Restored vintage Skil 534 6-1/2" sidewinder

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Forum topic by BreeStephany posted 08-12-2016 02:32 PM 1137 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 2213 days

08-12-2016 02:32 PM

A few months ago, Cgrutt contacted me about gifting me their vintage Skil 534 sidewinder saw so that I could give it a proper restoration.

I finally got the time this week to rip it down, clean it up, give it a nice new coat of paint and put it back together.

The saw was actually in pretty decent condition when I received it. It had been used to cut brick at some point, but it really had not invaded the motor much and was not present in the gear case.

After ripping it down and sending it through the parts washer for a few hours, I took it to the wire wheel and removed the majority of old factory paint, then masked it and primed, painted and clear coated it.


I used 2 coats of automotive primer, sanding in between coats for a nice clean flat surface for paint, then onto 2 coats of matte silver metallic paint and a coat of clear coat to seal it.

Overall the saw was in pretty good shape, with the exception of a light coating of red masonary dust from cutting brick, which was on practically everything throughout the saw. I used Awesome and 3M citrus cleaner to clean all of the internal components and the electrical components.

The switch had stab-lock ports for the wires, however, it did not have release points for me to remove the original wires, so I left about an inch of original wire past the switch, then cut the wire on both the switch and the new cord, used uninsulated butt connectors, soldered the connections and then heat shrunk them.

I was very happy with how the paint turned out and got an almost exact match to the original paint.


I Put a new Skil cord and strain relief on. I had to grind off a bit of rubber from the strain relief for it to fit in the handle of the saw, but I am overall very happy with how it turned out.

I was able to save and clean up the original label just by gently pick the label off of the saw. The glue on the back of the label was still pretty soft so it came off relatively easy. Once I had the saw back together, I put a bit of spray adhesive on the back of the label and put it back on the saw.

All finished.

Overall, this was a pretty easy restoration. The saw was in great condition when I received it and it didn’t need much work beyond a good coat of paint and a new cord, as the cord it came was extremely short and had an aftermarket cord end on it.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

8 replies so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


4007 posts in 740 days

#1 posted 08-12-2016 03:27 PM

looks very good ….....better then brand new ….......GREAT JOB

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View bigblockyeti's profile


5140 posts in 1748 days

#2 posted 08-12-2016 04:33 PM

Another great restoration! Keep up the good work, they don’t make em’ like they used to!

View bigblockyeti's profile


5140 posts in 1748 days

#3 posted 08-15-2016 02:08 AM

I know you’ve done quite a bit with Skil and Rockwell, have you ever done anything with vintage Stanley power tools? I found a fairly old worm drive Stanley safety saw complete with case and a really unique handle consisting of two different hand positions with two triggers. I’m seriously considering this saw but like most of the older stuff from every maker, save a select few, many of the wear parts are no longer available and therefore require detailed inspection to see if they’re worth it. Here is a link to the saw:

View BreeStephany's profile


62 posts in 2213 days

#4 posted 08-15-2016 02:55 AM

I haven’t personally done much with Stanley tools, with that said, bearings are likely sourceable, the switch almost looks like a Cuttler Hammer which Skil used a lot… they are harder to source, but can be sourced and if nothing more, can be stripped, cleaned and reassembled as long as the bakelite isn’t cracked. The brushes can likely be sourced or adapted. Brush caps look pretty universal and can likely be sourced.

If you have a multimeter, ohm out the coil to check if the resistance is correct, provided that it lists an amperage somewhere. Generally most amperages for tools were based on 125v. Use the formula I=V/R where I = amperage, V = voltage (125v) and R = resistance in ohms.

The worm gear is obsolete and the only way to source a new one would likely be to have a machine shop make one, which could be in the hundreds and pretty much isn’t worth it to most people.

The coil and armature are also likely obsolete, but with that said, you can likely get them professionally rewound for around a $100, so not terrible if your looking at it as a functional collector piece.

Obviously housing pieces are obsolete so any broken parts there will be very difficult to source.

The Stanley safety saw is a bit older than the Skil blue label and I haven’t seen nearly as many, so overall, sourcing obsolete parts would be very difficult, if not impossible.

With that said, see if you can talk them down to $65~$70 and it would be totally worth it, and worst case scenario, you part it out and likely make well more than that selling the individual pieces on ebay.

Just my two cents.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5140 posts in 1748 days

#5 posted 05-25-2017 02:56 PM

I ended up buying the saw for ~$20 a few months ago, its a W8 safety saw, very unique piece. It has an oddball sized arbor so sourcing blades will be tricky, other than that everything is there and works. I’m in the process of tearing it down and replacing whatever I find worn. The big surprise is the gearcase is grease packed instead of being filled with oil like the Skils. At first I was certain the worm gear would be trashed as I can’t imagine very old cease being nearly as slick as oil in high friction gear set such as this. Much to my delight the worm like like new and the worm gear show a little wear but should be very reliable for quite some time to come. I need to confirm from someone that grease was correct for this saw then find an appropriate, new equivalent. I may be able to post pictures if my camera can be fixed or if I replace it soon.

View runswithscissors's profile


2768 posts in 2053 days

#6 posted 05-28-2017 01:54 AM

Those little Skil sidewinders were prized by finish carpenters. I had one used (from the pawn shop) which I was quite fond of. Then something went south on it, and I decided not to repair it (don’t remember what it was). When I went to purchase a new one, turns out Skil doesn’t make them anymore. The tool guy at my hardware store said a lot of guys have asked for them, to no avail.

That, and the mod 77 worm drive, were the only decent saws Skil ever made, as far as I know. They made Craftsman sidewinders at one time, and in my experience they were basically crap. Cheap bearings and noisy gears. Sears’ salesman told me they were supposed to sound like a bunch of marbles in a can. I wasn’t convinced.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View bandit571's profile


20260 posts in 2711 days

#7 posted 05-28-2017 02:14 AM

Few years ago, $5 got me this metal box…

Little saw inside

Other than replace the plug, not much else has been done to it

Have used it a lot more than my other Vintage saw..

Mainly due to the difference in weight….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View runswithscissors's profile


2768 posts in 2053 days

#8 posted 05-28-2017 02:49 AM


-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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