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Thread: Cleaning up an old saw

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Cleaning up an old saw

    I picked up this Warranted Superior saw a couple of years ago along with an old Disston. I suspect it was probably made by Disston too. It has been hanging on a nail in the shop since I got it but I needed to saw a couple of pieces of flooring (Cumaru, aka Brazilian Teak) to fit in the trash. This saw was nearby so I grabbed it. The handle felt like it was made for my hand and it went through that Cumaru like a hot knife through butter.

    Now I want to clean it up and turn it into a user. IF possible I'd like to try and retain the etch on the blade. What method of cleanup do you guys recommend? I've got a few gallons of Evaporust handy which is what I was going to use to remove the rust. If I hit it with a brass brush or steel wool after the Evaporust has done it's thing is that going to take the etch away? Also, is there anyway to date these Warranted Superior saws? Thoughts appreciated.

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  2. #2
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    Always nice to bring a saw back to life. The Evaporust is a good way to go if you have a tray large enough to fully immerse the saw. Given the desire to preserve the etch, Id follow that up with the lightest scotch bright pad you have with WD40, moving to coarser if needed, but be gentle around the etch.

  3. #3
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    I use a razor blade paint scraper, followed by coarse sandpaper with WD40. When it feels smooth to touch, sharpen and use.

  4. #4
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    I only have two saws in my till with a 5 bolt handle on them. One has a Warranted Superior button with a (Sears) Crafstmen etch on the plate, the other has an Atkins button and no remaining etch.

    I don't know if either of mine have the factory buttons on them. I will say every WS button saw I have cleaned up has been a good user when I was done. I'll try to get a pic.
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    Last edited by Scott Winners; 05-15-2021 at 7:51 PM.

  5. #5
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    Phil, Thanks. I do have something large enough to soak it. By "lightest scotch brite pad" do you mean the least abrasive pad?

    Jim, Thanks. What do you consider "coarse sandpaper"? 60, 80, 100, 120, 150?

    Thanks Scott! I'd love too see your saw(s).

  6. #6
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    I use 120, not too slow - no deep scratches.

    *LOTS* of oil or WD40.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Fairbanks AK
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    Hey Mike, you may want to go to the top of the neanderthal section, open the post about sticky threads, then find the one "neander wisdom/FAQs", and then scroll about a third of the way down that to section nine, three archived threads there about old saws that should all be helpful.

    My till is a basic galoot style from a wood working BBS dating I think to dial up modem days. The till I have hanging on my wall is a kludge thrown together of constrution lumber scraps to get my saws organized. I have a bunch of 4/4 beech on the floor of my home office for 18 months now that will become my next saw till, but I just worked too much overtime winter of 2020/21 to get it done. My longest saw has a 30" plate, so I had to allow for that in planning/design.

    The thing I didn't like about the galoot design was all the wasted space above the shorter saws. As envisioned the build in beech will have two drawers under the shorter saws, one for saw sharpening doo-dads, the other drawer is going to be the LV storage case for my LV router plane with a drawer front on it. I put my joinery saws in a separate till at the top of my "Ugly tool organizer," a current thread in the wood working projects section towards the bottom of the homepage here.

    One pic of my handsaw labeling, with a white paint pen. The first number is teeth or points per inch, second rake, then horizontal fleam, then vertical fleam or gullet slope and finally total set on both sides of the saw in thousandths of an inch. So the one labeled 5-20-20-20-020 is a very coarse crosscut that works just fine in larger hunks of green softwood like Doug Fir. Another in the foreground 11-13-18-0-007 is a fine toothed gentle cutter that works great for evening up legs on chairs and tables. The PTx reminds me I owe credit to Pete Taran for the x=crossut grind parameters that works real good for smooth precise cuts in dry hardwood with minimal splintering.

    Right now I have 11 restored handsaws filed cross, 1 with the Bad Axe hybrid parameters on it, 2 more filed rip, and one of each dovetail, carcass and tenon. I haven't needed to clean up another saw and put a different tooth shape into the till in over a year, but I have been spending too much time at work and not enough time in the shop for the last 14 months. My general go to 8 point crosscut is labeled 8-14-23-0-015. Given my imprecision as a saw filer it is as close as I can get to splitting the narrow spread between the basic crosscut shapes espoused by Leanord Lee and Paul Sellers, and the only saw in my till I wouldn't mind having a duplicate of. The rest of them don't get used enough to have two of.

    I have only had the Lee Valley joinery saw group for about two weeks. I am ecstatic with them. I can see if I was dovetailing full time I would want a more agressive tooth pattern on the dovetail saw especially, but as delivered the teeth are well shaped for just getting started as a new user, cut smooth, but I can see for a pro or serious amatuer they don't cut very fast. I really really like that the plates are clean. I saw a youtube, I dunno, weeks and months ago, a guy was demonstrating how to look at the saw plate - the reflection of the stock in the saw plate - to ensure the saw plate is at the correct angle. I have never gotten any vintage saw clean enough to see the stock reflected in it. I haven't owned them long enough to post a reputable review, but I may never cut enough dovetails to even resharpen the dovetail saw to more agressive teeth.

    Any way, pics. The three sticks jutting out at an angle have grooves cut in them to work as blade protectors (I got some big rubber bands in with the sharpening doo-dads), so if a bare saw is leaving the shop the teeth can be protected. Also, that 2x2 reaching up from the floor has a long rip cut in it to serve as a saw clamp for sharpening in a regular shop vise. I am not sure how those will get integrated into my next till; but they need to be integrated, not floating around the shop getting hard to find.
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  8. #8
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    Mike, yes, least abrasive. At least start with that. I have found sand paper will certainly brighten up the plate, but also has the highest risk to remove the etch.

  9. #9
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    For those who are not on the Lee Valley email list here is today's email on cleaning up old saws > Click Here < There is a video and a bunch of supplies on the page.

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

  10. #10
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    Jan 2016
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    Nashville, TN
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    Mike,
    I have had the best results in preserving the etch by using a sanding block with the Scotch Brite pad.
    Steve

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    For those who are not on the Lee Valley email list here is today's email on cleaning up old saws > Click Here < There is a video and a bunch of supplies on the page.

    jtk
    I saw that email today Jim. Haven't looked at it yet. Sounds very helpful! Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hubbard View Post
    Mike,
    I have had the best results in preserving the etch by using a sanding block with the Scotch Brite pad.
    Steve
    Yeah, using a sanding block seems to make sense. Thanks Steve.

    Scott, Nice saw till. I bet you've got a bunch of good saws in there. You are far beyond my knowledge of hand saws. Thanks for sharing!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Fairbanks AK
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    769
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Manning View Post
    You are far beyond my knowledge of hand saws. Thanks for sharing!
    I am really not. I went on a little binge back in the day when I was getting frustrated with trying to restore Bailey planes. I put the planes aside, and took on a handsaw. Then another, I kept finding them for 6-10 bucks in restorable condition. Once my till was built it seems like I got a breeding pair of 8 point crosscuts in there somewhere, kinda like clothes hangers or rabbits. And they are easier than Baileys, so I was getting decent results quick which improved my confidence and experience - which led to better Baileys.

    For a homeowner, a single 8 point crosscut with a utility tooth shape is likely plenty. Once you have a work bench and shop space it just depends on what you are doing and want to get it into. Timberframed barn? Jewelry boxes? Different saws.

    I enjoyed the accumulation season, and once the better till is built I plan to look at my untouched finds a little closer. I think I could get by with just 12 handsaws in the till, but they do give me joy in their dozens. I am thinking I could get down to five handsaws as a very versatile starter set and focus on making groups of those later in life. The main thing for me to do in my dotage is put as many tools as I can into circulation in good working order - with plenty of wax and oil on them - so they can still be in use long into the future.

    Do try all the different saw files you can get your hands on. For clean teeth I like the Bahco's I can get from Lee Valley. I don't hate the ones from the big box stores, I just feel like I get more sharp teeth per dollar when I buy Bahco. There are brands I have not tried, I have basically used one of everything from Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, a local independent hardware store and Lee Valley. I do not like Bahco files for taking rust off teeth, in fact I don't like filing rust off saw teeth at all, but it has to be done.

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