About Joe Federici

Woodworker turned saw nut and now offering restoration and sharpening services. The blog is related to the process and background behind this and my life.

H. M. Finch Founder’s Day Tribute to E.C. Simonds

Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog, but with winter kicking and screaming its way out, we’re FINALLY seeing signs of spring.

In the Northeast many of the tool clubs and auction houses have tool sales. I’m a one-trick pony, mostly interested in saws; plus, this being a less than full time job, at least paywise, I don’t make all of them.

I did make Patina and the Horst auctions. Both are within a few hours. One thing you learn when buying for resale is you have to have a budget. Sometimes that affords you lots and other times you leave empty handed. So far my budget has left some nice ones slip though my fingers but I’ve also picked up some as well.

Every seller is different, but when I’m putting time into something, I get a little attached to it., regardless if it’s a customer sending a saw for repair or something I’m readying for ebay.

The attachment I think comes not just from time in hand but all the time spent researching the saw. Sometimes it might be easy due to the popularity of a maker; other times it can take a while. I’m a sucker for custom etches and the unusual. These saws often are passed over by resellers just looking for resell value.

One recent example is a saw I’ve owned for many years but had little luck finding information on. The plate etch was mostly gone but the label screw was in good condition and read:

M. Finch’s
St. Louis

E.C Simonds H.M Finch’s PDF

The only info I found was a notation on Eve’s book on US makers, which had it listed and said, “See Simonds”. I did some digging on the internet and emailed a few friends. Fast forward to last week when I happened onto an article in Hardware Digest from the 20s Founder’s Day—In Memory of E.C. Simonds. I’ve attached it below but I perked up when I read that one of the speakers was a former employee at H. M. Finch. Add to that, Simonds later lived in St. Louis. I think Eve was on to something in his book. It’s possible that these saws were made by Finch but I think it’s more likely due to the age of my saw that it was a limited run, maybe done custom for Finch by Simonds. The screw also uses the Glover’s screw patent: date Dec. 27, 1887 which Simonds would have used.

If anyone has information to add I’d love to hear it. The saw in question is for sale and you can get more information on that in my ebay store.

Happy spring hunting from the Saw Monger.

The perfect 4th—tools, food, and friends

You might remember the William incident a few posts ago and if so, you know Will and I enjoy talking tools and just hanging around in parking lots crazy early in the morning, looking at stuff in the dark. Wait, that sound a little strange? Anyway, the last time we met in April I was invited to his family’s camp in Maine over the 4th for a lobster bake.

Now just to clarify, “camp” can mean different things in different regions of the US. Near me we’d say shore house but in some areas a camp can be quite primitive which this was not. As someone who enjoys utilitarian designs, shore or camps maximize space very well. This one, if I remember correctly, was made around the 20’s with a few add-ons but retained that New England, clapboard feel.

So I’m getting a little ahead of myself. The trip really started with my Dieselgate buyback and replacement Alltrack. Next I put my trusty 10 year old Thule bars on and strapped on my NDK kayak. Then after a short day I hit the road, not forgetting a saw for Mr. Will.

The Alltrack made the long trip smoothly, thanks to a mid-day start. New England holiday traffic didn’t get bad till the end of the trip, arriving at the Height hippy House just in time for dinner. After a quick bite I got the tour and spent the rest of my time, where else?

Checking out the shop and new addition on back, plus a few newly acquired tools, I HAND delivered (friendship has it’s privileges) a freshly sharpened Disston No 7, 6-1/2 point, a very rare pitch. I’ve only see a few in my travels and the saw was part of a collection we split in the spring, including a few unusual Disston made hardware store saws. I’ve posted a few pics on my Instagram account: Second Chance Saw works.

With the new saw in hand, test cuts were needed and fun was had. Vertical cuts with a 26” panel saw in a small vise can be a little tricky but it was clear the saw was not the issue, as Will made short work of it. While I flubbed a few cuts getting a smooth start, it was decided his little shop needs a saw bench for guests! I Editors Note: The saw Will is using is not the saw in question but a D8 that I had sharpened for him last year.

The next day we loaded up a few provisions (beer and wine) and continued north to the summer camp on the ocean. His family smartly decided to take a different vehicle knowing birds of feather flock together. Will and I took the back roads and hit a few tool places, the biggest being Liberty Tool Co. Liberty’s been on my bucket list and although I didn’t buy anything it was well worth a stop in the one horse town of Liberty. The store is what you’d expect in a used tool shop, piles of tools including barrels of worksaws and shelves of books as far as the eye can see! The 3 floors plus basement were packed.

After a healthy stop we hit the road again. They have 3 locations, so we also stopped by Captain Tinkham’s Emporium . By now we needed to make time so we could get to the camp and meet up with the family, who left 5 hours after us and finished the 3 hour trip before us. My only excuse is we needed to stop for beer and wine. Driving the back roads of Maine is beautiful so losing time really is no trouble.

The rest of the weekend was just shear bliss: sun, good food, and fun conversation. Although we didn’t do any tool hunting once at the camp, Will ‘s mom is also a collector of many vintage things including tools, filling the house with many items to look at.

Now it’s important to know, while saws and sharpening take up a good deal of my time, I also enjoy other hobbies including kayaking. With all that was going on the week before this trip, I had considered forgoing traveling 500 miles with a 17’ fiberglass kayak on the roof. I was so glad Will had talked me into it. Not 20 minutes after pulling in, I was pushing off into the water for a quick trip across the bay to Seagull Island. The paddling conditions were really nice. We had one night of rain but otherwise low wind and calm conditions.

It was a long weekend but not nearly enough time to really enjoy all the views and the area in general. On Sunday we enjoyed their annual lobster bake with super fresh lobster caught the day before. The weather cooperated so we could eat by the sea.

The following day I took one last early morning paddle before everyone chipped in to get things cleaned up, followed by lobster rolls made with the leftovers. I’ll tell you this, Maine camp life sure is a good one!

Sadly it was time to put the kayak back on the roof and shove off. Being a couple of tool guys, we fit in a pit stop at the Fairfield Antiques Mall . The rest of the trip was uneventful and tool-less which is how I like it when making long trips. I did end up getting a rather nice scythe as a parting gift from Will which I look forward to learning to sharpen and using at my house.

That’s it for now. Hopefully make it over to the Disston plant in the next few days with some updated pics.

Joe Federici AKA Purveyor of saw goodness

watery view of Keystone Saw Works

Some of you might be aware another love of mine is kayaking. Mostly white water but not having any close I also paddle the Delaware river near Philadelphia.

You know what else is in Philly. Keystone Saw Work!

It’s mostly knocked down at this point but one of the big stacks and a few buildings still remain. Mos is currently used for commercial fleet stores and what looks like a junkyard but redevelopment will have its way at some point. I’ll get some pic from land in the next few weeks but till then enjoy a view most never see.

As seen today from Google maps. The area in the pics is marked in red

What’s great about these water view is you can check out the bulkhead made from discarded grinding stones. I really can’t give you much information on the stones and how old they are be but looking at the wood and nails used give some clues. I’d love to year some thoughts so please contact me if you have info.

If you reference the google map image, I’ve posted pics from left to right. The large stack in my pictures is located right about where “Majestic Sports” is marked on the map.

These are take at low tide so you get a good view of the stones.

Most of the buildings are in not so great shape.

I’ll make some time in the coming weeks to take a few pics of what remains of the grounds. Philly has a few Disston plaques and parks in the area.

Till then enjoy the 4th!

Joe F
Saw Mechanic




John Porritt, a collection of details — Windsor & Stick chairs

Although I don’t make many Crafts (tool collectors) of New Jersey meetings, my good friend John Porritt was scheduled to speak about Windsor and stick chairs. With the distance we live from each other, this made for an easy trip to catch up.

The craft monthly meets start off with a boot sale. The weather was a little overcast but not bad. About a dozen people set up. Recently I took down a large red oak in the backyard and was now looking for a few additional metal wedges; you can never have enough when splitting a big wheel.

Around 1 we moved inside for the talk that was less a chronological history and more a free flowing talk on a dozen or so chairs that John had brought with the help of Jim Bode. They ranged in age from1740 to the present and in condition, as John is skilled in the ways of restoration, as you many have read in my other posts about him.

Now just being honest, I do love some vintage tools, but my furniture likes are more in the Frits Henningsen or Peter Hiort Lorenzen, aka Danish modern world than classic English and Welsh.

John however has a great way of seeing past the obvious and finding the subtler details easily missed at first glance. Mix that with a strong knowledge of wood and furniture construction and even a mid-century geek can find common ground.

John bounced around the room pulling chairs from the tables, pointing out details and/or repairs that might be needed or had been made in the past. With a group like Craft you have a wide variety of woodworkers and John answered questions as he worked through the chairs.

After about hour it was time for me to head home. Craft is a bit of drive for me so it was good to see a few members I’ve done work for in the past and to catch up with John. He’s admittedly not a child of the internet but if you reach out to me I’d be happy to put you in contact. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many of his repairs, restorations, and chairs. I happily recommend him to anyone in the market looking for help with a restoration. His skills and technique in the field are not something you’ll find on Youtube.

And with that I’m off to the bench to get some saws ready for market.

Joe F. AKA the saw Monger

The Disston MashUp — No. 76 “Centennial”

The Disston No. 76 “Centennial” handsaw was introduced in 1876. Although it isn’t super rare, I’ve only come across one in my travels, hitting a good deal of markets and barns alike.

So what’s the deal with this mash-up? As you might imagine, it was released to celebrate the Centennial and rather than a new design, Henry took some features from the current line to create a one-off limited run.

The tell-tale skewed backplate is from the D8 or the short lived No. 80 Choice. The handle is from the larger 28” No. 7 cut from apple rather than beechwood. The larger 28” No. 7’s used a rounded top hook along with a larger recessed handle that accommodated a two-handed grip for rip cuts. The lower placement of the label screw is borrowed from the new No. 16.

I was interested to see if it would feel more like a 7 or 8 when cutting and agree with Disstonian. The plate shape is much like the D8; however the hand position is farther behind the cutting edge like the No. 7’s. This made it feel more like a No. 7 than a D8. I’m 5’8” so a 28” saw is a bit more then I would tempt to use but it tracked well and I was very happy with it. Most of the references I could find were for rip saws and I think it was only offered in the larger sized handle.

The one I sharpened and sold was early in the run before the Glover patent was used. The No. 76 was produced till the 1920s and like most Disston saws the later model handles may have switched wood and made the hand shape slightly boxier.

That’s it for now. Have a good Holiday and please check out my ebay site for other interesting saws. I try not to push sales here but Papi’s got bills!

Joe Federici
Purveyor of saw goodness




The William Incident—Tool Karma

Since we’ve established the saw advocate (AKA me!) hasn’t been blogging much, I’ll provide a quick synopsis. About 2 years ago I relocated from North Jersey to the burbs just outside Philly. In doing so I moved from a one bedroom to a house that needs some TLC and updating. It’s been mostly positive except for the loss of free time.

That said, I still hit a few local estate sales, auctions, and Mid-West Tool events. Of these the spring & fall MJD auctions in NH are a must. Over the years I’ve made friends with a group of buyer/sellers in the parking lot and we set up next to each other. The mornings are fast paced but by afternoon we’re thick as thieves.

The parking lots fill up year after year not just because people are looking to buy or sell, or the allure of finding the diamond in the rough, but to catch up with like-minded friends, to hear stories of barn finds and what the kids are up to. Sprinkle in a little tool history, rubbing elbows with the parking lot bully, AKA Patrick Leach, who thinks he has divine right to all tools, a few beers, dinners bull shitting, and it’s a fun time I look forward to each year.

Now onto what I’ve dubbed the “Will Incident”. Parking lot picking is all good and fun and honestly, some like Patrick make it more of a physical sport, most of us just take the high road. Josh, of the infamous hyper kitten tool co, once said to me, “There will always be more tools,” or something to that effect. So when I find myself wrapped up elbows deep, ready to pull tools out of someone’s trunk before he’s parked, flashlight in hand, leveraging my body to block off others, I stop and remember this is all for fun.

So now that I’ve set the stage for the high paced, fast moving world of tool picking, I’ll continue with the “Will Incident”. Around mid-day, after the morning rush of sellers showed up, a car pulled in with NY plates. I walked over to do a cursory check for saws. Patrick on cue, seeing me, quickly asks, “Do you have any saws?” Knowing that if he goes through them quickly he can take time on the rest. The seller Chris said yes and points out a till. Patrick opens the box and looking down at the handles from the top proclaims, “I can tell from the handles none of are interest.”

At this point he turns and walks away. I talk with Chris a bit. Similar story to all of us, he buys and sells a bit. These are some he had been holding for a bit and was now looking to clean out space. I first notice the till. It’s nicely built, hand dovetails, missing the front latch, with steel hardware on the side. It’s a good size.

Realizing it won’t be long before the rest of pack finds this latecomer I get looking. I quickly find a few really nice ones, Patrick and his magical eyes missed. I pull four panel saws out of the till, Disston No 7, two D8s, No 12, and a No 9 made for HS hardware in NY. That last one is one I’d never seem. Most of the HS hardware saws are No 7s or No 4 Backsaw.

I pay Chis and ask if the box is for sale. Chris says not at this time; it’s holding the saws but maybe tomorrow. So I happily take my winnings back to show my friend Will and tell the tale of the fish that got away from Patrick. I also said let me show you this till; it’s a good looking one and I’m going to see tomorrow if he wants to sell it.

An hour or so go by and Will and I do a walk around to check out any price drops. I point out the box to Will who quickly asks if it’s for sale. Chris says, “Wow, this is a popular box but no it’s not for sale at this time.” I pointed out to my friend “Mr William” I was interested in the box. Now just to keep the story going I’ll fast forward to the next day. Most vendors drop the price on stuff and Chris still had a few good user saws so I walked over to relook things over. I decided to pass as I was hoping to bid on a few auctions. As I’m looking at a cute 16” No 7 that had the slightest bend in it, agonizing as I often do, knowing the bend won’t affect the cut but explaining that to the common ebay buyer is impossible. I look up and Mr William says, “I’ll offer you 40.00 for the box,” and just like that’s it’s sold out from under me. What? What just happened?? I had a plan and was just about to field an offer. I’m crushed, hurt, angry, bummed. How could my former friend and tablemate in sales do this?! And what could be worse you ask? I’ll tell you. To be asked to help carry said box back to his car!

Now let me stop and say: hopefully you know at this point it was all in jest. Will is a very good guy and friend. The grilling he took the rest of the weekend far outweighs the worth of the box or my need to own it. In fact, I’ve paid an old Italian woman to curse the box so any tools inside will turn useless, parts will go missing and all will rust.

So I was so busy giving  Will a ribbing I forgot to take a pic. of the box. I did request one but that request was denied. Editors Note: picture was added after this was published

I should also point out I did a very similar thing to a friend last year over a Richardson Brothers No 7 panel saw. A friend asked me to look it over; I did, then asked how much, and said I’ll take it. I was thinking he was pointing it out to me rather then asking my opinion. Karma can be a bitch and when the tank runs dry things are bound to happen. The William incident is the tool gods’ setting the scale right along with Patrick’s oversight of the 4 saws.

The rest of the weekend was spent in the auction. I normally buy a few saws on Friday in the Auction and this year won 2 nice Disston Hardware etched saws. The rest I haggled for in the parking lot.

Thus ends another spring auction and I look forward to seeing my New England friends in the fall.

Karma tank restored. . .

The saw Monger

I’m back, baby!

Okay, it’s been more then a few months (read years) since you’ve read the rambling of the saw Monger and said— this is the reason for standardized testing in public schools. . . but you know you miss me! And I’m back baby.

I’ll start with something positive, I hope the 5 of you reading this, most likely family, are doing well

Now onto the reason fro writing. I changed the Second Chance saw works Site to a new provider while I sort out getting both the blog and sales sites merged. I’m no web master so it could be a wile and till then if you plug in www.secondchancesawworks.com you will be redirected to the blog. The ebay site remains untouched.

Lastly for those into social media in addition to this blog, (which I will be updating more often) I have a facebook and instagram account. So that’s it for now but I just returned from NH and will be writing about the trip and I’m sure other stuff as well. Till then.

The Saw Monger.

Teaching a man to fish. . .

No Tools to Lend This came to me from a friend and fellow tool hunter, Will Hight. It was tacked inside one of his father’s tool chests and through the miracle of modern technology I bring it to your attention. The original may have been printed at the turn of the century but the idea remains a hard truth even today.

We’ve all head or experienced the neighbor who borrow a tool then returns broken or in less then original condition. I’m going to take a leap here and say that most tool collectors and craftsmen don’t borrow; rather they save up and collect over time the tools that are needed. I know this is true for me and I’m also guessing for many of you. From an early age I was either taught or just came to realize the value of a tool. That’s a complex thing and really you could write volumes on it.

Tools of yore weren’t cheap and although they may have been well made don’t confuse that with hardy. I’ve read different statistics on carpentry tool pricing and some higher end pieces, like a plow plane with a full set of blades, could be upwards of a month’s wages. Something like a handsaw could be a few days’ to a week’s wages and to kink or bend a plate doesn’t take much effort. Take it from me!

handle-stamp03 As a collector and restorer, I always take note of the condition for the obvious reason such as resale, but also I enjoy the story it tells. Things like early owners’ marks are well placed and stamped with care by the first owners to the later hastily initials carved like a 10 year old. You see this in all aspects of saws. I’ve found PERFECT handles on saws that have well sharpened teeth and bent plates. These often become wall hangers and time capsules in a way. The lack of care also translates into the value one puts into the tool. You pay very little for something and it sees little care. I see owners’ marks like the growth rings in a tree; they color and shape the final product like a piece of birdseye maple and without them you’re left with a sheet of farm raised yellow pine. So if you tend to sand handles smooth and refinished I’d urge you to reconsider this heavy-handed reaction to the saw’s character.

handle-stamp02So in closing, the thought behind this sign may be: think before you borrow, or more simply, keep your hands off my shit. I hope it makes you think a little harder about the relationship between humans and their tools and how their value affects the outcome of them. I’m sure it’s something as collectors we understand better than most and the reason we enjoy collecting a tool for every job!


No 9 to No 99— A Disston with panache!


Disston-99_05Ok, what can I say . . . it’s been a while.

This past year has seen a good deal of change in my life with a move to south Jersey from living just outside NYC. The shop and business survived the move but my free time for the blog has been misplaced.

December however is the poster child for reflection and pointless resolutions, so why not jump on the wagon early with a post from the saw monger.

Disston-99_01And who better to help me out than Mike Stemple, one of the first and most popular posts I’ve had. He also enjoys among other things sending me hopeless saw handles that I pull my hair repairing. This one however is in very nice condition for a change and just about ready to head back! Sorry for having it so long, Mike.

I’m sure many of you will recognize this saw from the triple medallions; it’s a Disston No. 99. I see them from time to time but this one is extra special for a few reasons. It was previously owned by Carl Bilderback who’s better known for his Panther head repairs, as well as all things Atkins. I’ve seen some examples at the Mid-West shows and I’m told as a whole it’s quite impressive.

The other special thing is the age; this No. 99 is a very early  “SON” example. The lone handle is mine and also early, but made after his first son joined the company as noted. I found it years ago in a bucket and paid $10 at a tool show. Although you can easily see a few differences between the two handles, the most noticeable is the lower ogee clip area where the tag is. It’s possible these differences were creative distinctions or designed model changes, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The No. 99 was produced from 1865-1918 and, like the evolution of many things, I’d guess it started life as an offshoot of the popular but simpler No. 9 from around the same period. They share a distinct handle with the curved lower ogee and clip. The No. 9 was a good early seller for Disston, but like any company they needed to up the ante. Wa-la, the 99 was born. It used “Extra Refined London Spring Steel” which Disston made sure to point out in printed catalogs and advertising, emphasizing that it was hand selected and above all others! Disston was nothing if not a good promoter; but joking aside, it’s easy to see the detail and care in both handles.

The No. 99’s that Disston produced in numbers easily get the bling award with triple medallions and aforementioned higher end spring steel. The top and bottom warranted superior medallions were throwback designs featuring earlier style eagles and the middle was the current Disston medallion. I say “throwback” for a few reasons. Looking at the center keystone medallion and using both disstonianinstitute and past experience, this iteration of the style falls around 1870-72 but the other two look earlier to me and are often found on late 1860’s saws. We know manufacturers often find uses for older parts and this might have been done to use up older label screws on his secondary lines. Or it’s possible they were brought back into production for these handles.

Disston-99_03The No. 99 changed over the years and the disstonianinstitute does have a few examples of early and late but as luck would have it, these two are much closer in years and this provides some good info. As pointed out above, the first thing you note is the differences in the lower part of the handle, the low ogee curve. In my later handle you can see a distinctive rolled clip has been added. Take a second to check out the pictures. As someone who’s made a few handles and repaired a few more knows, the guys making these had some mad skills, as the kids say.

You’ll also note my handle has a bit more meat in areas and the overall size is slightly larger. This could be due to the size of the saw; larger rip saws often used bigger handles. With the evolution of saws, handle refinements in general were simplified and areas that cracked were strengthened. I don’t have the plate so it’s hard to say.

In regards to the simplified, strengthened later handles, we often associate this as a bad thing, as the outcome is often less interesting; but in real world use, the later models have way less broken horns. Note the lower clip on Mike’s and it has cracks; it’s not bad but you can see how delicate the area is. The later models also have thicker horns.

Disston-99_04So how many years between the two are there you ask? I’d say looking at that center keystone design is the best way to date them. The first clue is the “SON” and SONS” The keystone SON design has a short window from around 1865-71 and overlaps the SONS in 1970 then continues till Disston patented his own Glover style screw which started showing up in 1876. Looking at them both, you can see the earlier one has the single outline of the keystone while the later has the double. They also both have the smaller “A” at the end of PHILADA. Other differences can be found but I’d say mine is closer to that overlap and about 5-7 years apart.

So that’s where I’ll end this one for now and just point out if this type of historical look at tools interests you, consider joining one of the may tool clubs in the area. They are only as good as the members. I try and stay current on three of them, the biggest being the Mid-West Tool Collectors. The Ohio Tool Collectors may be smaller in members, but for lovers of all things saws there is a never ending supply of new articles on the topic. This is in large part due to the editor and his house of saws that will soon have this 99 in it. The last would be my local club CRAFTS. I don’t make nearly enough meetings but I’ve never left the parking lot sale empty handed!

Happy Holidays & Peace in the new Year!

The saw Monger

The best screw wins

screwsOnce again I’ll start by saying sorry for the long holiday in the blog. The job searching is slow going and working full time in the shop doesn’t leave as much time at the end of the day for collecting my thoughts. On the upside, I’ve enjoyed some projects like adding cruise control and a spline lube to my K75 motorcycle.

BMWThis has been one of the colder winters I can remember here in the northeast but I welcome the warmer weather as I write this. Spring is a time for renewal, doubly so as the coffers are getting low. I look forward to finding some new treasures and the adventures that go along with them.

I did make it out to the midwest tool show, Cabin Fever, in January, and this year it truly was cabin fever as many of the members traveling from Ohio and the midwest were having their own winter wonderland. The weather is always an issue for this show but it did cooperate with cold temps while the snow held off till later in the day.

toolshowA good selection of tools was available and I was lucky enough to pick up a nice Atkins 400 and few Disston workhorses. In addition to the show I got the chance to catch up with friends. Mike had just picked up a really rare and early Disston backsaw that needed some handle attention.  I don’t often get a picture of me with others so I made sure to get one with the boys, Mike and David.

Mike asked for a quick turn on the repair for an up and coming show so the picture I have isn’t the greatest, but I was really happy with the final repair, as was Mike.

I’ve talked a little about this in the past but I wanted to revisit the one part of vintage saws that’s often overlooked – the screws. Most of us just divide them into two categories pre- or post- split nuts. That’s fine for conversational talk but when you get a little more technical, the time right around the end of the split nut, and what we currently find on saws, based off the Glover patent and later, commonly called a Chicago screw by some, was very active. Hand saws were being produced in high numbers and all the makers were looking for a better way to hold the handles to the plate.

The years preceding the split nut, say. . . mid-1870’s and pre-Glover mid-1880s, produced, in my opinion, the best looking and split the line between collectable and users among the best. Handles were often still quite detailed with hand shaped horns and wheat carving.  In my sale descriptions, I’ll call them “pre- or post- Glover patent.” From time to time I get questions as to what’s that about or in reference to, hence this post; so read on.

There are a number of good sources for patent dates and information, but to simplify things I’ll be using DATAMP or the Directory of American Tool and Machinery Patents. I’ll do my best not to plagiarize the hell out of them, but just understand that this is not new research or ideas that I’m taking credit for.

They have a number of good lists of patents and info. A complete list of the 9 saw patents can be found here but I’m just going to touch on a few of the more notable.


The Munger Patent: Iff you look at the top of the bolt (male side) you can often see the ring where it attaches to the shaft. The shaft of the screws also tend to be very thin in comparison to the others. I tend to find them on Peace and Wheeler Madden and Clemson saws.

David T.Munger Dec. 21, 1869 Waterbury, CT
This was issued after the Washborne’s patent (what’s commonly known as split nuts). Construction differs in the use of a perforated disk that’s secured to the shank around the edge of the head and looks similar to the later Glover style screws at first glance. Looking closer you’ll note the threaded shafts are thinner, and looking at the screw top you’ll see the round center of shaft where it was connected. This patent is marked on several manufacturers; I mostly find them on Peace, Richardson, and WMC.


Disston Patent Saw Screws: These can be tricky to tell when on the saw but once removed note the casting marks. Also note the square section on the bolt (male side) where it attaches to the head.

Henry Disston Aug. 29, 1876 Philadelphia, PA
The heads of the saw screw and nut are slightly domed and their outer edges beveled so that they flare outward toward the face. Additionally, the screw is received by a threaded socket in the tubular shape (female side of the saw screw). The tubular projection (female) may or may not be long enough to engage the saw blade. Disston expressed a preference for those which are long enough to engage the blade. The overall purpose of this patent is to allow the handle and the saw nuts and screws to be finished and polished prior to assembly. Remember that split nuts would have been sanded with the handle and installed before finishing the wood. The beveled underside of the edges formed their own seats in slightly undersized shallow holes in the handle. This allowed the saw screws to be subsequently tightened without altering appearances.

Saw nuts based on this patent were cast, unlike the Munger patent of 1869, which makes them more expensive to produce. Additionally, the shafts were relatively thin, so were prone to twisting off. In time, they would be superseded by Glover’s patent (375350).

So taking these two patents into consideration you can see the groundwork for the final design of the modern saw screw, aka Glover patent screw we all know. The Glover patent screw is an improved Munger design, just making the male side of the screw out of a single piece of metal like the Disston patent, but turning it from a single piece, as well increasing size and a few other improvements.


The Glover Patent: The de facto standard chances are if the saw was made after 1890 you’re looking at a Glover saw screw. They do change in size a little bit over the years but over all they are beefier. Note the ridge on the lower section of bolt (male side) the ridges were used to hold it when threading and also helped prevent them from spinning.

Charles Glover Dec. 27, 1887 Hartford, CT
The final chapter: The primary focus of this patent is the two-part construction of the saw medallion (“label screw”). In a sense, it can be seen as an improvement on Munger’s patent (U.S.P.N 98180), which had no provision for preventing the shaft from twisting independently of the head if the swaged joint failed. This improvement was found in the Disston patent. The large surface of Glover’s medallion, in conjunction with the squared shoulder where it is seated into the handle, allowed it to resist turning.

The medallion (figures 2, 3 & 4) and the saw screw (figure 5) shown in Glover’s patent drawings both feature the internally threaded construction patented by Henry Disston in1876 181648. This form displaces the through screw and “split nut” arrangement which had been the norm. Glover’s saw screw differs from Disston’s by being formed in a die rather than being cast and having longitudinal ribs on the shaft rather than a square section to resist turning. Also, though not specified in the patent, the shafts of Glover’s saw nuts were of stouter construction. Glover’s form eventually superseded Disston’s.

Saw medallions with the Glover patent date have been found on saws from a wide variety of manufacturers and would eventually wind up in the hands of Disston after he dissolved the National Saw Company.

So with this in mind, the next time you’re out at the flea market searching for lost treasures, take a second glance at the brass nuts on some of the smaller makers, like the WMC, Peace, and Richardson Brothers, and I’m sure you’ll find some pre-Glover gems.

Joe Federici
Jobber of fine handsaws