Hand Saw Restoration

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    Topic
  • #126206
    Matt McGrane
    Participant

    I picked up this 8 tpi, 16″ blade cross-cut Warranted Superior saw for $3 at a garage sale last weekend. It needed a fair amount of work. You can see how rusty the blade was, but I got it fairly clean with a citric acid bath, followed by sandpaper and steel wool. The handle was very dry and a bit dirty. I scraped all of the old finish off, sanded, and applied a couple coats of boiled linseed oil. Not sure what wood it is, but it had a reddish hue in spots after scraping. Looks stunning after oiling. I also cleaned up all the saw nuts and that made a nice difference, too.

    The teeth needed some work. When I was jointing them to get them all to the same height, I realized they needed more work than I though. So I completely removed the teeth and filed new 8 tpi teeth (first time ever). It’s two days later and my fingers are still buzzing. This is only the second time I’ve tried sharpening a cross-cut saw. I re-watched Andy Lovelock’s excellent video tutorial on “Sharpening Western Saws” and took notes before attempting this. I filed with 14° rake and 20° fleam (I sound like a pro, don’t I?) using a little wooden guide to help with the angles. The teeth aren’t perfect by any means, but I got a very nice cut in both pine and maple.

    Just below the teeth, the blade is about 0.040″ thick. I set the teeth to about 0.048″. This 0.040″ plate seems thick for a short 16″ saw. Anybody know what this saw was probably used for? I’m guessing it’s a panel saw, but I would have thought the blade would be thinner.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/

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Viewing 15 replies - 16 through 30 (of 37 total)
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  • #126410
    markh
    Participant

    @markh

    I think that you can also get citric acid in slightly larger quantities and lower cost at Home Brewing suppliers. Cheers, Mark.

    #126413
    Matt McGrane
    Participant

    @mattmcgrane

    @sidreilley – Thanks for that extra information, Sid. Interesting that the Disston saws have thinner plates than the Warranted Superior. But that could also be because of the ppi/tpi. Probably the lower the tpi, the thicker the plate required to saw thicker wood.

    I thought that maybe my saw was originally a longer saw and was surgically altered. I can’t determine that by looking at it. Oh, and the ppi/tpi is not shown at the heel, just a “diamond”. You can see it in the close-up picture of the restored handle.

    @gary – Gary, as others have said, the citric acid is easily available. It’s used in canning fruits or veggies, so can be found in that aisle. It’s also in hardware stores. I find it very safe to use and it can be disposed of down the drain.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/

    #126419
    raze599
    Participant

    @raze599

    @mattmcgrane

    Doesnt citric acid remove etches that are on the plate?

    #126426
    Matt McGrane
    Participant

    @mattmcgrane

    @raze599 – Raze, that’s an interesting question and maybe I don’t understand the definition of “etch”. I thought an etch was a design or letters “scratched” (for lack of a better word) into the surface. If that is true, then the acid wouldn’t affect it. But last year, I rehab’ed a Disston #23 (not certain of that number) where the logo was just barely visible. After the acid bath and sanding, the Disston logo was completely gone. I was bummed about that, but the saw needed the work. I remember thinking that the saw might have been made more cheaply with the design printed rather than scratched into the surface. So if the real definition of etch is a design printed on a saw plate, then yes, the acid and sanding will remove it.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/

    #126427
    Mooncabbage
    Member

    @mooncabbage

    Etching is a process by which a design is cut into metal with acid, but a lot of the “etches” on more modern saws do seem to be simply screen printed on. For myself, I am less concerned about preserving these etches. If I put the effort into restoring a beater, it’s more mine than original anyway, so an etch is slightly disingenuous. I’d rather put my own mark on it.

    #126439
    Matt McGrane
    Participant

    @mattmcgrane

    OK Moon – now I have to figure out what my own mark will be. Similar to what Greg Merritt does. Maybe a symbol like the artist formerly known as Prince, who is now known as Prince again. I’ll have to work on that.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/

    #126465
    Mooncabbage
    Member

    @mooncabbage

    Do you have a family coat of arms? Or perhaps an animal you particularly like? I always think heraldic designs look great on old timey saws. That’s just me though.

    When it comes to actual etching, there is lots of info online, because people use a variety of techniques to etch their own circuit boards. I believe that norse woodworker guy also etched his own design onto some hand saws he made. So there is plenty of info out there.

    #126675
    drdee1280
    Participant

    @drdee1280

    Saw bolts: look for Chicago bolts at your local hardware shop. I have used them for repairs/missing bolts although they don’t look quite as nice as the real thing

    #126705
    Marilyn Moreno
    Participant

    @mmoreno610

    Guys, I have a question: How do you get rid of a slight bend on a saw blade?
    I picked up a couple of Disston rip saws for $5 a while back, a 5 1/2 and an 8 tpi. Not in bad condition, but one of them has a slight bend.
    I tried my first hand at sharpening last night and the saw is cutting pretty good. I’d like to see if I can do away with the bend.
    Any suggestons?
    Marilyn

    P.S. BTW @mattmcgrane, the saw is beautiful. I’m going to try the citric acid method on these…

    Marilyn - Lehigh Valley, Eastern Pennsylvania - USA

    #126709
    Mooncabbage
    Member

    @mooncabbage

    @mmoreno610 Can you be more specific? Is it a kink, does the saw cut at an angle, or is the blade slightly curved along it’s length?

    If it’s a kink, you can carefully bend it back.

    If the saw curves as you cut, it’s either your technique, or more likely the teeth are set slightly more on one side. To fix that you ‘stone’ the side it’s cutting towards lightly, try it again, and repeat till it cuts straight.

    If it’s a slight bend along the whole length, it’s not really an issue. The saw has probably been stored lying flat, and the metal has sagged over time. The best fix I’ve found for this is to store it properly, either standing up properly or hanging on a wall. It’ll straighten over time.

    I’ve read that to test whether a saw blade is worth saving, you should grab it by the handle and the toe, and try bending the whole saw a good bit. Not too far, lest you kink it, but maybe between 45-90 degrees. When you let go, the blade should spring back without affecting the shape or introducing a bend. If not, the steel has lost it’s ‘spring’, and while you might be able to make it work, it’s probably not worth putting a lot of time and effort into.

    Hope this helps.

    #126716
    chemical_cake
    Participant

    @chemical_cake

    @mooncabbage, I’m interested by what you said about storing saws flat. I have heard that this can cause them to become distorted, but only on the internet, and there seem to be just as many sources denying this is a problem.

    Do you have some hard experience of saws bending under the force of gravity, and over what time period?

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Southampton, UK

    #126723
    Mooncabbage
    Member

    @mooncabbage

    It seems to be a problem only with handsaws that have been allowed to lie flat for a long period of time, probably on the order of 6 months or more. I had a handsaw I inherited that was laid flat, and it developed a curve along the length of the blade. Hanging it properly restored the blade, over a relatively long period.

    I don’t think leaving your saw lying flat on your bench overnight is going to cause any problems, but I certainly wouldn’t store it that way.

    #126733
    patrickwright
    Participant

    @patrickwright

    I just bought a handsaw off ebay. The postal service broke the handle into three pieces and some sawdust. I glued the handle back together. But I will remove it and use it for a template to make a new one. Then at least I can size it to fit my hand perfectly.
    It is a Henry Disston & Sons and it has all its original brass nuts. It has the dimple in the top edge of the blade, but the top of the blade isn’t curved as the pic looked on ebay, but overall I am pleased. Besides, the USPS broke it so the insurance will pay the seller, who promptly refunded all my money.
    I purchased some hickory from the hardwoods shop in town. Not sure if that is good for a saw handle though. What do you guys think?

    Attachments:
    #126735
    patrickwright
    Participant

    @patrickwright

    I read something online about taking a bend out of an old handsaw. As I remember the article said the old saws were made with high quality spring steel so you could simply pour boiling water over the blade to restore the original flatness. Haven’t tried it, but if you do, please report on the result, and good luck.

    #126740
    Mooncabbage
    Member

    @mooncabbage

    Woohoo, free saw! I’m going to have to come up with a solution for saw nuts at some point, not sure I can afford to buy the 15-20 I’d need to give my 5 saw plates proper handles.

    I can’t speak to the hickory, but when making a template for the replacement handle, be sure to make a note of grain direction. You will want to match it as closely as possible.

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