Colver Bros 10" dovetail saw renovation

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Project by bluekingfisher posted 11-05-2018 04:06 PM 2028 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Several years ago I won an auction for 3 small back saws. When the parcel arrived the seller had included a 10” dovetail saw made by Colver bros. It was in such bad shape I considered just throwing it away. Instead I buried it in a drawer for years until after reviving several saws that it might be worth taking the time to attempting a renovation job. I am glad I did, it cuts so beautifully and smoothly it has become my favourite dovetail saw.
The photo above give a sense of the condition before I worked on it. Here are a list of the issues I had to face. And, boy there were many.
The tote had a large chip out of the top horn. The right hand cheek was smashed off, probably because someone had beat the brass spine to death with s pein hammer. The saws nuts were missing, at least one was and the other clearly belonged to another saw. The only saving grace was the plate, although grubby was straight and the teeth despite being blunt were in decent shape.
The grafted on some donor stick to the cheek and horn then shaped and sanded.

The next step was to deal with the damage to the brass spine. I used mill files and glass paper to remove much of the dents then a polishing mop to buff the scores from the filing.
I had to buy s couple of split nuts to replace the missing and damaged ones.
I applied approx 8 coats of BLO to the tote then two coats of paste was.
All I had to do then was joint sharpen and set the teeth. I filed them rip cut with a progressive 30, 15 and finally a 5 degree take..

I am really pleased the way it turned out, particularly with the restoring of the tote, both the damage to the horn and the cheek.
Of course this hundred plus year-old saw now looks good it also cuts good too.sorry for any typo errors, submitting on my phone.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

10 comments so far

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4219 days

#1 posted 11-05-2018 04:13 PM

A couple of images I forgot to add..

Chopping back to dress wood on the cheek and the hairline kerfs
And a view of the damaged cheek from the users perspective.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7170 posts in 4434 days

#2 posted 11-05-2018 05:06 PM

Outstanding job on the saw, my friend…..!!! Good to see you posting on LJs again….! Haven’t heard from you in a long time….Thought you might of give up the ghost, or quit LJs….Good to see and hear you’re still kicking….:)
You soarly have been missed, and wondered if you have retired from the police force yet…..The saw looks great after restoration….You saved a vintage tool from going to the rubbish….Keep in touch, my friend….Wish I could come to London…..!!

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3552 days

#3 posted 11-05-2018 05:25 PM

Excellent restoration job! Looks like it cuts a fine kerf. Amazing what can be achieved with perseverance and care.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 3372 days

#4 posted 11-05-2018 07:17 PM

Absolutely superior restoration! You’re a top notch workman. Glad to se you return to LJ’s.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2726 days

#5 posted 11-05-2018 07:22 PM

Nice work

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View tyvekboy's profile


2132 posts in 4253 days

#6 posted 11-06-2018 01:01 AM

Great restoration. Thanks for sharing.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View swirt's profile


6624 posts in 4212 days

#7 posted 11-06-2018 02:01 AM

Nice restoration. Thanks for all the great photos.

-- Galootish log blog,

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4219 days

#8 posted 11-06-2018 08:53 AM

Thank you gentlemen for taking the time to read and comment on my post, your interest has earned me a Top 3 project, which is very much appreciated.
Hi Rick, Yes, I retired in August 16’ has it really been that long? I have not been doing much in the way of wood slaughter, nothing of note anyway. Although it always seems I have plenty to keep me occupied. I hope you too,are keeping well my friend. Have you managed to clock up double digit miles on that truck yet? Lol.
Hi Jim, I have restored a couple of 10” dovetail saws now. This one in particular seems to have a micro fine kerf line. I must dig out my vernier calipers and compare the plate thickness. Thanks for your comments.
Handtooler, I tend to find if I blunder along I get there in the end. I appreciate your kind words.
The Fridge, thanks for taking the time to read and comment, much appreciated.
Hey Tyvekboy, I hope you are well and having fun in your own shop.
Hi Swirt, always a pleasure, I am pleased you liked the photos. Thank you.

Thanks again all.

Good luck.


-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1224 posts in 1628 days

#9 posted 11-06-2018 11:57 AM

Really nice restoration

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View bluekingfisher's profile


1333 posts in 4219 days

#10 posted 11-06-2018 04:48 PM

Really nice restoration

- Bluenote38

Thanks Bluenote38

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

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