Hand saw restore blog #4: Applying finish

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Blog entry by mafe posted 06-27-2011 11:03 PM 10046 reads 1 time favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: New bolts and some shine. Part 4 of Hand saw restore blog series no next part

Hand saw restore
Applying finish.

Time for some finish!
I decided to try different ways to be able to see what I prefer and what will last the longest, and get the best patina in time.

Remember this ugly dugly, and the color?

Here when sanded down.

Some really nice French dye.
I decided to try and give it a color in the same family, but this time warm.

And then to apply shellac as if it was a lacquer with a brush.

The result is striking, but I am not happy for the glassy surface the shellac gave when applied this thick.
It will stay though, and in ten years or so I can sand it down and give it a thinner layer.

Another little saw sanded down.

Same dye, but also a contrast color to hide the bad shape of the handle.
Then some time in linseed oil to give the wood back its glow.

Then three thin layers of shellac that I apply with a cloth in thin layers.
This surface I really like.

Now it is the old Disstons tour.
Here all clean.

A dark dye in a warm but ‘earthy’ color.

This is what!


Then water based silk lacquer.

Hang to dry.

The new surface.
I like this surface, but it will need some time to become truly beautiful.

This one is sanded down to grid 400.

Then left in linseed oil to soak really well.

A layer of wax and that’s it!
This one is also a favorite, I sure like this silky surface and to touch the wood directly give me goose bumps.

The old saw on top just gets plenty of linseed oil (raw cold pressed) and are allowed to suck all it possible can since the wood are really dry and old.

After it seems to have gotten it old life back, and I just wipe it of with a wax cloth.

This is the end of blog four 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.

20 comments so far

View Sodabowski's profile


2393 posts in 3805 days

#1 posted 06-27-2011 11:16 PM

Okay now I see why you wanted that antiques dye! It rocks man, it rocks. Actually all the refinished handles rock :)

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View Sodabowski's profile


2393 posts in 3805 days

#2 posted 06-27-2011 11:17 PM

BTW you’ll be glad you didn’t come to Paris this week: it was 40°C outside today, and 30 inside the BHV! we were all melting!

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 3808 days

#3 posted 06-28-2011 12:29 AM

What beauties!

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

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4692 days

#4 posted 06-28-2011 12:34 AM

The one with just linseed oil is my favorite! Nice restore, have fun using them.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View tsangell's profile


216 posts in 3665 days

#5 posted 06-28-2011 12:36 AM

I have a pile of old Disston hand saws to restore, and this has been giving me inspiration. Thanks!

View SPalm's profile


5337 posts in 4854 days

#6 posted 06-28-2011 01:26 AM

Nice. Very nice.

That linseed and wax handle looks like I want to touch it. I guess some of that is the wood itself. But it looks nummy (a baby term for scrumptious).

Thanks for the inspiration,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Don W's profile

Don W

19840 posts in 3539 days

#7 posted 06-28-2011 01:39 AM

nice finish.

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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20026 posts in 4648 days

#8 posted 06-28-2011 03:46 AM

Nice job, now, get to verk!!

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

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4031 days

#9 posted 06-28-2011 07:46 AM

Hey Mads. Nice job on these saws. Still, you say your complete, but you haven’t mentioned sharpening them. Surely all of those saws weren’t already sharp. In my part of the world, no way would they be sharp.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View mafe's profile


12844 posts in 4061 days

#10 posted 06-28-2011 11:17 AM

Hi guys,
Doc, no I am not complete yet, I need to build a sharpening wise, and some are still on the table for restore.
My next blog will be about the wise I think. And then sharpening, I have got the files by now so I’m moving closer. I am alone next week so I hope to get really into that when I get some hours (if my health allow).
Topa, laugh, yes that is where it hopefully will end.
Don, now there are some to choose from.
Steve, yes I also love that silk smooth look and feel, time must then show if it is not going to suck too much dirt and grease from the fingers when it got no real surface treatment.
tsangell, then I am happy I did the blog. Hope you will have a wonderful time like I do. Look forward to see the saws one time here on LJ.
Kenn, I cant really wait to get to the point of taking some strokes with these saws, but I also enjoy the process so much that I am full of patience.
Spunwood, ;-)
Sodabowski, yes now you see why I needed to get to BHV for some dye, I’m glad you like the results, and thank you for the time we spend there it was nice to have lunch on the staircase also.
Thank you all for the comments, as always it makes me smile with all this positivity.
This week is hollydays with my daughter, but next week hopefully I will have some time to go a step more.
Best thoughts,

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

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25736 posts in 4077 days

#11 posted 06-28-2011 02:36 PM

Very nice job of giving these saw a new life!! When you get to sharpening them, can you do it with a 60 degree 3-corner file?

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3912 days

#12 posted 06-28-2011 10:53 PM

Hey brother in the North! Linseed oil and wax is my favorite too. Always has been, especially for tools.
I’ve been quite for a while, many other things that need my attention. But I’m still here, watching…!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Schwieb's profile


1914 posts in 4433 days

#13 posted 07-01-2011 01:00 PM

Very nice job, Mads. You gotta love the linseed oil and it “touches up” nice over time with a little clean up and wiping down again with a light coat of new finish.

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

View mafe's profile


12844 posts in 4061 days

#14 posted 07-01-2011 04:20 PM

Hi ho,
Ken, yes I also like the basic version the best, and if it stand use it will be the way. I use this on all my other handles in the shop (screwdrivers and so) and it seems to work fine.
Div my hard working brother I just looked at your web site, I can see you are a busy bee, especially the new house are a big work I can see. I can feel big brother is still watching. lol.
Jim, I have bought three sizes of saw files, so now I just need to make a vice and get started, I still fight to finish the last saws (Swedish ‘The Fish’ saws), but the comming week I will be alone and it should rain, so I hope to get some saw time.
Best thoughts here in the Danish summer,

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

View mafe's profile


12844 posts in 4061 days

#15 posted 07-01-2011 04:21 PM

Look at this link if you want to see a guy making a saw from scratch.

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

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