You have made it back from making the
circuit of your favorite flea markets and the antique malls and have
picked up a couple of pretty good old decent hand saws.
definitely have their share of dirt and grime on the handles and a
fair amount of rust, paint and grunge on the blades. Can barely see
some etchings on the blades through the rust, but at least no bad
pitting. Sound familiar.
I wrote an article a while back about
cleaning and refinishing hand saw handles so I thought it only
appropriate to continue now with a tutorial on the cleaning and
refinishing of the hand saw blade. The methods I use are similar to
what I am sure a lot of others use, but with a few little tricks I
learned from mistakes and doing things the hard way.
Here is an example of a fairly nice old
Henry Disston D-8 that I picked up a while back and I am getting
ready to clean. Have removed the screws and getting ready to take
off the handle
It doesn’t take a lot of cleaning
supplies. I use the following: Two sizes of ¾”wooden blocks, one
1-½” x 4” and one 1-½” x 3”, most of the time I use these flat, but
sometimes on the edge to sand below an etch and other narrow areas.
A pair of cotton gloves that have rubber facings on the fingers and
palms. You can get these at most of the dollar stores.
They hold up
and keep most of the rusty residue off of your hands. Started off
using latex gloves, but they don’t stand much wear and the minute
you touch a saw tooth, they are gone. Also tried Playtex yellow
gloves, the kind ladies use to wash dishes with, these are the pits
I use four grades of Wet and Dry Auto
Sandpaper, about 8 x 11 sheets, 220-320-400 and 1000 grit. Also use
regular 220 grit sandpaper. Fold and cut the paper into quarters.
Paint thinner as a lubricant. A plastic bottle as a paint thinner
dispenser. The best I have found is the type that joggers carry
water in that has a pull up spout. You just open the spout and
squirt some on the blade, then close it back up. Forget spray
bottles, they just make a big mess and get everything wet.
used to scrape window glass (these are available at Ace Hardware)
blades are heavier than razor blade scrapers, and about 4“ wide. The
kind used to scrape off window stickers. And lots of paper towels.
I got myself four plastic bins to keep
scrap sandpaper in. Sometimes you will use a new piece for just a
little while, but it is still perfectly good. When I first started
out cleaning saws, I just used a cardboard box and just through all
of them in together. Not all scraps of sandpaper have numbers on the
back and in together you don’t know what you’ve got. The bins keep
First step in cleaning a hand saw is to
scrape off as much surface rust as possible with a blade scraper
held at a low angle, so as not to dig into the blade surface.
window glass scraper I use is the best I have found. They are wide,
stiff, the corners are already rounded off, and best of all they
don’t flex. Scrape with short strokes, the length of the saw blade
from one end to the other. Wipe off with a paper towel; scrape a
couple more times until most of the loose rust is gone.
The more you
get off this way, the less sanding you have to do.