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Restored vintage Skil 77 worm drive saw

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Forum topic by BreeStephany posted 05-21-2014 12:24 PM 4396 views 2 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BreeStephany

50 posts in 1650 days


05-21-2014 12:24 PM

My most recent of restorations, a vintage blue label Skil 77 7-1/4” worm drive saw, era 1942~1948. Everything says that the saw is 1942, however, the guard lever was generally not found until the end of the blue label series / beginning of the first generation black & orange label saws (1950’s). It is likely that the guard is not original to the saw because of this.

When I got the saw, it was in pretty rough shape.

Before

Disassembling


I let all of the screws, bolts and other fasteners soak in solvent overnight to get the HEAVY grease off and then took all of the fastener heads to the wire wheel a bit to shine them up. Those fasteners that were badly damaged were replaced with period fasteners.


Upon getting the saw, there was a fair amount of excess noise coming from the motor. Upon disassembling the saw, I found that both the front and back armature bearings were HEAVILY worn to the point that when I attempted to remove them, most of the ball bearings just fell out. The front armature bearing had actually eaten the retention ring and was partially seized, but despite all of this, the worm gear and brass drive gear were unphased and seemed virtually brand new.


front armature bearing

front armature bearing


prepping for paint. I thoroughly cleaned the parts with solvent and a toothbrush inside and out, then took them to the wire wheel and stripped off all of the oil paint and exterior grime and then went over them again with solvent to pull any oil out of them.


2 coats of primer, 2 coats of paint and a coat of clear coat later

Finished

I replaced the bearings and brushes on the saw, cleaned the seals up and added a very LIGHT coat of rtv gasket maker, put everything back together and filled it up with oil. The brushes needed a bit of adjustment, but outside of that, everything worked wonderfully.

I generally put a standard 4’ 6” cord on all of my tools because I always have an extension cord whether I go out on a project or am working around the shop and hate tons of extra cord when trying to store tools. Because I was restoring the saw for a friend as a gift for his birthday, I put an extra long 12’ cord on it.


Cleaned up the case, put on 2 coats of primer, 6 coats of paint and 2 coats of clear coat.


A photo from a happy friend.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.


22 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2412 posts in 2386 days


#1 posted 05-21-2014 12:31 PM

WOW! Very nice project! I have a much newer version of this saw (2000) and it does not look this good!

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

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MrFid

805 posts in 1368 days


#2 posted 05-21-2014 12:55 PM

Oh wow amazing job. Such a good looking saw.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1149 posts in 1484 days


#3 posted 05-21-2014 01:03 PM

Its amazing how sexy a saw can look. Just dont tell my wife I said that.

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AnonymousRequest

861 posts in 1013 days


#4 posted 05-21-2014 01:05 PM

Sweet

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1185 days


#5 posted 05-21-2014 01:06 PM

I have a blue label 77 (serial number 160239) and I don’t know how to decipher how old it is. Mine is in such shape that it doesn’t need restoration, and it’s never had an abrasive blade on it. I do know it was used professionally by a framing carpenter in Chicago for less than two years in the late 50’s, early 60’s. After that it was used very little. Even the black crinkle paint and leather handle on the case are still in good shape.

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BreeStephany

50 posts in 1650 days


#6 posted 05-21-2014 01:22 PM

bigblockyeti, would it be possible to send me pictures of your saw and case. To my knowledge, the leather handle was only used on the model E and model J Skil saws, which came before the Skil 77, however, it is possible that you have one of the very early model Skil 77’s, which could be late 1930’s or very early 1940’s, if in fact the case is original to the saw.

Unfortunately, as Skil changed hands, a lot of the serial number data was lost, and so unfortunately, its very difficult to date the saws based off of the serial number alone. Parts used and minor design changes over the period are generally what I use to date the saw.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1185 days


#7 posted 05-21-2014 01:40 PM

Here’s the pictures of my saw.

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BreeStephany

50 posts in 1650 days


#8 posted 05-21-2014 01:55 PM

That case is almost exactly the same case used in late model E / J Skil saws of the 1930’s but its the correct size case for a 77 and thus is likely the original case. The smaller vent slots on the motor housing are consistent with the earlier Skil 77 saws. I haven’t seen all of the patent numbers listed out on a blue label saw before, however, given the serial number range and all of the earlier characteristics, I would saw late 1930’s early 1940’s… approximately 1937 ~ 1940.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1185 days


#9 posted 05-21-2014 02:20 PM

That’s believable as I know it belonged to my Grandpa’s brother-in-law, then my Grandpa. But, there’s no telling if he actually bought in new as they were prohibitively expensive for most carpenters 80+ years ago. He also wouldn’t have been old enough in 1937.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4454 posts in 3424 days


#10 posted 05-21-2014 06:14 PM

Hey! I can be your friend, and I will have a birthday this year. Do I qualify? :)
Great resto.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1731 posts in 1433 days


#11 posted 05-21-2014 06:58 PM

That is a really cool gift and a really cool read. Thanks for sharing that

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Zer0's profile

Zer0

5 posts in 174 days


#12 posted 06-17-2016 02:22 AM

OK so lets say I could not get the brush caps off and had to get a little destructive with them. Do I need to look for vintage caps or is there a replacement that I can buy off the shelf some place? Looked like there was some kind of thread lock or a lubricant that turn into thread lock over the past 60 years…..

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BreeStephany

50 posts in 1650 days


#13 posted 06-17-2016 03:54 AM


OK so lets say I could not get the brush caps off and had to get a little destructive with them. Do I need to look for vintage caps or is there a replacement that I can buy off the shelf some place? Looked like there was some kind of thread lock or a lubricant that turn into thread lock over the past 60 years…..

- Zer0

Zer0,

Eurton 700-CAP external threaded brass insert caps should work. (http://store.eurtonelectric.com/brushcapsexternalthreadbrassinsert-3.aspx), they have the same 5/8-32 threaded brass insert. The plastic cap appears slightly larger than the stock caps but should still fit without issue. They are $3.25 / piece.

-- Just a girl with way too many tools.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8254 posts in 2893 days


#14 posted 06-17-2016 01:18 PM

Great job and a wonderful pictorial.
Mine is a mid 70s vintage. Only used to break down panels and longer lumber.
It’s a fantastic saw.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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Zer0

5 posts in 174 days


#15 posted 06-25-2016 01:31 AM

OK so the saw is apart and I am cleaning everything with mineral spirits. Would you recommend just replacing all the armature bearings while the saw is apart and if so do you have any recommendations on sites to get the replacements as well as new seals? The rotor is pretty caked with a thick sawdust paste. Would it be safe to throw it in a mineral spirit bath for a couple of hours or is that a no no? I got the caps you specified and they fit great. Also I was trying to figure out if I were to replace the bearing that holds the saw blade shaft, I am not sure exactly how to remove it. Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks…

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