Disston back saw (ca1887)


I bought this beautiful saw from Jim Bode Tools in June and organised for them to first send it to Mark Harrell at Bad Axe Tool Works for a proper sharpening.

Mark had the following to say when he received the saw: “It’s a VERY nice 1887 saw from the PHILAD’A era (1887-1896) in impeccable condition. The only thing that needs to be done to it is to retooth the asymmetrical toothline”. 



I received it together with another saw Mark sharpened for me on the above date packaged as illustrated below. I will write a separate post on the mystery saw in future.


OK you can have a sneak preview of the mystery saw to wet your appetite.


Didi got stuck into testing it out before I could even remove the Bad Axe Business card.


I have to say that Mark did a sterling job of sharpening this saw as it cuts exceptionally well. I have no hesitation in recommending Mark to anyone who wants to get a saw sharpened to absolute perfection.

My new Disston also fits my hand like a glove and therefore became my favourite saw within days. It was already used on several tasks while finishing my most recent bench.


5 thoughts on “Disston back saw (ca1887)”

  1. A good fitting saw is very important, both for the saw and you.
    The big guy is a miter box saw, you “may” have to tweak its set a smidgen on one side to make it cut perfectly true, no big deal, and I do mean a very small smidgen…
    That is true of any miter box and saw combination BTW.


    1. Hi Bob

      I thought I lost this comment, but it seems it just took some time to move from spam to pending. You are quite right, it is a Simonds 30″ x 5″ mitre box saw I bought with a Langdon Miller’s Falls ACME no. 75 mitre box. I first want to do a bit of a clean-up of the mitre box before posting something. I also did some research on the history of these companies and will include a few interesting facts (which I am sure you already know anyway).

      Good luck to Heather.

  2. OK, I was wondering because I still saw it?
    Oooh, I own 3 miter boxes but no Langdon yet 🙂
    One last thing, these big miter box saws were never designed to be used free hand outside a miter box, the spline is not strong enough, and they could bend. ONLY use it with a miter box.


  3. Hey Gerhard,

    Love the little back saw. They sure are fun to restore and put to good use. I’ve so far never got the bug for a miter saw. I seem to turn to power tools when those are called for.

    Best to all,


    1. Jonathan

      I also used to think that my DeWalt radial arm saw is the most helpful took in the shop, but the more I get into the hand tool thing the more I dread using it. I have become more and more aware of how dangerous it is, how loud it is and how much effort it is to get it to cut square in two planes at the same time. It would take me quite some time to reset it just for it to unset itself in the blink of an eye if it happens to grab the stock. I still cannot tell you whether the mitre box will become my tool of choice for this type of work as I still need to use it to decide, but hand sawing has become quite enjoyable. At this stage I will continue to do long rip cuts with the bandsaw (I do not like hand sawing that much), but at least the bandsaw is much quieter and feels a lot safer.

      Have a wonderful day.

Thanks for commenting on Je ne sais quoi Woodworking

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.