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Restored vintage Skil 534 6-1/2" sidewinder

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Forum topic by BreeStephany posted 08-12-2016 02:32 PM 3349 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BreeStephany

76 posts in 3154 days


08-12-2016 02:32 PM

A few months ago, Cgrutt contacted me about gifting me their vintage Skil 534 sidewinder saw so that I could give it a proper restoration.

I finally got the time this week to rip it down, clean it up, give it a nice new coat of paint and put it back together.

The saw was actually in pretty decent condition when I received it. It had been used to cut brick at some point, but it really had not invaded the motor much and was not present in the gear case.

After ripping it down and sending it through the parts washer for a few hours, I took it to the wire wheel and removed the majority of old factory paint, then masked it and primed, painted and clear coated it.

Disasembly

I used 2 coats of automotive primer, sanding in between coats for a nice clean flat surface for paint, then onto 2 coats of matte silver metallic paint and a coat of clear coat to seal it.


Overall the saw was in pretty good shape, with the exception of a light coating of red masonary dust from cutting brick, which was on practically everything throughout the saw. I used Awesome and 3M citrus cleaner to clean all of the internal components and the electrical components.


The switch had stab-lock ports for the wires, however, it did not have release points for me to remove the original wires, so I left about an inch of original wire past the switch, then cut the wire on both the switch and the new cord, used uninsulated butt connectors, soldered the connections and then heat shrunk them.


I was very happy with how the paint turned out and got an almost exact match to the original paint.

Finished

I Put a new Skil cord and strain relief on. I had to grind off a bit of rubber from the strain relief for it to fit in the handle of the saw, but I am overall very happy with how it turned out.


I was able to save and clean up the original label just by gently pick the label off of the saw. The glue on the back of the label was still pretty soft so it came off relatively easy. Once I had the saw back together, I put a bit of spray adhesive on the back of the label and put it back on the saw.


All finished.

Overall, this was a pretty easy restoration. The saw was in great condition when I received it and it didn’t need much work beyond a good coat of paint and a new cord, as the cord it came was extremely short and had an aftermarket cord end on it.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.


14 replies so far

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GR8HUNTER

8255 posts in 1681 days


#1 posted 08-12-2016 03:27 PM

looks very good ….....better then brand new ….......GREAT JOB

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

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bigblockyeti

6919 posts in 2689 days


#2 posted 08-12-2016 04:33 PM

Another great restoration! Keep up the good work, they don’t make em’ like they used to!

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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bigblockyeti

6919 posts in 2689 days


#3 posted 08-15-2016 02:08 AM

I know you’ve done quite a bit with Skil and Rockwell, have you ever done anything with vintage Stanley power tools? I found a fairly old worm drive Stanley safety saw complete with case and a really unique handle consisting of two different hand positions with two triggers. I’m seriously considering this saw but like most of the older stuff from every maker, save a select few, many of the wear parts are no longer available and therefore require detailed inspection to see if they’re worth it. Here is a link to the saw: https://cleveland.craigslist.org/tls/5729020965.html

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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BreeStephany

76 posts in 3154 days


#4 posted 08-15-2016 02:55 AM

I haven’t personally done much with Stanley tools, with that said, bearings are likely sourceable, the switch almost looks like a Cuttler Hammer which Skil used a lot… they are harder to source, but can be sourced and if nothing more, can be stripped, cleaned and reassembled as long as the bakelite isn’t cracked. The brushes can likely be sourced or adapted. Brush caps look pretty universal and can likely be sourced.

If you have a multimeter, ohm out the coil to check if the resistance is correct, provided that it lists an amperage somewhere. Generally most amperages for tools were based on 125v. Use the formula I=V/R where I = amperage, V = voltage (125v) and R = resistance in ohms.

The worm gear is obsolete and the only way to source a new one would likely be to have a machine shop make one, which could be in the hundreds and pretty much isn’t worth it to most people.

The coil and armature are also likely obsolete, but with that said, you can likely get them professionally rewound for around a $100, so not terrible if your looking at it as a functional collector piece.

Obviously housing pieces are obsolete so any broken parts there will be very difficult to source.

The Stanley safety saw is a bit older than the Skil blue label and I haven’t seen nearly as many, so overall, sourcing obsolete parts would be very difficult, if not impossible.

With that said, see if you can talk them down to $65~$70 and it would be totally worth it, and worst case scenario, you part it out and likely make well more than that selling the individual pieces on ebay.

Just my two cents.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

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bigblockyeti

6919 posts in 2689 days


#5 posted 05-25-2017 02:56 PM

I ended up buying the saw for ~$20 a few months ago, its a W8 safety saw, very unique piece. It has an oddball sized arbor so sourcing blades will be tricky, other than that everything is there and works. I’m in the process of tearing it down and replacing whatever I find worn. The big surprise is the gearcase is grease packed instead of being filled with oil like the Skils. At first I was certain the worm gear would be trashed as I can’t imagine very old cease being nearly as slick as oil in high friction gear set such as this. Much to my delight the worm like like new and the worm gear show a little wear but should be very reliable for quite some time to come. I need to confirm from someone that grease was correct for this saw then find an appropriate, new equivalent. I may be able to post pictures if my camera can be fixed or if I replace it soon.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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runswithscissors

3124 posts in 2993 days


#6 posted 05-28-2017 01:54 AM

Those little Skil sidewinders were prized by finish carpenters. I had one used (from the pawn shop) which I was quite fond of. Then something went south on it, and I decided not to repair it (don’t remember what it was). When I went to purchase a new one, turns out Skil doesn’t make them anymore. The tool guy at my hardware store said a lot of guys have asked for them, to no avail.

That, and the mod 77 worm drive, were the only decent saws Skil ever made, as far as I know. They made Craftsman sidewinders at one time, and in my experience they were basically crap. Cheap bearings and noisy gears. Sears’ salesman told me they were supposed to sound like a bunch of marbles in a can. I wasn’t convinced.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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bandit571

27488 posts in 3651 days


#7 posted 05-28-2017 02:14 AM

Few years ago, $5 got me this metal box…

Little saw inside

Other than replace the plug, not much else has been done to it

Have used it a lot more than my other Vintage saw..

Mainly due to the difference in weight….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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runswithscissors

3124 posts in 2993 days


#8 posted 05-28-2017 02:49 AM

Oops.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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bigblockyeti

6919 posts in 2689 days


#9 posted 09-30-2020 09:33 PM

I’m hoping to pick up a 534 for $10 within two weeks and get it back into top working condition, it won’t be as pretty as the restored one but it will work perfectly when I’m done with it. I already have a 552 and the quality of the older Skil sidewinders doesn’t disappoint, the allure of a worm drive saw isn’t quite the same but using them is a joy.

I finally finished rehabbing the Stanley W8 I picked up in ‘17 and left sitting disassembled in it’s case for over three years. I managed to clean all the grease out of the gearcase and after cleaning everything and reassembling, it was filled with a proper worm drive oil and runs like a dream. The blade is crap and I really need to replace it with a modern carbide tipped blade but finding one with a 3/4” bore vs. the standard 5/8” is going to be a challenge.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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runswithscissors

3124 posts in 2993 days


#10 posted 09-30-2020 09:46 PM

Not a diamond knockout like the 77? You might be able to easily bore the blade out to 3/4” with a step drill, providing the steel in the blade body isn’t too hard. Step drills really do work very well.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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bigblockyeti

6919 posts in 2689 days


#11 posted 09-30-2020 11:13 PM

Not a diamond knockout, a step drill might work, one concern is most blades that size do have a diamond knockout and I’d be getting very close to the edge of the diamond while reaming it out. Another concern is how well I can maintain concentricity with a step drill. A non-concentric blade wouldn’t cut well and could vibrate like crazy.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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runswithscissors

3124 posts in 2993 days


#12 posted 10-01-2020 03:30 AM

But does the saw require a diamond knockout? There are many 6 1/2” blades with round arbor holes. Starting with a round hole (5/8” presumably) a step drill will make a hole that is perfectly concentric, unlike a regular twist drill, which can be problematic.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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BreeStephany

76 posts in 3154 days


#13 posted 10-01-2020 03:58 AM

Know any electricians? You could use a 1/2” conduit knockout punch to punch it to 7/8” and then use a 7/8 to 3/4” arbor reducing bushing like Freud makes to reduce it down to your arbor. To ensure centering, you could get a piece of 5/8” rod and a 3/4” to 5/8” bushing and mark out the hole before punching it.

If I’m correct, the W8 accepts a 8” blade, which Freud also makes which has a 5/8” arbor and no diamond knockout so you could punch it out and reduce it or just drill it with a step but without concern of popping a diamond knockout

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

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bigblockyeti

6919 posts in 2689 days


#14 posted 10-01-2020 01:43 PM

I think it might take an 8” blade, it definitely doesn’t accept an 8 1/4” blade. The spindle itself is actually 5/8” but the outer blade washer has a 3/4” diameter projection toward the gearbox that the blade sits on. If I had a spare, I would turn down that projection to 5/8” but being unobtainium, I’d rather not risk it. I think I’m going to try the step drill method (I have a few different ones to experiment with) on an old 7 1/4” blade to see if it’s feasible on something a little less disposable.

I’m picking up the 534 next week and unlike 90% of the older saws I’ve procured, it has a good blade AND a good cord, quite the rarity for only $10.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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