The only pragmatic way for a SawMonger like myself to go about restoring saws is to work in batches. It allows for no one part of the process to get overly monotonous.
However, the start of the process, sanding plates takes the prize as the dullest, energy sucks part; while at the same time, being mindless. Yes we all strive to excel at unskilled labor. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.
However as I sand (trying not to hunch my back) sanding over my workbench. I take solace in knowing I’m part of the circle of value for these old tools. There is joy in the fact I’m retuning the high value, pride, and respect they deserve.
Evidence to this point can be seen in the owners marks on both the handles and spines of countless vintage saws. Looking at them you can trace the value of the saw through the quality of their marks. The latest being done when they had no vale, owners initials carved with dull pen knife or rusty ice-pick. Juxtaposed that to the aesthetically placed metal stamp of the original cabinetmakers. Old catalogs remind us that these once great saws cost for many a full weeks wages and their marks reflected not just protection from theft but their pride in ownership.
One of the pleasures I have in restoring them is the knowledge that I’ve help to reinstate that pride in ownership. As most of the new owners I hear from are please as punch and wouldn’t dream of carving their name in them with a rusty nail.
And with that close of that thought, I move to the next grit of sandpaper. Paying attention to the nuances of the plate, and the story they tell.
head down, nose to the grindstone