Just recently a Henry Disston backsaw
ca. 1853 found its way into the collection.
Condition of the tool was absolutely
fabulous. No matter how seasoned one is in the art
of tool collecting, when you find such a tool, it takes
a bit to have it all sink in.
The first thing I did was remove the
handle to see if the bluing was present under the wood.
To my knowledge the Disston Firm blued every steel back
backsaw they made with the exception of rare nickel
1870's and brass plating ca. 1895 through
the 1930's. The back of this saw was never blued.
How come? Read on.
The apple wood handle then drew my attention.
All the curved surfaces were nicely finished but the flat
surfaces were not. I drew two conclusions from this
1. New handles were now finished at this
time - lacquer or varnish - before preparation to receive saw
screws when split nuts were used. Once the handle received
the screws both sides of the handle were sanded to bare wood
thus eliminating the brass proud above the wood surface.
This explains the
imperfect shape of the screw heads and nuts one may find if the
screws are removed.
Also light cleaning of
screw heads and split nuts will usually reveal marks left by the
2. Normally the
sanded surfaces are refinished but not as nice as original work
seems to be the rule. This handle has received no finish after
it was sanded.
Then; I wanted to know the reason why; for this
saw, in my opinion, would not have left the factory to be sold in