Light refurb of an old D-8 rip saw

Ryan Mooney

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
8,271
Location
Williamette Valley, Oregon
As part of a recent auction "mixed lot" I picked up this somewhat rusty Disston D-8 thumbhole saw. Not in the best shape, but not the worst and the tooth line looked salvageable. Here I've just gotten the saw nuts out.

1692577963853.png

A little WD=40 for lubricant and a bit of work with a razor blade and I got the bulk of the rust off.

1692578146749.png

Some 400 and 800 grit wet/dry with a flat sanding block and it's looking not to bad

1692578187568.png

Even has the etch still!

1692578220351.png

The teeth were a bit uneven from previous sharpening attempts, so I ended up taking two jointing and tooth shaping passes. You can see here how once you darken the teeth with bluing or a sharpy it's not to hard to see the flats from jointing it. Then it's mostly just a process of chasing those down until they all evenly disappear taking moderate passes from each side (more confident sharpeners could, I'm sure do it in one pass... but I still kind of take my time a little even on coarser saws like this).

I also re-set the teeth fairly coarsely, it's a 5 TPI saw so I'm mostly planning to use it for ripping construction grade stuff.

1692578253692.png

I had to re-glue a couple of small cracks and a splinter in the handle and then sanded it back lightly and hit it with a coat or three of wiping varnish. The plate also got a good coat of paste wax.

1692578507091.png

I don't know who "E.R.L." was, but he was clearly proud of his tools and I'd like to think that if he knew he'd be happy to see this one back in shape and good for another hundred years of use.

1692578539375.png

How does it cut? Fast, smooth, and a little coarse just like a 5-TPI saw ought to. I might stone the teeth to ease the set a little eventually as there's quite a lot of clearance but I'm pretty happy with it for now so unless that causes me to much drift I'll leave it for now until I try it one something a bit stickier...

1692578609068.png
 
How thick is that blade? I would love to find an old rip saw which is usually thicker and get some knife blanks from it.

Sadly, my grandfather, my dad's father had several old one man saws like that, both rip and crosscut in addition to several two man crosscut/whipsaws i.e. misery whips. When I moved away to college he closed up his house and moved in with my family. I have no idea what happened to all of those old saws. I would never have used them but I would have loved to have them for sentimental value.
 
"Somewhat rusty"??? I hate to see what you call real rusty. Nice refurbishment! I have a very similar D-8 with 5 TPI. I use it to rip through softwood, like pine all the time.
 
Very cool. You might check out that gun smithing video I posted a week or so back which included a segment on rust removal. He boils rusty metal in plain old water, which oxidizes it, brushes it off, and stops any future rust.
 
You might check out that gun smithing video I posted a week or so back which included a segment on rust removal. He boils rusty metal in plain old water, which oxidizes it, brushes it off, and stops any future rust.
I do use a rust inhibiting spray (CRC-36) before the wax coat, that also converts any residual deep red rust to black easier/faster/more expensive than boiling :D. Note that for the boiling you do want a low O2/low dissolved solids water which can be distilled, rain water, depending on your tap water (if its low solids) let it set for a day or two or boil for 30m ahead of time for the O2 to come out.

I treat saws a bit differently than I do most tools where the amount of polish is mostly not important for a functional tool and some residual black rust is somewhere between "fine" and "slightly beneficial". For most things boiling or otherwise (chelation, etc..) converting to black rust then removing is fine.

For saws I tend to razor blade and then use abrasives more because I actually want/need the plate to be at least a bit shiny. I use the reflection in the plate to check for square while sawing (you can line up the reflection with the edge of the wood and you're "pretty close" to square). I take most saw plates to 1200 or 2000, I stopped a bit shy of that on this one because it's a rougher cutting tool so as long as I can get a hint of a good reflection it's good enough and there was no reason to remove more metal than needed (although polished metal is also less rust prone there are enough pits here and there I certainly wasn't going to even try to get rid of them all)

"Somewhat rusty"??? I hate to see what you call real rusty.

There were a handful of reject saws in the set hah. I'm going to drop them off at a friends who wanted to use the steel for various things on his forge, I'm hoping there's enough to be useful in them. I'll try to snag a picture of some of those sad pieces.

This one had bad rust near the back worse on the one side but the tooth line wasn't in super bad shape which is why I thought it was probably salvageable. Sometimes pieces that look worse aren't as bad depending on how deep the pitting is, and sometimes things that don't look to bad have bad pitting.. It's always a bit of a dice roll until you get that first layer off, although you can often get a pretty good idea... and sometimes it's obviously hopeless.
 
How thick is that blade? I would love to find an old rip saw which is usually thicker and get some knife blanks from it.

Most of the better old saw plates have a progressive ground taper. On this one the thickest part of the plate is near the teeth under the handle and it's about 50 thou thick there. The back of the plate above the handle is 40 thou. Near the toe it's thinnest with the toothline being a smidge under 40 though and the back being closer to 30. Most of the plates are moderate carbon (something akin to 1095/O1) and hardened to a around 50-55RC so they're still not to bad to file so you'd definitely want to re-harden them a bit harder to maybe closer to 60RC I think.

The heavier two man and large one man falling crosscut saws are quite a bit thicker, and although they also usually have a ground taper it's more straight tooth->back (I can measure some this evening if you want), although some of them are pretty rusted out - I had what I'll call a "twisted chunk" of one I made a skiving knife out of and it took a tremendous amount of grinding (and I need to borrow my buddies forge and re-harden it cause it currently doesn't hold an edge for beans... and no I didn't cook the edge it's just not really leather knife hard).
 
Great job! I have a hand saw that my FIL had neglected leaving it in the henhouse and was lost under chicken poo and hay for years. I started cleaning it some time ago and I still have to finish it, this is how it looks now, sorry no pic of how it was before. I used citric acid to remove the rust hence the grey look of the blade now. I do not know if the wawy shape of the teeth is original or it is due to repeated sharpening which I doubt my FIL did as he was not a woodworker but a mason, and not very delicate towards certain things or tools. He or someone else removed the rib that the saw had, probably to be able to use it as panel saw without the rib preventing using it. In fact, he once told me that the first thing one had to do when buying a saw was to remove the rib as it was a pain in the neck. I had to bit my tongue and shut up or would have had a bitter argument, with him and later with LOML.
IMG_0451.jpegIMG_0452.jpeg
 
Last edited:
I do not know if the wawy shape of the teeth is original or it is due to repeated sharpening which I doubt my FIL did as he was not a woodworker but a mason,
I would be really surprised if the original tooth line was like that and not either straight or slightly belled out in the middle perhaps. BUT I've certainly been wrong on such things before. It would be challenging to say the least to sharpen a saw with that shape, I don't even know how you'd joint the tooth line to try to get them even half even in height.

If I had to guess, maybe he was using it to cut stone blocks :rofl: (kidding? maybe?).

I do save all of the saw nuts off of the otherwise unsalvageable saws because I've ran into a few where everything was ok except for a few of those missing... and it's nice to have some spares.

I have another saw that's in pretty good shape I think is next on the block except the teeth were poorly sharpened and left a bit snaggle toothed. It kinda looks like someone used it to cut through a roof with the asphalt shingles in place based on the gunk in the teeth and the wear patterns.
 
Top