Vintage Skil Collection

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Forum topic by BreeStephany posted 04-25-2014 01:44 PM 8531 views 3 times favorited 74 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 2185 days

04-25-2014 01:44 PM

Over the last couple of years, I have started acquiring a variety of older / vintage Skil tools. My first tool was a blue label Skil 127 12” wormdrive saw which I picked up more as a conversation piece originally due to its massive saw, but once it was in my hands, I truly admired the beauty and craftsmanship of old tools. From there, I stumbled upon a Skil 100 planer, which got me hooked on vintage tools and got me started on tool restoration. I have since acquired a Skil 67,77,825 and 127 wormdrive saw, as well as a Rockwell 653 versa plane for my personal collection, as well as a Skil 107 and 127 which I restored for a friend.

I am still on the lookout for an original, unmodified Skil 117 wormdrive dado saw and am also looking for a Skil 107 10” wormdrive, but I have found both of these saws very difficult to come by. The Skil 117 and modified equivalents were banned by OSHA in the late 70’s / early 80’s because of their design and their tendency of kick back and skating out of cuts.

The Skil 107 was the in-between of the common 8-1/4” wormdrive and Skil’s 127 and I don’t really think the size really caught on enough for it to become ‘common’. Many of those that were out there were often modified into wide dado saws for gang cutting rafters, due to their power and smaller frame.

Below is an overview of my current collection.

From left to right is a soon to be restored Rockwell 653 Versa Plane, a restored Skil 100 7.5A planer, a Skil 67 6-1/2” wormdrive, a restored Skil 77 7-1/4” wormdrive, a Skil 1/2” impact wrench, a original Skil 77 7-1/4” wormdrive, a original Skil 825 8-1/4” wormdrive and a Skil 127 12” wormdrive.

My most recent of projects, a restored Skil 77 7-1/4” wormdrive. At the time of taking this picture, I was still working on the painting the side plate, but beyond that, its done. I ripped it down, gave it a VERY thorough cleaning (it was absolutely PACKED in sawdust to the point that I had to take scrub the field with mild solvent and a toothbrush just to get the inside of the field clean, replaced the bearings & seals, brushes and cord and gave it a new coat of paint. The hardware was in pretty decent shape and a lot of it I couldn’t readily find stainless replacements for, so I decided against completely replacing all of the hardware with stainless.

The tool that got my restoration work started. A fully restored Skil 100 Type 4 7.5A 3” plane. I replaced all of bearings, belt and brushes, powder coated the body, repainted the label, replaced all of the screws & hardware with new stainless hardware, sharpened the blades and put a new cord on it. A bit of an investment, but pretty sure it will last my lifetime and hopefully someone else’s.

My most recent of finds. A Rockwell 653 10A Versa Plane. I picked this one up the day before I took the picture, so I haven’t done much with it yet, but the plan is to do a thorough cleaning on it, put in new bearings, belt and brushes, replace all of the hardware with stainless steel hardware, polish of the body, replace the cord and sharpen the blade a bit. The labels are in great shape, so there is no reason to touch them.

A Skil 67 6-1/2” wormdrive saw. I am a bit on the fence about what to do with this one besides using it. Its in great shape and has seen little use compared to some of my other saws. At this point, all I have done with it is gave it a good cleaning, inside and out, and tuned the brushes. It runs great and is actually a great balance of weight and size. Its not great as a stud saw, but I love it for cutting sheeting in the field.

A restored Skil 77

Another Skil 77. This one is in rough shape on the outside, but is extremely mechanically sound. I ripped it down, cleaned it out, put a new cord on it, replaced the brushes and started using it. I am in the process of matching color for the side label and will paint the side label, but beyond that, I don’t think I will do much with it. The previous owner definitely abused the saw as guard had a bit of a wobble in it, which caused it to contact the blade, and it was run until it literally wore right through the front corner of the guard.

Because of its overall condition, I likely will keep it around as a backup saw / future parts saw and will use it as a stone saw out in the field every once and a while, but beyond that, don’t really see any reason for improvements beyond eventually replacing the bearings and seals when they get close to going out.

A Skil 825 8-1/4” wormdrive saw. This is likely going to be my next project after I restore my versa plane. I have cleaned it up and put new brushes and a new cord on it and put it back into use, but I will likely do a full restoration on it eventually.

My first vintage handheld power tool. A monsterous Skil 127 12” 20A wormdrive saw. Out of all of the old wormdrive saws I have bought, this one is by far the best in regard to condition. When I bought it, I feared it would need a massive amount of restoration, as it was practically black, but as soon as I got it home, I found out that it was nothing more than just a bit of oil and dirt coating an almost ‘mint’ saw. Most of the paint is in great shape and mechanically its in excellent condition.

Its not my go-to saw unless I am cutting large dimensional lumber for 2 reasons, the first being that it weighs in at over 40lbs and the second that I have to use a CNC mill to cut out a diamond in the blades, as there are no common 12” blades with a diamond knockout.

For full sized images, you can go to

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

74 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4930 posts in 3959 days

#1 posted 04-25-2014 01:54 PM

THAT’S when Skill was a quality brand.
Great job on the restos.


View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1548 days

#2 posted 04-25-2014 02:10 PM

WOW, awesome collection! Those old wormdrive saws were real workhorses. Nice job on the restorations.,

View BreeStephany's profile


62 posts in 2185 days

#3 posted 04-25-2014 02:37 PM

Outside of the Skil 77, it definitely does sadden me to see how far Skil has slipped in quality over the years.

The Skil 77 is the workhorse that definitely made Skil its name and I do appreciate the fact that Skil recognizes when not to change something good. Mechanically, little has changed between the first generation Skil 77 and the Skil 77’s that are produced today, 77 years later.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

View jackthelab's profile


313 posts in 2692 days

#4 posted 04-25-2014 04:28 PM

Love seeing the old power tools – thanks for sharing.

-- Dave in Minnesota - If it ain't broke, improve it!

View BJODay's profile


526 posts in 1942 days

#5 posted 04-25-2014 06:31 PM


I wish you would have posted this earlier. Last year I disposed of a skill saw. I usually donate old tools to Goodwill, but this tool’s blade guard would stick. I was afraid someone would get hurt using it.

I would have been happy to send it to a collector/restorer. I’ll keep this in mind for any future tools I may discard.


View bandit571's profile (online now)


20006 posts in 2682 days

#6 posted 04-25-2014 08:40 PM

Might have a photo you might like

It came in a green metal box

Seems to be a 6” blade?

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

View Artz's profile


18 posts in 1519 days

#7 posted 04-25-2014 08:54 PM

Nice collection. That skil 100 planer will last forever. I Know a few old time surfboard shapers that have done 1000s of boards with their skil 100 Planer. One Gentleman bought his first skill 100 in 1965. It is still in use today. He owns 2 other skil 100 so one can be in repair one in use and one as a back up just is case. My personal collection of planers are 2 skil 100 one 5.5 and the other 7.5 3 Power kraft planers by Montgomery Ward and a Rockwell 653. The Rockwell is a beast. It makes short work out doing a large Stand up Paddle Board but taks a a firm hand.
I can say your collection looks alot better then mine. Nice to see someone that loves those old trusty tools.

View BoardSMITH's profile


121 posts in 2263 days

#8 posted 04-25-2014 09:06 PM

The older Skil saws are tough as nails. Skil started out as the Michael Saw Company when the inventor was looking for a way to cut sugar cane quicker and more efficiently. Later the name was changed to Skil, as the legend says, when the wife of the companies owner said it looked like it would require a lot of “Skil” to use it. The problems with Skil started when Emerson obtained the company/brand and took the quality down to obscure levels. It hit the bottom until Bosch bought the company and tried to resurrect the reputation but Emerson had done to much damage. Even though the 77 is still around, mostly used west of the Mississippi, it is still tough as nails and extremely hard to wear out. Modern manufacuring methods have brought the price down but the original saw cost about a months wages making it a prized posession for any carpenter lucky enough to purchase one.

It is good to see the collection and it looks like a lot of care has been given to the older workhorses.

BTW Call Skil in Chicago. They can read the serial numbers to give you a manufacturing date. Might surprise you as to how old they are.

-- David

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2006 days

#9 posted 04-25-2014 09:11 PM

That 12’ worm drive looks like a beast!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2072 days

#10 posted 04-25-2014 09:33 PM

I love that stuff. I will pm you.. I have some older power tools coming up for sale. I think one is a skil jigsaw circa the 40’s. It may be a shopmaster though. It has box and instructions. I have been asked to sell for someone else. I will check the brand and through the collection when I get home. We will be selling the whole collection some time this summer, but pre-sales would be fine.

-- Who is John Galt?

View bigblockyeti's profile


5120 posts in 1720 days

#11 posted 05-21-2014 07:56 PM

That’s an impressive collection for sure. I have a couple 16 5/16” Makita saws (the older all metal ones) that don’t get used much, but when they do, it’s usually for a job that couldn’t be done by anything else. I was poking around online to see if there were any 127’s for sale and found this one: Looks rough, but definitely a neat saw.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5120 posts in 1720 days

#12 posted 05-21-2014 08:20 PM

Here is a 107 for $225: Looks like it’s in great shape, but shipping it anywhere could get expensive pretty quick.

View BreeStephany's profile


62 posts in 2185 days

#13 posted 05-22-2014 12:38 AM

As a rule of collecting, and to generally keep me from spending way too much money, I always try to keep my buying cost + my restoration costs at least $100 below the value that I could likely resell it at in restored condition. Granted, there is a lot of speculation involved in that equation and unless I’m able to hold and run a tool before buying, I always try to assume the worst for condition and will estimate that into my cost.

So far, I have done pretty well on most of my purchases, with the exception of my Rockwell versa plane, which after the cost of parts, I will be almost $400.00 into. In completely restored condition, I might be able to make $450~$500 if I wait for a buyer in the surf building community who wants a great planer in great condition right away, but beyond that, I will likely never be able to make back any of my costs.

With that said, I know that every once and while we all have to splurge and the 653 looks so nice with all of its polished aluminum.

The 127 is a fair price, but given its overall appearance, I would question how hard it was used and the condition of the worm drive gears, which can break the bank unless you have an inexpensive means to make a new brass gear. Given its location, its far out of my price range, but for someone in driving distance, I would say jump on it.

The 107 is a bit over priced in my personal opinion, but given the fact that it is in much better condition, I would say that anyone in driving distance should ask $175 ~ $200 for it.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1274 posts in 1633 days

#14 posted 05-22-2014 01:50 AM

Very nice work on cleaning some of these up.

The planers look brand new.. or better than new.

Thanks for showing your collection…

-- Jeff NJ

View BreeStephany's profile


62 posts in 2185 days

#15 posted 05-22-2014 02:13 AM

I haven’t yet restored the Rockwell 653 EHD Versa Planer, but I am hoping to get that accomplished this weekend. I am putting in new brushes, bearings, belt, cord and hardware (and replacing with stainless steel equivalents where available) as well as cleaning it up, polishing and getting the cutter head professionally sharpened. I will definitely post pictures when I’m done.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

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