I picked up a small backsaw form the antique store the other day. I thought it’d do a good job at cutting dovetails whenever I decide to start practicing them. It looked pretty grungy when I found it. The handle looks like it has spent most of its life in grease.
Here’s the back. It is no better than the front.
Here’s a close up of the etch.
After disassembling the saw, I started to clean up the saw plate. To do this I used some 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I used Simple Green as the fluid while wet sanding. It seemed to work pretty well and was less messy that oil that I’ve used in the past.
I went up to 1200 grit with the wet sanding but it didn’t make a huge difference in these pics. In person it made the saw shine a little more.
I attempted to clean up the handle but wasn’t entirely successful. I tossed it in the ultrasonic cleaner with some simple green and it removed a lot of the surface grime. After that I sanded from 120 to 320 grit. At this point it looked pretty good and I thought I’d removed most of the dark blotches.
After hitting it with some boiled linseed oil I found that the black blotches were still there.
I eventually decided to put a couple coats of Dark Walnut stain on the handle to decrease the contrast between the light and dark spots. It’s still on the ugly side. To clean up the brass parts I used Brasso and then polished them with Mother’s Mag polish. It’s not specifically for brass but that doesn’t seem to stop it from working.
I put the saw back together and found out that one of the brass bolts is stripped. As a result, the handle rocks slightly. I’m not 100% sure how I’ll deal with this. I found a couple ideas online about replacing them. I tried my hand and sharpening the teeth on the saw but on the second pass my needle file broke. I didn’t show any pics of the sharpening because I’m still learning about sharpening saw teeth. Anyways, the saw cleaned up decently and it cuts through Pine well. On Oak it doesn’t fare to well due to the dull teeth. I ordered a file to sharpen the teeth and hope to get it to cutting better soon.