I took a Woodcraft class last year called Hand Tool Basics and Sharpening. Took me through sharpening cabinet scrapers, chisels, hand planes and saws. A little bit about how to use them, but nothing significant. Loved the class, and I have to say I’m very happy with the sharpness of the chisels and plane blades I have done on my own since that class.
Today I needed to cut up some MDF for a shooting board. Not knowing if MDF is good or bad for saws, I decided I didn’t want to risk my Crown dovetail saw. So I got out my cheap garden-variety Stanley, which I bought new a few years ago. And since I didn’t really think highly of this saw, and didn’t care what happened to it, I figured what the hey, may as well try to sharpen it! Worst case scenario, it doesn’t cut great and I have to spend another $10 for one. If I replaced it at all.
Well, the sharpened saw cut great through MDF, although what do I know, maybe MDF is like butter compared to real wood. Here you can see what my saw’s teeth generally looked like. On the right are the teeth I’ve already sharpened, I was moving from your right to left (the pic was taken from the back though) – click for a larger image:
Well, I checked online and what I found only confirmed that I know jack squat about sharpening a saw. And to be entirely honest, I have no idea whether this Stanley is a rip or cross-cut saw. I don’t know its TPI or what TPI is even good for what kind of sawing. I don’t know what my Crown is good for except dovetails, although my Woodcraft instructor said I’d probably want to use the Crown to cut anything, no matter the job. I don’t know how sharpening style differs based on the saw – I just did the Stanley exactly like I did my Crown.
So while I was kind of proud of the above picture when I took it, now I feel kind of dorky. One of these days I’ll go back to the Stanley and try to go by the book. But it’ll be a while; it’s not high on the list.