Hand saw restore blog #2: Reshaping handles

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Blog entry by mafe posted 06-19-2011 03:56 PM 12599 reads 10 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro and rust removal. Part 2 of Hand saw restore blog series Part 3: New bolts and some shine. »

Hand saw restore
Reshaping handles.

This is where the really fun part begins, and where you can use all your creativity.


For some reason this saw refused to be trashed when it arrived as a bonus (or punishment) with some old English hand planes I bought of E-Bay. This is the E-Bay picture where it was put on display on a really sexy carpet even…

Let’s get rough!

Trying to get some sweet curves on that ugly thing.

More – and some work with a rough file.
Hard to tell it was the same saw even now yes?

Out with the rivets, these ugly bastards have to go also – brass – we want brass.

And a little help from our friends.

And this is where it all ended for Mr. Spear and Jackson.
I’m quite happy with the result except for the too thick layer of lacquer.
It’s a one Krone coin in the handle as a little token from me.


Not as ugly but just a bit boring.

So I start gentle.

But can’t be that sweet so the band saw and I start dreaming together.
Clouds and flowers.

With a knife some deepness to the shapes.


More details with knife and files.

And this is where the travel ends for this reshaping.
Just hope Tyzack and sons are not Turning in the graves…
Personally I am really happy, not too much not too little and you can’t imagine how wonderful this saw is in the hand.


Ok this saw is a classic in itself so I had a hard time to even touch it…
But what the h… we live only once and I leave only the tracks after me that I have the courage to step.

First a really conservative little work with carving tools.

A ‘river’ to ease of the heaviness of the handle.
And some leaf shape on the handle ends.

But I’m still bored so I sand down, round and articulate the shapes and start sketching.
Yes sketching is better for this old architect, I’m freer there.
I try to find the movements in the handle, to keep it one but separate it into different movements that touch up and grip into each other.

I even get a little romantic as I go, and decide to try with some carving, don’t ask why I have to learn carving on my finest saw…
Those Stubai irons are a dream to work with they slice the wood as if it was a piece of soft cheese.

First good intentions.

More life yes?

My first attempt on a flower.

But I want more life so I give the leafs extra ends and they become almost flames I think.
Also I cut of a piece of the front of the ‘river’, this articulate the handles back meeting the front.

Again I am happy, I’m sure some will feel I did a little too much on this one, but I think you might like it better after next blog where I make finish on the handles.
Yes I will leave this one up to the imagination just to tease a little.

This has been for me a wonderful experience, to shape, to dream, to bring my personality and love into these saws, no saw no matter the budget would ever get this close to me.
I have only one advice – DO THIS!

This is the end of blog two in this series.

Hope this blog can help some old wonderful saws come back to life, and that it might inspire others to restore and sharpen their own saws instead of buying modern crap saws.

I will like to thank Andy and Paul since you have both been a part of the reason why I feel now ready to start this adventure that I left waiting for me for a couple of years now.

Here you can see how to make a saw guard of wood:

Best thoughts,


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

27 comments so far

View mafe's profile


13695 posts in 4432 days

#1 posted 06-19-2011 04:02 PM

Ok I give you a detail shot.
Best thoughts and happy Fathers day!

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

View TRYPHON974's profile


88 posts in 4125 days

#2 posted 06-19-2011 04:39 PM

These handles are wonderful, you’re very talented as a designer . It’s like the handles take on something of a life of their own, beware they don’t start talking, Gepetto. :) ” joli coup de crayon”

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4199 days

#3 posted 06-19-2011 04:44 PM

They are great Mads

Really personal touches

Better than any name stamp



-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5440 days

#4 posted 06-19-2011 04:44 PM

Very nice Mads. I’m still building my restore set.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4147 days

#5 posted 06-19-2011 04:46 PM

very nice n fancy. gives the saw more meaning.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 5257 days

#6 posted 06-19-2011 04:50 PM

Wow, you have a good eye for nice handles. Nicely done. I think Spears & Jackson would have wanted to hire you to add more pizzazz to their boring handles. The old handles is almost comical and reminds me, for some reason of cartoons from the 20’s and 30’s. Maybe it suited the style of the day.

The leaf on that Canadian Disston should have been a maple leaf, no? Still a very nice improvement. I have a Canadian Disston to which I might just try some of those enhancements. A customized, more beautiful version of the original must surely be more valuable than even a stock copy?

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5225 days

#7 posted 06-19-2011 05:39 PM

You have a very large soul, Mads.
I am honored to watch you work. What fun you seem to have. And what creativity…

That Spears & Jackson was one of the most ugly tools I have seen. You gave it Life. I am sure it will now follow you where ever you go. You might not ever to be able to shake it loose.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Schwieb's profile


1923 posts in 4804 days

#8 posted 06-19-2011 06:30 PM

Very nice Mads. These are wonderful embellishments to these fine old saws. ~~ How about coming to Florida next winter? You can stay warm, we can work in my shop and I’ll turn you loose on all my old tools. I can keep you busy for a few weeks I’m sure.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 4036 days

#9 posted 06-19-2011 06:32 PM

Spectacularlness! Not a word and I don’t care. I love them.

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

View llwynog's profile


288 posts in 3922 days

#10 posted 06-19-2011 08:19 PM

All three are real beauties.
You make it sound so easy with your “I just carved off what did not look like a handle” kind of way but I for one would find very hard to see past the chunky original design. Who knew these handles had such beauty inside ?
I love all of your designs.

PS : when you come to France, do you only stay in Paris ? If you ever pass through Lyon, don’t hesitate to contact me.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 4152 days

#11 posted 06-19-2011 09:11 PM

A hole different saw now. Very nice. Could be fun to send a picture to the one you bought it from :)

Well done Mafe.

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View Don W's profile

Don W

20295 posts in 3910 days

#12 posted 06-19-2011 11:01 PM

its amazing how the little change made such a big difference.

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5016 days

#13 posted 06-20-2011 01:57 AM

Mad nice job on restoring those hand saws.

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 4179 days

#14 posted 06-20-2011 02:39 AM

Very cool stuff. Maybe one day I’ll work on my miter saw.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23357 posts in 5019 days

#15 posted 06-20-2011 03:37 AM

Those look a lot better!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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