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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Genesis: Saw 1

UPDATE:  Popular Woodworking is offering a free download of a 2008 backsaw article here.

In the post entitled Mid Hiatus Break I first introduced the saw shown here on the bottom:
Here it is a little closer:
I thought this one was only going to be for practice, but I found a diamond under the rust and grime.  It turns out this saw is a Disston from the prime era of saws.  Even before I found the makers mark on the spine of the saw, I admired the fit and feel of the saw handle.

The top saw in the above picture is my current tenon saw.  It is a 1950's era consumer grade model that came to me cheap and with a sharp blade on it already.  I broke it out of the til to compare the two handles.  The older saw handle is narrower with a more pronounced curve and more importantly feels great in my hand.  I hate to admit it, but the old handle feels better in my hand than my Bad Axe Toolworks hybrid saw handle.

After futzing around with the saw handle, I moved on to cleaning up the plate.  Buried beneath grime and rust is the Disston Philadelphia makers mark:
Here are all the cleaned up components:
I sanded the saw plate smooth and hit it with some rust remover.  I did not immerse the blade in rust remover, or attempt to return it to full shine. The sheen on the blade in this picture is from a coat of spray lacquer.

The handle is lightly sanded  The cool black patina on the handle was true grime.  Since I want to return this guy to work, not put him in a museum, I decided to break through the grime with 220 grit sand paper.  The handle is sanded but not finished in the picture.  Five coats of Danish rubbing oil in 'natural' color now adorn the handle.

Cleaning the brass hardware really confounded me.  I went to town on the first nut with the brass polish cotton without much success.  Stymied, that is until I put the brass in the drill press to let 1750 RPM of direct contact with the polish do what was taking far too long by hand.  Three coats of spray lacquer seals in the shine brought out by polishing on the drill press.  Here is the brass close up.  Note that these parts are cast, NOT milled:

Without further adieu, here is the completed saw ready to be sharpened:

Fine Teeth, Crosscut