Restoring A Classic Back Saw Homemade Woodworking Tools
The saw was made by Sandvik and I would guess that it’s from the mid to late 80’s or early 90’s. There is a Beaver Lumber price tag on the handle for $22.99 and Beaver Lumber was bought out by Home Hardware here in Ontario in 2000.
Looking at the saw, it was barely used (that paper price tag still being intact backs that up) and I would guess that it has never been sharpened. The spine and plate are in great shape, other than the rust – flat and straight with no kinks. I’ve had a few Sandvik tools from that time (chisels and screwdrivers) and they were of high quality.
This is a 10 point saw and looked to be sharpened in a rip profile (straight across, like I did in the video below). Rip gives a slightly rougher cut, but also cuts faster.
The blade is 13″ long, 3-1/2″ deep and 0.30″ thick.
I made the handle from spalted maple. This is wood that I cut up a few years ago from a sugar maple tree that was cut down beside my house.
Much of the piece was too badly rotted (but still sound – maple is very hard to begin with) to use for a handle, but I was able to get a nice looking piece at the narrow end.
I used the what was left of the handle plus a picture I found online to draw a template that closely matches the original. It’s not elaborate or fancy and I like that about it.
I did all of the cutting and shaping by hand using hand tools (that was tedious!) and even drilled the holes with a vintage brace.
To do this again, I’d save the mess and skip the vinegar soak. While it was somewhat effective, I don’t think that makes up for the extra cost, time and cleanup. Better to just use sandpaper to begin with.
I used a tung oil blend to finish the handle and bring out the interesting figure and highlight the spalting.
A saw like this with an accurately made miter box makes quick work of small to medium sized trim and molding. It quiet and a lot less messy than an electric miter saw,not to mention cheaper if you can find an old one in good shape.
This type of hand saw used to be on every hardware store shelf but has now become a bit of a dinosaur. Specialty tool makers still produce them, but you won’t pick one up for the $22.99 price anymore. While I probably won’t use this saw a lot, it’s nice to have it on hand for the times when I need to make some cuts in trim too small for my miter saw.