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The Slippery Slope #11: Saw Sharpening - Im done waiting!

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Blog entry by chrisstef posted 07-11-2013 12:38 PM 1527 reads 0 times favorited 89 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Saw Files, 75% delivery, and more waiting. Part 11 of The Slippery Slope series Part 12: Saw sharpening - mission accomplished. »

Patience has never been a virtue of mine so I decided that instead of waiting for my 8” files to arrive in the mail I would change gears and sharpen a different saw. Rip saws being a bit easier to file, I went to the next rip saw in the till that I had the proper file for. This case its a Disston D6, 22” 10 ppi rip saw. Sharpened with a 6” xslim file.

This saw had previously been filed like a vertical v groove and wouldn’t cut a BLT sammich. Yes I said sammich. So I clamped it down into my saw vice and sighted the teeth to get a general idea of what it was doing. Luckily it was a very straight, level tooth line, so not a ton of jointing was required. I just want to create some flats, or shiners’, at the the tops of the teeth. Easy enough. Done.

I gathered up all my concentration, inserted a 6” xslim saw file into a handle, attached the Veritas rake / angle guide, took a deep breath and had at it. 10 ppi over 22 inches leaves me with 220 teeth to file. At 8 strokes per tooth, that’s a lot of stroking, currently im half way home in reshaping the teeth.

I think this will be a good spot to let you guys know what I have learned during my first 11” of saw filing and answer any questions that a saw filing rookie can.

Here’s my first few teeth being shaped. As you can see, to the left, are the original teeth, what im gonna call “v grooved”. To the right are the first teeth ive ever shaped. Im shooting for 8 degrees of rake (twist of the wrist) and no fleam (the angle at which you sharpen in comparison to the saw plate).

The first 7 teeth (from the right) are now pointed at the tops, slightly below the existing tooth line, and have something resembling consistency. The gullets are also in a fairly straight line. Sweet.

Now ive got more pics that ill be posting as we move along here but I wanna talk a little about what ive learned and not make this War and Peace.

1) The first stroke on a new tooth is jumpy. As you progress the filing gets smoother and smoother.

2) Sighting the teeth is tough on a 10 ppi saw. I frequently placed it in the wrong gullet. It take a lot of concentration to repeat the stroke time and time again. I found that when I would look up and away from the plate to check my rake angle I would lose that concentration and miss a tooth or file an all ready shaped tooth.

3) I tried to aim the file “between the shiners”. That’s what helped my pea brain keep on the proper tooth.

4) You want to remove 1/2 of the shiner on each tooth as you sharpen, pressure straight down with your file. As you progress to the next tooth you’ll remove the other half of the shiner.

Im about half way home with the shaping of the teeth on this saw. There’s still a few steps after this initial shaping but im really pleased at the progress. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be but does demand some serious concentration. After an hour or so my eyes were bleeding and i was mentally whooped. It felt great.

More to come gang ….

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty



89 comments so far

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4823 posts in 1277 days


#1 posted 07-11-2013 12:54 PM

Are you using any magnification?

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10840 posts in 1660 days


#2 posted 07-11-2013 12:58 PM

I didn’t use any Lys but im thinking that a trip out for some magnifying glasses wouldn’t hurt at all. I was pretty squinty by the end.

Something like these are what ill be after:

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View terryR's profile

terryR

3111 posts in 962 days


#3 posted 07-11-2013 01:06 PM

Great to see you having some luck, bud! 6 months from now…those sharp teeth will just pop out in front of your eyes while your magic hands are making filings!!! :)

I received my Somax saw set last night…bummer…I was hoping for better instructions to accompany the tool. Looks like I’ll wait and follow Stef’s advice (and Andy’s…hello!) when that time comes…

+1 to what Scotty asked? We received our flourescent lights woth lens from LV last night…wife loves ‘em! :)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10840 posts in 1660 days


#4 posted 07-11-2013 01:10 PM

As for the saw set Terry, I fiddled with the one I got from Veritas a little bit. I plan on dialing it all the way back to zero set and testing it against the saw plate where it will be hidden from the handle. Id set that as my bench mark. Gently increase the setting and set the teeth lightly. Test out how the saw cuts and make any adjustments from there. Im without a micrometer currently.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Brit's profile

Brit

5148 posts in 1497 days


#5 posted 07-11-2013 01:17 PM

Hooray…you’re off and running. I remember the first saw I sharpened (I stupidly picked a 16ppi dovetail saw) and how mentally and physically drained I felt afterwards. Concentration overload!

The good news is though that after you have done two or three saws, you will have developed enough muscle memory to almost move the file to the next gullet without looking. You’ll know how much pressure to apply and in which direction and you’ll find you’ll just do it. Concentrate now on achieving perfection on the first two or three saws and perfection will be what your body remembers after that.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10840 posts in 1660 days


#6 posted 07-11-2013 01:25 PM

Ya mean ive gotta do more than one Andy? Lol. I couldn’t have done it without ya. You’re a good teacher buddy.

Most definitely off and running, excited about it too. It’s 9:30 and I cant wait until I get home to do some more work all ready!

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View racerglen's profile

racerglen

2303 posts in 1434 days


#7 posted 07-11-2013 01:28 PM

Steph, I’ve found some blackboard chalk to be a great help in sighting on the teeth, it’s also a great place marker for when the beer bell, err supper bell, rings

;-)

(cleanup’s great too, chalk’s also a very fine type polish/cleaner .)

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5302 posts in 1252 days


#8 posted 07-11-2013 01:39 PM

Hard core stuff. Can any of the saw sharpening experts do a cost of professional sharping estimate vs a cost of tooling up and time per saw estimate? I assume in the long run, doing them yourself is cost/time effective. It is just that first one that costs as much as a new saw? Well…less the satisfaction of doing it yourself…of course.

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10840 posts in 1660 days


#9 posted 07-11-2013 01:47 PM

Let’s see if I can break it down:

Up front costs: @ $150. Including files, files handles, saw set, saw vice, jointing file, and misc goodies. But ive got enough files now to sharpen 4 different ppi of saws 12 times each, or 48 saws in total.

Time: Im going to figure 3 hours for my first one @ $25/hr = $75.00

So off the hop im at $225.00 for the first saw. Thinking ill get better each time I could get down to 2 hours each depending. $50 a piece considering an hourly rate of $25 an hour.

From Joe’s website at Second chance:

Shaping – $35 – $75 for hand saws
Setting, jointing, sharpening: $35

So the market is between $70 – $110 per saw.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Brit's profile

Brit

5148 posts in 1497 days


#10 posted 07-11-2013 01:49 PM

Shane – Do you know where I can send my chisels and plane irons to be sharpened? I don’t fancy spending $260 on buying a set of stones. :o)

Also, would you rather be without your saw for a couple of weeks, or take 10 minutes to sharpen it and put it back in the till? When people send their saws out to be sharpened, they tend to wait until they are really blunt in order to make it cost effective. That means that for a lot of the time before they send it out, they are using a saw that is less than sharp. If you sharpen your own saws, you will always be using a sharp saw.

Just my opinion.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4823 posts in 1277 days


#11 posted 07-11-2013 01:56 PM

Hell, just the hope of keeping my stones properly serviced has cost me two kids and a mortgage. Talk about a crazy cost analysis.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10840 posts in 1660 days


#12 posted 07-11-2013 02:00 PM

48 saws @ $50 a piece (labor) + up front costs ( $150 in materials) at an average of 48 saws (how many I can sharpen with the gear I bought) = $53.13 per saw.

$53.13 per saw x 48 saws = $2,550

Average price per saw farmed out = $90×48 saws = $4,320

Break even will occur at 3.75 saws. So after I sharpen my 4th saw ill be ahead of the game. Ive got about 10 to do and ill gain the added knowledge and old school awesomeness of knowing how to do it.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10840 posts in 1660 days


#13 posted 07-11-2013 02:02 PM

Glen – good advice on the chalk. I think Andy used a marker in his video and I seemed to have forgotten completely about it. Ill give it a shot tonight provided I get another hour free to shape some more teeth.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4823 posts in 1277 days


#14 posted 07-11-2013 02:23 PM

Stef, you are pretty darn good at this cost analysis stuff. Can you help me figure out how many IPAs I’d have to drink to break even on a kegerator?

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5302 posts in 1252 days


#15 posted 07-11-2013 02:26 PM

OK, that that is some good info. With my shop time being almost none for the longest time now. I find myself being more critical in terms of time expenditure. There is always that grey line of working on tools vs working with tools.

Andy, send the chisels over. I will take care of them for you buddy. No problem.

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