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Restoring Saws, Saw Tools, and Other Equipment


 
  Restoring Saw Handle by Bob Sturgeon   1 of 4  

This article is focused primarily on hand saw handles but it can be used on any wooden application.  (Handles of hammers, planes, hatchets, axes, you name it).

Hand Saws whether purchased at the Local Flea Market, the Elite Antique Shop of Mall, or the Notorious Online Auction Emporium, are often times received in well used and uncared for condition.  Ground in grime and sweat from many years in the hands of skilled carpenters.  Then from their hands to spend the next 30 or 40 years hanging up in an old barn or garage.

Sometimes dirt laden to the point that you can no longer even see the possible beautiful old finish, underneath.

 

First thing to do is to remove the handle from the blade.  Most handles are very easy to remove, once in a while you get one you have to say a few choice words over. 

Unscrew one saw nut about half way, and then tap this nut with the butt end of your screwdriver.  If the face side of the saw screw moves out a bit, fine, tap it on out.

 

If not and the screw appears stuck, take an Exact-O knife point and carefully circle around the face of the screw just enough to break the seal between it and the surrounding wood.  Remove the remaining screws in the same manner. Use a nail set and hammer if need be.

 

 

If both pieces turn around together, use a Wooden Hand Clamp.  Put one jaw over the face side of the screw with fine sandpaper in between and cock the clamp on the nut side, to one side so the nut can be turned out.

Sometimes wood will chip up around the face side no matter what you do, if this happens, push the wood back down with your fingernail and go ahead and remove the screw.  Raise the wood chip up slightly with the tip of the Exact-O knife blade and put a little wood glue under it with a flat toothpick, press down and clamp overnight. 

Put the saw screws in a small zip lock bag and put a piece of masking tape on the front with the saw name on the bag to identify what screws go to which saw.  Sometimes I may be working on 3 or 4 saws at a time so I keep each in a different bag.

Cleaning the dirt and grime from the handle can be done with many different products, but the one I have found that works best for me is a product called Kramer's Best Antique Improver available at www.kramerize.com

Check out the web site, lots of good information and examples.  This product can be used to clean any type of finish whether it be Varnish, Shellac, or whatever without harming any of them.  If used on dry weathered wood, it will put back a beautiful antique color to the wood.

Its not cheap, $14.95 for an 8oz. bottle, but once you use it, I think you will agree with me its great at any price.  This product can also be used on any metal surface, enhances the old patina and helps prevent further rust.

Great for cleaning wooden planes, metal planes, hammers, chisels, any hand tools. You can clean a lot of tools with one bottle.  I buy it by the quart, that way its like getting an 8oz. bottle free.

Once you have the handle off, tear off about a one inch wide piece of OOOO Steel Wool and soak one end of it with the Kramer's liquid.  Scrub the handle in back an forth and circular motions, and the dirt will start to dissolve. 

Clean one side and then wipe it all off with some of those blue paper shop towels at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. (lot tougher than those white paper towels that fall apart, buy cheap and cheap's what you get) Clean the rest of the handle in the same manner.  Don't leave any wet on the surface.


Same handle after cleaning
with Kramer's

If your handle has old paint splatters on it, the Kramer's will dissolve them but not hurt the old finish. Just rub until they come off.  If you have a heavy paint spot, take the Exact-O knife and shave off the top layers of the paint, but don't go down all the way to the old finish.  Don't try to pop the whole spot off at once or it will take off the old finish underneath with it.  Then clean the spot with the Kramer's until it is gone.  Let dry overnight.


 
Woodworker's Guide to Wood Collection only $79.99 at Shop Woodworking
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