While working in an environment where my only hand tool was a utility knife (that’s a little exaggerated; I had some chisels for scraping off glue), I would stand at my bench and wonder how the same result would have been accomplished before electricity. Most of the answers to my questions could be found in books, but getting actual experience has been difficult. Acquiring decent vintage hand tools has been a challenge; either the prices are higher than I want to pay, or the condition isn’t user friendly—or both.
This has led me down the path of learning to restore old tools. I much prefer using the tools instead of repairing them and I’m not a collector for the same reason. But it seems to be par for the course.
Of course, I could buy new tools. They function perfectly. They are beautiful to look at. And they work right out of the box. But they all come with a heavy price tag. I believe the price is justifiable, so don’t think I’m complaining, I just can’t afford it. And I have done lots of crazy things to get new tools including selling blood/plasma.
But for a new handsaw?
Nope. Panel saws are the most available old tools in my area. It’s a little difficult to find really good ones, like the D8’s everyone raves about with a reasonable price tag, but if you aren’t picky a saw can be found for a few dollars. I bought the one in the picture for $3.00 at a flea market.
I couldn’t find any evidence of a maker on the saw plate. There weren’t any signs on the handle either. In fact, this is one of the plainest saws that I’ve ever owned (None of the wheat carving or pretty medallions). This leads me to believe that it was either really cheap or really old. No signs of a maker are often a good thing in my book; I feel much less guilty about tearing into it when it doesn’t seem to be worth much. But really, how much is a saw worth that sits on a shelf and doesn’t get used for what it was designed?
When I found this saw, I was attracted to the handle. It fit perfectly in my hand which meant that I didn’t need to figure this out on my own. I bought it with the intention of replacing the handles on all my other handsaws with ones just like this one. I’m not sure what kind of wood the original is made of, it seems like a soft wood, but that doesn’t seem to make sense. Instead of refinishing the original handle I’m going to save it for an example and make a new one. I’ll clean up the plate and make my first attempt at sharpening—it’s already filed cross-cut at 9ppi so I’ll leave that alone.
Since I don’t really know what I’m doing, it remains to be seen whether I will donate blood for this one as well.