Item S1 -  Henry Disston & Sons.  Modified Open Handle Dovetail Saw. 

The other day one of our local “tool hounds” brought me a bunch of tools, one of which interested my eye. This was a small (I mean really small) back saw that had a blade with an edge length of only 4 ½ inches, with a blade depth of just 7/8 of an inch. The saw has an apple handle that is missing the front horn on the bottom of the handle (and also has a hang hole bored in the middle of the handle). But the handle is obviously an open one, and the upper horn is full length, with no cracks. The spine of the diminutive blade has the standard Henry Disston & Sons stamp, with a “Philad'a” mark. The front of the mark reaches to within ¾ of an inch of the front of the spine. The spine, however, has not been cut back at the front, and is clearly on a blade that was no longer than perhaps 6 inches. It was attached to the blade with two screws—one an original Disston slotted screw assembly, and a second that was clearly an added screw and nut.

Upon removing the handle from the blade, I discovered two things. First, the original screw assembly utilized the narrow shank screw that was used by Disston until about 1887 when the Glover patent for saw screws came into effect. This suggests that the saw (or at least one of its screws) dates to before 1888

The second discovery was that the saw blade (and spine) had been cut back, at least an inch, and maybe a little more. On his great “Disstonian” web site -- -- Erik von Schneidern has reprinted an article entitled, “The Mysterious Open-Handle Backsaw” that discusses the open handle dovetail saws made by Disston, including the types that never found their way in Catalogs. The saw in hand has a handle that shares the exact shape of 6” open handle dovetail saws made by Disston, but never advertised. These are reported to have two saw screws, but no medallion. The mark on the present saw is identical to the two saws pictured in that article and shares the distinctive placement of the the “Philad'a” under the arched “Henry Disston & Sons” on the spine. The blade has a thickness of 22 thousandths and is need of some sharpening. Despite its warts that is an interesting and rare Disston Dovetail Saw. Good. $80.00

     Price  - $80.00

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