Brooksbank backsaw rehab

new screwsWorking on the articulated vise, I got out an old in-progress saw handle and worked on it. Which made me think I should actually turn it into a saw, seeing as I had all the parts sitting there in the box. Then I rat holed thinking about the length and making a welded spine (vs screwed), yada, yada, yada. To avoid making a decision but actually do something, I pulled the A. Brooksbank Malinda Works backsaw that I had gotten off of EBay a looong time ago; lovely handle, very heavy folded brass spine and very nicely tapered plate (14″ x 3″+ under the spine) . Far as I can tell/guess, made in the mid 1800s. The minor detail: the plate had a wave in it, which I had made much worse trying to fix. So I pulled it out of the rack and tried to fix the plate again, with the same miserable results. Which meant either: Wallflower (actually a good option) or new plate, which I was loathe to do since the original had such a nice taper. But I sucked it up and pulled some 0.025″ 1095 sheet and cut out a blank, clamped the old plate to the new with C-clamps, stuck it in the saw vise and proceeded to file new teeth.

old and new screwsOK, got a new plate, how to attach it? As the [top] photo shows, the original saw screws are puny, two had busted and the other was stripped. And I loathe split nuts. But I really want this saw to look original, so suck it up again and off to the lathe I go (this post shows how I make them). I made them way over size (#10(3/16″) vs #6(1/8″+)). The first ones I necked down to a #6 thread but they sucked (my die is garbage, I didn’t have a #8 die, blah, blah, blah) so I made another set and left the shank straight. I drilled out the [original] nuts (which are a PITA to hold when drilling) and ran a tap through.
To age the new screws, I dunked them in cold bluing solution, nasty shit that works well. Oh yeah, to match the surface texture, the top of the screws are as-cut-from-the-bandsaw, with a bit of wire wheel clean up. You can judge the result in the handle, there is a mix of old and new there.
I drilled the plate with a carbide spade bit, they are great in hard sheet metal, nice round hole and the sheet doesn’t want to climb the drill. I try to make sure the plate butts against the back of the slot in handle so it doesn’t attempt cut the screws. I mark the holes with a transfer punch.
Then back to the saw vise, add flem and set the teeth (and repeat a couple of times to get it right). I stone them (because everybody must get stoned) then wrap a sheet of paper around the plate and clamp it in a mill vise (hard, flat precision jaws) to get a consistent set (more in this post, including a link to a video of setting the teeth). At around 0.008″ (total) the set is on the thin side of just right. Oh, how I miss that tapered plate.

And testing. This video is the second cut and the saw still a bit grabby (stoning helps but it still needs to see some action). Candle wax is the white crud on the plate. The bench wants to dance around the room, it is usually jammed up against the wall but the camera is there (part way through the video I step on one of the legs to stabilize it). I think you can see why I’m using clamps, it’s not just my wimpy bench hook.

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