First saw restoration

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Stan

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Among the tools I inherited recently were four saws, three tenon and one ripsaw. All were in a state but showed promise, so I had a go cleaning one up...

20210326_110021.jpg



20210326_110040.jpg


The top saw is one of the group and is how this one looked.

I thought I had sanded the handle properly, but the linseed oil and wax has brought out some scratches. I also have a Stanley 80 scraper, and once that is up and running I will revisit the saw handle. Now I have a saw vice this saw will be sharpened soon.

The black/orange screwdriver is in fact a Dzus fastener. I find the tip ideal for large slotted screws such as these and the ones found on planes. I could not get a "proper" screwdriver wider than 1/2 inch, which can tear the slot.

If anyone has any tips they would be gratefully received. In particular, I would like a non-destructive way of removing the black tarnish. Fine steel wool and WD40 only goes so far.
 

G S Haydon

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Nice one Stan. In my experience, that saw plate is as good as it gets. I don't think you'll get the bright new saw plate look you're after. I would recommend moving onto sharpening and using them.
 

Jacob

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Among the tools I inherited recently were four saws, three tenon and one ripsaw. All were in a state but showed promise, so I had a go cleaning one up...

View attachment 106817


View attachment 106818

The top saw is one of the group and is how this one looked.

I thought I had sanded the handle properly, but the linseed oil and wax has brought out some scratches. I also have a Stanley 80 scraper, and once that is up and running I will revisit the saw handle. Now I have a saw vice this saw will be sharpened soon.

The black/orange screwdriver is in fact a Dzus fastener. I find the tip ideal for large slotted screws such as these and the ones found on planes. I could not get a "proper" screwdriver wider than 1/2 inch, which can tear the slot.

If anyone has any tips they would be gratefully received. In particular, I would like a non-destructive way of removing the black tarnish. Fine steel wool and WD40 only goes so far.
I use several old saws which arrived very rusty. I brush off loose stuff and apply linseed oil. They still look dark brown but shiny and easy to use, with just a dull grey glimmer of bare metal showing here and there. So my tip would be to do as little as you have to to get the thing usable.
Rip saw demo here, cuts very nicely:
rip2.jpg
 

smackie

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I use these Garryflex Abrasive Rubber Blocks Grit 36/60/120/240 makes a good job
The Garryflex blocks are great for removing crud from things like old saw blades. They’re also really useful as a first pass on old plane bases. They last a reasonable time too. Just make sure you have the shopvac nearby - the bits of the rubber get everywhere if you’re not careful.
 

D_W

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I use several old saws which arrived very rusty. I brush off loose stuff and apply linseed oil. They still look dark brown but shiny and easy to use, with just a dull grey glimmer of bare metal showing here and there. So my tip would be to do as little as you have to to get the thing usable.
Rip saw demo here, cuts very nicely:
View attachment 106827

Hey...we agree on something!!

I do about the same. Knock off the bits that stick out and cause friction and let the rest go.

You, on saws that have a lot of pitting or a deep layer of otherwise inert rust, end up deburring or abrading off the tension layer on the saw and the saw will be worthless. I had a no 7 once that was brown as a berry (but stable and smooth) and the buyer for it wanted all of the rust off. The amount of rust layer on it as astonishing, but no blooms, leaf or oxide color - just a pleasing dark brown.

I doubt it worked any better, but there was a risk chasing it of going through the layer that has tension in it.

The tension issue isn't just talk - I chased rust off of a large rip saw at one point and by the time I got it to bright metal, it lost all of its tension, and I didn't heat it up, either.
 

Stan

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Thanks for the above folks.

@Phill05

Do the Garryblocks offer anything more than wet n dry on a wooden block? This is a product I have not heard of before.

@ Jacob and D_W

In my ignorance I assumed that the steel on the saw was the same all the way through. It seems from what you say this is not so. Where do you recommend I could learn more about this? ( As a newbie I am probably equivalent to week 2 of an apprenticeship - servicing tools. I awarded myself flying colours for week one since I am good at making tea and sweeping floors. )
 

Jacob

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...In my ignorance I assumed that the steel on the saw was the same all the way through. It seems from what you say this is not so. Where do you recommend I could learn more about this? ( As a newbie I am probably equivalent to week 2 of an apprenticeship - servicing tools. I awarded myself flying colours for week one since I am good at making tea and sweeping floors. )
Me no expert.
The steel's the same as far as I know but traditionally they got a lot of hammering to "tension" them (just had a look in Salaman). I know that my old saws (like the one above) have different steel to my modern ones - they feel different in use and in sharpening.
 

Stan

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As far I understand it, modern saws are soft flexible steel, electro-hardened at the teeth. Once the teeth get blunt and are ground away the rest of the blade is too soft to hold sharpness for very long. The old saws can be sharpened until the blade is practically worn out. Maybe this accounts for it?

Is "Salaman" a reference book?
 

Phill05

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Thanks for the above folks.

@Phill05

Do the Garryblocks offer anything more than wet n dry on a wooden block? This is a product I have not heard of before.

Stan
I found them better than wet & dry by using a little WD40 as a lube you get a little sludge build up that help to clean as well as bending into crevices and if you keep one edge just for a final rub they do last a long time so well worth the buy, very good on brass at taking out scratches. prior to polishing.
 

Jacob

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As far I understand it, modern saws are soft flexible steel, electro-hardened at the teeth. Once the teeth get blunt and are ground away the rest of the blade is too soft to hold sharpness for very long. The old saws can be sharpened until the blade is practically worn out. Maybe this accounts for it?
Could be. You see funny looking old saws a lot on Ebay and people think they are special purpose (dovetails etc) but I think they are just worn out.
Is "Salaman" a reference book?
Dictionary of Woodworking Tools R. A. Salaman
Brilliant book, essential reading. 545 pages of text and illustrations, all hand tools.
Helps not only to identify things but also to point you at tools for particular jobs.
e.g. 80 pages on planes alone, including plane makers' tools
£10 to £30 on Ebay
 

D_W

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Thanks for the above folks.

@Phill05

Do the Garryblocks offer anything more than wet n dry on a wooden block? This is a product I have not heard of before.

@ Jacob and D_W

In my ignorance I assumed that the steel on the saw was the same all the way through. It seems from what you say this is not so. Where do you recommend I could learn more about this? ( As a newbie I am probably equivalent to week 2 of an apprenticeship - servicing tools. I awarded myself flying colours for week one since I am good at making tea and sweeping floors. )

I saw jacob's saw first (which will have tension rolled into it and from my experience, most of that is on the top layers). I'm not sure about the tension in backsaws - I think the plate hardness and the spine is enough by itself and you won't have any issues.

I should've mentioned that my comments were in regard to carpenters saws without a spine.
 

Cheshirechappie

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A quick tip on saw blade refurbishment; having cleaned off the worst of the rust and dirt, obtain some aluminium kitchen foil, and scrumple a piece into a ball. Dot a few blobs of Solvol Autosol on the blade, then polish the blade surface well with the paste and foil. Clean off the residue with kitchen roll or rags. The result is not so much shiny, but it is a very smooth finish to the blade, which helps to give a smooth and slick cut. A wipe of paste wax helps, too - but it does get scraped off in use.
 

IWW

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As far I understand it, modern saws are soft flexible steel, electro-hardened at the teeth. Once the teeth get blunt and are ground away the rest of the blade is too soft to hold sharpness for very long. The old saws can be sharpened until the blade is practically worn out. Maybe this accounts for it? ....

No saw can be "soft" but they do need to be flexible and reasonably stiff, so the blades are tempered to something close to, if not the same as, a re-sharpenable saw. It's extremely difficult to find out what alloy is used for any given hardpoint saw, and no doubt different makers use different alloys, but I have come across a couple of references in manufacturers' blurbs to "1080", so at least some use that. While 1080 may not be hardenable to the same degree as say, 1095, the temper of the hardoint plate seems to be adequately hard for new teeth when the old impulse-hardened teeth are cut off.

I've made quite a few backsaws using plate from worn-out hardpoints (actually, I made one using the plate from a new saw once, because the teeth it came with were so poor it wouldn't cut butter!) and so far each has made a satisfactry saw. I've also made many saws using blue-tempered 1095 plate, which I understand to have a Rockwell hardness of around 55 (which is around the upper practical limit for a saw, it gets a bit too hard on files above that). The recycled hardpoint steel is a little softer, as judged by its response to a file, but I doubt the average user would notice any difference otherwise. The harder metal should last a little longer between sharpening, but most users sharpen or have their saws sharpened too infrequently to keep track.

As far as I know, back saw blades were rarely, if ever tensioned, but I will happily be corrected if that is wrong. Hand saws, of course, certainly were tensioned back in he day, one of he factors that makes them so much more pleasnt to use compared with the "dead" modern hardpoints. I doubt you would be likely to do any damage to a backsaw by sanding the plate enough to get rid f the surface rust, and even with a handsaw you'd be pretty safe. As Jacob & others said, you don't have to make the blade shiny-bright for it to be perfectly functional, & even quite deep pits seem to make very little difference to performance. The tensioning is certainly superficial, but just try removing a thou or two off a saw plate with paper and a sanding block!

I once tried to taper a smallish backsaw blade by hand, to roll my own version of a Disston "77". After a couple of hours of hard work I had managed a taper of less than 2/1000 of an inch. I gave up in disgust at that point.....
Cheers,
Ian
 

Jacob

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...... As Jacob & others said, you don't have to make the blade shiny-bright for it to be perfectly functional, & even quite deep pits seem to make very little difference to performance. ......
I know it's heretical but I'd go further than that and say a few missing or irregular teeth won't make much difference either, as long as the teeth remaining are sharp and evenly set.
I don't bother "breasting" (ed - "topping") a saw - it's a waste of good saw material and the reason you see so many misshapen narrow-bladed old saws on ebay.
 
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D_W

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I don't ever find those used up saws breasted. They usually come with a frown, presumably from hard use. You could grind up a plane iron or chisel, but I'm not aware of a similar way to dishonestly waste a saw.

Missing teeth are something to avoid in carpenter's and back saws, though. If you go through enough saws, you'll find quickly that the ones with broken teeth will do more of the same when you set them.
 

TominDales

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Your saw looks good to me. Ready for a sharpen. The stain on steel is very hard to remove, removing it makes no real difference to performance, so is really a cosmetic difference, is very hard to do and risks damaging the saw. Get it friction free. The Aluminium foil recommendation from CheshireChappie is also a good tip for improving the appearance.

I wrote off a saw with over aggressive polishing/etching of the blade.
I had a leak in the garage roof (boys displaced a tile while retrieving a ball) one winter, and when I got back from an overseas trip one of my old tenon saws was badly pitted. I ended up wrecking the blade trying to fully restore it. I now leave things in the state of yours, plane soles the same, rub up nice with wire wool and fine aluox paper wet.
The sand paper gets very rusty looking, but actually will keep work well if you keep it wet, you can remove a lot of rust with a small bit of paper. I recommend you either throw the used wire wool and paper away after use or keep it to one side reserved for other rust removal projects as the paper will stain wood and may contaminate other tools with rust - I keep some in a separate polybag and dispose of when really bad. But keep well away from the other abrasives.

The aluminium foil polish does an chemical and mechanical action that is very gentle. Chemically, as you rub the thin oxide on aluminum rubs off exposing reactive Aluminum metal, where this is in contact with rust it reduces the iron oxide (rust) back to iron, while the aluminium is turned into its oxide (Al2O3 fine sapphire). The aluminium foil is soft so does not scratch the steel surface. This is a surface only effect and only reacts with the rust and leaves the steel intact. You need an oil lapping agent, 3-in-one, or wd40 etc, to do this, anything oily to keep the air and moisture away from the metal surfaces, otherwise the air reacts with the aluminium before it can react with the rust reducing the effect. This is really just a cosmetic effect as the effect on the surface is really at the atomic level and has no real impact on the tools performance.
Autosol on the other hand is an abrasive and will add abrasion to the foiling action, so you will get a more aggressive finish that way. Agina its really an appearance thing as the aluox paper will have got you a friction free surface.
As others have said, oil or wax after use will preserve the surface.

Another tip, you say you are a beginner - you seem pretty experienced to me, I recommend you get going on some wood projects and then re-asses your tools, its a virtuous circle. Improve sharpening and setting technique, then do a project and then improve your tools, based on the results you are getting. I find I'm still learning after years of doing. You are going about things right in terms of learning how to properly care for and sharpen tools right from the start. You will find the limits to tools by doing projects.

If you can afford it, and the time Salaman and Paul Sellers books are a good read.
Salaman (about £25 +pp for hard back) 9780046210205 - Dictionary of Tools Used in the Woodworking and Allied Trades, 1700-1950, Used - AbeBooks . about £15 for the paper back. It was published in the 1970s so a bit dated but has good history of how things were made.
For a more up to date account, copy of Paul Sellers book its an Easter treat but can only be found new at £35 + £5pp his book and blogs on tools are a joy to listen to. Products Archive - Rokesmith Limited I gave my 21 year old son Sellers book for xmas, he has joined a local club to learn and found it fascinating and a way to not get too many tools (we all need restraining here).
I like the way you adapted a tool to get the screws out. Sensible adaptation is a good thing as it keeps the number of tools you need down.
 
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Jacob

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I don't ever find those used up saws breasted.
That's because they are sharpened after breasting, (ed - topping!)maybe several times, and there will be no trace left
Missing teeth are something to avoid in carpenter's and back saws, though.
I agree - you wouldn't choose to have them :rolleyes: I wasn't recommending them just suggesting that within reason you needn't worry about them and start major saw doctoring
If you go through enough saws, you'll find quickly that the ones with broken teeth will do more of the same when you set them.
Yes. My old (rusty brown) saws are all prone to breaking teeth if set to crudely. I found that out early on - at first I thought it might be due to rust or pitting but eventually decided it was to do with the metal and they had to be set very cautiously without bending too close to the bottom of the gullet. The old saws teeth seem brittle in a way different from new. They feel different in use too and I much prefer them.
 
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Jacob

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.......
Salaman (about £25 +pp for hard back) 9780046210205 - Dictionary of Tools Used in the Woodworking and Allied Trades, 1700-1950, Used - AbeBooks . about £15 for the paper back. It was published in the 1970s so a bit dated but has good history of how things were made.
Sorry to point out the obvious but yes it is a bit dated; 1700- 1950 to be precise!
But that's OK though there's nothing much new happened since then, except the sharpening craze perhaps. I don't think jigs get a mention in Salaman, which is a blessed relief! Could be wrong though, they were around for amateurs a long way back.
PS Wrong! page 215- 216 shows a jig thing and says "Such devices are intended to help novices but in fact they only postpone the acquisition of a necessary skill which will be quickly learnt after a few attempts at free-hand sharpening". Quelle surprise!! Lucy Really GIF - Lucy Really Surprised - Discover & Share GIFs
 
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IWW

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I don't ever find those used up saws breasted. They usually come with a frown, presumably from hard use.

That's because they are sharpened after breasting, maybe several times, and there will be no trace left.....

Jacob, I think you & DW are talking at cross-purposes. "Breasting" in US (& most Australian) use refers to putting a curve in the tooth line to compensate for the rotary action of arms flailing back & forth. You seem to be using "breasting" for what is called "jointing" in the US or "topping" in parts of Australia, i.e. running a file over the tops of the teeth to bring them into line.
As Oscar Wilde said, "...two countries divided by a common language..." :)

For those less familiar with saws, breasting is applied to most large crosscut two-man saws (the few monster rip saws used for pit-sawing that I've seen had a straight, or near-straight, tooth line). From my own years of experience on the end of crosscut saws, breasting certainly helped in keeping a smooth action going.

Conversely, it was rip saws that were breasted with hand saws, or at least they are the only ones I've ever seen so configured. You may argue the merits of breasting on these saws, I've only ever used one briefly & didn't find it any great revelation, but then I never had to rip planks by hand all day every day. Others clearly do/did think it helped because breasted saws were not uncommon back in my dad's day.

Cheers,
Ian
 
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