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Panel Saw Mystery

A very kind gift has placed several new handsaws on my bench. Amongst them is a beautiful panel saw. It is in good condition with the usual dirt and slight rust and saws straight before sharpening. I noted a minor crack in the handle so I disassembled the saw so I can place some glue in the crack and what do I find? A little mystery to share.


The saw plate has 10 stamped in the lower corner indicating 10TPI which is correct. The handle appears to be or is very similar to those made by Disston the saw nut is an eagle and states warranted superior. All of this may add up to a Disston saw or other brand made by Disston. There is a mark on the plate which may say Disston, but it is almost gone and I fear that I may be imagining the letters.



The mystery has little to do with the manufacturer, but rather what was revealed when I removed the handle. If you look closely at the photograph you will notice that there is half a hole in the end of the plate and the number 5 stamped at the top of the plate. What does this mean?


People have often taken old saw plates and cut them down for smaller saws, however I would not expect to see an additional stamped TPI for the home rebuild. Is it possible that the factory made a mistake and cut down the saw plate to use in a panel saw? Maybe this was during the War when steel was in short supply or maybe standard practice.

  1. May 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    I would definitely agree on the looking too “perfect” aspect. I have attended many a furniture show in which I was simtaniously impressed by the skill of the furniture builder and at the same time their perfection and skill removed all traces of their hands which left me cold. A good example of hand versus machine is a dovetail to me a machine cut dovetail has nothing on a handcut and I beilieve that its the tiny imperfections that really makes it special. Or maybe its just me trying to come up with excuses for my all to often imperfect work.

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