Refining Spear & Jackson Saws

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    Joe Troyer

    Per Paul’s recommendation I have purchased some Spear & Jackson saws, both the 22″ skew back and 12″ tenon saw. After sharpening and relaxing the set of the teeth I have found both saws to be very good performers. I especially appreciate saving hundreds of dollars on my first hand saws. Many thanks go out to Paul for testing and recommending these practical yet well-performing tools.

    The only complaint I have is related to aesthetics. The handle is far too chunky and the branding on the saw blade is hideous. I suppose I have two questions:
    1. Has anyone refined the handles successfully and have any tips for doing so? I’ve seen videos of people making their own handles so I understand the basic concepts involved, but I’m wondering if anyone has practical experience refining the S&J handles without taking them off.
    2. Is it possible to remove the branding and lacquer on the blade? If so, how? And, is it safe to do this or will doing so invite corrosion?

    I know aesthetics are to a degree secondary to functionality, but there is some merit in the idea that one can get more satisfaction from a tool that is both functional and beautiful.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Michael Evans

    Hi Joe,

    I cannot speak specifically about reworking Spear & Jackson saw handles. The Spear and Jackson saws I own are old enough that the handles were already aesthetically pleasing and are in good condition. I have made new handles for some of my saws and have had to do extensive repair on damaged handles though. Taking the existing handles off shouldn’t be a big challenge and it is well worth the time and effort to ease any work you want to do on them. Find an existing saw pattern you like that will fit within the existing handle profile and copy it. Some coping, scroll saw, or bandsaw work,, along with some rasping and sanding, and you have it made.
    Lacquer is often put on tools as a rust preventative and can easily be removed with lacquer thinner and fine steel wool. Regular light oiling and possibly some paste waxing (no silicone) should prevent rusting. If by “branding” you mean a painted brand label then it should come off with the lacquer. If you mean an etched name then you will actually have to remove metal down to the bottom of the etch and that normally means abrasives. If it is etched I would just focus on the quality of the work it can do and strive to ignore the bad decoration. “Pretty” may be an inspiration, but it doesn’t do the work and the wood doesn’t care. Have fun.

    Roy Pierce

    (Awaiting moderation)

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