This is part three of my restoration of an I. Sorby tenon saw.
With the saw plate treated and cleaned up, I turned my attention to the spine. I was not sure at first how I wanted to proceed with this. I did some searching on-line and found a saw restoration where the spine (or the back) of the saw had been blued with a gun-bluing chemical. I thought that it might be a good rust inhibitor and even went so far as to buy the bluing chemical. In the end, I couldn’t do it, I just didn’t think that the saw would look right. I decided that I would polish the spine as best I could. As I am already well set up for this task, it was an easy decision to make.
For polishing metals, I use a 6-inch bench grinder (that I bought in a garage sale for $20) and various buffing wheels and compounds that I bought from grizzly tools. I use the black, tripoli, and green buffing compounds. For buffing wheels I use the 6″ x 60 ply spiral sewn and the 6″ Airway Hard wheel. I use separate wheels for each compound and change them when I need to change to a finer or courser “grit” of compound. Keeping them labeled with a sharpie marker helps to ensure that I don’t mix up the pairing of wheels to the compounds. You don’t want to get the course black compound on your wheel that you use with the fine or extra fine green compound. All of these supplies can be found on the grizzly website.
Before I start polishing the spine, I need to mask off the top of the saw plate so that it does not get polished. I use blue painters tape since it is readily available and does not leave a sticky residue that I would have to clean up later.
I start with the hard airway wheel and the black coarse buffing compound. I also have a 60 ply spiral sewn wheel that I have designated for use with the black compound. I will use either of these. I have not been particularly impressed with the hard airway wheel. I suppose you could push a little harder against it than you can with the spiral wheel, but my grinder is not that powerful and will slow or stop if you push too hard.
I take my time and thoroughly go over the whole spine. After a little while, this is what I saw:
It’s far from perfect, but it’s looking good already.
I then changed to a 60 ply spiral sewn wheel and switched to the tripoli compound.
As I mentioned before, I find it helpful to label the wheels so that I know I’m using them with the correct compound. A sharpie marker writes nicely on the fabric wheel.
I repeat the process that I used with the black compound and carefully go over the spine again. Here is the spine after the tripoli polish:
I once again changed buffing wheel and compound to the green fine compound. I polished the whole spine as I had previously done with the two other compounds.
Once I had completed this final polishing, here’s how the saw looks:
Overall, I am very happy with how the spine came out. It in no way has a mirror polish or a chrome look, but that is not what I was going for. I am glad that I did not use the gun-bluing. I just don’t think it would look right. I realize that is purely a matter of opinion, but I’m happy with what I did. It is a little hard to see in the pictures, but the spine appears a little shinier than the saw plate, and to me, that looks right.
The next step that I took was to joint the saw plate and remove the teeth. The existing teeth on the saw were in terrible shape and I thought that I would be better off starting from scratch than trying to fix them . First I mounted the saw plate in an old saw sharpening vise that I bought on ebay and restored. If I recall correctly, I think I paid about $25 for it. It was fairly rusty and had to spend some time in the electrolysis tank and then be repainted, but it came out quite nice.
I cut a kerf in a scrap piece of 2×4 and inserted a mill file into it. This ensures that the file is 90 degrees to the block of wood. The wood acts as a fence and a grip for holding the file. My file holder was quite crude and I intend to make a much better one as time allows. The best one I have ever seen was made by Brit on lumberjocks you can see his post documenting how he made it here.
I filed the saw plate until the teeth were gone and I was left with a straight flat saw plate.
Here’s how it looked once the teeth were jointed away:
Well that’s it for now. In my next post I will show you how I dealt with the saw tote. I also still have to file new teeth into the saw.