Came across a totally nasty (had remains of mud dauber homes on it!) and
well rusted 26" saw at an antique store recently. Got it for all of $5.
Cleaned off the thick gunk and rust last night to find it is a Disston
Keystone Challenger. It needs more cleaning and sharpening, but is this a
decent saw (once sharpened) for WW'ing? Believe it or not this is my first
handsaw. Well, okay, I bought a bowsaw because I thought I might someday
look as cool as Tage does with his (not yet though).
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I've seen the site before but all I could find was an advertisement from the
late 1930s for the saws. The ad implies the saws were not of the quality of
their other saws:
Hundreds of thousands of consumers -- farmers, householders, apartment
dwellers and others-use saws only occasionally. They do not require saws of
the quality and prices of "The Saw Most Carpenters Use", but they do want
low priced saws that cut well and hold a keen edge.
Does that mean it's not worth trying to clean up and resharpen?
I got intrigued by old handsaws a while back and now have a
dozen or so. In my opinion, even Disston's cheap saw was better
than most you can buy today.
The main thing is that all the teeth are there and that there's
no heavy rust on the teeth themselves. If rust pits the teeth,
you have to file them all off and cut a whole new set. Not
Note that it may be filed either crosscut or rip.
It was a good saw when new. How good it is now depends on how badly
pitted it is, especially around the teeth. I get a lot of enjoyment
out of fixing up and using my "flea market special" saws. Be careful
not to sand off the etching.
Sand? Yecccchhhhh!! Use metal/chrome polish for light rust,
soak in a vinegar/salt mix for heavy rust. No sanding, no naval
jelly. A saw derusted by sandpaper or jelly looks awful, as
well as reducing any value it might have had to a collector.
BTW, is there a complete set of all the pictures Disston used on
these saws anywhere? I've seen 4 or 5 different ones on saws,
but there must be more.
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