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 1933 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 2808 days

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

Nice work Brad, nice saws as well.

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 1989 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


1579 posts in 2159 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


1139 posts in 2767 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


7387 posts in 2870 days

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

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

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

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