Learning to Restore Saws #2: Initial Strokes - the 'shiny' beneath the rust!

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Blog entry by luckysawdust posted 02-04-2015 05:10 AM 1360 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Taking stock of the haul Part 2 of Learning to Restore Saws series no next part

This will be a brief blog post—mostly pictures, but I wanted to show some progress against a few of the saws that I recently acquired. I tried to raise the bar with photography, so here goes.

One of the Disstons before:

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And now, after a little elbow grease, I’ve gotten it this far. Still not finished—that handle needs some ‘color’ :-)

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And secondly, the ‘Warranted Superior’ backsaw I picked up at the Re-Store.


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As of this blog post (again, that handle needs finishing):

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Both of those had some learning curves to them. I tried a power sander (random orbital, 120-220 grit)—and decided I definitely prefer the long strokes, by hand, along the blade. Yep, it takes longer, and you burn more calories doing it—but I definitely prefer the finished look.

Lessons learned:

- Power sander can speed things up… but you might wish you’d taken the time and done it by hand.
- Blue Magic metal polish is amazing—certainly seems to do the trick on all of the hardware I’ve applied it to.
- A little water/windex on the wet-dry sandpaper does a lot to keep it from loading up – spritz some on the surface (metal) you’re working on as you go.
- Cabinet scrapers can make quick work of an old, cracked, lacquered surface, and bring out the wood again!
- Restoring old hand tools is fun, … and addicting! (get a firm grip on your wallet…)
- Scotch-brite can “cover a multitude of sins” if you’ve used a power-sander on your saw plate – still not as good as having done the whole thing by hand—but far better than just leaving those robotic scratches in place.
- Patience cannot be over emphasized—to give a facelift to a 90-year-old anything, is going to take some time if you want your name associated with the results!

-- “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

3 comments so far

View TheFridge's profile


5676 posts in 907 days

#1 posted 02-04-2015 05:32 AM

Have you ever looked at electrolysis?

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9325 posts in 3473 days

#2 posted 02-04-2015 06:10 AM

COOL saws restored!

Good Job!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View gtpreacher's profile


93 posts in 2686 days

#3 posted 02-04-2015 03:52 PM

Thanks for the post. I have an old Diston that looks worse than you can imagine. It belonged to my wife’s father. After seeing your post, I’m inspired to get to work restoring it.

-- Phil, North Carolina

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