Earlier this year, I purchased a bunch of tools on eBay.co.uk. I blogged about it here.
Two of the auctions that I won were for Eclipse No. 77 saw sets. The pictures that were in the listings weren’t very good but the prices were great, so I bought both of them and paid about $4 each. I planned to keep the better of the two and either resell the other, or give it away.
Here are the sets when I bought them:
Since purchasing them, I did a little research on the Eclipse No. 77 and found that there were two versions made, one for fine teeth and one for course. Wouldn’t you know it, as luck would have it I got one of each. I guess I’ll be keeping both.
I wont post the complete clean-up (I’ll use that word as it is rather a small, simple tool to call this a restoration) of both saw sets. Here is what I did to the fine tooth set:
The set was a dirty, oily, and generally gunked up. It was not much to look at. The plunger was a little stiff as the grease that was around the internal springs had gone solid.
You can see that this set has red paint on the inside surfaces near the plunger and anvil. What I have read elsewhere online leads me to understand that the red-painted ones indicate that they are for fine teeth.
Of note is the fact that the anvils are not very different on the fine and coarse versions. Both sets can be adjusted to bend the teeth by the same amount and to the same angle. The difference is in the size of the hammer. On the coarse version, the hammer is wider and flatter. This is great for setting the teeth on handsaws especially larger rip teeth. On the fine version, the hammer comes to a narrow point, allowing you to more easily bend small teeth without affecting their neighbors. This is great for most of your backsaws and essential for something really fine like a dovetail saw.
By comparison, this is my other No. 77 with the course hammer. It works better on larger teeth.
I took everything apart and cleaned all the pieces with an old tooth brush and some break-parts cleaner. Some of the old grease had hardened and it took a little while to remove it all with a dental pick.
Here’s a closer view of some of the parts.
Once all of the parts were cleaned, I headed over to my bench grinder. I use this tool more than any other when it comes to cleaning up and restoring old tools. It was a $20 garage sale find. I love it!
I took my time and carefully polished all of the parts. The buffing compound can leave a black waxy buildup on some of the parts, so when I was done polishing, I wiped everything down with a cloth and mineral spirits. I then used a cloth with denatured alcohol to get rid of any mineral spirit residue.
Once all of the parts were polished and cleaned, I lubed the necessary parts and re-assembled the saw set.
Here you can see the anvil all cleaned up and easy to read again.
The paint was in pretty good condition and I felt that repainting it was unnecessary. I cleaned the paint with a cloth and denatured alcohol.
Here you can see the plunger mechanism.
The maker’s mark in the casting.
So, here’s what I started with:
And here it is finished:
And since I haven’t yet put enough pictures in this post…
A couple of extra shots of both saw sets once they were all cleaned up.
I think I should get many years of service out of these. Eight bucks well spent.
I’m always happy to hear your thoughts, questions, or opinions. Post away!
I realy like the eclipse sets and have few of them. You made nice object of them, but pretty useless in my opinion. I’d never polish any part of a saw set. Any reflection from the set will distract the eye from the theeth. Especially at the fine pitches, yoiu need the small reflections. With the overhelming shines and rays it will be more difficult to see what you want. I cleaned away the red color for the same reason.
Thanks for your input, I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I found that the bronze doesn’t stay super shiny for long and I don’t intend to keep polishing them to maintain a high shine. I primarily just wanted to clean them up. My other saw set is a Stanley 42X that I cleaned up and repainted. I am new to saw sharpening, but what I found was that the shine from then teeth was too distracting while setting the teeth. I had far better results once I blackened every alternate tooth with a sharpie marker. This helped me to not get out of order when setting the teeth and the marker was removed by the final sharpening.
Great post on the differences between the old (red) and newer castings. I am wondering whether the plunger of old red was a user modification? Having said that the 4 red ones I have owned/seen have different plunger sizes. One is narrow (1.5mm) in its full length: http://www.woodworkforums.com/170005-eclipse-set/; one I have has been (very well) ground to 1.5/1.6 mm from the full width of 2.4 mm. Another from photo looks the same as mine. Yours looks to have been ground to quite a bit less than that. Are you able to measure the width of the plunger at the end.
You will also notice that the older anvil has a much sharper bevel edge
I do like your fine restoration & detailed explanation, since I’m ‘old school’…..
Think I’ll leave mine original, other than a squirt or two of M-Pro 7 Gun Oil LPX
to clear & clean out the cob_webs….lol
JFS brand (woodworker)
There’s nothing wrong with old school! Thanks for commenting.
Did you find any ‘user instructions’? Are the numbers in tpi etc?
I don’t think that I have ever looked for any instructions for the saw sets. I think that the numbers are supposed to relate to the TPI, but only vaguely. What I mean by this is that the TPI doesn’t always relate to how much set you want on a saw. The amount of set you put on a saw has more to do with its intended function (Hardwood/Softwood or Crosscut/Ripcut) than it’s TPI.
Let’s say you were setting up two 10 TPI tenon saws, one for hardwood and the other for softwood. Normally, you would want a little more set on the softwood tenon saw.
The numbers on the saw set are a guide, but certainly not carved in stone. If you want more set, use a smaller number. If you want less set, use a bigger number.
I hope this helps,
Thanks Jonathan. I understand (now) about varying the set. A simpler one. On the two examples I have (guessing) one from the 1930’s, one from more recently (bronze), neither have a mark against which the scale should read, which amazed me. Should I assume (do you?) that the ‘mark’ should be towards the user when a saw blade is held in the set? Or 180 degrees opposite from that?
I wonder no one else has picked that up, or am I being slow?
Or perhaps Eclipse assumed too much!
ps I now have two workable devices, I’m thinking of filing down one of the hammers for use on higher tpi saws.
Have a77 and ground plunger like sellers. Installed upside down and just figured why not setting properly. Am always concerned about setting alternative teeth or losing my place on small toothed dovetail saws and back saws.
Any thoughts on how to avoid setting teeth in correct order or how not to lose track. Have good lighting and magnifier.
You raise a good question. If you get out of order and set a tooth to the wrong side, it could cause problems. On some older saws, if you try to bend the tooth back to the correct size, the metal can become brittle and the tooth snap off. To avoid this, I take a black sharpie marker and “paint” the face of every other tooth before setting. Then when I set the teeth, I go down one side setting just the black teeth, and the other side setting the unmarked teeth. If you get out of order with the marker, it’s an easy fix, and doesn’t do any damage to the saw. Yes, it’s an extra step, but it does help to prevent the problem. Hope this helps.
All the best,
Hi guys my name is jose im looking for one for one of those saw set pliers urgently im in johannesburg.Anybody thats got one for sale please let me know
I hope you find one that that you want.
Nice restoration. Have just received one my self bought on ebay (about 12-13£). Looks like it has never been used. Came with original box,
It says: measure number of teeth per inch. Release anvil screw and turn until the required tooth number on the anvil is in line with the hammer.
Mine came with a magnified eye-shield.
Can mail you some scans/photos of box, if you are interested, let me know.
Sounds like you found a good one. Thanks for the info. I’d be happy to see any photos you’d like to send.
All the best,
Hello. How are you?
I’d like to echo the remarks above about it looking like a user modification. From casual observation it seems to me that the ones with “Made in England” in line were the ones with the slim hammer, and the ones with “Made in” above “England” have the fat hammer. Of course, I could be wrong.
On yours is it a spring washer or a short spring that keeps tension between the anvil screw and the anvil? Mine came with neither and it’s a bit of a pain in the crack.
Hi! great restore. i know this is an old post but im wondering if you could measure the width of your hammer for the red and the larger hammer? i have 2 that are painted red but the hammer looks to be about 3/32″ (2mm ish) and the larger one is around 1/8″ (about 3mm). i plan to modify one of the 2 red ones so it has an even smaller hammer for really fine pitch but was curious as i have seen videos of people with red painted saw set and very tiny hammers.
I just went out to the shop and checked. The red one comes to point (more or less). I’d estimate that it is less than 1mm wide. The larger one measures 2mm. I hope this helps. Thanks for your comments.
All the best,