Rip saw; Henry Disston & Sons; c1880; 1276


Port Macquarie Museum


Rip saw

About this object

This rip saw was made by American saw maker Henry Disston and Sons around 1880. It was used by builder Frederick Henry Batch Reynolds [1866-1951] in the construction of a number of Port Macquarie buildings, including a new wing at the Port Macquarie Hospital in 1904, ‘Clifton’ the home of John Hibbard, Jnr in 1911 and numerous other commercial buildings and private residences in the town.

Disston saws are aesthetically significant in their design and functionality. Henry Disston pioneered hand saw design changes that moved American saw making away from traditions established in England. His rip saws in particular have a very different design in their handle shape, which include an extra hole or dual grip and was designed for laborious rip cuts. This design was offered on 26inch and longer Disston rip saws from 1887 until around 1950, some sixty years, suggesting that the design was a very effective one and evidences its usefulness and functionality.

The building industry has over time undergone many technological changes due to the availability of improved tools and materials. This saw evidences tool developments pioneered by American Henry Disston in the late 19th century. It was designed to make builder’s work easier and provide extra strength and power. It is from an era when builders performed most tasks by hand.

This saw was highly valued by the Reynolds family who kept it well after Frederick Reynold’s death, recognising its unique and clever design and links to their builder father.

Disston rip saws remain highly sought after today by hand tool collectors appreciated for their unusual design.

Debbie Sommers
10 January 2014


Henry Disston & Sons

Date Made


Place Made


Place Notes


Medium and Materials

Metal, wood


790mmL including handle, 155mmW at handle

Credit Line

Donor: Fred Reynolds

Object Type


Object number


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