Shop-Made Saw Sharpening Vise

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Project by grfrazee posted 06-10-2013 04:18 PM 10302 views 22 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Since purchasing a couple of vintage saws and also watching Andy’s (Brit’s) video on saw sharpening, I’ve been wanting a saw vise to hold my saws for sharpening.

I’ve come across plenty of manufactured saw vises at antique stores and flea markets, but they all have jaws that top out around 12” wide. With a 26” long saw, that means moving the saw three times in the vise just to sharpen one side of the saw.

The design I have come up with uses some leftover SYP from my bench build as the main body with 3/4” x 1/8” angle iron for the jaws. A door hinge at the bottom and some threaded rod with a wing nut completes the vise action.

The angle iron jaws are 24” long. I know, this is still 2” shy of the 26” saw plates common with your typical handsaw, but this still gives plenty of real estate for sharpening. I added a vertical piece on the back so that I could clamp it in the tail vise of my bench and make the height adjustable (see the 4th pic).

There is still some finessing I need to do with the fit to get the tops of the jaws aligned. Also, I need to recess out the horizontal wooden pieces that hold the jaws so that sawbacks and handles can fit in (see the 2nd pic). Otherwise, I tested it out with one of my Disston rip saws and it works fine.

Update 2013-06-11: I have created a SketchUp model, which you can download here.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

11 comments so far

View luv2learn's profile


2848 posts in 2448 days

#1 posted 06-10-2013 04:39 PM

There is nothing like a little homemade innovation to resolve a need. Great solution, I like it.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View CL810's profile


3844 posts in 3133 days

#2 posted 06-10-2013 05:21 PM

Very nice. I like the angle iron idea.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View HerbC's profile


1790 posts in 3004 days

#3 posted 06-10-2013 06:39 PM

How is the angle iron held in place?

Inquiring minds want to know!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Don W's profile

Don W

18962 posts in 2712 days

#4 posted 06-10-2013 06:48 PM

AN excellent idea. I sharpened a couple of saws yesterday, and every time I do I tell myself to build a better vice. I’ve got a vintage, its to shaort and takes a wrench to get it tight enough to hold the saw. It’s also not as solid as I think it should be. I suppose they were made like that so they would fit in a tool box.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2284 days

#5 posted 06-10-2013 07:43 PM

@HerbC – one leg of the angles was drilled every 4” or so and screwed in place with 1-1/2” SPAX screws. I ended up using (4) screws per angle.

@Don – I will be making a SketchUp model sometime in the next few days if you want to follow that. I pretty much made this up on the fly once I bought the 4ft-long angle and a hinge. Took about 3 hours.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View Don W's profile

Don W

18962 posts in 2712 days

#6 posted 06-10-2013 08:04 PM

thanks for the offer, but I don’t have a tail vice, so that will be different anyhow. I’ll need to determine where and how I’ll attach it. I may just drop it in my end vice.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Brit's profile


7460 posts in 2988 days

#7 posted 06-11-2013 01:51 PM

Nice work. You’ll really appreciate the extra length. Good idea to use the angle iron.

In my experience, the more solid you can make the vise, the more you reduce the vibration and the easier it is to file a saw.

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

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2284 days

#8 posted 06-12-2013 02:30 AM

SketchUp model is complete. See description for link.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View steliart's profile


2802 posts in 2833 days

#9 posted 06-16-2013 06:57 PM

very cool idea. thx

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View bons's profile


47 posts in 2083 days

#10 posted 10-19-2013 12:19 AM

Do you need special software to download the file you posted with model? Nothing I try works?

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2284 days

#11 posted 10-21-2013 01:30 PM

@bons – you need SketchUp to use the file.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

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