skewback version of the D-23, but they are dramatically less common and were discontinued in 1931. The blade is mostly bright with some scattered staining. The etch is clear. The carved applewood handle has no damage and most of its original finish. If you sight down the saw. It is not perfectly straight, but it is very nearly so and will make a great user. I don't mean to brag, but any other dealer would call it pin straight even if it was much less straight than this saw. You will need to sharpen it before you can use it, but it just needs a very light filing. G++ $95

I. Colbeck

SA100110 I. Colbeck A 14" backsaw. I would have guessed that this was an early English saw, although Simon Barley dates it as Victorian. English saws often look earlier than they are. It certainly looks quite early. This one has a dark patina on the blade, which has a gentle wave to it. The handle hardware is all replaced at some later date. The handle has a great look, although the upper spur is shortened. I am selling this saw strictly as a collector, not a user. It is a rare early saw worthy of some respect despite its shortcomings. G- $59

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+ Sold

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

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

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

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++ $2195


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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