Antique Hand Saw: Value & Identification Guide (With Types)

If you found an old handsaw lying in your shed, it just might be your lucky day! Why? You may not know, but you can coin good money with authentic ancient and antique hand saws. But hey! You won’t get money just because your saw’s old!

There are many other factors, like its features, date, and type, that are important to judge whether a hand saw is antique or not! And what better than Antiques Know How to help you value your antiques? So, just get your saw, a glass, a calculator, and let’s get going.

Key Takeaways

  • Hand saws with split screw joints and etched marks on their surface are real antiques and have a high value.   
  • Antique hand saws might have thick cast iron or zinc blades. But if you want some color, you can pick brass, copper, or alloyed steel blades, too!
  • Choose a branded ‘Simonds’ or ‘Atkins’ saw if you want to use it for carpentry. Otherwise, even a local 1700s saw will give you good returns.
  • If you are bored with the typical panel saws, go with the framed ones! Here, you can pick Oak, Walnut, or Spring steel frames for a good value!

Key Identification Features Of an Antique Hand Saw

Old Antique Hand Saw

It’s really easy to spot an antique hand saw! Just hold it flat to your face, and observe the blade! If it’s straight and solid, it’s antique. But, if the blade has a wavy profile, it might be steel or aluminum.

But what if your blade is loose? In this case, look for the following features:

  • Split-screw handles with 2 – 3 inch horns and medallions
  • Raked teeth, about 8 – 10 per inch with joint, diagonal edges
  • Conical shape with a wide heel and narrow end toe
  • 22 – 24” blade with a 4 – 5” handle and 1” heel
  • Etched blades with a maker’s stamp and signed logo at the base

How Did Antique Handsaws Evolve?

Can you guess the age of the first hand saw? It’s about 6000 years old! Built in the Neolithic age, the Stone Age man used it to polish his tools! But, this design had some flaws, like wide teeth and rough cuts. Plus, most needed 3-4 people to operate, limiting its use.

In the 1750s, makers added handles, toes, and webs to the saw. For more high-precision cuts, they used long, 600 mm teeth with a joint frame. So, if you see such a compact, long-blade saw, you can price it for $1000 – 1200.

Then, it was the era of globalization. And makers focused on faster production and universal designs. But, this stripped the saws of their carved handles and motifs, making them cheaper.

5 Types of Antique Saws & Their Valuation

Identifying the type is the first step in calculating the worth of an old saw. So, let’s learn about the various handsaw types and their estimated costs!

1. Panel Saws

As the name says, panel saws are the ones for cutting metal sheets and bark. So they’re flat and compact to get an even cut. You’ll even see a circular track to rotate your piece as you want. Plus, you get them with a 60-75 mm cutting depth, costing $150 – 200.

2. Rip Saws

Rip saws are just like a chainsaws with rigid blades and toothed edges. You’ll also see wide, inclined teeth with 6 – 8 points for easier cutting. Pointed horns, miter wood handles, and split screw joints are also common.

Besides, most of the rip saws have an oak handle and cost around $300 – 500.

3. Crosscut Saws

If you see a long, slant tooth saw with a short, D-handle, it’s a crosscut saw! Built in the early 1700s, they are known for their alloyed blades and teeth. Plus, many are branded and have a unique Egyptian or Japanese make. So, they are unique and precious, at $600 – 1000.

4. Tenon Saw

Tenon saws are like smooth wire saws for small tenon-mortise joints. So, they have thin, flexible blades and a top brass bar for strength. They are also 21 – 22 inches long, with a 5-6 inch handle and heel.

But tenon saws have a soft metal that rusts and fades with age. So, they are cheaper, costing $200 – 300 for one.

5. Framed Saws

Framed Saws

Framed saws are small, multi-purpose saws with thin and thick blades on either end. You’ll get them in wood or steel-mount blades with single-hole sockets. But since they are so thick and well-designed, they cost more, at $500 – 800 for one.

6 Factors to Identify & Value Antique Hand Saws

1. Saw’s Manufacturing Date & Age

Old is gold! Well, at least in the case of antique hand saws! This means that you’ll get a good price for the 1700s handmade models. They will also be stiff and thick, uplifting the value by 5 – 6%.

But if you want flexible, soft-cut hand saws, the 1800s models are the best! And, if you want polished, usable saws, what’s better than the 1900s models?

So, don’t forget to check the date and stamp on your saw’s handle! But if you don’t find the date, here’s how to check the age yourself!

How Does a 1700s Hand Saw Look?

The 1700s hand saws were crude and wide-toothed. You’ll even see shorter horns, backs, and gullets with these. Most will be minimal, but you can get some natural swan or floral handles with them.

But these models won’t have any logos. So, look for local trademarks or tax scripts to age them. If you get one, price the saw for $1200 – 1700. If not, $900 – 1200 is enough!

How Do You Know If Your Hand Saw Is from the 1800s?

If your hand saw has a signed medallion and split-style screws, it’s from the 1800s! Such saws also have carved eagles, balances, and floral motifs on their handles. Plus, you’ll get them with polished rip, dado, and ply tooth blades!

So, if your hand saw is minimal and polished, you can price it for $500 – 600. But, if it’s branded and carved, its cost goes up to $900 – 1000.

How Do You Identify Old Hand Saws from the 1900s?

If you see steel finishes, electric drills, and a ‘Made in USA’ mark on your hand saw, it’s from the 1900s. Such saws are small, about 12 – 16 inches long, with compact teeth. So, they are cheaper, only about $100 – 400!

But you can look for patent numbers and logos to pick the branded ones! And here are some patent numbers for reference:

YearAgePatent NumberOld Hand Saw TypeAverage Valuation
1883137 years281,447Right-Hand Person Saw$500 – 600
1896124 yearsUS854102AVariable Tooth Crosscut Saw$850 – 900
1874146 years150,723Circular Hand Saws$600 – 700

Get hand saws with a plain or quarter-sawn edge for an old make.

2. Blade Materials

If you visit your antique shop, you might see new steel and tungsten blade saws! So, explore more and get vintage cast-iron or zinc blades for a high value!

Here, you can also pick aged brass or copper blades to uplift the value by 5 – 6%. Besides, you can also look for diamond or gold fit blades for a rare model.

Want to know how the blade materials tweak your saw’s cost? Check the table below!

Hand Saw Blade MaterialsAverage Valuation
Stone + Microlith + Bone$1200 – 1500
Cast Iron & Zinc$800 – 1000
Brass & Copper$700 – 900
Alloyed Steel & High Carbide Steel$400 – 600
Stainless Steel & Aluminum$200 – 300

Avoid buying rusty saws with a green or orange patina as they might devalue your product by 10 – 12%.

3. Handle Materials

Handle Materials

If you want old, handmade handsaws, pick the ones with wood handles! Shiny metal ones are quite new; you won’t get more than $500 for these. Even bold plastic or enamel handles are a big no for an old make!

Handle MaterialsAverage Valuation
Oak, Pine, Beech Wood$1000 – 1200
Walnut or Mahogany Wood$900 – 1000
Spring Steel or Alloyed Steel$700 – 800
Nickel, Titanium or Brass$500 – 800
Galvanized or Stainless Steel$200 – 300
Plastic or Fiber$50 – 60

Aged metal saw handles might look like ceramic or enamel. So, touch the surface and check for a powdery finish before purchase.

4. Antique Hand Saw Brands

If you’re confused between 2-3 antique hand saw models, get the ones branded by ‘Simonds’ or ‘Disston.’ These branded saws are quite stiff and durable, raising the costs by 10 -12%. Plus, most might have a foreign make, with regionally carved handles.

But you can’t verify the make just by the carvings. So, check the handles for any signed medallions, logos, and dates. But if you don’t see one, check the patent numbers on the blade to trace the brand.

Want to know more? Check out these vintage hand-saw brands for help!

Hand Saw NameManufacturerType of Hand SawAverage Valuation
20” Pat SawSimondsRip Hand Saw$400 – 500
Carpenters Hand SawHenry Disston & SonsRip Hand Saw$800 – 850
Miter Hand SawHenry Disston & SonsTenon Hand Saw$200 – 250
Logging Crosscut Saw 48”E.C AtkinsCrosscut Saw$150 – 200

5. Blade Cuts & Shapes

Antique Hand Saw Blade Cuts

You might know the compact toothed hand saws that cut along the wood’s grain. But, not all antique hand saws used this same blade. In fact, the old models had cross-cut or dado blades that cut the wood parallelly.

So, if you see triangular, sloping teeth, you can price your hand saw for $500 – 600. But if you notice straight, single-sloped teeth, $200 – 400 would be enough.

6. Saw’s Condition

Did you see fungus, rust, or faded spots on your saw blades? If yes, then you better look for another model. That’s because these flaws might devalue your saw by 10 – 12%. Instead, look for lacquered or waxed saws to raise the value by $100 – 200.

How Do You Sharpen an Antique Hand Saw?

Take a taper file and sand your saw’s teeth 2-3 times. Align the deformed teeth with pliers, and brush them on with steel wool to set the teeth properly.

How Do You Clean a Vintage Hand Saw?

Rinse your hand saws with anti-rust solutions and paraffin to remove the rust. Later, you can coat them with oil or wax for a shine.

Can You Still Use Antique Hand Saws?

You can use old hand saws for small woodwork or chiseling. But be sure to repair all the broken teeth, tenons, and handles before doing so.

Identifying antique hand saws is no longer an expert’s job! You just have to verify the type, date, and brand for the correct value! So, refer to our guide, check the blades and handles, and add the values. There! You have valued your hand saw yourself!

And, if you want to value more metal items, such as ‘antique anvils’ and ‘antique wrenches,’ I’ll be happy to help!

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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