Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

I have been away for the last month or so, and in traveling the outback, there isn't much in the way of internet coverage.
It was a wonderful trip in the company of my sister, her friend Judy and the LOML.

Woodworking has had to take a back seat for the immediate past, but I am thrilled to be back.

The trip home again from Brisbane mandated another visit to Bangalow, and Heath's Old Wares.

Yes - I know - I'm weak.
I dug around the saws bin again for another bargain, and came up with two saws that were exceptional.

One was a little 10 point Disston panel saw in rusting condition, but otherwise excellent.  The handle was superb.  Sadly, when I tried to buy it, I was given the third degree on where did I find it ............
Turns out it was Heath's own saw, that his wife had mistakenly "put away" in the sales bin. Ho-hum.
No sale there - lucky for Heath and unlucky for me....................

Sandvik Hand Saws - Woodworking's Best Kept Secret
.................the other saw is a lovely little Sandvik.

While woodworkers all value Disston, Atkins, Simmonds, Tyzack, Spear & Jackson and other well known hand saw marques, few acknowledge the excellence of the Sandvik offerings.

This one is a 23 inch 8PPI panel saw, cross cut of course.
Sandviks also come with a blue handle, and they are often dismissed as not as good as other handsaws because they are judged on their handles alone.  For this reason, they are almost always cheap - really cheap for what they are.

I am not a fan of plastic handles as they can become slippery when sweated upon, in the course of cutting, and they don't accommodate my three fingered grip very well - but this one is at least tolerable in its ergonomics.
What Sandviks miss out on in the handle department, is more than made up for everywhere else.

It's Sandvik's blades that make them special.  The steel is exceptional, and they cut like a hot knife through butter.
This one is breasted - the slight convex curve that runs the length of the cutting edge.  The rust is only on the surface, with no pitting to contend with.
This saw will clean up beautifully, and make a great general-purpose cross cut saw for small projects.  It will also be a suitable stable mate to its bigger brother - used in the last post (see below).

Sandvik Saws were made in Sweden and the blades are taper ground.  They are renowned for their edge keeping qualities among those who know of their worth.

Prior to rust removal here is a comparison of sizes with my current X-cut saw:

First step - remove the handle:

One obvious sign of the quality of these saws is the use of heavy duty brass handle screws.  It is easy to dismiss these saws on first appearance because of their plastic handle.  It's only when we look a little deeper that the quality appears.

Easy to see here what the original saw blade looked like, and the accuracy of the mating holes in the saw plate.

When I rust-clean, I use a wire brush on my old Makita grinder.  It doesn't hurt the sawplate - the steel is much too hard for that.  I do it outside, as there is a fair bit of rust-dust generated, and it is a dirty job.

Once the steel has had its rust and grime removed, it's time to wipe off the black detritus generated by the cleaning process.  I oil the blade at the same time with camelia tea oil.  The old rag shows how dirty the remaining residue can be.

Next step will be off to the saw doc to have the teeth sharpened and set.
The teeth need setting only at the point and not from the base - there is an etch from a Sandvik saw here that explains it.
The steel in these old Sandviks is harder than the Disstons that I am used to, and the teeth are prone to snapping unless the blade is warmed first before setting. I'll leave that step to Dr. John.

Here are the two saws together. Nice couple aren't they.
Can't wait to use them again.
So if you ever see one of these in the wild, and you don't mind using a saw with one of these handles, you will be rewarded with the joy of a premium tool for  the price of McValue meal.
They really are that good.

For now - it's just so good to be back........ 
Adios Amigos................


  1. Dragon saws! That's what some people call them. I've seen some with side plates too, dragons are still there, under the plates.


    1. Yes you are right Toby.
      There is a new one on Ebay at the present moment with a Buy-it-now price of $220. Find them in the second hand market and they are an absolute bargain.

  2. I new you had to be just off somewhere enjoying yourself but with 3 ladies gee's Tom thats just plain greedy LOL. How's the ears?

    Hope we see some interesting photography of the trip.

    Onto the saws!!

    By law if its on the shelf then its for sale LOL the price however is another matter.

    You have just saved 3 saws from being cut up and used for scrappers or turfed out Tom I have 2 of those plastic handle thingys will (when temp goes over 19C head out and check them). I acquired them from the FiL's shed when he passed on along with others.
    Time I took more interest in checking for markings.

    1. Thanks Ray.
      Yes I took some very nice images during the travels. They will most often be listed here:
      but I will definitely be adding to the Village Woodworker as I go along as well.
      As to those marvellous Sandvik saws - a lucky save Ray.
      Clean them up and use them - they are splendid tools. Take lots of care with the sharpening and setting the teeth - they can be more brittle than other saws so need to warm up before setting the teeth. Dr. John A - my saw doctor - leaves them out in the sun on a warm day, and won't set them at all in cold weather as the teeth can become brittle and they snap off otherwise. I have also seen that happen to a Disston in September because the steel was cold and brittle.
      As for the markings on Sandviks - apart from the distinctive handles, it is rare to find an etch on these, but the dragons are the givaway.
      Happy trails partner

    2. Just took a look at your pics at impressive. Cant wait to see more

    3. Many thanks Rach.
      I'll post more as I get to them.
      So glad you enjoyed them.