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Restoring a Lost Cause - Part 3

I finished the handle with a some amber shellac, the color of which (along with the witch's brew of stain) helps hide the differences between the woods. 

Well - the final fix shows, but at least it's not painfully obvious:

As a whole, the handle didn't come out too bad:

A closer look at the filled holes, shows some flaws:

A closer view - there are some pits in the fill, but not too bad:

Finally, a couple before and after shots:

It was a challenge, but then again that's what I did it for - and it was fun to see what I could do with it! But, I really didn't need another backsaw of this size, so I put the saw up for sale on ebay. Interestingly enough - the fellow that won the saw was the same that sent it to me in the first place! He reported to me the other day that he still has it, and that it's one of his "favorite" saws. That's reassuring for me, and I'm glad he's happy with it... and I hope he continues to be happy with it for many years to come.



That is one impressive feat of restoration there! Maybe it's time to set up the Hopeless Tools Restoration Shop?



Hi Leif....Marv here....
As usual you did a right fine job on that old beat up backsaw. Nice job on the upper horn. I find that in the absents of having some old apple wood around, that certain redwoods will match up pretty well. 
I find it very rewarding when an old neglected saw is not only made to be funtional again but also pleasing to look at. 
Take care, lets see if I can figure out what these letters and numbers are down below.



Hi Leif,
Just thought of a way to fill holes in steel.....I would use regular softsolder. I know it's softer than silver solder but it will match the color of the steel fairly closely.


Sorry for the late reply - just got back from exploring the mountains of central Idaho, what a blast!  This place is truly heaven...

 Marv - I tried regular solder, it wouldn't stick well enough and just popped back out, and was hard to fill.  Silver solder works more like gas welding than like traditional solder, at least in this case.

 I didn't have any wood on hand that would match - if I was really trying to match, I would have gone and got something, but I've been asked how to match disparate woods, so figured I might as well give it a shot here to show how it goes.  Hopefully I was successful!





Hi Leif, 
Nice work, beautiful restoration. Only one thing, is that a Disston 77, if so then the old blade would have been taper ground for zero set. If it's still around you could check the thickness at the top compared with the thickness at the teeth.
Ray Gardiner


Hi, Ray and thanks.

I'm not familiar with the #77 back saw  - but I'm pretty sure this saw is a #4, and even you were right and it was originally one, I believe the blade that was in it when I got it was not original.  That's one reason I had no issue with replacing it as it was lost anyway, and is also why I think there were two rivets into the back and through the blade - to hold the thinner than original blade in place...  I did measure the blade at the time, and it was a consistent thickness, IIRC something around .015" or .018" thick or so.




Hi Leif,
Soft soldering to steel is a bit tricky. First, you need to use solder with a flux core and also you need a flux to apply to the metal. A soldering iron with enough wattage to heat whatever mass of metal you are working with. Trying to soft solder using a torch is more difficult in that it is easy to burn off the flux too soon, a flame is usually just too hot.  If a flame is used, it is best to not direct the flame on the flux, rather, you heat the metal nearby until the fluxed area will melt the solder. With silver solder you can put the flame directly on the flux. 
I have a big O soldering iron with 9/16" dia. copper tip. It would probably be big enough to heat a spine on a backsaw. American Beauty is the maker of the iron. They make even bigger irons than the one I have. I've seen 1" tips. People who do auto body work will often times use a soldering iron to repair certain kinds of dents, etc.
Take care,



Hey Leif
That's a really terrific job! I particularly like the work on the tote.
The only item I might have done differently was to fill the holes in the spine with a steel rod and pein the ends. Alternately with a brass rod and make a feature of this. Depends on the size of the holes and the availability of suitable rod of course.
I'm looking forward to more of your tutorials. Top stuff!
Regards from Perth
Derek Cohen


Thanks Derek!

I thought of that, but it wouldn't have worked for this. 

 Some methods used today - like Tim Hoffman uses on his saws - use a peined rod and work just fine - but that would not have worked for this particular folded steel back whereas Tim's are designed with the rods in mind.  In fact, peined rods were basically what was attempted on this blade before, which would be the two "rivets" I removed....  but the way the back is held in place is with tension between the two folded halves of the back, and tying them together with a rod severely limits the back's ability to hold the blade in place...  As it is now, the blade can be seated full depth into the back if needed, or removed entirely also... 

However, used as fill a peined rod would work -  but then you have to solder it in place anyway as you would have trouble beating the factory steel back into submission and keeping it somewhat straight so it would hold the blade properly along its length.  That's more easily done with brass, but even then it's a bit of a knack.

 Thanks for the encouragement on the tutorials, I appreciate yours as well...  I'm afraid I'm out for at least six more weeks with a rotator cuff injury though, I'm afraid...  I'm doing physical therapy on it now, hoping I can get it back in shape to do some planing and sawing this winter...  'Till it's healed, I'm pretty useless...

Thanks for commenting!



Hello old friend!

As the proud owner of the saw in this series, I'd like to point out that I actually bought it not once, but twice!  I originally purchased that mutt off of e-Bay.  After some discussion about what to do with it on one of the woodworking forums, you purchased it from me and performed your magic before re-listing it on e-Bay, where I purchased it again.  It currently resides in the saw till hanging on my shop wall, and gets used more and more frequently now that I've got my shop in some semblance of order.  Not only is it a magnificent saw, it is quite simply one of my most prized woodworking possessions!

Jim Lancaster
(Archias Domesticus)
Dallas, TX