Restoring Antique Hand Saw Using Home Remedy for Rust Removal




My son Gabriel found this hand saw while hiking near our ranch and he asked me to restore it. He has taken a liking to woodworking and wanted bring this saw back from the dead so that he could use it. The saw was in bad shape, the wood had been hollowed out by termites, and the blade was rusted with at least 20 years of being exposed to the elements. We developed a plan and decided that we would try to remove the rust using electrolysis (or Electrolytic reaction) so that we could preserve the integrity of the blade.

Step 1: Items You Will Need

  1. Old rusty saw or tool
  2. sacrificial iron (rod or old railroad spike, or anything that made of iron that you don't need)
  3. Baking Soda
  4. Bucket
  5. Wood to remake handle
  6. Chicago style screws to replace screws.
  7. Car Batter Charger

Step 2: Before Photos

This is the saw before we started. The wood needs complete replacement, the blade is rusted completely. Don't wire brush or sand or file until you remove the rust first. Wire brushing too soon can cause extreme pitting, and further damage the blade. The goal is to safely remove the rust from the blade and use a wire brush to gently remove any remnants of rust after the electrolysis removal method.

Step 3: Remove the Handle

Remove the handle from the saw blade. I was able to salvage on scew and bolt, the other was rusted shut and required a hack saw for removal. I intend to salvage the one screw and bolt to show the age of the piece. You can replace all the screws if you desire.

Step 4: Rust Removal Using Electrolysis

This Home made remedy for rust removal can be used on all your metal tools and parts that require rust removal. Make sure to be in a well vented environment away from open flames.

  1. Fill your bucket with warm water.
  2. add 1 table spoon of baking soda per gallon of water and stir until dissoled. (if you use four gallons of water that would be 4 table spoons)
  3. Attach your sacrificial iron to your positive lead and place in the solution inside your bucket. (DO NOT PLACE your clamp or clips inside the solution they wil rust or be damaged.
  4. Attach your rusted tool on the Negative clam and place in the solution (make sure not to touch the negative positive leads inside the solution.)

Turn the power on. You should notice that the negative side were the rusty tool is will begin to fizz and bubble . This bubbling is hydrogen gas escaping from the electrolytic reaction. The negative charged ions fromt he rust will separate and migrate to the positive side depositing on the sacrificial iron. This step will take anywhere from 30 min to 24 hours depending on the amount of rust and amps of electricity being used.

After the rust has been removed use a wire brush to gently remove any remaining debri or stubborn rust, and immediatley treat the blade with a rust inibitor or oil.

Step 5: Handle Replacement.

Take your wood and trace the handle to be replaced.

Step 6:

using a jig saw or band saw cut the wood to make your handle.

Step 7: Final Results

After sanding the handle a light danish oil was applied to preserve the wood. The blade was teated with a Rust inibitor. I used Barricade by Birchwood Casey. It is a rust inibitor designed for firearms, but if it will keep the rust of my guns, I am sure it will work on my son's hand saw.



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    12 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Good, simple process, thanks

    Dennis Lyman

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Nice can often buy a saw on ebay for the handle at very low cost. I use electrolysis daily for rust removal.. I use increasingly finer grades of wet/dry metal sanding paper to polish and then buffing wheel with appropriate grades of buffing compound to bring a smooth, shiny surface. Then I dry in oven and paste wax to prevent further rust.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    a guy I work with just told me about this app/site and I love this process I have a saw exactly like this and I'd love for it to be restored!

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Nice. The only think I might change is to buy more attractive screws to put in the handle. Other than that, awesome idea.

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Great job!!! Awesome saw!!!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! If I saw (haha) something that bad, I would have passed!

    You did an amazing job, and now have a tool that will last for (more) generations!

    1 reply
    Michael Ctomatoskins

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I don't know how old it really is, but if anyone out there knows I would love to get some feed back. I could not find any marks to indicate maker or year.