Full Chisel Blog

July 23, 2008

Hand Saw rehabilitation

Filed under: Restoration,Sawing,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 9:01 am

I have posted pictures of this saw earlier it is the Spears & Jackson Half Rip Saw, with a broken upper horn on the handle.  I did not have a large enough piece of beech to do the repair, so I put it off.  Well last weekend at the local flea market, I came across this saw, I noticed it had a replacement handle (of beech), so I thought it would be good for doing this repair.

small rip saw

And I thought I could make a new handle for the fine little blade.  The blade is old, I don’t know how old, it is 18″ long and is sharpened 16 TPI (PPI) and as a rip saw.  The blade has no markings but was re-punched for the new handle. 

S&J repair

So, I cut off the horn from the replacement handle and prepared it for gluing.  I removed as little of the original as possible to get a flat surface for gluing.  I toothed both surfaces and treated them with garlic.  I was going to clamp the piece on but ended up just leaving it overnight.


The following day the new horn was ready to shape.  I use a #49 & 50 Nicholson rasps to rough shape then went to cabinet files, bastard first then smooth cut.  I used a chisel to shape it near the original wood on the top where it curves down then finished with a card scraper.  (A bit of hot shellac stick for the fine line on one side that wasn’t quite right).

Horn restoration

So with this one complete, I still had that little rip saw to handle up, so I chose cherry to match my other saw handles, and I chose the same pattern for this saw handle.

With a little handling the shine should go away.  I matched the color with shellac and burnt umber pigment, it took a couple of thinner applications to get the color without obscuring the grain.  Now it is onto the new handle for the little rip saw.Drilling handle

Now I have used these Duck Bill Spoon Bits before but only in pine, so I thought I would put it to the test on some hard cherry, and to my delight the holes were perfect.

exit holes

Even the exit holes were perfect, sweet bits, I am impressed.

Now yesterday I felt (and actually looked) like that drawing of the Boutique Saw Handle Maker that was on Joel’s Blog.  (I should do a vignette).  It only took about 10 minutes to cut out the handle and 10 minutes to cut out the hand/grip hole. 

Sawing handle

The bow saw is a new reproduction made by Clay and is English.

I used the same rasps and files for shaping the handle.  I then used a scraper to smooth it out.  I cut the slot the the S&J half rip saw (above) as it was the only one I had that was the right thickness for the new blade.

small rip saw handled

The handle looks big now, some of that is the fact that it is in the ‘white’ and does not have a finish.  It will look smaller when it has a finish.  I did try out the saw cutting dovetails on some 3/4″ pine and it worked just fine, took a bit longer but produced smooth cuts.  I split out the wood to examine the kerf and it was nice and smooth, I can’t wait until I can actually use this fine little saw.  Now all that remains until I can really use the saw are a pair of split saw nuts (I think I am on a famous waiting list).



  1. http://wenzloffandsons.com/temp/saws/D-8/index.html

    is a page where I remake a handle for a D-8–but I did do one operation with a power tool, so be forwarned. If it matters, though, I used the same method (different machine) as did Disston when they made the cover-top type of handles. All else is hand tools…

    Shoot me an email, Stephen…

    Take care, Mike

    Comment by Mike — July 23, 2008 @ 9:16 am

  2. Mike,

    Interesting bunch of pictures and that brings me to a question about the kerfs for the saw blades. Because most saw handles are rounded or angled on their heel where it goes into the handles, how did they cut those. The kerf on the S&J has to have a curved bottom as it doesn’t exit on the top of the handle but just at the transition. Do they use a HEAVILY breasted saw?

    I sent you an email.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — July 23, 2008 @ 9:35 am

  3. Hi Stephen,

    They used a circular saw, mounted horizontally and the handle, which was laid flat on the table, was pushed into it. At least for the ones where there is no exit kerf on top of the handle. In Disston’s case, it is a 7″ diameter as shown in the pictures.

    I think your handle for the S&J was an earlier handle than the blade. Does the S&J handle have an exit kerf on top of the handle that may have had a piece of wood glued in? If not, it is an earlier version of when using the circular saw method was begun in the later 1800s.

    On a side note, one can see in the picture of the blade from the S&J that the blade kerf was cut with a circular saw. There are remnants of the kerf transfered onto the blade.

    This is the picture I was refering to:

    In general and on earlier saws, there is a straigtline portion from the heel where it dissappears into the bottom of the handle to where the kerf exits on top. Even when there is a pronounced curved heel.

    Take care, Mike

    Comment by Mike — July 23, 2008 @ 10:16 am

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