restoring an old 12" handsaw

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    Previous weekend I found a saw at a garage sale. I immediately noticed the saw seemed very old. It’s pretty rusty on one side, the teeth are an utter mess, the handle is slightly loose and one horn had broken off a long time ago. But the price was right so I bought it – I estimate about 0.50 euro for this saw, as I bought it along with some other things.

    I had mostly forgotten about this saw until yesterday evening I accidently stumbled upon this post on mr. Sellers’ blog:

    I don’t see any makers mark or brand on mine.

    As can be seen from the photos, the tooth pattern is rather interesting. No two teeth are the same, nor are they even close to being in line. This saw is in the worst condition that I’ve come across yet, but I’m sure I can restore it. It appears to be worth it to me, even though I have difficulty imagining using it a lot. But maybe that says more about my imagination than the usefulness of this saw.

    The blade is exactly 12″ long (suggesting a country of origin that’s imperial). The saw is currently 7 PPI (or TPI?), as best as I can tell from the irregular teeth. Would you advise to keep it at 7 PPI, just top the teeth and restore the tooth pattern? Or would it be better to start from scratch: remove all teeth and make new teeth, as shown in one of mr. Sellers’ videos (using a wooden guide and baby hacksaw)? And how many teeth would you advise then for this small saw? 9-10 TPI/PPI? Rip or crosscut?

    There’s a slight bit of movement between the handle and the blade and I am reluctant to try to tighten (or remove) the brass sawnuts. I was thinking of a few well-judged blows with a hammer and a punch to tighten the blade.

    All my saws are restored ones, and though I consider myself a rank beginner, saw sharpening came pretty easy to me. But this is my most challenging saw up till now. And as it appears to be rather old I’d prefer to not mess it up, so I’m very much interested in your advise and suggestions on how to recover this saw.

    edit: forgot to mention that the saw fits my hand surprisingly well, even with the missing horn (which I intend to repair).

    Julio T.

    I would file all these teeth off and would make new teeth, probably to a 12 tpi or so. I think that 7 tpì are too big teeth for a 12 inch saw. I bought a 10 tpi tenon saw and, after reshaping and resharpening it, I found its teeth too big, so I made new ones following Paul’s method (complete filing of the old ones, wood jig and junior hacksaw) and the saw works perfectly now.

    I uploaded some photos of the process here:

    Saw Teeth Recutting

    I think that those teeth, the ones that come with your saw, look like shaped by a devil, anyway 🙂 .


    Thanks for the advise, JulioT. It’s now a 8 PPI / 7 TPI saw, but after thinking about it, I think it may have originally been a 14 TPI saw? That makes more sense to me considering the size of the saw.

    I’ll be using mr. Sellers’ method of completely removing the teeth and cut new ones, at 12-14 TPI. That should make it a usable saw again. Pity it’ll make the blade much smaller. The photos of your re-cutting in the link were very helpful. Still, I’d better re-watch mr. Sellers’ video before I tackle this saw.

    The images don’t show it but I suspect a previous owner tried to sharpen the saw but noticed after the first 10 cm (starting from the tip) that he was really messing things up and stopped his butchering, as the rest of the blade looks much better (more accurately: it looks less bad).

    Off-topic, but as I was looking through the Dictum paper catalog, trying to find a similar sized saw and see how many TPI it had, I noticed that in the catalog 17 pages are dedicated to Japanese-style saws, one page worth on tenon saws, and about 1/3 of a page deals with something that looks like a panel-saw but actually has Japanese style teeth (‘Turbo cut saw’…). I find this bias towards Japanese saws a bit odd. Actually, more catalog space is used for straight razors than for Western saws. Odd, for a woodworking supplier.

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