Tool Tweaks #3: Saw Sharpening Pt.2

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Blog entry by Dorje posted 02-04-2008 09:55 AM 5844 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Learning to Sharpen Saws Part 3 of Tool Tweaks series no next part

Got back out to the shop and made the little guide blocks as seen in the Vintage Saws site tutorial.

The use of the blocks really did help to maintain the rake angle and give you something to hold on to when filing. I continued to file all the teeth from one side until they all had a uniform shape.

After the teeth were shaped, I set them using a standard set with a range of 4-12 TPI settings. I used a set similar to this one:

I jointed lightly once again and filed the teeth lightly from both sides this time (alternating every tooth). It’s important to file the teeth that are set away from you. I ended up using two passes on each side to remove the flats and file the teeth to sharp points that do not reflect light on the cutting edge. Here’s what I ended up with:

I’m pretty pleased. Remember what the teeth looked like originally? Here you go:

I was able to take a saw that literally could not cut, and sharpen it to a real decent cutting saw that cuts straight (or as straight as I can cut) and fits snug in the kerf without binding:

A little more technical info:

The saw blade is .020” thick and it now has an overall set of .006” or .003” per side, achieved by systematically honing the sides of the teeth to reduce the set. I think it took 3-4 passes per side with a coarse diamond hone. After setting the teeth, the saw had an overall set of .012” (with the saw set on it’s finest setting). Even that would be a lot better than the original .022” of set the saw came with, which would make the kerf .042” or twice as thick as the blade!

This saw with 13 TPI filed RIP with an 8 degree rake angle cuts fast and clean.

Next, I’ll tune the crosscut saw…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

10 comments so far

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3759 days

#1 posted 02-04-2008 12:22 PM

Looks really good! Some very nice cuts there!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4124 days

#2 posted 02-04-2008 01:49 PM

I think you are very patient

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3985 days

#3 posted 02-04-2008 03:49 PM

Dorje, your passion is really evident with this project. Most would cave in a buy a high end saw and miss the adrenaline rush of doing it yourself.
Good on you man.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4077 days

#4 posted 02-05-2008 03:16 AM

A lot of good information. I haven’t tackled sharpening a saw yet, but it is something I will have to try. I’ll have try some black and white pictures. I really like the detail and contrast you get with your photos.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3952 days

#5 posted 02-05-2008 03:27 AM

Pretty good information there. Good job.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4057 days

#6 posted 02-05-2008 06:30 AM

Awesome. Thanks for the update! Those are some nice kerfs you cut and nice touch with the shot of the vertical placement of the saw.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View mranum's profile


131 posts in 3379 days

#7 posted 01-29-2009 05:58 AM

Doing some reading on learning to do this, and I must say that this is an excellent blog.

-- Just remember,it was a lone amatuer that built the ark, and a team of experts built the Titanic.

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4364 days

#8 posted 01-29-2009 06:11 AM

Some more great info. Thanks for the blogs.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4364 days

#9 posted 01-29-2009 06:12 AM

Is this saw set up to cut on the pull or the push stroke?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3960 days

#10 posted 01-29-2009 06:20 AM

Thanks guys -

Karson this is a western style saw, so it cuts on the push…

mranum – good luck with your sharpening adventures…

I still need to try some more of this!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

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