Full Chisel Blog

October 22, 2008

Disston Triumph

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Sawing,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 10:06 am

Now this type of Saw Set is not one that I use, I use a saw wrest.  During my move I have uncovered a number of tools that I forgot I owned and this is one of them.

Disston Triumph

This one is different from other pliers types I have seen before, and it doesn’t appear to crush the tooth like other pliers type saw sets.


Much of the original japanning is in place, there is a light surface rust, but no pitting.

Patent Information

This is just within my century of interest, but in the later decades.

Tooth anvil and punch

There is an adjustment to hold the teeth at a certain height/depth, and the anvil is adjustable.  What is unusual about this is that the tooth punch comes out first and holds the tooth against the anvil.

Tooth anvil and blade punch

Then the second punch comes out and pushes the blade while the first punch holds the tooth.  Clever idea, although I think it would be difficult to use, a saw wrest is so simple.

But I wanted to post this as I have not spoken well of pliers saw sets, and will have to temper my outlook.  I am still unsure about the pressure of the punch.  I think it also might bend the tooth at the root, which is not a good thing.  One more tool for sale.



  1. Stephen,

    I have this saw set (the only one I have) and use it frequently. It is not difficult to use at all. The hardest part is adjusting the height so that the setting punch contacts the tooth at the right spot (not too low). The pressure with which to squeeze can be tricky to get at first as well. The first time I use it I broke a few teeth by pushing too hard too fast. These saw sets are like shooting a pistol or rifle. You have to squeeze gently and slowly and not jerk the “trigger”. Once you have that down, it’s easy as pie to set the teeth on any saw. I disassembled mine when I got it to clean it up and while I was at it I filed the setting plunger a little narrower at the tip to use it on smaller saws. Now I can use it on anything from my 5 point rip to my 19 point dovetail.

    I’ve never used a saw wrest but always wanted to try one. They always looke to me like they would be dificcult to get a consistent set and that one could easily set some teeth more than others. This problem is avoided with the plunger type sets. Is this truly a problem with a saw wrest or is it one of those problems I’m creating in my head that really isn’t a problem at all once you use one?


    Comment by Bob Rozaieski — October 22, 2008 @ 10:43 am

  2. Bob,

    Well I am glad it works for you, a lot of saw sets of this type seem problematic. This one I think attempts to do the right thing, or so it seems.

    I have several saw wrests and plan on making a copy of the Moxon set soon, all of which is very strange in that I seldom use a saw set at all. It is only on rare occasion that I need to set the teeth. Even on a number of old saws, once they are jointed and sharpened, most times they just don’t need to be set.

    Thanks for your comments about your success with this tool.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — October 22, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

  3. I would say that most of my saws probably don’t need any set either and they have so little set that I doubt it makes much of a difference. The only saw that I know it is absolutely needed is my 5 point rip saw. I’ve had some binding problems with this one in some rip cuts and adding a little set usually fixes the problem.

    Comment by Bob Rozaieski — October 23, 2008 @ 6:05 am

  4. Stephen, The Disston sets do work fairly well. I like them.

    The better of the two-plunger systems (of the plier type sets) is the one by Eclipse in England for quite a number of years in times past. The current Somax remake is fine, though there are issues one should address if it will be used heavily.

    The Stanley 42X is a two-plunger of the pisto-grip style. It is the best of that style–quite a nice set. However, I prefer the plier type.

    Take care, Mike

    Comment by Mike — October 23, 2008 @ 7:51 am

  5. Mike,

    You of course are one of the people who would use a saw set, all the time! I was influenced by my apprenticeship, being young and inexperienced, I bought a plier type saw set and ruined a saw by breaking off some teeth before I gave up and asked my master what I was doing wrong. He pulled out an old wrest from his pocket (he brought it from home, anticipating my need) and gave it to me. I think that was the only tool he gave me, but he did sell me all his hand planes and many of his other tools. He showed me how to use the wrest which I have used it (albeit not much) ever since.

    I have broken off one tooth on a rip saw that I cleaned with a Volta Pile and did not properly remove the hydrogen. The brittle blade was then treated (heated to 220 degrees for the same period of time it was in the bath). The rest of the teeth behaved.

    My problem with the plier sets is that I am too far removed from feeling what is going on, too much mechanical stuff in the way. There is no telegraphing of what is going on. With a wrest I am right there, I can feel the steel in the saw move as I set the teeth. Several of the wrests have stops, one I have doesn’t and I use it more than the others.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — October 23, 2008 @ 8:39 am

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