I’ve been lurking on Lumberjocks for a while now, but this is my first post. So … hi. I think you’re all amazing. :-)
After years of dreaming, I finally live in a place where this is space for me to set up a woodshop. I’ve been building utilitarian furniture and repurposing existing pieces for the past seven years, but I only started getting serious about woodworking as an artisan craft in the past year.
For my first project, I decided to restore an old rip saw that my roommate and I found at a yard sale. This is the saw in its original shape.
I followed a friend’s lead in developing the process. (Thanks, Brian!) My first step was to detach the handle and give the blade a good scraping with mineral spirits and a razor.
Once the worst of the rust was gone, I built my first ever electrolysis bath. This was a bit more of an adventure than I anticipated, as I got the entire thing set up on my front porch only to have my bright blue sunny day transform into a torrential downpour.
It was almost dark before I was finally able to get it up and running. I was concerned about leaving the bath alone on the porch because the neighborhood cats all hang out there, and their survival instincts around electricity and toxic fluids are not nearly as developed as their napping and begging skills. I convinced my friends to come have beer and pizza with me while I kept an eye on everything. We decided the rust swirls have an almost Starry Night effect if you stare at them long enough.
The bath revealed an etching on the blade that had been completely covered before! I was pretty excited.
I took 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper and a sanding block and went over the blade one last time to get rid of the remaining rust. I used a bit of sandpaper wrapped around a pencil eraser to work around the etching and the teeth, then gave the whole thing a good coat of paste wax and buffed it off to a lovely satin finish.
The handle’s path started off more simply. I wiped it down with mineral spirits, then sanded away the old finish with 200 grit sandpaper. I decided not to fix the broken horn because I like that little age-mark, and it doesn’t affect usability.
Unfortunately, I got a little impatient at this point and didn’t read through my notes a second time before proceeding, and I ended up rushing the finishing process. I didn’t allow enough dry time between coating the handle with Boiled Linseed Oil and coating it with shellac. Suck. There’s no point in doing something halfway, so I sanded the finish back down so I could start all over again.
This time I waited a full day between each coat of Boiled Linseed Oil (I did two) and each coat of shellac (three). I then finished the handle with a coat of paste wax, polished the brass screws with steel wool, and reassembled my new pretty!
So this is my very first restored saw! I’m very proud of it. The sharpening process will be part two.