Restoration of a Disston No. 7 Panel Saw

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By James R. Norris

There I was innocently walking through a resell shop looking for a bird bath. I felt a tug on my pants leg and looked down and little saw was looking up at me with *those* eyes…you know the look. So, I picked up the little fella, paid my adoption fee, and brought him home to meet his new big brothers.

Disston No. 7, 18″ long, 11ppi crosscut panel saw, been looking for a panel saw for a while now and super excited I was able to get this. The shop owner was asking $3. I gave her all I had, a measly 5 bucks.

The plate has some pitting, the etch looks long gone, I think it was used to stir a bucket of white paint at some point, but it’s straight, the tooth line is straight, I don’t think it’s ever been sharpened, or at least very little, and the handle is near perfect

I Finished up a No. 7 panel saw last night. 18″ 11ppi x-cut. This my first x-cut sharpening and just wanted to say thanks to Bob Page for his advice and encouragement. Also, to Michael Hagemyer for his tip on removing the paint from the handle.

Disston no. 7

Look at that BEECH!

Disston no. 7

As found, not that bad


WHY all the paint? Did they use it as a stir stick?


More Paint


Scraped. Paint’s in there pretty deep


Light block sanding with 320 grit. Paint is still visible in the wood




Michael’s suggestion was: use 0000 steel wool and Formby’s furniture refinisher. You can also use a tooth brush to help work the chemical into the low spots. Once you get the paint off let the handle dry overnight and then use the 0000 steel wool and boiled linseed oil to lightly finish cleaning. Let the handle set 24 hours to dry. The results will be a great looking handle. Sanding will likely gouge out the wood. That is a great looking handle and it should clean up very nicely.


This worked really well and removed all the paint without hurting the handle!


BLO + Alfie Shine for this baby.


Scraped the plate with my “planecollector” designed razor blade scraper.


320 grit plus purple power or whatever it is from Home Depot. Wet block sanding.

Now onto 500/1000 grit wet block sanding.


I don’t remember where I picked this up, but you ball up a wad of aluminum foil, press it flat on one side, and use it as your polish applicator. It’s been working well for me.


Just scrub it with the grain until it turns black and doesn’t look “wet” anymore.


I could have gotten this much shinier, but this is good enough for me.


Joint, shape, set, joint, sharpen, stone, test, stone, test.







Got some drift on the first test, so I made one pass with the stone down the left side.


Still drifting a bit on the right two, made another pass with the stone for the left two. Gonna call this done for now.



Didn’t want to shine these up, so I just purple powered it and scrubbed lightly with a brass wire brush.





Finally with his big brothers in this temporary till.



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