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 http://imgur.com/a/aMCsN
-- Just a girl with way too many tools.