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