The Restoration of a 14" Tenon Saw #4: The Finale

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Blog entry by Brit posted 12-12-2011 06:22 AM 12493 reads 9 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Restoring the Saw Handle Part 4 of The Restoration of a 14" Tenon Saw series no next part


Repairing the Lamb’s Tongue
So in my last post I’d fixed the large chip below the bottom saw nut.

Now it was time to fix the chip on the lambs tongue.

I started by paring the chipped surface flat with a chisel, then I ripped a section from an off-cut of beech dowel. Before gluing it onto the handle, I slid a hotel card key into the kerf where the saw plate goes. This served two purposes. Firstly, it ensured that I didn’t get excess squeeze out in the kerf which would be difficult to remove and secondly, it provided a surface to press the beech dowel up against so that the correct gap was maintained. Yet another use for hotel card keys. It was a bit tricky sanding the angle between the pared surface and the hotel card key which substituted for the saw plate, as it was difficult to hold such a tiny piece of dowelling. However, I got there in the end.

I let the glue dry while I went inside to warm up and eat a spot of lunch, then a few well-placed swipes with a couple of files saw the repair completed.

A final rub all over with some P320 and the handle was ready for the finish.

Applying the Finish
First I applied two liberal coats of neat Boiled Linseed Oil, wiped on with a paper towel. I left each coat to soak in for about 30 minutes then wiped off any excess with a clean rag. The second coat of BLO had 4 days to dry as I was away on business.

Next I mixed up 4 teaspoonfuls of oil-based satin varnish, 2 teaspoonfuls of BLO and 2 teaspoonfuls of pure turpentine and applied two coats of the mixture over the course of two days. I left the second coat on the surface of the wood to dry without wiping off the excess. Of course I got the inevitable dust nibs etc, so once it was dry I rubbed the entire handle with 0000 steel wool until the surface was silky smooth. After that I applied two coats of clear paste wax with a cotton rag and buffed each coat out after 30 minutes. I then brushed the second application to a to a soft sheen.

Since it has been a few weeks since I cleaned the saw bolts and nuts, I gave them another quick polish.

I also deepened the slots in the nuts with the side of a needle file so my nut driver wouldn’t cam out when I tightened the nuts.

Anyone who has removed saw bolts from a 19th century back saw will know that the heads are rarely centered on the threads or perpendicular to the threads. For this reason when I remove saw bolts, I always try to keep them in the same orientation, so I know which one came out of which hole. This time however, at some point I must have picked them up to clean them and put them back in the wrong order. Obviously the medallion nut goes in the big hole, so I had a 50% chance of getting the other two back in the right holes. Of course I got it wrong first time and had to remove them again and swap them over. Then I found that although the bolts were in the right holes, the nuts needed to be transposed. So, after a bit of trial and error, I got them lined up with the holes as best I could and cinched them up with my nut driver. I was pleased to find that even after sanding the sawplate, the handle was still a great fit with no movement at all.

The Reveal
So now it is time for the before and after photos. Here is the photo I took of ‘Big Joe’ before I began this restoration.

Now here he is after my restoration and repair. Saws are difficult items to photograph, especially under artificial light so you’ll have to forgive the quality of the pictures.

I was surprised and a bit disappointed that the repair to the cheek didn’t seem to soak up the BLO like the rest of the handle. In retrospect, I should have dyed it before applying the BLO, but who knew right? I’m not going to beat myself up over it. It’s an honest repair that should see me out. The medallion side of the handle really shows off the quartersawn beech. They had access to some nice wood in those days didn’t they?

To really appreciate it though, you have to hold it and turn it in the light, so here are some shots at different angles so you can get a better idea.

Who knew this was under all that dirt and grime eh?

The B-side looks totally different, but still nice – at least to my eyes.

So here’s to W. Tyzack, sons and Turner. Thanks for a making such a great saw. And let’s not forget Joe Duckworth from Bolton, Lancashire. Nice one Joe! I hope you approve of what I’ve done to your saw sir.


Thanks for watching guys. I hope you like it.

Next up – Little Joe.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

12 comments so far

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3855 days

#1 posted 12-12-2011 12:48 PM

Andy you’ve done it again, great restore and great blog !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

20041 posts in 3642 days

#2 posted 12-12-2011 02:00 PM

that’s a great looking saw. Nice job Andy.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17310 posts in 3693 days

#3 posted 12-12-2011 02:18 PM

Beatiful, Brit!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4026 days

#4 posted 12-12-2011 03:42 PM

Excellent job, Andy. I’m glad to see that you restored the handle rather than just making a new one. The wood is so beautiful and fitting for the saw. Thanks for another informative blog post.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Brit's profile


8323 posts in 3917 days

#5 posted 12-12-2011 09:20 PM

Thanks guys. It was more work than I thought it would be, but I’m pleased with the end results. I’ve still got no idea why the repair to the cheek wouldn’t take the BLO.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4226 days

#6 posted 12-12-2011 11:35 PM

Spectacular saw Andy, and the repairs are nice and seamless. with the piece that isnt as dark it might just be that the older wood has a natural patina that you dont have in the new wood. On the old beech jack plane I restored I planed off all the old surface and when i applied oil it turned really dark. Maybe in 100 years that wood will be closer to the same color? ;-)

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4190 days

#7 posted 12-13-2011 01:12 AM

good work Andy
thank´s for the toturials a pleassure to follow :-)

take care

View Wayne's profile


196 posts in 3668 days

#8 posted 12-13-2011 03:38 AM

You’ve done it justice! Wonderful job!

View Brit's profile


8323 posts in 3917 days

#9 posted 12-13-2011 10:46 PM

Mauricio – Who knows. What I do know is that the handle was made out of English beech and the dowelling was probably made out of European beech. It didn’t darken at all when I applied the BLO. Shame, but like I said, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

Dennis & Shane – Thanks guys.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View mafe's profile


13173 posts in 4164 days

#10 posted 12-13-2011 11:22 PM

Andy one more beautiful restore.
I love the fact you left the repair in it’s new color, then time will make the difference vanish.
So fine sence of details you always show, it is really impressive.
Best thoughts my friend,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View meikou's profile


115 posts in 4710 days

#11 posted 02-01-2012 11:07 PM

Great post mate. I’ve been tempted to try the buy and restore route but I haven’t learned enough about them yet to feel comfortable buying off the bay.

View Brit's profile


8323 posts in 3917 days

#12 posted 02-02-2012 02:39 AM

Thanks meikou, glad you enjoyed it and yes ebay can be a bit of a minefield. You’ve got to know what to buy and don’t allow yourself to go over what you’re prepared to pay for it. If you don’t win, another one always shows up before long and you can try again.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

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