power tool restoration inquiry

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Forum topic by BreeStephany posted 06-02-2012 08:50 PM 1526 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BreeStephany's profile


63 posts in 2390 days

06-02-2012 08:50 PM

Just wanted to throw out an inquiry about a tool I am restoring to get peoples opinions. Feel free to give me your input.

I recently purchased a 1948 Skil 127 20A 12” worm drive beam saw that I am in the process of ripping down, cleaning and reassembling. My inquiry is this

Should I powder coat the saw or should I polish the saw. The saw has a solid aluminum body and a steel shoe. From looking at the cleaner parts of the saw, it looks to have been bare unpolished but smooth aluminum, which was pretty standard for Skil tools of that period, however, I am looking at restoring the saw for use rather than display or collectibility, and for that reason, restoration back to original is not a major priority as much as conditioning the saw to a point in which it will last the longest.

I know that with polishing, I wouldn’t have to worry about paint scratching, chipping or fading, but at the same time, polishing it would be QUITE labor intensive given the overall size of the machine. If I polish it, I would still have to either coat the shoe in lacquer or have it powder coated to protect it from rusting.

I know that powder coating, though extremely durable, does ultimately have a life to it, and will scratch, chip, and eventually fade from everyday use. The benefit of powder coating is that it would protect the aluminum from corrosion and oxidation, furthermore, the powder coating would work on the shoe as well. Due to the age of the saw and overall condition, it has quite a few hard scratches that couldn’t be buffed out, but could easily be filled in by having it powder coated.

If I have it powder coated, I would have it done in anodized silver, which is almost exactly the same color as the original Skil silver paint used in the 60’s and 70’s on all of their power tools.

What are everyone’s thoughts on it?

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

3 replies so far

View joebloe's profile


157 posts in 2499 days

#1 posted 06-02-2012 09:48 PM

I would leave it unpainted aluminum ,since you are planning on using the saw,the paint will get scratched and scuffed just threw normal use.the aluminum won’t rust up on you,as for the metal shoe ,I would clean it real good and put 2 or 3 good coats of paste wax on it.To protect the metal and help it slide easier.

View 69BBNova's profile


341 posts in 2421 days

#2 posted 06-02-2012 11:34 PM

Although it sortof applys, on my aluminum auto parts I’ve always prefered a raw machined finish (good machining) or a sanded finish (220or so grit)...

Keeping something shiny can be a real pain.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5290 posts in 1925 days

#3 posted 02-09-2015 03:45 AM

I’ve polished a few aluminum case tools and have found that with a 2hp motor turning either an 8” or 10” cotton rag wheel, things can go pretty quick. This doesn’t apply so much to areas where a wheel can’t fit, felt polishing points work well for the crevices. Mother’s and many others make good polish for uncoated aluminum car wheels that work well at preventing oxidization.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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