What are the Best Hand Saw Brands?
I’m often asked, “what is the best hand saw brand?” Well, it’s hard to narrow down all the many vintage and modern saws to one best hand saw maker, but below I do share a list of old and new saw makers that made and make quality hand saws. The great news is that you can find fantastic old hand saws for as low as $5. And you can also spend several hundred dollars on a new or collectable vintage hand saw. And the purpose of this guide is to help you understand how to find the best handsaws for your hard earned money.
Aside from some certain quality modern saws, I would stay away from most cheap hand saws manufactured after World War II, especially if they are found at a hardware store. Yes, this is the same advice that I gave with hand planes. Tool quality really declined after WWII. Many cheap modern hand saws now have impulse hardened teeth, which are not possible to resharpen, thus making them disposable hand saws.
What brands of hand saws should you look for? Historically there were a lot of hand saw makers, because saws were easier to manufacture than hand planes. Here are some of the old and new quality saw makers (in alphabetical order). The blue links lead to eBay and other searches for those hand saw brands so you can compare different models.
***Note: some of the antique brands are not always available on Ebay, so keep checking back if you don’t see them in the search results.
***Note: the saws that are labeled as “desirable” refers to the demand for the saw, not necessarily the quality.
Sound overwhelming? Then just start off focusing on buying antique Disston saws. The Disston saws were manufactured by the millions and are the easiest to find, and most are of exceptional quality, especially the common models (see below). Remember to buy pre 1940’s era vintage hand saws. Here are some Ebay searches for wood saws. To ensure that you don’t over-pay, when you’re on Ebay click “sold” to see what they’ve been selling for, and to see which saw models are most desirable. It’s fun research:
The Disstonian Institute is a fantastic free resource (compiled by Erik von Sneidern) for identifying Disston saw types, or models, their years, and quality level. I’ve spent quite a few hours on the Disstonian Institute website. Just don’t email Erik asking him to value your saw.