Rescuing An Antique Saw Set

Who doesn’t like old tools? Even if they aren’t practical to use for production, plenty of old tools still have a life to offer the hobbyist or home worker.  Some tools might seem a bit too far gone – due to age, rust, or practicality, to use. That’s where [Hand Tool Rescue] comes in. [HTR] finds rusty, dirty old tools, and brings them back to life. Sometimes they’re practical tools, other times, they’re a bit out there. In a recent video, he restored a BeMaCo automatic saw set from the 1940’s. Saw sets are tools which bend each tooth of a saw blade slightly. Typically they are pliers-like devices.

The slight bend of each tooth on the blade widens the saw’s kerf and prevents binding. Typically these tools are pliers-like devices. The BeMaCo set is something else — it pulls the blade through tooth by tooth, while a spring-loaded head pecks away, bending each tooth. It’s something Rube Goldberg would have loved.

[HTR’s] filming style borrows a lot from [Jimmy DiResta], who we’ve covered here before. There are no words, and most of the video is sped up. Even with the fast video, [HTR] probably has many hours of footage to pare down to a 20-minute video.

The restoration begins with tearing the saw set apart. Every nut and bolt is removed. All the parts are cleaned, chemically de-rusted, and wire-wheeled. Even the motor is torn down, cleaned, and wired up. Then come the re-assembly. [HTR] gets every piece back in its proper place. We’re wondering how many times he had to refer to the teardown video to get everything right. Finally, the saw set is complete — ready for another 70 years of work.

16 thoughts on “Rescuing An Antique Saw Set

    1. There is a group of old tool enthusiasts that seldom pass up an opportunity to search estate sales, antique stores, yard/tag/rummage/garage sales to “rescue” another saw from having its blade painted and hung on the wall of a “rustic” restaurant. They like to call themselves “galoots”. Their wives are known as SWMBOs (She Who Must Be Obeyed), their daughters are SWMBettes, and their protege’s; GITs (Galoot In Training).
      For more information contact:

      (Don’t Ask Me How I Know That)

      1. Nice, I have a lot of old tools but I only get them to use them. There is one guy locally that’s a massive collection of everything tool and machinery related., It’s pretty neat.

    1. 13 year olds be like “4 months is a fortieth of my entire life!!!” … old farts be like, “Recent can be as long as just the other year, meaning up to about 7 years ago.”

  1. >>Finally, the saw is complete — ready for another 70 years of work.
    Just make sure you don’t wait another 70 years to adjust the set or sharpen your carbon steel handsaws :p (induction hardened modern saws aren’t easily sharpened bordering on disposable, though better for composite material)
    You should adjust the set every handful of sharpenings as the teeth migrate back.

  2. There is actually a need for certain ‘ancient’ manual tools. I still use a bit and brace, monkey wrench, and a crosscut saw on a semi-regular basis. 100-year old crosscut saws can command a fairly decent price, and there are still people out there who sharpen them. Said tools are usually used by us wilderness volunteers where mechanical tools (chainsaws, electric drills, etc) are explicitly banned by the wilderness act of 1964 (and for good reason!). It’s actually pretty amazing how fast a crosscut saw can go through a 12″ (or even 36″) tree that’s splayed across a trail, and how well the tools were designed 100+ years ago.

    1. I’d rather have an auger bit in a brace than strain most battery powered drills for large holes. I think this is an area where they still shine.
      Hand tools shine in the small workshop where you can’t justify the floor space of a jointer/planer or when you can’t justify the expense for a tool you use infrequently. A properly tuned plane can give a better finish than sand paper.
      You also don’t have to heat your workshop as much in the winter, cold? true up some stock!

      1. LOL. It’s true though… nothing to get the old juices flowing than a bit of hand planing. I try to do it daily, if only just to relax a bit. Hand planing doesn’t just smooth the wood but my nerves as well.

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