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,
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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