There are many different types of crosscut saws available on the market today. You can find them made from different materials, with different blade sizes, and with different numbers of teeth.
A crosscut saw is a tool that was used to cut wood. It has a long blade with teeth on it that cuts through the wood as you push it forward. Its history can be traced back to the 15th century, when the first ones appeared.
Antique crosscut saws are now becoming popular among collectors and woodworkers alike. These saws offer a unique way to cut wood, and they can be used for a variety of different projects.
In this article, we will discuss how to identify antique saws, as well as how to buy them safely and effectively. So, if getting yourself a tool from the past is something that interests you, make sure to read on!
Identifying Antique Saws
There are a few things to look for when trying to identify an antique crosscut saw.
First, you must understand that there is another type of saw that looks almost the same as a crosscut saw: the rip saw.
The difference between these 2 is that a rip saw has teeth that point to the left, while a crosscut saw has teeth that point to the right. This is because a rip saw is used to cut along the grain of the wood, while a crosscut saw is used to cut across the grain.
The second thing to look for is the handle. Crosscut saws usually have a D-shaped handle, while rip saws have an L-shaped one. The reason for this difference is that a D-shaped handle provides more comfort and control when cutting across the grain of the wood.
The third thing to look for is the teeth. Crosscut saws have smaller teeth that are evenly spaced out, while rip saws have larger teeth that are more widely spaced. This is because crosscut saws need to make cleaner cuts, while rip saws only need to make rough cuts.
Finally, you should also look at the blade. Crosscut saws have a straight blade, while rip saws have a curved blade. This is because a crosscut saw needs to be able to make precise cuts, while a rip saw only needs to make rough cuts.
Identifying a Crosscut Saw’s Age
There are a few things that can help you determine how old a crosscut saw is.
First, look if the medallion is present. The medallion is a small metal plate that is usually found on the blade near the handle. It has the saw’s manufacturer, as well as the date of manufacture, stamped on it.
If there is no medallion, then you can try to find a maker’s mark. The maker’s mark is a symbol that was used by the saw’s manufacturer to identify their products.
Another way to determine the age of a crosscut saw is by looking at the teeth. Older saws have larger teeth that are more widely spaced, while newer saws have smaller teeth that are more closely spaced.
Finally, you can also try to date the saw based on its style. Older saws tend to have more ornate handles and blades, while newer saws are more simple in design.
Evaluating an Antique Crosscut Saw
Now that you know how to identify an antique crosscut saw, it’s time to learn how to evaluate one.
The most important factors that go into evaluating one are:
- Age—The older the saw, the more valuable it is. To be considered an antique, a saw needs to have been built before 1950. This is because that’s the year chainsaws have started replacing crosscut saws. This means that less have been produced since then, and the older ones are likely to have broken down, making them rare.
- Condition—The better the condition, the more valuable it is. If the blade is in good condition, then you should move on to the handle. Check for any cracks or damage. The handle is where most of the saw’s value comes from, so if it’s in bad condition, then the saw isn’t worth very much. The teeth are also important, but these are easy to sharpen/replace.
- Functionality—The more functional the saw is, the more valuable it is. If the saw can still be used for its intended purpose, then it’s worth more than one that can’t. Although this is a marginal factor, because you’d be better off buying a new saw anyway, some people enjoy using antique tools.
- Type—The rarer the type, the more valuable it is. If you can find an antique crosscut saw that was used for a specific purpose, such as logging or shipbuilding, then it’s worth more than a standard one.
- Materials—The better the materials, the more valuable it is. An antique crosscut saw that’s made out of higher quality materials, such as steel or iron, is worth more than one made out of lower quality materials, such as wood.
- Size—The larger the saw, the more valuable it is. This is because larger saws are more rare and were likely only used for very large projects.
- Brands—The more popular the brand, the more valuable it is. This is because brands like Disston and Stanley are well-known for making high-quality saws that have stood the test of time.
You should expect to pay anywhere from a few bucks to hundreds of bucks for an antique crosscut, depending on all of the above factors.
Now that you know what to look for, you’re ready to start your search.
Buying an Antique Crosscut Saw
Finding a reputable dealer is the most important part of buying an antique crosscut saw. A bad dealer will try to scam you by selling you a fake or low quality saw.
The best way to find a reputable dealer is by asking around. If you know anyone who collects antique tools, then they’re likely to have bought from a dealer before and can point you in the right direction.
Another good way to find a reputable dealer is by searching online. There are many forums and online communities dedicated to antique tools, and the members are usually happy to help out. Examples of such communities include forestryforums and crosscutsawyer.
Once you’ve found a reputable dealer, it’s time to start negotiating. The price of an antique crosscut saw can vary widely, so it’s important to know how much it’s worth before you start talking to a dealer.
There are a few things you should look for in a dealer:
- A good reputation—This can be determined by looking at online reviews or asking people in your area.
- A wide selection—The more saws they have, the more likely you are to find the one you’re looking for.
When you’re negotiating with a dealer, always start low and work your way up. This gives you room to negotiate and ensures that you don’t overpay for the saw.
There are 2 main ways to buy an antique crosscut saw: online and offline. Each has its pros and cons.
Buying an Antique Saw Offline
Buying offline means physically getting to a place that is selling antique crosscut saws. Usually, you’ll find saws in places like:
- Auction houses—These are places where people sell their stuff to the highest bidder. This is usually the middle of the road option.
- Antique shops—These are places that specialize in selling antiques. This is the most expensive option, but it’s also the safest one. You’re buying an actual antique saw here, since you’re dealing with experts. You’re paying a premium for the peace of mind.
- Yard sales—These are a great place to find hidden gems, but you have to be patient and sift through a lot of junk first. This is the cheapest option, but also the most time-consuming one. Also, you risk buying a dud.
The main advantage of buying offline is that you can physically inspect the saw before you buy it. This is important, since you want to make sure that the saw is in good condition and not a fake.
The main disadvantage of buying offline is that it’s more expensive. You’re also limited by your geographical area, so you might not be able to find what you’re looking for.
Buying an Antique Crosscut Saw Online
The main advantage of buying online is that it’s cheaper. You’re also not limited by your geographical area, so you can find saws from all over the world.
The main disadvantage of buying online is that you can’t physically inspect the saw before you buy it. This means that you have to rely on the seller’s photos and descriptions. This is a big risk, since you could end up buying a fake or low quality saw.
If you’re going to buy an antique crosscut saw online, then you should only do so from a reputable dealer. Reviews are your best friends in this case, but you can’t always have access to then. That’s where you could either ask an expert to tag along with you, or decide to trust random strangers online.
The best places to find antique crosscut saws online are:
- eBay—The king of online marketplaces, eBay is a great place to find almost anything, including antique saws. Just be careful of scams.
- Etsy—Did you think Etsy was just a place to buy cutesy sweaters to your grandma? Think again. Etsy also works as a marketplace for antique items. And like with eBay, do your own research before buying to avoid scams.
- Craigslist—Craigslist is a great place to find deals, but you have to be careful. There are a lot of scams on Craigslist, so only buy from people who have good reviews. Select your area and look for crosscut saws in the search bar. For example, here is a listing for 2 vintage crosscut saws at Butler Hill, Illinois.
Can I Use Antique Crosscut Saws?
Yes, you can use them. However, we don’t recommend it. These saws are old and delicate, so they might not work as well as modern saws. Plus, you risk damaging the saw, which would decrease its value.
If you do decide to use an antique crosscut saw, then make sure to be careful. Use the saw gently and be extra careful not to break it. These saws are old and delicate, so they can easily be damaged.
Can I Sharpen Antique Crosscut Saws?
Yes, you can sharpen them. Either bring them to a professional or do it yourself. Here’s a video on how to do it:
However, we don’t recommend sharpening them too often, since this can damage the saw. If you’re going to sharpen the saw yourself, then make sure to use a file specifically designed for crosscut saws. You can find these at most hardware stores.
Also, be extra careful not to damage the saw while sharpening it.
How Should I Store Antique Crosscut Saws?
You should store them in a cool, dry place. Ideally, you would store them in a temperature-controlled environment, but this isn’t always possible. Just make sure to avoid extreme temperatures and humidity, as this can damage the saw.
You should also oil the saw regularly to prevent rust. You can use any kind of oil, but we recommend using WD-40.
How Much are Antique Crosscut Saws Worth?
This varies depending on the saw, but they can be worth a lot of money. Some antique crosscut saws are worth thousands of dollars, so it’s important to do your research before buying one.
If you’re thinking about selling an antique crosscut saw, then you should get it appraised by a professional. This will give you an accurate estimate of the saw’s value.
My Saw Is Full of Rust, What Should I Do?
If your saw is full of rust, then you can try to remove it yourself. Unscrew the handle, and soak the blade in vinegar. After 12 to 24 hours, wipe the blade with a cloth. If the rust is still there, then you can try using a wire brush or sandpaper to remove it.
If the rust is really bad, then you might need to get the saw professionally restored. This is expensive, but it’s worth it if you want to preserve the saw.
Here’s a video showing the process:
Where Can I Find More Information on Antique Crosscut Saws?
If you want to learn more about antique crosscut saws, then we recommend doing your own research. There are a lot of great books and websites out there that can teach you more about these tools.
A few good resources are:
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Woodworking Handtools, Instruments & Devices by Graham Blackburn
- The Complete Guide to Sharpening by Leonard Lee
- Online Reference of Disston Saws—This is exclusively for Disston saws.
- r/woodworking—Great Reddit community for anyone looking for infos on woodworking, including antique crosscut saws.