Refurbish a Hand Saw





Introduction: Refurbish a Hand Saw

In this Instructable I will give you the basic tools you need to restore an old hand saw to its former glory.

I was out with the wife, hitting up local garage sales, when we stopped at a condo community whose residents are mostly retired. They had Tupperware, pots, pans, and assorted nicknacks. I wandered around there small garage and didn’t see anything I was interested in. I turned to head out and venture onto the next garage when I bumped my knee on something. It was a hand saw with a 50 Cent sticker on it. I did not hesitate, I grabbed it up and handed it to my wife as she headed toward the elderly couple at the back of the garage. I figured I could always use a saw for hacking up 2X4s and treated lumber.

Upon arriving home I inspected my various finds. Upon closer inspection I realized there was markings on the blade and an emblem on the handle. I am curious by nature and decided to do some investigation. Scratching off some of the rust with 000 steal wool i found the name Disston and Son’s and decided to do a little Google search. Come to find out Disston is a very historic and well thought of saw, with amazing history. My looking at the emblem on the handle I was able to find out that my saw was made some time in the 50’s. I decided to restore the saw to its former glory and make it usable again.

Step 1: Supplies

1. Most important is a steal of a saw. I have gotten them at flea markets, garage sales, and even online when I don't mind spending a little extra.
2. Sand paper of light grit for stain and paint removal on handle.
3. Steel wool of various size.
4. Rust Remover- In this case I used Naval Jelly. Other people swear by Evaporust, I will try it in the future.
5. Paper towels, or many rags.
6. Tool oil. I used 3m but have recently added T-9 Boeshield
7. Stain and/or finish for the handle.

Step 2: Time for Rust Removal.

I removed the handle to make it easier to get at the blade for cleaning. I first used steel wool and some WD-40 to try an remove the rust but that seemed to not make much progress. So after some research into ways to remove rust I decided on any easy route- Naval Jelly.
I had thought of using electric and that hole bit, but I only paid 50 cents for it and I already had the Naval Jelly. I followed the directions on the bottle and did some extra scraping with the steel wool. And after several liberal coats and some scraping away the blade looked fairly nice. On the negative side the nice etching in the blade has faded some, which I am not terrible pleased with myself about.

Step 3: Handle

I used a paint stripper on the handle.  I picked a generic kind from the local box store and it worked amazing. I used fine grit sand paper to clean up the rest.

Step 4: The Results and Other Saws I Have Refurbished.

I finished the blade off by adding a liberal amount of wax fee 3M lubricant. I finished the handle by applying some oak stain and then some lacquer. The result was fantastic. I am very pleased. Some weeks after finishing the first saw I picked up a couple more at a flea market and have recently finished refurbishing one of them.  The next will be finished in the next few weeks.

***This instructable was done as an after thought and my next instructable will have many more photos and much more detail. Perhaps (if I think of it) I will take photos of the final saws restoration.  However it needs a new handle which I may make out of maple or oak.



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1. angle grinder pumice/stone

2. Rustoleum clear rust inhibitor

I love this, I have my Fathers saw that I want to clean up .. This is a tremendous help... Thanks .. looking for a way to refurbish old iron bed frames if you can give me any help .. Thanks, Linda

Are the beds frames rusty? Are you going to paint them? For rust I would get a big jug of rust remover and some sanding sponges and wire brush.

Try this:

If painting remove as must rust and flaky paint as possible and then prime it. After you prime you can use spray paint or brush it on.

Any idea on what to do if one of the screws just spins in the cap on the other side when you try to remove it? The final screw is trumping me...
(I don't want to drill it)

If you can gently get a hold of it with pliers that is an option. I had the same problem and used a vise to squeeze the cap and I was still able to get a flat head into the screw. Let me know how it works out.

Are these for display or use? I was hoping for some info on resharpening.

Very definitly for use, I used my Disston saw yesterday. Although maybe you could resharpen one yourself, better to use a resharpening service, they are available and reasonable.
My saw was my father's, believe it was from 1930's or maybe earlier.
Nice refurbishing job. Now I will get busy and fix mine up!

That goes against by inner instructable paying someone to do I job I could learn myself :)

You are correct, what was I thinking!

I will include sharpening my hand saw myself as well as cleaning it up. The author of this Instructable has posted links for instructions on sharpening.

Thanks for the comment.

They are for use. Here are a couple links about sharpening. You wont find anything better than the first link. Enjoy. I may put a step by step together on sharpening, however this first link is pretty good.