A Method for Repairing Broken Handsaw Medallions

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Blog entry by summerfi posted 07-30-2019 10:49 PM 1900 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A Method for Repairing Broken Handsaw Medallions

The brass split-nut screws on 19th century handsaws and backsaws are somewhat fragile and notorious for breaking when removing them from a saw. The regular screws are not so bad because they can be replaced. But when you break the medallion screw on an antique saw, you know you’re having a bad day, for they can be impossible to replace. I guess I’ve been lucky so far. After restoring dozens of saws with split-nuts, I finally broke the first medallion. My options were limited. I could replace the medallion with one not correct for the saw; I could replace it by making a new blank medallion; or I could try to repair the original medallion. I chose the latter course.

There are few instructions on how to repair a saw medallion. An Australian saw doctor described his method on (click for link), and the results were good. I was hesitant to use that method, however, for fear of drilling through the face of the medallion. I decided to try a different method, which I will describe below.

This is a picture of the broken medallion. There is roughly 3/8” of the screw still attached to the medallion. I trimmed the end of the broken screw flat and then threaded it with an 8-32 die.

Next I ordered some brass binding posts (also called Chicago screws or sex bolts) that were threaded 8-32.

I cut off a ½” segment of the female threaded part of the binding post and threaded one end onto the medallion. I inserted an 8-32 brass threaded rod into the other end. The result looked like this.

After cutting off most of the threaded rod, I then soldered the three components together.

The medallion was a little too long for the saw handle, so I trimmed it back, cleaned it up, and the final repaired medallion looked like this.

Obviously, the diameter of the new screw is bigger than the diameter of the old screw. The outside diameter of the binding post is just a hair over 3/16”. This will require enlarging the hole in the handle and the saw plate. I would be cautious about doing this to a truly rare or valuable saw. For a user quality saw, I don’t think it is an issue, given the other options.

The split-nuts on vintage saws usually do not have 8-32 threads. This means the original nut may not fit the modified medallion. In this case I was able to re-tap the original nut to 8-32. If you try this method, you may have to make a new nut, but that is fairly easy to do.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

5 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7660 posts in 1698 days

#1 posted 07-31-2019 12:08 AM

Nice description of the repair, Bob! Hope I never need to know it.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 3128 days

#2 posted 07-31-2019 12:35 AM

Excellent solution and repair, Bob.

Clinched on the other side I hope.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20089 posts in 3683 days

#3 posted 07-31-2019 09:29 AM

Well done

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

View Brit's profile


8329 posts in 3958 days

#4 posted 07-31-2019 12:25 PM

Way to think out the box Bob! That is a great solution and one I wouldn’t hesistate to use if I ever break one.

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

View duckmilk's profile


4539 posts in 2440 days

#5 posted 07-31-2019 05:40 PM

Bob’s a genius! I read the other method you linked and think you made the right choice.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

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