Saw: A Story of Adventure (but not like in that torture movie)

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Blog entry by Shannan posted 07-29-2011 03:01 AM 2444 reads 0 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been lurking on Lumberjocks for a while now, but this is my first post. So … hi. I think you’re all amazing. :-)

After years of dreaming, I finally live in a place where this is space for me to set up a woodshop. I’ve been building utilitarian furniture and repurposing existing pieces for the past seven years, but I only started getting serious about woodworking as an artisan craft in the past year.

For my first project, I decided to restore an old rip saw that my roommate and I found at a yard sale. This is the saw in its original shape.

I followed a friend’s lead in developing the process. (Thanks, Brian!) My first step was to detach the handle and give the blade a good scraping with mineral spirits and a razor.

Once the worst of the rust was gone, I built my first ever electrolysis bath. This was a bit more of an adventure than I anticipated, as I got the entire thing set up on my front porch only to have my bright blue sunny day transform into a torrential downpour.

It was almost dark before I was finally able to get it up and running. I was concerned about leaving the bath alone on the porch because the neighborhood cats all hang out there, and their survival instincts around electricity and toxic fluids are not nearly as developed as their napping and begging skills. I convinced my friends to come have beer and pizza with me while I kept an eye on everything. We decided the rust swirls have an almost Starry Night effect if you stare at them long enough.

The bath revealed an etching on the blade that had been completely covered before! I was pretty excited.

I took 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper and a sanding block and went over the blade one last time to get rid of the remaining rust. I used a bit of sandpaper wrapped around a pencil eraser to work around the etching and the teeth, then gave the whole thing a good coat of paste wax and buffed it off to a lovely satin finish.

The handle’s path started off more simply. I wiped it down with mineral spirits, then sanded away the old finish with 200 grit sandpaper. I decided not to fix the broken horn because I like that little age-mark, and it doesn’t affect usability.

Unfortunately, I got a little impatient at this point and didn’t read through my notes a second time before proceeding, and I ended up rushing the finishing process. I didn’t allow enough dry time between coating the handle with Boiled Linseed Oil and coating it with shellac. Suck. There’s no point in doing something halfway, so I sanded the finish back down so I could start all over again.

This time I waited a full day between each coat of Boiled Linseed Oil (I did two) and each coat of shellac (three). I then finished the handle with a coat of paste wax, polished the brass screws with steel wool, and reassembled my new pretty!

So this is my very first restored saw! I’m very proud of it. The sharpening process will be part two.

27 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4155 days

#1 posted 07-29-2011 03:21 AM

very good…welcome officially to the site and congrats on your saw restore…she is a beauty now..and sharpening it will be the crowning glory…i think you should use the saw on your first official project…but that’s just my 2 cents on it… have a whole new future ahead of you here and i look forward to seeing your work posted…so i will make you my buddy and will wait for the first project to appear…enjoy the journey…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3735 days

#2 posted 07-29-2011 04:00 AM

beautiful job on the saw and welcome to LJ’s. With work like this, I look forward to your future posts!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3855 days

#3 posted 07-29-2011 04:16 AM

great restoration

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 5070 days

#4 posted 07-29-2011 04:19 AM

Great job, and nicely documented.


-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SSMDad's profile


395 posts in 3449 days

#5 posted 07-29-2011 05:07 AM

Hi Shannan. Terrific job on the saw! If I can keep my son away from the lathe and power saws maybe I’ll start a project together like this. (He’s only 2 1/2 haha)

Nice to see your post here also. I’ve certainly learned a lot in the short time I’ve been here.

Take care and looking forward to more posts!

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4160 days

#6 posted 07-29-2011 05:36 AM

Welcome..You did a very nice restoration. Looks like you are hooked. have fun.

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 3476 days

#7 posted 07-29-2011 10:18 AM

Great blog and a warm welcome to this fine site.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View Brit's profile


8170 posts in 3694 days

#8 posted 07-29-2011 10:35 AM

Always nice to see old saws given a new lease of life. I’m in the process of restoring three 14” backsaws at the moment. I just have to remember which handle goes with which saw plate. :-)

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

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4572 days

#9 posted 07-29-2011 11:58 AM

Now you are off and running …err, sawing!

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4977 days

#10 posted 07-29-2011 02:59 PM

That rocks! – Great job – first of many projects I hope.


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3545 days

#11 posted 07-29-2011 03:00 PM

Gorgeous! Major style points for suspending your saw in the tank with other saws. 100 bonus lumberjock hitpoints.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View SPalm's profile


5336 posts in 4734 days

#12 posted 07-29-2011 04:35 PM

And I will send you another 100 bonus LJ points for the re-rework on the handle.
A very impressive restore. You have every right to be proud.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4580 days

#13 posted 07-29-2011 04:55 PM

Looks great. Any plans for how you will sharpen it? Are you going to do it yourself? If so, re you going to blog that as well as you blogged this?
Thanks for sharing!

View DocSavage45's profile


9017 posts in 3694 days

#14 posted 07-29-2011 06:02 PM

Great Job! You will get better with the mistakes. It also helps to learn from all the LJ’s mistakes too! LOL I am pulled between my hand tools ,some of them my father’s and grandfathers, and newer power tools. I actually pulled out a saw I got from my nieghbor/ an old carpenter and used it to crosscut a piece instead of my 15 amp Dewalt. felt good to see I can cut a straight line. lol Oh yeah when I get time I want to set up the electrolysis bath because some of them are getting rust pits.

“Follow your Bliss” ( joseph Campbell )

thanks for sharing your learning.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 3498 days

#15 posted 07-30-2011 11:19 AM

Very nice job.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

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