Thursday, October 29, 2020

Making a 6 TPI Rip Panel Saw from a 7 TPI Crosscut Saw

This post is picture heavy and text light.

At the same garage sale that I found the Disston D-23 saw that I posted about recently, I got an unknown maker 26 inch "Warranted Superior" skew-back crosscut handsaw with 8 PPI/7 TPI.  Like the Disston, this saw had a remarkably straight plate - no kinks or bends.  As I understand it, these Warranted Superior saws could have been factory rejects from Disston or other well-known makers, sold under the WS medallion by smaller companies or hardware chains for slightly less money.  Still good saws, just not perfect.

The saw as found

Filed 8 PPI crosscut

Handle with Warranted Superior medallion

Lower horn was long ago broken off

The handle is smaller than most that I come across and it fits me very well.  Just need to fix that horn.

The handle has an "open kerf" ...

... as opposed to the D23 that had a closed kerf handle

I'm certain the open kerf was cheaper to manufacture, not only for cutting that kerf, but also for shaping the rear of the saw plate.  The D23 has a curvaceous rear end, whereas this saw has sharp angles (pics below).

The saw nuts and bolts came out without problems and I later cleaned them up with a wire wheel in the drill.

I don't know what these are made of, but they are not
attracted to the magnet sitting right in front of them

Could this misplaced hole be the reason it was a reject from a major maker?

The rear of the plate, very harsh angles ...

... as opposed to the Disston D-23 with nice curves

Here's what I did for the handle.  I didn't know what wood it was made from, but guessed (probably incorrectly) beech.  I may have made the new horn a little too long, but I can always fix that later if it feels wrong.

Scraped and sanded off old finish and grunge

Clamped a squared-up block next to the broken horn to shave it flat

Glued on a piece of beech

Drew a shape

And shaped it to blend in with the rest

Fits my hand well - note how the lower heel of my hand
(behind the pinky) fits right into the curve of the horn

I gave the handle three liberal coats (soakings) in BLO/turps and had hoped the beech might get a bit darker, but only the original wood darkened.  Hopefully with some years of use the new wood will blend in better - see pics at end.

The plate was fairly grungy.  Aside from the "8" denoting PPI at the rear of the left side, there was no etch or other marking.  This meant I didn't have to worry about obliterating anything and could sand with abandon.  After sanding, it got a citric acid bath for 3-4 hours, followed by more sanding.

As found - a lot of sanding from 120 to 400 grits got the plate much nicer

Cut off the last four inches

The plate cleaned up - can you see the detail I added?

Filed a nib into the front

Just because it makes me giggle

Right side cleaned up

This plate is about 0.033" thick and is not taper ground.  The right side had some pitting, but nothing that will affect the cutting.  I've never had a saw with a nib.  I don't know if skew back saws or panel saws had nibs, so don't know if this is historically correct.  But it makes me smile, so ...

Finally, to the teeth.  My main rip handsaw has about 4 1/2 TPI.  I have another that has about 10 TPI, but it is practically useless, other than for thin plywood.  I wanted a saw that was a little less aggressive than my main rip saw and settled on 6 TPI.  I had hoped that the existing teeth would be close enough in spacing that I wouldn't have to file them completely off, but in the end that is what I had to do.

Tooth line filed off

Using a 6 TPI template to score the new gullet locations

Here's where I decided to try something different.  Saw files are not nearly as good as they used to be, and I've noticed that the small edge facets of a file often crumble when filing.  And filing in new teeth can be very tough on them.  So I thought I'd give those small triangle corners a break and use a hacksaw to saw down to proper gullet depth.  Unfortunately, I used a wrong measurement and sawed much farther than I should have.  But the experiment was a success - the files held up much better for not having to cut steel with the corners.

Hacksawing the gullets

Beginning to file the faces

Filing almost complete and you can see how much deeper the hacksaw cuts are

Undaunted, I set the teeth with a Stanley #42 (recently refurbished)

And gave it a final light sharpening pass

And here she is

Right side glamour shot

This saw cuts fantastically well.  The deep gullets don't seem to affect the cutting, but I'm going to have to be aware that the teeth are a little vulnerable to breaking or bending right now.  Finally there is a rip panel saw in the arsenal!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Disston D-23 Crosscut Handsaw - Part 2: The Rehab

This is part 2 of the posts about a Disston D-23 crosscut panel saw that I found at a garage sale a few years ago.

The handle was scraped (including the crud inside the carved leaves) and sanded and given a few coats of BLO/turpentine.  It looks pretty good now, and I'm guessing the wood is apple.

Handle removed and partially scraped

The handle darkened quite a bit with the oil

The brass saw nuts and medallion were cleaned up with a wire wheel in the drill.  The saw plate needed a lot of work.  Remarkably is was almost perfectly straight.  But it was pretty grungy.  After scraping off the heavy gunk with a razor blade, sandpaper was wrapped around a flat block and used to remove a lot of the black oxides.  On the left side I was careful not to affect the etch.

Right side ready for sanding - this is a very messy task

Sanding in progress - avoiding the etch
(etch area is darker more due to the lights than lack of sanding)

Then into a citric acid bath and here ready for more sanding with 150 through 400 grit

Left side

Right side

Etch still visible

OK, on to the sharpening.  This saw was used a lot, though probably not for many years.  It was not originally this way, but the tooth line was slightly breasted and I aimed to flatten it.  Also, the teeth were not evenly spaced.  This was an 8 ppi saw and I'm trying to get it back to proper spacing.  The last four inches near the handle were particularly rough and I ended up settling for what I could get there.

Filing straight across (no fleam) to regain proper shape

Using a spacing template - note the template peaks are at the left side of the flats here.
I put pressure laterally left to "move" those teeth left.

A little further down, the template peaks are at the right end of the flats.
I used lateral pressure right to move those teeth right.

But at the rear of the saw, the tooth peaks were nowhere near the template peaks.

Just getting these rear-most teeth closer to proper position led to a large drop in tooth level, relative to the rest of the teeth.
Held against a straightedge, you can see that the
last few inches of teeth drop away

It took two rounds of jointing and filing just to get those last teeth in the ballpark, and even so they're not near perfect.  Maybe with a lot of use and repeated sharpening I can get it more even.

When I got that as even as I could, I sharpened the saw with 20° fleam and 14° of rake.  I did this very carefully as I have a tendency to end up with uneven gullets (cows and calves).  But I went slowly, going from both sides and sneaking up on the disappearance of the tooth-top flats.

And here she is.  The saw is still missing a saw nut, but I put the missing one in the middle - it had been at the bottom - and the handle is rock solid.

Glamour shot

I made a test cut and it cuts beautifully.  I can't imaging this saw will supplant my 100 year old D-115, but I'm looking forward to using it.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Disston D-23 Cross-cut Handsaw - Part 1: As Found

I came across this handsaw a few years ago at a garage sale.  I wasn't going to take them, but the guy saw that I was interested and just wanted to be rid of the two saws he had so he asked me to take them.  Who am I to refuse such a request?

Disston D-23 in as-found condition

The right side

I love using my 100 year old Disston D-115 (that I also got for free at a garage sale) for cross-cuts, so this D-23 has been in a cabinet awaiting some restoration.  According to Eric von Sneidern's Disstonian Institute website, the D-20 series saws were introduced in 1911 and they were a mid-priced line, not thought to be much of a collector's item (not that I care about collecting).  But they were good saws nonetheless.  Based on the etch and the medallion, this saw is likely from the 1940-1947 time frame.  The D-23 is a straight backed, narrow width saw.

First, some documenting of current condition.  This is a 24" saw (which I guess technically makes it a panel saw) with 8 ppi, filed cross-cut.  I rarely see handsaws other than 26".  I'm 5' 11" tall with arm length commensurate to that height, so a 26" saw fits me pretty well.  But I've wanted a shorter saw - I have a feeling I'll like the length.

Length is just under 24" and filed 8 ppi, like most cross-cut saws I come across

The etches are not in the greatest condition, so I'll be very careful when cleaning up the plate.

All the etches



"For Beauty, Finish and Utility
this Saw cannot be Excelled"
                    Henry Disston

The plate is taper ground.  Just above the teeth, the plate is 0.036" thick at toe, tapering to 0.040" at the handle end.  Along the back of the plate, it is 0.024" at the toe, tapering to 0.037 at the handle.

The handle is in good condition, though it is missing one nut/bolt.  A lot of finish is flaking off.  I can't tell what kind of wood it is, but Disston shifted from apple wood to other hardwoods about the time this saw was made.

Interesting pattern of carved leaves -
Notice how a small "branch" goes above the medallion.

The top of the handle is "closed" - there is no slot showing for the plate

The saw nuts / bolts look like brass

The 13/16" diameter medallion

Next time I'll get into the rehab.