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Yesterday my lady & I spent the day moping around the countryside and hanging about some antiques stores and such. We came upon an old barn sale full of tons of junk, and I found this guy.
12" Disston & Sons No 4 backsaw. Has 10-11 TPI. From the research I've done the medallion, stamp, and handle style places its production between 1896-1917. It's in pretty good shape, and pretty darn straight for a 100 year old saw. For 10 bucks, I'm happy. Here's a few pics







Antique tool Rust Metal




Backsaw Metal Hand saw Carving Tool




Wood Floor Flooring




Floor Tile Flooring Wood Table


Ok, the question part.

How do you tell if the teeth are filed for rip or cross?

What's the best way to remove the tarnish and grime from the plate & back without sanding?

Any good resources out there for a first timer who wants to learn to sharpen hand saws?

Any info you guys could offer is much appreciated
 

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Here's a couple of links to get you going. The first is one of the best tutorials on sharpening saws that I've found. The second deals with creating a new saw from an old saw plate - the first couple of pages deal with reshaping the plate, but further in it has some great pictures and info on shaping/sharpening teeth.

http://www.vintagesaws.com/library/primer/sharp.html

http://www.wkfinetools.com/contrib/bSmalser/art/nlOldSaw/nlOldSaw4.asp

As to cleaning the plate, use the same methods you would use for old planes - electrolysis, Evapo-Rust or oxalic acid.
 

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Ok, the question part.

What's the best way to remove the tarnish and grime from the plate & back without sanding?
Nice old saw. Good find.

I start my plane cleanup with hand cleaner and a tooth brush. I use Permetex Fast Orange, but any degreaser will work. The pumice adds a slight abrasive.

If you want to remove rust without soaking in oxalic acid, etc. try this Boeshield product.

http://www.woodcraft.com/product/2000984/208/t9-rust-free-845-ounce-pump-spray.aspx

I used a small amount on the corrugations in the sole of your No. 5. Again used an old tooth brush. Took off the old tarnish in the corrugations.
 

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I have a similar (or perhaps the same) saw and I've been very happy with it. There is something very pleasant about using a 100yr old tool with an original wooden handle. Enjoy the saw!
 
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