Disston "10"

Discussion in 'Forum: Saw Identification and Discussion' started by pmcgee, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. pmcgee

    pmcgee Most Valued Member

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    Apologies ... I don't really have time to upload the hard-gotten pictures I took a while ago.
    "One of those" etches.
    But does Disston and "10" ring anyone's bells?
    Toby mentioned a "Disston #10" in an old post ... I wasn't sure if it wasn't a typo.

    In any case, even if the answer if blindly obvious ... thanks for any help. :)
    Cheers,
    Paul
     
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  2. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Hi Paul,
    In the 36 years between his start in 1840 and his first catalog in 1876, Disston made several types of saws that are undocumented other than by their very existence. The # 10 is one of them. Two years ago, in asking around among saw collectors and M-WTCA members to research an article, I heard of around ten of them. Since then at least two more #10's have surfaced
    Most are die stamped, but one with an etch was reported. The handle shapes and fasteners vary. Most of them use steeple head nuts, although at least one has a stamped brass plate on the handle. Needless to say, it's a pretty uncommon type. My guess (weakly supported by die stamp and handle styles) is that Disston made them from around the late 1850's until at least 1865, when he began etching his saws.
    Before the first catalog he also made other, even less common, undocumented saws; the #14 and the #15, as well as some with no style #. It's an intriquing puzzle to try and figure them out.
    I'm on vacation now, but I'll try and post images of two of them later when I return home.
    David
     
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  3. pmcgee

    pmcgee Most Valued Member

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    I decided to man-up and get my parts in gear.
    I uploaded the photos here ... https://goo.gl/photos/K3YqEHoqHRcoJ3Pi8
    It is a fairly normal-looking saw of the maybe-pre-1900 type.
    Glover (Disston '76 actually) screw/bolts ... and the look reminds me a lot of the earlier Keen Kutters with the nice etch.

    I thought the text looked like HENRY DISSTON & SON, but it would seem pretty likely that there was probably another 'S' there.

    The etch doesn't follow the format of the Keystone-style etches of the well-known models.

    Hopefully you can see it was a cow of an etch to capture on 'film'.

    Cheers,
    Paul
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
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  4. pmcgee

    pmcgee Most Valued Member

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    I forgot to say ... aside from trying stuff like Brass-Darkening solution or Gun Blue ... I have found that just leaving saws untouched for some months inside has had the effect, quite a few times, of marginally bringing out some detail that I couldn't see before in an etch.
    I also remembered I had made an attempt to highlight the visible elements ...
     

    Attached Files:

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  5. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Hi Paul,
    Well, it's an interesting saw, but it certainly presents a bunch of contradictions which make me lean towards considering it a marriage of sorts. However, the etch certainly appears to say "10" as well as Henry Disston & Son. As far as I can see from here, it doesn't appear to me that the etch ever said Sons.

    Here are some of the confusing aspects. Henry Disston marked his saws "& Son" only from 1865 until 1871. The blade is skewbacked, a feature which Disston introduced in 1876. The handle is like that of the New # 16, which was introduced in 1880. And the medallion reads "Warranted Superior", not Henry Disston & Son. However, Disston did use that handle shape on saws he produced for others, with a WS medallion, so the handle and medallion might have come from one of those other saws.
    To add to my confusion, occasionally saws marked Henry Disston with WS medallions show up, so perhaps that isn't such a huge problem. And I've seen one or two saws where the owner ground them into skewbacks (perhaps to make them more modern?) so that may explain that. The New # 16's were flat backed saws, not skewed, so after market shaping is the only explanation for the skewed back, if the handle is in fact original to the blade. Have you pulled the handle and checked for new screw holes?

    But all of the above aside, it certainly seems to me that, even though other parts of this saw confuse me, the blade is from a # 10. It's the first etched 10 that I've actually seen, and not just heard about, so thank you for showing it here. I think it's a great find you've made.

    I've attached a couple of images of my die stamped #10's with steeple head nuts, but unfortunately don't have close ups of the stamps with me. They say "Extra / Henry Disston / 10" Any other information has been long ago worn away.

    Regards,
    David

    #10 applehandle.jpg #10 stampedplate.jpg
     
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  6. pmcgee

    pmcgee Most Valued Member

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  7. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Well, it just goes to show me again that I shouldn't be so quick to bloviate. I guess the etch probably did say "& Sons" although it doesn't look so to me. And I also belatedly realize that the owner-skewed saws I've seen don't have that clear continuous line from handle top to blade top that yours does. They have a downward break in that line.

    I also guess this saw shows how Henry produced his etched # 10's; skew backed with a handle which presaged the New # 16. The only thing still puzzling is the WS medallion, but that has certainly appeared on other of his saws and has small import.
    Thanks again for showing it.
    David
     
  8. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    At least his etched #10's made after 1876. Before that, from '65 to '76, they must have been flatbacked....I think.
    David
     
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  9. pmcgee

    pmcgee Most Valued Member

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    I'm all in favour of Wild Ass Guesses, speculation and musings. :)
    Regardings 'and Sons' ... there's a kinda "fullstop" there that could be part of either, I think.
    Thanks very much for the feedback - I didn't know the history of the #16.
    Paul.
     
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  10. pmcgee

    pmcgee Most Valued Member

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    I see the Disstonian site gives 1874 for the introduction of the Choice "80" with skewed back.
     
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  11. TobyC

    TobyC Most Valued Member

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  12. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Okay, here are some more musings. I've now heard about or seen 13 # 10's. Eleven of them have die stamps, so they theoretically were made between about 1855 to 1865, a ten year period. If we push that start date back and theorize Disston began making them in 1850 (which I think unlikely), it's still only a 15 year period of production of that style with die stamps. (Correction: I've seen or heard about 12, of which 10 have die stamps. Apologies!)

    Of the remaining two, that are etched, one at least uses the 1876 Disston patent screws which were in use until 1888 when the Glover patent screws were introduced. So the shortest period in which they could have been made is 11 years (from 1865 when etching began to 1876 when the Disston patent screws were introduced) and the longest possible period is 23 years (1865 to 1888 when the Disston patent screws were discontinued).

    I know etches are worn away more easily than die stamps but I still wonder why so many early # 10's (11 from a 10 to 15 year period) can still be identified, while only two of the later ones can (from a 12 to 23 year period). Is it simply because of the fleeting quality of etches? Certainly the die stamped saws have more distinctive handles, so could that perhaps be why they were cared for and survived in larger numbers?

    This is all so confusing, again.
    David
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
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  13. pmcgee

    pmcgee Most Valued Member

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    Occasionally we can take a step back from squinting at etches and stamps, twisting and curving the blades to coax out the last vestiges of information that sit there hidden, taunting and laughing at us and think ... "What the hell am I doing with my life?" :p
     
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  14. pmcgee

    pmcgee Most Valued Member

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    "Henry Disston ... he's just this guy, you know."
     
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  15. TobyC

    TobyC Most Valued Member

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  16. TobyC

    TobyC Most Valued Member

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
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    He did an amazing restore on this one, but pix are currently unavailable.




    .
     
  17. TobyC

    TobyC Most Valued Member

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    Found!



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  18. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    It's interesting to look closely at the before and after of the double nibs on the top of the handle, next to the top horn. It appears that they were carved or sawn deeper than they had been before. In the museum world that would be called, in a derogatory way, "enhancement" rather than restoration, and is frowned upon; it's adding something to the object that it never had before it was worked on. But it certainly is pretty. Michael Merlo did a very nice job of it.
    David
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  19. TobyC

    TobyC Most Valued Member

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  20. David

    David Most Valued Member

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    Well, we're now up to 13 with 11 die stamped. Thanks for beating the bushes, Toby!
     
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