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Thread: Old disston rehab

  1. #1
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    Old disston rehab

    I've cleaned and sharpened a few, but want to do best possible on an 1880's D8 I just picked up. It is 28 inch, 5 point with 6 at the tip. My guess is that it may never have been sharpened.

    My question is the best method to remove heavy rust, while maintaining the old character of the saw.

    Attachment 338861Attachment 338862

  2. #2
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    Your attachments just say "invalid". Something wrong. Evaporust is a very good rust remover. Not terribly cheap. Available at Auto supply stores. At least I have noticed it there. There is a method of using molasses to remove rust. Google it for details. Certainly remove the handle and the brass screws before de rusting. Make sure the whole blade is submerged if using Evaporust as it will leave a line on your blade where the "water level" is.

  3. #3
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    Sorry about photos, they work for me. They showed saw, medallion and stamping of patent dates on handle. I'll work on those

    I have used evaporust and it left a strange Grey color so wondered what experts use. You fit that bill, so will reconsider.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Huelskoetter View Post
    I've cleaned and sharpened a few, but want to do best possible on an 1880's D8 I just picked up. It is 28 inch, 5 point with 6 at the tip. My guess is that it may never have been sharpened.

    My question is the best method to remove heavy rust, while maintaining the old character of the saw.

    Attachment 338861

    Attachment 338862
    lets see if this makes the attachments open.

    Nope, sending a note to the Admin.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 06-09-2016 at 2:56 PM. Reason: Nope
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
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    A friend of mine uses electrolysis with pretty good results I have to say. I've never tried it myself but once he used that method for a very rusty saw that I had bought and it was a success.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Huelskoetter View Post
    Sorry about photos, they work for me. They showed saw, medallion and stamping of patent dates on handle. I'll work on those

    I have used evaporust and it left a strange Grey color so wondered what experts use. You fit that bill, so will reconsider.
    I sent a PM to the Admin. The reply was the images may have been too big. Can you convert them to jpegs and shrink the file size?

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  7. #7
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    Photos inserted below (I hope).

    for dating info, saw has domed nuts (missing 2), not split. The medallion edge is nearly flush with wood, with the outer edge being a squarish section raised above the field.... a new type to me. I'm looking forward to getting it working.


    D8 handle reduced.jpgD8 saw reduced.jpg

  8. #8
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    Last few saws I've cleaned up, I used Simple Green. Spray it on, let it soak a bit, then run a palmsander around, with a 3M purple scratchy pad on it. Repeat until cleaned up. I use a Gun Blue Paste to bring up any etches hiding under the rust and grime.

  9. #9
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    Another vote for evaporust, but you will need to devise a shallow tub or some other way to get it totally submerged (as George mentioned, the stuff works, but it's not cheap). Or, I believe, the instructions for larger items is to soak paper towels in it, wrap the item and then wrap that with plastic cling wrap. Haven't tried this myself. I do find it also leaves a bit of a dark gray finish, but is typically easy to remove without hard abrasives (which I'm sure you're trying to avoid).

    Electrolysis works well, but can also leave a dark finish that will need some cleaning.

    I'd probably start with the Evaporust.

    Nice saw. Love the patent dates stamped on the handle. Apparently ol' mister Disston was paranoid about his patents and did this for a period of time.

    Hope the restore goes well. Please post when it's done.

  10. #10
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    I love the patina on that handle. For the handle, I'd try just simple green or other detergent to get the gunk off and denatured alcohol if if doesn't work. I have a slightly newer disston tenon saw that, unfortunately, had a non-shellac film finish. Fortunately, it scraped off easily leaving a most of the patina. I finished it with a few coats of linseed oil simply because I wanted my hand touching the wood and not a plasticy film! Personally, though, I think it would be hard to make a D8 look bad! Great find.

  11. #11
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    I recently picked up a D8 of the same vintage of yours, and I'm doing a basic rehab right now. The medallion on mine is the same as yours, without the patent dates which appeared after 1887, so that makes these saws the first generation of D8s, c.1880-1887 (mine is a 26" with the more common standard grip style). I notice that on this era of medallions there is the mark of a six-pointed tool which mars the stamped design, as if a special tool was used to seat the medallion, and then by 1887 they figured out a better way to do the job without damaging their logo. The Disstonian Institute website doesn't mention this detail, although the six-pointed mark shows up on all of the medallions they illustrate for this period - but only for this period. Odd, isn't it?

    I used citric acid to remove rust, and I find it worked as well as Evaporust for this purpose, for less money. I did follow that with a light sanding by hand with 400 wet/dry paper, lubed with mineral spirits. I didn't sand it down to remove all signs of pitting, but it did help to bring out the remains of the etch.

    I had to do some repair on the handle, and from the smell and solvency of the old finish it was certainly shellac, so that's what I'm using to refinish.

  12. #12
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    Electrolysis works very well in my experience. I have refinished 50 or so old rusted saws. Battery charger, plastic tub, stainless anodes, washing soda, water.

    Stan

  13. #13
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    I do not use any chemicals, danger of hydrogen embrittlement with spring steel (if you do use chemicals, leave saw blade out in the sun for a few days to allow the hydrogen to escape). Try a pair of spring dividers to see the damage.

    Process:
    Use a scraper to remove most of the rust, going from toe to heel - the way it was originally ground
    Then work through W&D paper grits with a lubricant, I use WD40 (have lots of it), wiping down between grits. Stop when looks like an old saw should

    you can continue...
    Use Klingspor sanding blocks up to fine to remove the sanding marks
    Clean thoroughly, I use alcohol
    Rub with Autosol and aluminium foil, and wipe clean
    Rub with foil, and wipe clean - the blade will now be shiny, except for the pitting which can not be fixed
    Then...
    Wipe down with a light oil, and put blade out in the sun for a day - this will prevent rusting
    Cheers
    Peter

  14. #14
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    Unless there is a problem with the surface I would likely not do as much as Steven does and just sharpen it and see how it cuts.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #15
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    Electrolysis and evaporust work well to remove rust but can be kind of a pain on something that large. They also leave a sort of chalky texture behind, so you still have to put in some elbow grease with a scotch brite pad or something to get rid of that.

    I have not been pleased with the look of the saws I've sanded- the rust gets removed but so does the patina on the high spots, leaving it looking mottled. Any pitting will stand out majorly. To sand through all of the patina and pitting is a lot of work, and not desirable for other reasons as well.

    A few years ago a guy posted here about using autosol polish on a wad of aluminum foil and buffing the saw plate with that. His pictures looked impressive so I gave it a try, except I used flitz polish. While it didn't come out as incredibly shiny as this guys photos, it is still the best looking saw plate I have. The procedure is simple- scrape off as much as you can with a razor blade, then put some polish on a wad of aluminum foil and buff the plate pretty vigorously. I think what I ended up doing was being quite liberal with the polish at first, rubbing it in really well, then taking a new wad of foil and dry buffing until the polish was removed- that's when the sheen really came up. The patina remains, but I can now see the original mill marks in the steel and a faint etching. There is also a nice subtle sheen to the surface.

    I would at least try that method first- only takes 10 or 15 minutes and a bit of elbow grease.

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