Removing dark tarnish spots on saw plates

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Forum topic by Marn64 posted 07-02-2016 05:47 PM 390 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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171 posts in 208 days

07-02-2016 05:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey everybody, so I recently was shopping at my local ReStore and I found yet another 1877 disston saw, this time a crosscut. I removed the rust, the etch is fantastic, but this saw has a problem with really prominent dark spots on the plate left behind by the rust. Is there a way to remove them or at least make them less prominent?

-- Benjamin, Milwaukee

2 replies so far

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3032 posts in 1384 days

#1 posted 07-03-2016 05:46 PM

The staining is oxidized steel like rust. You can try to reduce it with a chemical like evaporust or acid, but lots of people report them taking out the etch too. And since the steel has oxidized, there is pitting created that really can’t be removed without something like sanding or grinding down to bare metal.

I’ve had good luck with a wire wheel on an angle grinder to reduce the appearance of the dark staining, but it’s easy to overdo it and heat the saw plate up too much. I’ve even used a heavy knotted wire wheel on a thick crosscut logging saw. Key is just to go slow and keep the grinder moving over the plate to not overheat. The sheen from the angle grinder isn’t very attractive, but it can be sanded out relatively easily. Only you can decide if the risk of damaging the saw is worth it to get the saw looking better. I’m of the mind that unless it is a priceless collectible or family heirloom then you’re only going to increase the value of the tool if you clean it up without damaging it. In general I prefer old tools to look old, but polishing a saw plate helps it cut better.

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3897 posts in 2666 days

#2 posted 07-05-2016 06:25 PM

Unless it’s a saw that has been stored away and never seen use (brand new) since 1877, I wouldn’t try to restore it beyond “surface rust free”. A saw that old is an antique and needs to show it’s age in order to be classed as an antique. By wire brushing/grind, you will destroy it’s antiquity value.

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