Vintage Tool Rehab Projects #30: An Ode to Panel Saws

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Blog entry by Brad posted 12-27-2014 05:37 PM 1658 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 29: Record 043 Grooving plane for my Dutch tool chest Part 30 of Vintage Tool Rehab Projects series Part 31: Adding a Stanley #45 to the Till »

Most of my projects trend towards the smaller side. Boxes and such. So using a full-sized saw (26” or so) to cut out their parts is overkill. Add to that the incongruous fit between my shorter arm reach and long handsaw tooth lines. I stand at five-foot six inches and my saw bench is customized to accommodate my stature. That means it’s shorter. So that when I use a full-sized handsaw, I smash the tip into the ground from time to time. I’d rather not do that to a 100 year old saw.

Enter the panel saw. The main differentiator between a handsaw and a panel saw is that the latter is shorter, usually in the range of 16-24” in length. An added bonus for me is that they tend to sport smaller handles. Ones that fit comfortably in my small hands.

As a result, panel saws are on my perpetual “short list” of tools to pick up. So when I came across this one at an estate sale I paid the $5.00 and took it home.

The medallion dates the saw’s manufacture to between 1917-1940. It’s 22”, has 8 ppi, and a smaller handle which fits nicely in my hand. After my initial inspection, I cleaned it up.

Then sharpened it.

And put it to use

My hand/panel saw till contains two panel cross-cut saws, one 8 ppi for general use and one 11 ppi for fine cuts. Five dollars and a couple of hours of relaxing rehab and I’m ready to tackle the small-project crosscuts on my list.

© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

5 comments so far

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2200 days

#1 posted 12-27-2014 06:00 PM

Nice work Brad, nice saws as well.

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Tim's profile


3030 posts in 1381 days

#2 posted 12-27-2014 06:13 PM

That turned out great, the plate is in very good shape. What kind of finish did you go with for the handle?

View Handtooler's profile (online now)


1357 posts in 1552 days

#3 posted 12-27-2014 09:34 PM

My size (5’5” ; 31” sleeve) is similar to yours, and I agree with my saw bench allowing my saws to hit bottom too often. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for a panel saw of the 16-20 inch length to rehab. Any hints on sharpening to your quality?

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Brad's profile


1129 posts in 2160 days

#4 posted 12-27-2014 10:43 PM

Tim, I think this handle has a poly coating. For handles, I’ve tried shellac, BLO + wax and poly. I like the feel of BLO, but the protective coating of shellac is nice too. Poly can have a plastic feel/look to it. Shellac isn’t bad that way to me for some reason.

Handtooler, to get better at sharpening saws you have to keep doing it. Sharpening a rip saw is so easy that I think that everyone should do it. I blogged about sharpening here. It includes links to other saw sharpening resources.

And Andy created an amazing saw sharpening video here.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Brit's profile


6573 posts in 2262 days

#5 posted 12-28-2014 01:08 AM

Nice job Brad. I hope to grab another panel saw tomorrow.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

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