In for a penny, in for a pound


Derek Jones

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A quid. That"s all I had to pay for this panel saw from a local bric-a-brac shop. Any more and I might not have bothered as it was in such a poor state, but there"s a lot to be said for the thrill of the chase and considering the stake, I couldn"t really leave it behind.

This is the first saw I"ve rescued and although I"ve made a few plane handles before, saw handles are some of my favourite shapes in the whole hand tool category and a great project. Panel saws tend to come with large handles and for a chap with small hands, they"ve always felt like a golf club in a wellington.

The original handle had bits missing and a bit of worm as well, so I didn"t feel too bad about replacing it. The Waranted & Superior medallion suggested it was made in the UK, but with any trace of an etched insignia on the blade long gone there"s no way of attributing a maker.

After carefully dismantling it, the Shield Technology Rust Remover was used to clean up the blade. Fortunately, this saw came with a blade guard protecting the teeth and presumably keeping the rust away from these delicate points.

We"ve just finished a two part series in the magazine - issues 220 & 221 looking at some tools from Lee Valley for creating inlay. One accessory is a tool for cutting the channel to take a white line. Working like a "granny"s tooth" it effectively gouges out a clean channel that resembles the first few passes of a saw cut. One of the trickiest parts of this restoration was going to be sawing the handle to take the blade and this little tool could be set accurately in the centre of the block to create a guide for a saw. Perfect!

I drilled some small pilot holes to locate the larger ones for the fixings and slid a piece of thick veneer in the saw cut to prevent any breakout on the inside. Large drills and boring bits were used to create some of the curved parts of the handle. It"s quicker and a lot easier than smoothing these out after they’ve been cut with a saw. A good set of rasps is essential.

With the handle done it was time for another first and time to get to grips with saw sharpening. I decided that it was best to flatten the existing teeth. Now although this meant that some would disappear completely, it would mean that once sharpened they should all be level and set for re-sharpening a second time if everything went wrong. Once again Lee Valley have a very easy-to-use saw sharpening guide that makes it virtually impossible to muck things up. Dial in the angles you need for the tooth profile and the guide does the rest. I went along the blade once to create the teeth and then marked them so I could work back systematically and fine-tune things. Admittedly 8ppi isn"t exactly a fine saw, but a great place to learn the principles of tooth geometry.

So with the new handle in place and a coat of sanding sealer and wax it was time for a test run. Not too shabby. All in all I"d say there was about a day - a long one at that - to turn this project around and starting with a straight blade was a definite advantage. If you can find something similar I strongly recommend having a go yourself. Like they say "in for a penny, in for a pound"

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