Thread Number: 41114  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
Vintage Craftsman Saber Saws
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Post# 436388   12/17/2020 at 10:25 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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So my quasi-girlfriend (our official status is very ill-defined right now) said she wanted a power saw for Christmas. I tried to get her to specify what kind of power saw but I was only able to narrow things down to the point that she said she didn't want a circular saw. To my mind, that pretty much left either a reciprocating "sawzall" type saw or a handheld jigsaw/saber saw, so I opted for the latter since it's pretty versatile and easy to handle.

I was unimpressed with the quality of the overpriced hunks of 'chinesium' I was seeing on the store shelves, so I decided vintage was the better choice. After looking on eBay, I found a Craftsman model 315.27731 "Industrial Rated" saber saw from the early '60s, all metal, made in USA (back when that actually still meant something), in pristine condition with its original box, instruction booklet and an assortment of blades that don't look like they've ever been used. The booklet has a print date of 12/62 so I'm guessing the saw was manufactured sometime in 1963 or '64. The only problem is it's a lot nicer than the 30-year-old Craftsman saber saw I have and I know her well enough to realize the first thing she'll do after she opens it is toss the box in the trash. This realization has put me in a bit of a quandary. The collector in me wants to keep it for myself—in its original box!

Fortunately, a solution presented itself a few days after I bought the first saw when I got an email from another eBay seller with the same model saw, albeit in not quite as nice condition. He offered it to me for about a third off the original asking price and somewhat less than I paid for the first saw, so it took it. That saw came today and it runs great but has a few cosmetic issues. The shiny metal body—I'm assuming it's cast aluminum—will clean up nicely with some Mother's. Its only real issue is it looks like it sat in a basement and got some surface rust on the sole plate. If I can get the plate off the saw, I'd like to sand the rust off it, leaving the metal bare on the bottom but maybe coat it with some oil or silicone to inhibit further rust and spray the upper portion with some gloss black paint, just to make it look presentable as a gift.

You can see pictures of the two saws below. I've kind of fallen in love with the retro-futuristic atomic/space age styling. The first one, with all its original packaging, is as shiny as the day it was new. The second one will benefit from a little Mother's and the aforementioned rust treatment. The motor doesn't appear to have suffered any moisture damage whatsoever. From a functional standpoint both saws are in great shape for their age.

It's not the most romantic gift and I certainly did not intend for us to have 'his and hers' power saws, but hey, that's just the way it turned out.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size

Post# 436450 , Reply# 1   12/19/2020 at 01:05 by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Good little machines-simple-not much to go wrong.GREAT finds!Back when the Craftsman brand was good for something!

Post# 436452 , Reply# 2   12/19/2020 at 01:59 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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My grandpa had one of those. I sold it in the estate sale. I probably would've kept it, but it really was in poor shape, and I have much nicer ones.

You should do something a little special with it. Not too special. idk maybe wrap the handle in pink tape or something. Just to personalize it a bit.

Post# 436464 , Reply# 3   12/19/2020 at 10:59 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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I'm about the same age as those two saws and I grew up with Craftsman tools. It's all my dad would buy. It's a testament to the quality of the vintage tools that carry the Craftsman name that after decades of use, they're still better than the crappy Chinese-made Craftsman-branded tools on store shelves today. As far as I'm concerned, they aren't even the genuine article. My dad and grandfather schooled me well on the false economy of buying cheap shit. It's better to buy something of good quality once and have it last a lifetime than to buy something cheap and have to replace it over and over. It's a shame the rest of the world has forgotten that important lesson. Picking up vintage, American-made Craftsman tools today for a pittance just enhances the value proposition.

Post# 436485 , Reply# 4   12/19/2020 at 16:42 by human (Pines of Carolina)        
Got it cleaned up...

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So I finally got some time this afternoon to work on the saber saw I'm giving the quasi-girlfriend. Although I was unable to get the sole plate off of the saw, I got it cleaned up pretty well. Turns out most of what was on the top side wasn't rust but gunked-up sawdust and grease. I got most of the rust off of the bottom with an orbital sander but it's still kind of pitted. I gave it a good spay-down with silicone spray and I think it'll be okay. I polished the aluminum body with Mothers, just a good hand rubbing, and it came out very nice. For the record, vintage Craftsman power tools will shine up every bit as nicely as vintage Kirby vacuum cleaners. That's not to say it's perfect but it's certainly quite presentable. She values function over form so it should pass muster.

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