Introduction: I Saw What You Did There

I was at a car boot fair in London and saw this rusty old wreck of a saw for a pound. I loved the handle so was originally going to use it for one of my stupid projects. Then I thought I'd at least try and save it. After all, you can't have too many saws.

Step 1: I Came, I Saw I Tinkered

I have lots of hammers, but not many saws. So in the forge one day I made one of the hammers into a saw. But that's another story...

Step 2: Tools and Materials

A saw. I suppose that is a tool, but in this context it's a material.

To make the saw look nice you will need:
Various grits of Sandpaper for the wood and the metal

Metal polish, preferably with a buffing wheel, but you could do it by hand

Wax or similar wood finish

To make the saw effective you will need:

Triangular file

Saw setting tool - I got mine on eBay for a fiver, but they are pretty cheap new. I bought an eclipse no 77 which will work for setting teeth on the majority of wood saws from 4 to 12TPI. For other sizes buy other tools.

Step 3: You Can't Handle It

The first job is to remove the handle.

In my case, it was held on with beautiful big brass screws. I sprayed lots of WD40 into the screws and let it penetrate. When it had sat and done its job I gripped the saw in my vice (with wooden jaw inserts to not damage the blade), I gently undid the screws. I then used a bolt and hammer to tap out the bolts.

Grip the blade hard in the vice and ease the handle off. You may need more WD40.

With the handle off, sand it down. Use the appropriate grits, being careful not to remove more than you have to. You want it to look fabulous, not new.

Once you're happy with the sanding, use a suitable wood finish. I prefer the sheen of a wax.

Step 4: Shine Bright Like a Diamond

There are lots of ways to deal with rust. Sometimes I do electrolysis with a battery charger. It works great. Sometimes good old sandpaper is the best and quickest way.

Follow the usual steps, work your way up through the grades. I stopped when the rust was gone but the pitting wasn't. I liked the look of the worn but shiny metal.

I then used metal polish with a buffer wheel on a drill.

I then buffed and polished the brass parts, being careful not to wear out the logo.

You can now screw it back together to admire it. You can take it in to show your partner...

Step 5: Get the Point

So, the saw looks beautiful again. If you just want a saw that looks good you can stop here.

That kind of talk is for quitters. So let's have no more of it. It's time to make it CUT.

Put the blade between 2 planks long enough for the whole blade, then secure in the vice so that the teeth are accessible (see photo) but the blade is held FIRM.

Hold something flat across the teeth so that you can see if all the points are there. Then use a large flat file to file down the teeth until the teeth are all level. The tops will be alarmingly flat. Don't worry, they are supposed to be for now. This is how you deal with the broken teeth. This part is called 'trimming'. It is by me anyway...

Now it's time to put those points back. Use a triangular saw and line it up with one of the good teeth. You now have the angle ('rake') you need to hold the file at. Now work your way along the saw until all the teeth are done and the points are back. Ideally, the bottoms of the points should also also line up.

Step 6: Set It Up

Now, curses, I got so into the project that I entirely forgot to photograph this steps. It's okay though, it's a really easy step.

This part is called 'setting' and is done with a saw setter tool. You can do it with a hammer and punch, or even a hammer and a nail, but the only reason I do projects is so that I can get buy myself a new tool.

If you look down the length of a saw, you'll see that the teeth are bent outwards alternating one way then the other. The purpose of this is to make the cut slightly wider than the saw. If you don't the saw blade will get stuck in the wood. Duh.

Start at one end use the tool (or hammer) to bend over a tooth. Work your way down the saw bending every other tooth over. When you're done, turn over the saw and bend the alternate tooth over in the other direction.

Step 7: Sharpening

As this is a ripsaw and will be used for normal stuff, the filing in the 'get the point' section will also get it sharp. So job done. It cuts very well. As good as my new saw.

There is a lot more to saw sharpening if you really want to do a top job. If you do, I would recommend the article 'how to sharpen saw blades' in the December 2014 Popular Woodworking.

If your saw is a crosscut saw it will require a different type of filing that is also covered in the article above.

'Wood by Wright's' YouTube channel gives excellent information on sharpening crosscut and rip saws and I would thoroughly recommend giving it a watch.

I wanted to keep this a fix it instructable, rather than a specific 'how to sharpen a saw' instructable.

Hope it's been of use!

Fix It Contest

Runner Up in the
Fix It Contest