I say this is my first sweet old tool garage sale find this year because I plan on finding many cool vintage tools at garage sales this summer. I love garage sales because you never know what you are going to run into. This is a great example of that. I went out for lunch and on my way back to work I saw a garage sale and I had a few min to spare so I just decided to stop and take a quick look.
Looking around I didn’t see any tools but it just so happened that on a table tucked all the way in the back corner of this garage was a table with two old hand saws marked for 25 cents each. One was complete junk but the other one looked promising as I could tell it had brass screws. The blade was covered in rust and dirt but for 25 cents you cant really go wrong.
When I got home I took a closer look at the saw and I could see just a very faint part of what I believed to be the saws etch. I have cleaned up about a dozen hand saw blades and of those a few had decent etches that I faded by mistake in the cleaning process. I took extra care when cleaning the blade on this one and I am thankful I did as I was able to uncover almost 100 percent of the full etch. When cleaning a saw with an etch its easy to fade it if your not careful. I have learned to always use a sanding block this way you will sand over the etch and not dig down into it like an abrasive pad would do. I cleaned only with mineral spirits and simple green. I learned penetrating oil like WD 40 can fade an etch.
I started right over the area where I believed the etch to be with a sanding block and 600 grit wet/dry paper. On other saws I have used much lower grits to start and I believe I damaged and faded the etches by doing that. Starting with 600 grit sanding block took a bit more time and effort but once I had the rust layer removed I could start to see more and more etch with every pass. Once I had the rust removed and could see the size of the etch I switched to 800 grit paper. I was very careful when working over the etch and I kept checking to make sure I was not fading it with the sanding. I stopped sanding when the etch was clear and decided not to go any further in risk of fading it. I know you can darken a saw etch by using gun blue but I will save that for another day.
I was able to ID the saw by the etch. Its a Handy Hand Saw which was made by Disston in the 1930s. A friend of mine who is a saw collector told me he had not seen one of these before so it could be rare. I don’t plan on restoring it any further especially if its collectible. I think I will hang it up on the wall in my shop.
-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"