Skip to main content

Re-Toothing a Disston Handsaw, or A Fool's Errand That Ended Well

The most difficult part in sawing is starting the saw.

Bernard E. Jones, The Practical Woodworker, 190?



I'm starting to prepare for winter work, that means building a few guitars, by finishing up some projects I started a while back. One of those projects was to re-tooth one of two panel saws I own: an early 1900's 18 inch long Disston crosscut or 1920's-ish Warranted Superior saw that is 20 inches long. The Warranted Superior saw needs some time at the anvil for straightening, so I opted for the Disston.

One reason for the conversion is that at the moment, I am not willing to shell out $250 for a Lie Nielsen rip tooth panel saw. I know such a saw is a bargain at that price, but I need a few more orders to justify the expense.

The main reason for doing this work is the 26-28 inch Disston rip saws hanging by the window behind the work bench can be a little big for ripping smallish pieces of wood.



First thing I needed to do was to turn a new handle for the four inch extra slim saw file I used for re-toothing. A piece of walnut on the mini lathe was just the thing and in a couple of minutes I was off to the saw vise.




I bought this saw about five, six years ago from Sandy Moss of Sydnas Sloot, just because it was a panel saw. The etching is pretty much gone, I can't make out the model number, the saw is wonderfully straight but had never been jointed properly. By the time the jointing file touched the teeth in the middle of the saw I needed to re-shape the teeth on the heel and tool before I jointed any more, otherwise there would have been no teeth in those locations.




Progress!




Success! I didn't set the teeth and the saw cuts straight! The kerf is nice and narrow, though at the next sharpening session I might have to pull out the saw set, I don't want the saw to bind in the cut.

I didn't measure how points per inch, I assume it is still around 10 points, which the saw was originally.

Now, I have the rip panel saw that I always wanted, all I needed to obtain it was to use a little elbow grease!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How to Make a Traditional Froe Mallet

What holds the Holy of the Holies, what did Brahma become? Wood. Why will aspen always tremble? For the nails driven into the cross. What makes the color of wood? The soil it tastes. Cradle, fiddle, coffin, bed: wood is a column of earth made ambitious by light, and made of beauty by the rain.

Kim R. Stafford, Having Everything Right, 1986.

Rive, verb, to split
Shake, noun, a split in a piece wood. (Heart shake, ring shake)
Shake, verb, (Middle English), to split.

I know I should have been in the studio working on my back log of guitars, but the day was so nice and warm with a tall blue canopy, I couldn't stay inside. I decided that I needed to make a proper froe mallet. This style of mallet is traditional to northeastern California, primarily Tehama (where I'm from), Butte, Shasta and Plumas counties where making shingles by hand from sugar pines was an industry. I don't know if it was used in any other region along the Pacific Rim, other parts of the United States or even o…

The Guitar's Scale Length, Your Hand Size and a Chart

I will cite the case of a marvelous concert player, a Japanese lady who is barely 5 ft. tall and with hands that are real miniatures. She plays a 664 mm 10 string guitar and demanded that I build this guitar with an action 1 mm higher than normal, which she handles with incredible ease. This is serious study!


Jose Ramirez III, Things About the Guitar, 1990




Here is the hand size and scale length that I found on the forum at delcamp.com.

Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 250+ 664mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 230 to 250 656mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 210 to 230 650mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 190 to 210 640mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of 170 to 190 630mm scale length
Thumb tip to pinky tip span of below 170 615mm scale length



Here is my flexible imperial/metric ruler.




Here is my hand properly placed on the flexible imperial/metric ruler.




Today my reach from little finger to thumb is 240mm. I should more or less be playing a…

Basic Hand Tool Kit for Making a Classical Guitar, Revised

Ours is really a simple craft.

James Krenov, The Impractical Cabinetmaker, 1979


So, you want to build a guitar.

Since the original post, Basic Hand Tool Kit for Guitar Making, click here to see it, is the most popular post on this blog, I thought I would revisit it and adjust it to what I am using now to make a classical guitar.

The first thing I recommend doing is to buy or borrow copies of the following books:

Guitar Making: Tradition and Technology, by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson
Making Master Guitars, by Roy Courtnall
The Guitar Maker's Workshop, by Rik Middleton

These are required reading before you begin making a guitar.

Also required reading are these books by Roy Underhill:

The Woodwright's Shop
The Woodwright's Companion
The Woodwright's Workbench
The Woodwright's Apprentice


Why these books by Mr. Underhill? You will learn valuable wood working techniques if you make any of his projects. The dovetail joints used to join a drawer together are far mor…