Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saw handles

While going for my lunchtime walk the other day, I noticed a stack of bric-a-brac piled out the front of someone's house with a large 'FREE' sign on it.

Making the assumption that 'FREE' referred to the stuff, and not the sign, I picked up 2 old Disston handsaws.

If you've ever spent money on a handsaw from any hardware shop these days, one thing you'll notice straight away is how blocky the handle is.

Henry Disston - quite apart from being a fascinating bloke to read about - made great saws. And a key part of a great saw is a great handle. Almost all the old saws have them.

The two saws I picked up both have apple handles. Apple wood (yes, from apple trees) makes great handles. The oldest saw of these two, which I date somewhere between 1878-88, is both comfortable and elegant.

As Disston's descendants carried the business on, the handles slowly lost their elegance and their comfort.

It is a lovely thing to be able to pick up a saw - even a rough one - 120 years after its birth, and feel a bond with it. A good saw feels like an extension of your arm.

I'm looking forward to restoring this one, cutting new teeth, and pressing it into service.

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