Saw Restoration

Saw after restoration.

Saw after restoration.

Around Thanksgiving, my Father-in-Law, Dave, mentioned that his handsaws needed to be sharpened.  I told him that I would be happy to sharpen them, so we went out to his workshop to check them out.  One of the saws had a really bad kink in the blade and wasn’t in any condition to be salvaged without a lot of work.  The other was fairly rusted and had a minor kink near the end of the blade, but it wasn’t too bad.

I wish I had taken a picture of this saw before I started working on it.  It was a Craftsman; I think it was probably made in the 1970s or 1980s.  In addition to the kink in the blade, the tote (the proper name for a saw’s handle) was very poorly designed.  It was made of 1″ plywood, and all its proportions were much to large to be usable.  I asked Dave if he wanted me to make a new tote for the saw in addition to sharpening it.  He responded,  “Whatever you want to do.”  That was music to my ears.

I brought this saw home and over the past week and a half, I have been working on restoring it.  First I picked up a nice cherry board from my friend Kurt and started making a new tote.  On Christmas Day, I took the mostly completed tote to see how it fit Dave’s hand.  After finishing the tote, I gave the saw plate a bath in Evapo-rust, a great (and very environmentally friendly) rust remover.

I had talked to Dave on Christmas Eve about what type of wood he expected to cut and what clean-up he usually did after using the saw.  It turns out that the saw wasn’t particularly suited to his needs, so I decided to rework the saw’s cutting geometry.  The first step in this process was to file away all the existing teeth of the saw.  Next, I had to file in new teeth.  Once the new teeth were formed, I sharpened the cutting angles on the teeth.  It took several passes with a file to get the saw good and sharp.

Once the blade was sharp, I cut a groove in the tote for the saw-blade and drilled holes for the saw-nuts that hold the handle to the saw plate.  Next, I put several coats of Watco Danish Oil on the tote; and when it was dry, I put the saw together.

Here is a photo showing both the original tote and the new one.

Saw tote comparison

Saw tote comparison

What do you think of the restoration?  I would love to hear your thoughts?  Also, please let me know if you would like more or less details in future posts.

3 thoughts on “Saw Restoration

  1. woodworker2

    Nice tote! I have to be honest…I never knew it was called that. The shape looks like it would be more comfortable to hold than the old one.
    I’m sure you’ll give a workout after the wood for your next project acclimates in the near future.

    1. Phil Day Post author

      The design of the tote is very comfortable to hold, especially compared to modern ones. The pattern I used is from Aldren A. Watson’s book “Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings.” You can Click Here for a link to the book in Amazon if you’re interested.

      I wish I could try the saw out on the End Table project. Unfortunately, my Father-in-Law really only uses it to crosscut pine from the big-box stores, so I sharpened it specifically for soft woods.

  2. Shirley Wheeler

    Simply Beautiful! I bet he was overjoyed to have this redone and so well I might add. I like the details on your blog. If you had less I might not be able to follow as well. I am really learning a lot! My vote is keep the details! :0)


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