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In History is the Future
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OH! haha, I think I know what you have going on.

Some saw's plates have hole punched through the plate with the handle in place. That leaves little teeth folded over that hook the handle making it almost impossible to remove the handle without damaging or breaking the handle. Does this sound like what you are seeing?

You could try driving a very thin paint scraper along the saw plate between the handle to free it up. You could drill the holes out slightly larger to knock the burs off or clean around it as best you can without removing the handle or break the handle and make new ones.
 

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In History is the Future
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6,422 Posts
Depending on the type of rivet they can either be removed by either driving the through with a punch or they have to be drilled out. Replacement brass rivets can be purchased at most knife making supply stores / web sites. Ebay, Badaxe and a few others have more appropriate split nuts and saw medallions for saws.

Many vintage saws feature split nuts. With high wear the split nuts can be smashed and or worn down and look like rivets. So don't be too quick to discount that possibility. If they ARE split nuts it will take some creativity to remove.
 
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