From the Saw Shop Hall of Shame: Damaged Atkins handsaw handle


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works restored antique tools

damaged atkins handsaw handle

Sometimes, in the process of working on customer tools or restoring tools for my inventory, I run across things that are so bad, they just beg for a Wall of Shame to put them on :).

This is (was) what should have been a decent little Atkins handsaw with a “flower” patten handle. It came to me in a bundle of other saws, otherwise I’d never have picked it up.

This is a great example of why I always say to NEVER leave a tool handle without finish on it (you can see where the original shellac finish chipped and peeled off the handle). Yup, that’s not only a split in the handle, it’s a vertical split following the blade slot. Unfortunately, that split severely compromises the structural integrity of the handle, so this saw was one for the trash.

Protect your tool handles!

Visit me at any of the following locations:

B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Saturday)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

Restored vintage tools for Christmas 2012, 3 days!: Gift Certificates


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

SwiftWater restored vintage tools

Got the last minute Christmas present blues?
Can’t decide on just the right vintage tool?

Give a gift certificate!

Valid for 1 year for any product or service we offer and saves money ($25 certificate for $20, $50 certificate for $40, $100 certificate for $80!), delivered to you digitally, just download and print!

It’s always in style, always the right color, and always the right size! Use it for a top quality restored vintage axe, handsaw, crosscut saw, plane, or a wide range of other tools from Disston, Atkins, Simonds, Stanley, True Temper, Kelley, Snow and Nealley, Plumb, and more! Or use it for sharpening, tool repair, or tool restoration services!

Give a gift certificate today!

Visit me at any of the following locations:

B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Saturday)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

Christmas 2012 Countdown Sale!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

SwiftWater restored vintage tools

Need a unique gift that you will NOT be able to find in any store anywhere? Take a restored, high quality, vintage tool from SwiftWater Edge Tool Works!

For 2 days only, Dec. 15 and Dec. 16, take 50% off the list price of any of our high quality restored vintage tools! Handsaws and crosscut saws by Disston, Atkins, and Simonds, axes and splitting mauls by True Temper, Kelley, Snow and Nealley, Collins, Atha, and Plumb, planes by Stanley and Keen Kutter, and more!

(sale price is applied to original list price and may not be combined with any other sale discount currently in progress)

Visit me at any of the following locations:

B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Saturday)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

Christmas 2012 Carpenter’s Package (handsaw set) Sale!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

SwiftWater restored vintage tools

Need a unique gift that you will NOT be able to find in any store anywhere? Take a restored, high quality, vintage tool from SwiftWater Edge Tool Works!

Here’s a Christmas special for carpenters (or anyone else!) needing a set of top quality handsaws to outfit their tool box. Disston, Atkins, Simonds, and other quality restored vintage saws available!

Take 2 handsaws (1 rip, 1 crosscut) from our stock or custom order and take HALF OFF the lesser price saw!

or

Take 3 handsaws (1 rip, 2 crosscut) from our stock or custom order and get the lowest price saw FREE!

Sale good until 12/24/12.

Call me at 207-399-7108 or email me to order, or visit me at any of the following locations:

B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Saturday)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

From the Saw Shop, questions and answers: axe handles, axe sizes,Disston vs Atkins, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works restored antique tools

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers!

1. (axe handle finish, linseed oil vs urethane?)

Unless you want to create a totally miserable tool to use (and at least a bit dangerous), don’t ever clearcoat an axe handle with urethane of any type. Most replacement axe handles today come with glossy urethane on them, guaranteed to be slippery and hard to control (and at least a bit dangerous) and give you blisters if used with bare hands.

Boiled linseed oil is the proper finish for axe handles (as well as most wooden tool handles of any type). I typically include a bit of spar urethane for durability, but it MUST be mixed in and not applied separately to avoid creating a glossy surface.

2. (difference between a full size and 3/4 size axe?)

The old designations of axe sizes such as 3/4 size are a bit obsolete. It’s far more useful to classify axes by head weight and handle length.

1 1/2lb, 12″ handle hatchet, very light chopping, very light kindling splitting, campfire wood

1 3/4lb, 16-18″ handle hand axe, same as hatchet

2 to 2 1/2lb, 24″ to 28″ handle boy’s axe, light chopping and splitting, stove wood, great camp axe

3 to 3 1/2lb, 28″ handle full size poll axe, medium chopping and splitting

3 1/2lb to 5lb, 36″ handle splitting axe, heavy splitting

3. (which is better, Disston or Atkins saws?)

This is the Ford vs Chevy question. Disston, Atkins, and Simonds were the 3 900 lb gorillas of handsaw manufacturing. All 3 made everything from top quality excellent grade saws to low cost economy grade saws. Other than specialty features, such as the Disston D-8 thumbhole handle rip saw, I don’t think there’s enough difference to turn one brand down in favor of another as a user saw. It appears to me that Atkins OEM’d a lot more of their saws for other people so you’re a lot less likely to find Atkins marked saws than Disston or Simonds.

4. (question about retempering an axe head)

Unless you have access to a forge, I’d forget trying to temper an axe head. There are only two reasons I can think of to ever want to mess with the temper of an axe head. Either the head has been sharpened so much that it’s worn through the original temper, or the axe has been through a high heat event such as a fire. In the old days, blacksmiths would take worn out axe heads and draw the bit out to extend it’s life. I can’t think of any head today that would be worth that kind of effort. If you have an axe head that’s been through enough of a fire to draw the temper, do yourself a favor and deep six it, it’s unlikely to ever be truly safe again.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Saturday)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

Saw shop questions and answers: axe handle shims,


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

And we’re back! You’ve got questions, I’ve got the answers!

1. (question about shimming axe handles)

If an axe handle will not hold solid when properly wedged or will not tighten up when treated with boiled linseed oil, do NOT trying to shim between the handle and the axe eye. I can’t say it enough, this is a dangerous thing to do. Either reseat the head further down the original handle or replace the handle.

2. (question about the finish of old Disston saw handles)

Most old saw handles I start off with for my restorations, whether Disston, Simonds, Atkins, or almost any other, were finished with a tinted shellac. This is entirely a non-penetrating finish that sits on top of the wood. Of course, shellac deteriorates and then flakes, so you’re left with bare wood and then the handle deteriorates. My handle finish is a penetrating linseed oil finish that will never flake off.

3. (question about determining the age of a Sager Chemical Axe)

Every Sager Chemical Axe I’ve run across has the date of manufacture marked on the head.

4. (question about mushrooming on a poll axe).

Mushrooming of the poll on a poll axe is almost always the result of pounding on steel splitting wedges. A poll axe isn’t a splitting maul folks, pounding wedges will not only damage the poll of the axe, eventually it will distort or break the eye (notice that axe eyes have thin sides, maul eyes have very thick sides). As a rule, I don’t grind mushroomed axe polls unless they’re severely bad. The weight of the poll provides the momentum to drive the axe bit as well as balances the head. Grinding metal off the poll throws both of these things out of whack.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Fridays)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru Labor Day)

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

Announcing new sharpening pick up location and sales partner, B&G Treasures, Norridgewock ME.


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works is pleased to announce our newest full service sharpening pick up and drop off location! B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock ME is now accepting drop off and providing pick up of customer orders of our sharpening services! B&G Treasures is open every Wednesday through Saturday, 10am-5pm.

We’re also pleased to announce that B&G Treasures is also carrying our restored vintage handsaws for sale. Disston, Atkins, Simonds, and other quality tools, made in the USA, re-made GREAT in Maine, you can’t get tools like these from WalMart!

Visit me at any of the following locations:

11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Fridays)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!