Friday, June 30, 2017

More saws for renewal

I got two more Disston saws from my friend Amie for renovation.

The uppermost is probably the older of the two, and the better quality. It appears to be a Disston D-7 panel saw, made between 1928 and 1955. All of the fixings are in brass. It has been sharpened in a sort of a crosscut pattern, but in rather a half-hearted way — it's very nearly a straight rip-cut.

The lower looks like a skew-back Disston D-23 panel saw, a very common model that was made from 1911 right through to 1990. The fixings are of galvanized steel. The handle is almost completely machine-made with very little hand-finishing, except for a desultory spot of decorative surface carving. It's a rip-saw. It has a very slight kink in the toothed edge of the plate, possibly too slight to worry about, but I won't know that for sure until I actually try to cut wood with it.


Less old
Both are missing fixings, to one extent or the other.

Oldest (left) is missing the stamped maker's-mark cap, but all the screws are otherwise present.

Less-old (right) is missing one of its cap-screws, and the handle is somewhat loose — most likely, it all just needs to be tightened up.

The plates have both suffered a bit from rust over the decades. I'll get them into a vinegar bath for a day or so of pickling and see how they come up, and then do a bit of polishing and sharpening.

The black spots are actually quite smooth and polished;
they look black due to the quirks of photographing reflective surfaces.

Coupla days....

This is the plate from the D7, after pickling and a bit of scrubbing with steel wool and various grades of wet-and-dry.

As you can see, the steel is quite badly etched by rust, probably beyond polishing with any reasonable degree of effort by me. I'd need to grind it right down on both sides, possibly reducing the plate thickness by as much as a quarter. There's a very clear difference between the areas that were exposed to moisture and oxygen, and those that were protected beneath the handle.

It doesn't make the saw unusable, but inevitably there's going to be a lot more friction on the plate within the kerf, and to compensate for that I'll probably have to increase the set somewhat.

Next day (July 3rd, 2017)

 All cleaned up, sharpened, and ready to cut wood.

This one, the D-23, has a handle made of apple wood. I noticed a bit of cell collapse when I was taking off the old dark varnish finish, so there are one or two soft spots — not rot, as such, but they could easily allow rot to start there. It may be worth applying a fungicidal coat to those areas maybe.
The D-7, with its woodwork cleaned up and brass polished, and its poor rust-etched plate. It's good steel and cuts perfectly well, though as I mentioned before I might have to increase the set a tad to keep it from binding in the kerf.

The teeth on this plate curve away from the edge towards the tip; I don't know if that's intentional, or a result of some over-enthusiastic sharpening — maybe at some point it lost a tooth there? Anyway, it doesn't seem to affect the cut, that I can can detect, and it's a very comfortable saw to use.

It's a pity it's lost its maker's medallion, but that has no functional effect.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wrinkly Eyes

Liquid ink roller-ball pen on hand-made paper, coloured in Krita

Blokey-bloke Bloke

TV-watching doodle. Liquid ink roller-ball pen and coloured pencils.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Saw Renovation

I inherited this Disston 10 TPI rip-saw from my friends Andrew and Helen. It's a good-quality make, and will eventually be very useful to me. However, first it's going to need quite a bit of care.

The blade is very rusty, especially on one side — the side that was exposed to sea air for some years. That rust will have to be taken off and any major pitting polished and smoothed out. The handle is split in a couple of places, and will need to be glued and patched. I'll re-shape the grip a bit at the same time, to better suit my hand. And, of course, it will need to be sharpened; I'm not sure it ever has been.

Next day

Here's the saw plate after soaking in a bath of white vinegar and salt for about 30 hours, and a quick scrub down with steel wool. It hasn't got rid of all the rust, but the improvement is marked. Some grinding with increasingly fine wet-and-dry paper will take care of the rest, and will polish out any overly egregious pitting.

The screws were stuck well and truly into the wood of the handle, and with the existing cracks that meant that it pretty much fell to pieces as I disassembled it. I've glued all the bits back together, and I'll see if that will serve along with some judicious reinforcing, but if I have to make a new handle it's not the end of the world.

Some time later

Owing to various impediments, it's been nearly a week since I've been able to do anything more to the saw.

Today I've filed down the teeth on the plate to even them out before sharpening, and I've started reshaping the handle to fit my hand more comfortably.

Most of the reshaping is done with rasp, files and sandpaper, but I've also gouged out hollows for my finger and thumb.

It's been glued back together almost like a jig-saw, so I don't know if it will last forever. I'm using good glue though, so I'm hopeful. I may inset some reinforcing panels if need be.

One more day

Well, it's done. Not quite as good as new, but almost.

It has sharpened up well, but there's a catch about half way down the blade that I haven't tracked down the cause of. There are no kinks that I can see*, and no missing teeth. It doesn't seem to affect the quality of cut, so I'll probably just ignore it unless it gets too annoying.

I might possibly, at some stage in the future, take it up to 12 teeth per inch, but that's a job for another day when I'm feeling a bit more enthusiastic about filing.

* [NARRATOR] There was a kink.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bedouin Sheik

This was drawn from an old photograph of a Bedouin sheik in the Lebanon. I think it was dated about 1912, but I'm not really sure.

It's all done in Photoshop.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Suwariwaza Shomen-uchi Gokyo
I passed my yondan grading in aikido today, with the aid of huge doses of decongestant to keep the nose-slime from my head cold from flying all over the place.

My three uke, Colin, Peter and Justin made me look a lot better than I deserved, for which I am truly grateful.