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Blog entry by Damien Pollet posted 08-20-2012 10:22 PM 1594 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello, my name is Damien and I customize my tools instead of actually using them…

My parents got me a round mallet, and I recently bought a bunch of saws and clamps… first thing I did is strip the factory varnish off the mallet and dismantle the bow saw to do the same with its handles. I think I gave a couple taps with the mallet to get a feel for it (it’s quite heavier than my home made one) and I didn’t even try the saw :D

Is it serious, doctor?

Anyway… The mallet I sanded and refinished with tung oil, it feels much smoother now.

I’m in the process of slightly rounding and re-shaping the saw handles to my hands; they were simply made on a shaper and are bit clunky looking in design (it’s an ECE). Maybe I’ll add a couple subtle chamfers as well, for aesthetics, without compromising strength. I’ve also made a hexagonal mortise to capture the nut at the end of the tensioning bar and eliminate the ugly fan washer.

Believe it or not, in the process I’ve actually used some tools, in particular a card scraper, so at least checked I know how to sharpen and make proper shavings with it.

Edit, august 25:

So, here’s the saw in question, from

…and some pictures I just took; the handle with quartersawn grain just had the varnish and machine marks scraped off, the flatsawn one is tweaked, finely sanded and now busy absorbing some tung oil (waiting to see how it turns out :).

Overall shape, chamfers on the tensioning side:

Handle shaping, hopefully you can see how symmetric and not so round the original shape was:

Cove and chamfers at the bottom end for a couple fingers when I hold the saw by the blade handle:

9 comments so far

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2314 days

#1 posted 08-20-2012 11:21 PM

I also remove the shiny finish from tool handles and refinish them with BLO, so you’re not alone there. Look forward to seeing the pics.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Damien Pollet's profile

Damien Pollet

73 posts in 2638 days

#2 posted 08-20-2012 11:46 PM

Phew :D

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2683 days

#3 posted 08-21-2012 01:00 PM

Most of my tools get tweaked in one way or another. I did not do much to my ECE so I am curious how yours comes out.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2721 days

#4 posted 08-21-2012 01:25 PM

I’m waiting anxiously for pics:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View joewilliams's profile


88 posts in 2153 days

#5 posted 08-21-2012 01:30 PM

Do you guys like BLO or Tung oil better than Lacquer or Shellac on hand plane handles too?

-- Joe - - - something witty should go here - - -

View Damien Pollet's profile

Damien Pollet

73 posts in 2638 days

#6 posted 08-21-2012 06:02 PM

RGTools: I removed wood on one side of one handle, under the heel of the palm and under the index finger, to help hold the weight. Makes the handle a bit less flat and gives it an upward slant. I’m sort of waiting before I touch the other handle, because I suspect things could be different for push and pull cuts.

Joe: I like the feel of bare wood much better than a hard glossy surface (and I only have a can of tung oil anyway). Shellac is only available in specialized stores, here. I think there is BLO at the hardware store, lacquer probably as well but I’m not sure I’d like that on a handle (it makes a glossy film finish, right? maybe dulled with steel wool it doesn’t feel too sticky…). I really need to experiment with various finishes someday, but not on tool handles :)

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2683 days

#7 posted 08-22-2012 01:03 PM

I end up using a bit of butcher block oil on any tool I have to remove a slick finish from. Especially on saws, it is very grippy. BLO is my second choice.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View Damien Pollet's profile

Damien Pollet

73 posts in 2638 days

#8 posted 08-25-2012 11:25 PM

Tung oil on 400 grit sanded beech… squeeee!

Can’t wait to slap the second layer on :)

View Don W's profile

Don W

18756 posts in 2596 days

#9 posted 08-26-2012 12:18 AM

I like bolo and tung oil better, especially with a tool like this. The oil from your hands will start a patina like nothing else.

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

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