Reply by Dan

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Posted on Saws, using collecting, cleaning and buying

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3630 posts in 2904 days

#1 posted 06-27-2011 04:58 PM

Brit – I sanded the handles by hand starting at 180 grit and worked up to 320. I think they were cleaned with simple green before sanding. I then finished them with a few coats of Zinsser Shellac and after they dried I polished them with a very fine abrasive pad. I think I put some paste wax on also.

Don – For the smaller backsaws I removed the handles and soaked the blades in EvapoRust over night. After I took them out of the EvapoRust I washed them off and started sanding. It can get very tricky if you are looking to expose an etch. I always always start by using a sanding block. I just use a piece of scrap wood with sandpaper attached. If blade is rough I start with 220 grit. It is important to use a sanding block if you are wanting to uncover the etch (if its even there still). If you use abrasive pad, steel wool, or even sand paper without a block the abrasive pads or paper will go into the etch and ruin it. With a sanding block the sand paper will ride right over the etch.

I will sand the blade with 220 until I start to reveal or uncover the etch. As soon as start seeing the etch I stop with 220 and move up to 400 grit wet/dry paper. If you are not trying to preserve or uncover the etch then you don’t have to be as careful when sanding the handle. Once I can see the etch I just sand the blade carefully and move up to higher grits. You will want to be careful not to fade the etch. If your sanding is fading it then you should stop sanding the area over the etch. Again, thats only if your looking to reveal and keep the etch.

I worked up to a very fine grit with my backsaws but you can stop sanding when ever you are happy with the look of the blade. After I finished sanding I polished the blades with metal polish.

Here is a great example of a saw etch that I uncovered. I got an old handsaw from a garage sale and when I got it you couldn’t see any etch at all. This is what I found after cleaning it up. Cant see in the first picture but once you get close..

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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