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Repairing a Broken Horn on a Handsaw Handle

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Blog entry by summerfi posted 232 days ago 1076 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been restoring a small 19th century English-made handsaw. This blog will show how I repaired the handle’s upper horn, which had been broken off at the end.

Normally I would trim the broken area off with a flat saw cut and graft on a repair patch. In this case, however, I wanted to save every bit of the original handle that I could. Rather than sawing off the broken area, I rounded it with a rasp, removing the minimum that could be taken off in order to get to good wood. This saved about 1/4 inch of the original handle. Here is a picture looking straight down on the top of the horn.

I used a piece of beech wood with similar grain to make a patch, rasping out a curve that matched the horn.

To get as good a fit as possible, I placed sandpaper between the two pieces and rubbed them up and down.

The patch fits well enough to proceed.

I typically use Titebond glue for handle repairs. In this case, I chose to use a two part epoxy because it will fill in any small gaps that may exist in the irregularly shaped joint between the two pieces. This joint is mostly end grain, which is difficult to glue, but the curved shape helps to maximize gluing surface.

To glue the pieces together, I clamped the handle and a block of the same thickness in my bench vise. After applying the epoxy, I placed the patch next to the horn and then gently inserted a wedge of wood between the patch and the block in order to exert pressure on the joint.

Here is the horn after the glue has set and I’ve shaped the repair.

And here is a side view.

This is how it looks after I stained the patch to match the rest of the handle and applied the finish.

And here is the completed saw.

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-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Of all the tools I own, my favorite is a good sharp pocket knife. - My Dad



7 comments so far

View Philip's profile

Philip

1061 posts in 1124 days


#1 posted 232 days ago

That is absolutely incredible. My hats off to you sir!

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

View hobby1's profile (online now)

hobby1

273 posts in 883 days


#2 posted 232 days ago

Beautiful, beautiful work.

View Don W's profile

Don W

14497 posts in 1153 days


#3 posted 232 days ago

well done Bob. Another great looking saw.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Brad's profile

Brad

790 posts in 1325 days


#4 posted 232 days ago

That’s a neat little trick. Quite relevant too as many, many horns are in need of repair on vintage saws.

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

View Brit's profile

Brit

5103 posts in 1428 days


#5 posted 229 days ago

You made a nice job of that Bob. What finish did you put on it? Danish Oil?

P.S. – I have to ask. Why does one man need so many hammers?

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

View summerfi's profile

summerfi

851 posts in 273 days


#6 posted 229 days ago

Andy – The finish is 3 coats of rub-on poly followed by buffing with 0000 steel wool and then paste wax. On the hammers, you can never have too many. Kind of like saws—a different one for each job. ;-)

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Of all the tools I own, my favorite is a good sharp pocket knife. - My Dad

View Brit's profile

Brit

5103 posts in 1428 days


#7 posted 227 days ago

Tell me about it Bob…

Actually, I bought a load more after that photo was taken. :o)

-- 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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