Posts Tagged With: Tool Restoration

Handle Finishing

Where did my weekend go?  I had to replace the faucet in the kitchen and a couple of light switches.  Any home project seems to involve a minimum of 3 trips to the hardware store.  Yuk.

I did most of the refinishing on my saw handle, although I still plan to put a few more coats of Shellac on it.  I started out by sanding it smooth, starting with 80 grit on the rasped areas, then 120, 220 and 320.

I wasn’t sure how to proceed, and I probably rushed things a little.  No patience.  Next Day Air is an interminable wait for me.  I had thought about bleaching the handle first to try to average out the colors, but didn’t wan’t to wait for that to work.  So I put a little Georgian Cherry gel stain on the patched areas and let that sit a few minutes.  Then wiped a quick coat over the entire handle.

There was still too much contrast, so I put another coat of stain on the patched areas.

Then I put on one coat of plain boiled linseed oil.  Again, probably too soon.  It removed some of the stain.  I rubbed more on the patches and left it alone for an hour.

Then I started applying coats of Garnet Shellac.  I put a few coats on, let it dry, sand it with a 500 grit norton sponge and some linseed oil for lubricant, then apply a few more.  This is after the first coat.  I will sand and apply more tonight, hopefully that will get me to the glossy finish I want – it’s mostly there already.

I also cleaned the saw plate and sharpened it.  I’m not happy with the job I did filing it.  The files I bought have too much radius on the corners, and I probably should have just re-toothed it from scratch.  I may still do that.  I think it’s around 15ppi, probably too fine for tenons.  It is certainly too fine for my Stanley 42X saw set.  Maybe 10 or 11?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Handle Shaping

Progress on the tenon saw.  I have the handle rough shaped now…less rough and more shaped.

I started off by making a pattern from the lower horn, then aligning it and tracing around it onto the top patch.

For the other patch I can just use the right side of the saw as my pattern of course…

I used a coping saw to remove the bulk of the waste.  So far, so good. (I shouldn’t have said that…)

I have a handful of rasps that I’ll be using.  These things are kind of unbelievably pricey, especially compared to the hardware store tools.  They are kind of unbelievably better too.  The two large ones (one coarse, one fine) I got a while ago from Stewart-MacDonald, who sells them for instrument building.  The three smaller ones came from Tools For Working Wood.  I ended up using primarily the large 10″ fine cut, the small cabinet rasp (2nd from the left) and the curved saw tote rasp.  That last one was handy, but you could do the whole job with just the one cabinet rasp.

At this point I was pretty confident, I was sure I could rasp the handle into shape.  On the second or third stroke I poped a chip out of the replacement wood.  There was a tiny knot in that part, but I didn’t really think about it being fragile.  I super-glued it back in place and continued on.  Well, I super glued it to my fingers first.  Then I glued it to the handle.  Always something.

My approach for shaping the patches was to first get the profile – the side view – in good shape.  Then I used the rasp to flatten the extra material from the two sides.  The horn still needs more curve underneath, but it’s close.

While I was working on the 2D views I drilled the hole through the patch.  I traced around the fastener to get the size for the recess and used a couple of small chisels to remove the waste.

I had to make the notch for the saw back.  I wasn’t really sure how to approach this.  I slipped the blade in and marked approximately where the notch needed to be.

It struck me that I could cut this with my dovetail saw, like the pins on a half blind dovetail.  So I did.  Then I chopped out the waste with a small chisel and pared the sides and bottom so that the blade would fit.  It wasn’t that hard, but I’d been worrying about it.  Whew!

Next I blended the horn into the handle.  This is sort of a gut-feel thing.  I rasped it until it was blended initially, then held the grip to see how it fit and looked at the shape to see if I liked it.  Then I removed more material, and checked it again.  I also rasped in the bevel on the sides of the notch for the saw back.  At this point the shape is at least 95% there.  I’ll refine it a little with the initial sanding.  All of this work took maybe an hour.  Less time than it took me to edit the pictures and post them here.

I’m still waiting on the finishing supplies I ordered, but I’m eager to get some finish on the handle.  The color match with the wood is terrible, so I’m not sure what the best approach (short of black paint) is.  I’m thinking I’ll stain it, maybe working in more stain on the patched areas.  Maybe bleach the original handle wood?  The grain isn’t a problem, but the color is distinctly different.

While I’m pondering finishing I’ll sand the handle and clean up/sharpen the saw plate.

I got this picture from Watson’s “Hand Tools” book, which has great illustrations.  I’m really growing to like that book.  At first it seemed like a repeat of information I already know, but it’s still useful.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Tenon Saw Handle

Between making dinner, getting my son to do his homework and getting him off to bed I managed to make a little progress on my tenon saw handle.

First I planed the top horn, until I’d removed all of the chipped horn.  I would have preferred to have the glue line parallel to the grain, but I didn’t have enough Apple scrap to do it that way – it would have removed a lot more of the handle.

I also cut off a small bit of Apple wood and planed one face so I’d have a decent surface for gluing.  I don’t know about the color match — the wood on the handle has a deep, even red color.  The scrap I have is lighter and has a more pronounced grain.  I may have to stain it or use a dark finish to get it all even looking.

I used some Titebond 3 and a pair of rubber bands to clamp it up.  After the glue dries I’ll saw off the excess and rasp it into shape.

OK, now what to do about the missing chunk?  I laid out a trim line to cut away the damaged wood so I could have a straight joint.  This seemed to be the best approach.

I sawed out the waste, but couldn’t get a plane in to smooth it out.  I pared it with a chisel and then planed the scrap of Apple I had left.  Unfortunately it wasn’t big enough to align the grain properly.  I also planed the side that faces into the saw slot.  In fact, I put the saw blade into the slot when I glued and clamped the new part in to make sure the blade slot was properly aligned.  I’ll have to chisel out the notch for the back after it’s dried.

Note that the patch bisects the hole for the saw nut.  Not a big deal, I can drill it out from the opposite side.

There were a couple of cracks in the handle on the right side I flowed some CA into the cracks to seal them and reinforce the area.

So, the handle is looking a lot like Bride of Frankensaw at this point.  I left it to dry overnight before I start cutting and filing.  I think it will be a decent looking saw when it’s done.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Tenon Saw Detour

The next step on my saw chest it to make the lid.  To do that I need a tenon saw, a mortise gauge and a mortise chisel.  Whoops.

The mortise gauge is on order.  I am getting the 1/4″ mortise blade for my Glen-Drake Tite-Mark.  I love my Tite-Mark, but I wish it had a wider base, round bases are needlessly wobbly.

For the mortise chisel I’m re-working an old English mortise chisel.  It measured .290 wide, and was rusty, so I’m grinding it to .250″ and will do a general tune up on it.  I’ve just rough ground it here, and will be hand sanding it (on a surface plate) to get all of the sides clean and true.  Then I’ll sharpen it, and hopefully not poke any more holes in my hands.

Finally, I need a tenon saw.  I have a Bad Axe Beastmaster that I found on eBay, but it is WAAAY too big to cut a dinky tenon on 3/4″ pine.  I have another Bad Axe tenon saw on order, but I don’t expect to see it anytime soon (14 to 16 week wait list!).  So I picked up this beauty on eBay for cheap.  It has a chip out of the horn and a chunk out of the front of the handle.  It’s pretty rusty, but doesn’t appear to be pitted.

The chip should be pretty straightforward to repair.

The chunk I’m a little concerned about repairing.  I’ll need to cut out enough that I have a straight, flat area to glue in a new piece.  And it needs to be fairly horizontal so I’m not gluing end grain (and to help hide the splice).  It will probably go through the screw hole.  and it’s right on the groove for the blade and back.

First order of business, take it apart.  I scrubbed the handle with a scotchbrite pad in acetone and got all of the old finish and dirt off.  I cleaned the saw nuts in acetone too, I’ll polish them before I put it back together.  The saw plate I treated with Navel Jelly rust remover, two applications.  Then I dried it and soaked it with WD-40 to keep it from rusting inside the back.  I don’t want to take the back off if I don’t need to.

Fixing up the plate is going to be simple, just some detailing and then re-sharpen it.  The handle will take a little more effort, so I’d better get to it.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Marilyn’s Miterbox

Marilyn over at the She Works Wood blog mentioned recently that she’d picked up a miterbox that needed a little TLC.  I volunteered to lend a hand, so let’s get this knocked out.

Marilyn and already scrubbed the grease and dirt off, and disassembled it.  Bless you, that made my life much easier.

There are two broken parts I needed to repair.  One of the stands has a mounting tab broken off, and there is also a crack through the main part of the miterbox where the wood platform is supposed to attach.  You can see the broken foot in the picture, the crack in the main part is hard to see (and harder to photograph) until it’s cleaned up.

First things first, let’s get rid of the antique paint and rust.  My weapon of choice for this sort of thing is a bead blast cabinet.

Cleaning this part, the main casting, was the most time consuming part of the whole job.  This is cast iron, and fairly porous.  The paint and rust is down in the pores and would have preferred to stay there.  Me and the glass beads had other ideas.  Now that it’s clean you can clearly see the crack in the base.

Cleaning the rest of the parts was the same exciting operation, with one exception.  The two posts that hold the saw need to be a nice, slop-free, smooth fit into the uprights.  They look like they were chromed or perhaps nickel plated originally.  I didn’t want to bead blast that area, but I wanted to make sure it was smooth and clean.  I used some white lightening rouge  and a spiran-sewn buff to polish off any burrs and discoloration.  I didn’t overdo it because I didn’t want to mess up the fit.

Then I masked off the polished part and bead blasted the rest.



Masked & ready for blasting:

After everything is clean it’s time for repairs.  I really, really (really) prefer to work on clean parts.  Here is the crack in the main casting.  I opened it up with an abrasive cutoff wheel.  The crack goes right through the attachment hole.

Then I TIG welded it using Silicon Bronze rod.  Some people call this Heli-Brazing.  Cast iron can be welded, but it can be fussy too.  Silicon Bronze rod is very strong, at least as strong as the original cast iron, and should make a good solid repair.

Here is the repair after grinding.  There are a couple of tiny pits in the bronze, but they match the pits in the cast iron.  I’ve heard cast parts described as “structures made of sand, inclusions and gas pockets joined together with molten metal”.

I welded both sides, and also welded the edge of the mounting screw hole.

Last step, fixing the foot.

This actually isn’t too bad.  The way the break happened the foot still sits level, so I just need to graft on a new tab.  Usually I layout the repair part, grind it to shape and weld it on.  Since it was so small in this case I decided to weld on a larger piece and then finish it to size.

I used a piece of hot rolled steel about 1″ square.

It looks klunky for the moment, but it will work out well in the end.  Welding on a tiny part can be problematic, if it shifts just a bit in welding (and it will) then it won’t look right.  I ran a bead of Silicon Bronze across the top, flowing it into the joint.  Then I welded the sides, and across the joint on the bottom.

I ground away the bulk of the bead so it would match the transition on the other feet.  Then I flipped it over and painted the bottom of the repair with Dykem layout fluid.  I clamped the good foot to the repair, scribed the shape onto the repair and used a transfer punch to mark the location of the mounting hole.

Which show just what needs to be removed to make this foot match the other three.

A little quality time with the disc grinder and we have a fixed foot.  Note that the original foot next to it is a tad shorter than the one I scribed from, there is a lot of variability in castings.

That was fun.  I like tools.  Now I want a miter box…



Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 8 Comments

The Sad Saw, Part 3 (Not So Sad Anymore)

OK, it’s done.  Well, maybe a few more coats of Tried & True on the handle.

When we left off a few days ago I’d used up 3 files re-toothing the saw, starting with cutting starting notches in using a spacing template.  I ordered more files from McMaster-Carr, and they were waiting at home after work.

Initially I thought to cut finer teeth on the first 2 inches – which is why those teeth are further along — but along the way they ended up evening out with the rest of the teeth.  I got all of the starting notches pretty accurately spaced out, although there were maybe 3 spots where where one tooth was off a little.

I filed every tooth, trying to even it out checking from the side of the saw plate, and from above.  I was looking for discrepancies in the depth of the gullets and in the flat left on the top of each tooth.  That helped even things up and kept me from over-filing in any one area.

Then jointed the teeth lightly – until I had a flat on all of the tips of the teeth – and painted the teeth with some blue Dykem.  Then I filed each tooth one stroke.  Then I went from end to end looking for flats that were different widths.  I filed these even, applying pressure to either the face or the back of a tooth depending on which direction I thought it needed to move to even out the flats.  Then I jointed it with just two strokes, applied more Dyekem and filed again, keeping my strokes even for an entire pass, then adjusting teeth as necessary to even out the flats.

One more jointing, just a single stroke with a mill file, more Dykem and I filed every tooth the same amount, leaving just the tiniest hint of blue on the tip at the most.  I set the teeth, inked the tips of the teeth a final time and filed them all to a nice sharp point.  Looking at the teeth close up I can see some small discrepancies, but the tips of the teeth are all  in the same plane, the toothline is straight and it feels sharp.

I gave the handle nuts a quick polish and assembled the saw for a test drive.  It’s filed 10ppt rip, because I wanted a fine rip panel saw.  I made several test cuts in a piece of 4/4 white pine, and also in 1/2″ claro walnut.  It cuts great!  It leaves a smooth edge, no tear out on the backside and tracks straight.  I’m really pleased.

I know the teeth could be made more even, but it cuts twice as good as the Vaughn pull saw I have.  It’s really comfortable in my hand, and the length is nice.  I’m also thrilled to be cutting something thinner than 5″ after doing all that sawing on my workbench project.


I’m still in the process of putting more finish on the handle; I just applied another coat, which is still wet, before this picture. I want about this much sheen when it’s dry.  Probably two more coats.

But it’s officially a “user” saw now, and it lives in a pile with my other saws.  It’s time to build some proper saw storage.



Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Sad Saw, Part 2

I made a little progress on the Sad Saw today.

I put a coat of Tried & True oil/varnish finish on the handle.  This is the first time I’ve used this product, and I was surprised at how thick it is.  It’s the consistency of molasses.  Or maybe corn syrup.  The instructions say to apply a coat, let it soak for an hour and then wipe it all off, letting it cure for 24 hours.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Probably two or three more coats to get the results I want.

I worked a bit on the saw plate while the first coat of varnish was drying.  First I sanded both sides with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and WD-40.  I just wanted to have it look like an old sawplate, with a little patina.  I went for a brighter finish on the D8, but this project is really about learning to sharpen (and re-tooth, apparently) an old saw.

Next I needed to do something about the wavy toothline.  Hey, I know…let’s cut it off.  I used a shear because I have one.  You could do this with an abrasive cut off wheel, a grinder, aviation snips…lots of different way.

But, Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that black junk on the saw plate?  Didja miss cleaning a spot?

No, actually that is Dykem.  It’s layout fluid, basically dark blue thin lacquer.  You can scribe through it to make accurate, clear layout lines in metal.  It’s the metalworking equivalent of a marking knife.  I laid out a decorative nib and round over at the front of the plate.

Then I grabbed a file and started removing the extra metal.  I’ve done a bit more refining to the shape since this picture was taken, but this is essentially what it looks like.

Now comes the hard part, re-toothing the blade.  I’m pretty nervous about this step because no matter how pretty I make the saw look, if it doesn’t cut well it’s useless.

I printed off some tooth spacing templates I found on the Norse Woodsmith blog and used those to start filing in the new teeth.  I made a couple of mistakes in the spacing, but I think as I file in the teeth I can correct that problem.  If necessary I can lightly joint the toothline and fine tune some more.

I bought 3 files, and by the time I had all the teeth roughed in they were dull.  It’s not that long of a saw (anymore), so this surprised me.  They aren’t clogged, but they don’t cut properly anymore.  Next time I’ll use some lubricant on the files and see if that helps.  I’ll pick up a few new files so I can finish the saw plate off.

I probably spent 45 minutes roughing in the teeth, and I’m sure I’ll spend the better part of another hour getting them all shaped correctly and even.  I want a power tool for this step.  I found this video of a Belsaw-Foley Retoother in action.  I want one, although finding one with all the attachments at a reasonable price might be tough (Jeez, I hope my wife isn’t reading this…)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

The Sad Saw, Part 1

I started out on the road to hand tool woodworking with an inexpensive pull saw from the big box store, then I restored a Disston D8 and had Dr. Phil at Bad Axe sharpen it.  Now I’m Hooked on Hand Saws(TM).  I won’t bore you with the saws that have recently feathered my saw nest, but I decided that I needed to learn how to sharpen saws myself.

Currently all the saws I have are razor sharp, so I needed something to practice on.  Again, eBay to the “rescue”.  I got this gem for under $20 with shipping.  This is the picture from the eBay listing, but I added the red line.

The price was right.  It’s a Diston with brass fasteners and a nice handle that looked to be in good shape.  The blade, no so much.  I actually didn’t notice that the toothline was so far out from being straight.  It’s worse in person.  The tip is also bent slightly.  The bent tip isn’t a huge concern because my plan was already to shorten the saw an inch or two — I want to make a “panel saw”, with a fine tooth rip pattern.

Here you can see the disaster that passes for a toothline.  The heel and toe are resting on the surface, there is at least 1/4″ rise in the middle.

Before the saw arrived I was thinking that I’d re-sharpen and re-shape the teeth, but after looking at the saw it really needs to be re-toothed.  I’m thinking that I’ll scribe a straight line from the heel to the toe and shear it off, then file in new teeth.  But first I think I’ll sleep on it.

I don’t know how well you can see this, but about 2″ back from the toe there is a distinct bend in the blade.  It could probably be straightened, but I’m pretty sure I’ll just shorten it.  If I shear the toothline so it’s straight the tip of the saw will come to a point anyway, shortening the length will mean less metal to remove along the working edge.

I really like the shape of the handle.  It’s not in terrible shape, although it has it’s share of nicks and dings.

So, after work tonight I disassembled the saw.  I striped the handle with lacquer thinner and steel wool.  That got a lot of dirt off, and the tiny bit of finish that was still on the handle.  Then I sanded out the worst of the nicks and chips, and gave the handle an overall sanding with 220 grit.  There is a little loss of detail in the carving, but it’s not as extensive as the picture makes it look.

And finally I dropped the handle in a bad of “danish oil” to soak for a few hours.  I’ll pull it out later and let it dry overnight before putting some varnish on it.  I used a similar procedure on the handle for the D8 that I restored and it really seemed to bring out the color in the handle nicely.  Tomorrow, time permitting, I’ll start on the saw plate.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Stanley #5 Restore – It’s a Wrap

The paint came.  Tape went on.  Paint went on.  Tape came off.  Parts went on.

I like it.  And it’s a far cry from the rusty mess I started with.  Restoring an old tool like this is really gratifying.  I haven’t made any cuts with it yet, the paint isn’t cured, and the finish on the handles isn’t completely dry.

And yes, I went with the original handles, stained and varnished.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Stanley #5 Restore, Getting Closer

At this point I’m just about done with the “restoration” of the #5 Stanley.  I should get the recommended “semi-gloss black Ford engine paint” delivered tomorrow, all I need to do is paint the frog and body, and re-assemble it.

I picked up a replacement rosewood knob and tote from  At the same time I’ve been playing with the original handles.  After stripping the black paint I sanded them with 220, then soaked them overnight in a mix of danish oil and mahogany gel stain.  This is the result.  I’m in the process of applying a few thin coats of wiping varnish to build up some gloss, but they aren’t too bad.  They look better in person than in this picture.  The other knob and tote are the Rosewood replacements I got.

I lapped in the sole, of course.  The bottom looked flat when I checked it with a straightedge – I couldn’t see light anywhere – but it was pitted and ugly.  I started with 80 grit, then 180 and 220.  I may do a bit more before I paint it, but I think it’s more than OK.

Next I attacked the blade and chip breaker.

Remember the before picture?

I stripped the rust, painted the back of the blade with blue Dykem and scribed a 7″ arc.  I want this blade to be cambered for roughing in stock.  I have another blade and chip breaker from Ron Hock that I’ll also use in this plane.

Then off to the grinder.  I use a Burr-King belt grinder, here with a new 40 grit belt.  There is nothing like a Burr-King.  They aren’t cheap, but they are powerful, smooth and accurate.

I ground the edge until I got an even space around the line, then worked it down right to the line.  The tool rest is set at 90 degrees to the belt/platten for this step.  The blade never got past warm.  After I had the curve ground in I used a worn 220 slack belt (no platten) to put a shine on the edge.  I used the width of the shined edge and the width of the bevel in the next step where I grind in the bevel.

I set the tool rest to 25 degrees to grind in the bevel.  I made light passes, checked the the heat in the part after each pass and checked my progress.  I wanted to have an even bevel and to take the edge down just leaving a “shine” on the cutting edge, without any appreciable thickness and certainly no sharp edge.  This is just the rough grind.  Sorry about the focus.

Next, the back of the blade needed to be flattened.  Since the blade was pitted I started with 80 grit, then 180, 220, 400, 600 and 1,000 grits.  Before and after, you can see how nasty it was to start with. I had to free-hand sharpen the blade, but it wasn’t too bade.  This blade is for rougher work, to either follow a scrub plane or to use instead of a scrub plane.

I test fit the chip breaker to the iron, and there was a big gap.  I had to bend the chip breaker a little so the the edge would even touch the blade.  Then I lapped it with 220 until I hade an even shine across the edge.  That gave me a nice tight fit.

I think this is going to be a nice plane when I’m done.  If I had to pay myself for the labor to restore this plane I think I would have been miles ahead to just buy a new lie-nielsen.  Luckily I do this for fun and it’s been an enjoyable project.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Blog at