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Shop's Log #15: Saw Sharpening Clamp

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Blog entry by terryR posted 10-31-2014 06:31 PM 2186 reads 2 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Turned Boxes Part 15 of Shop's Log series Part 16: Stanley No.3 Restored »

Hi everyone, Welcome to another blog WITHOUT pipes. LOL.

I’ve finally decided to take the walk down the saw sharpening path…have been putting it off for over a year! I fully expect a rocky beginning, but hope the trail eases out with time. Luckily, you LJ’s are full of information and love to share.

My initial attempts at re-shaping teeth were an abomination to the craft due to lack of fresh reading, and NOT even knowing how to properly adjust my Veritas saw filing jig. My fault completely…didn’t read the instructions. Yep, I went to Engineering school…gotta TELL me to RTFM every once in a while. LOL.

And, the simple method I was using to clamp the saw’s plate in my leg vise between 2×4’s, was too low to work comfortably. My post-op back certainly didn’t let me forget that mistake the next day!

Time to get serious, and build a dedicated saw sharpening vise. Or, as I call my build, a saw clamp…since it has no hardware at all and relies on another vise or clamp to hold the plate tightly.

After a brief Google search, I chose a simple version I saw on Close Grain here: http://www.closegrain.com/2011/06/building-lie-nielsen-saw-vise.html

..built from scraps, leather hinges, lots of variables I could change…Let’s do it…

I started by laying out how large the inside of the clamp should be to hold a full-sized saw WITH tote. Ahh, a Disston No.7 should do nicely…

I chose 9” as the outside dimension based on that photo. And 1.5” tall spacers at the top and bottom of the clamp should work just fine…How do you like the old tote on the saw? It’s ONE year old. LOL!

So, following my sketch, and the image from Close Grain, I grabbed some 3/4” Baltic Birch ply and began to size it for front and back. I wanted the clamp to hold my longest saw, so I wouldn’t have to stop my work flow and turn the saw around for rips…so chose 29” for overall length.

I’m not sure if I should apologize to anyone for that photo…but I love the irony of the DeWalt vs. the bronze LN in the same photo. Sorry to admit it, but this is how I’ve been dealing with pieces of ply I want to be square. Cut outside the line with the power tool, and true up with hand tool…

...smoother for fast removal, then the No.95 for a few final passes. Certainly NOT fast, or ideal. But, I suck with the table saw.

Next, I grabbed a pine 2×5” off the floor and cross-cut it to length. Then used the No.164 to remove the rounded over edge.

Just recently sharpened this iron for the FIRST time since owning the plane! Now, shavings just whisp off stock…thinner than my shop has ever seen.

A quick trip to the bandsaw for ripping…

...yep, THIS is the one task in the shop that I cannot bring myself to use hand tools for. Ripping 29” or so. I’m pretty sure I’d cut a worse line than Mr. Grizzly did in the above photo.

Then, the edges have to be re-trued back to a marking line…on the workpiece…AND the stock that I want 3 more sticks from! I’m starting to see why it takes me so long to build anything…must use table saw for stuff like this.

In fact, this was the end of work for the first day since it was already after dark, and my blood sugar was dropping. Lucky for me. Why? The next day, I spent an hour removing rusty tools from the top of my table saw and re-positioning the out feed table. Then, it took just a few seconds to cut the remaining spacers for the saw clamp.

I still went over each piece with a smoother for a few passes just to get that shaving craving, though. LOL.

I also found a piece of red oak left over from the leg vise, and cut it in half for outside cleats on my clamp. The cleats keep the whole rig at a certain height once dropped into the leg vise, and also hold onto the big ole saw clamp while the saw is being finely positioned.

True to what I had seen on the web, I used leather on the base of the clamp for hinges. Thus far, they seem to work just fine!

Above, you can see me testing where to position the cleats so that a saw plate ends up about 3-4” below my elbow. I centered one cleat in front and back, and simply attached them with wood screws. That way, I can easily change the height later if needed.

The inner spacers were attached with TB in the green bottle and finish nails.

Unfortunately, I was in a hurry when nailing the upper spacers, and placed the nails far too close to the upper edge to allow much of a chamfer. This chamfer is of great importance since it allows the filing jig to get closer to the saw, thus using more of the file’s length. Ooops. I didn’t draw the chamfer in my plan. Next lesson learned…

I tried to pull ONE finish nail out…ONCE! After stopping the bleeding, I probably won’t try that again. LOL. Had to be another approach…

I placed a row of nails in the proper location, then ground the upper ones down a bit with the Dremel. Kinda left some ugly scars on the finished build, but I can always fill these slots if my knuckles find them later.

Here you can see the completed clamp posing with the same No.7. I used my No.62 to form the chamfers on front and rear…and even HIT one of the darned nails I had not seen! Bollocks. Oh well, it was time to sharpen that one anyway…

Certainly no piece of Fine Woodworking…but a useful learning tool IMO. Heck, I already learned TWO things from the build…use the table saw to cut repetitive parts, and mark out where I want the nails and screws on the plan!

A brief coat of Howard’s Oil for a finish…

...really brings out the end grain in the ply, huh? LOL. No worries, I’m pretty sure this thing will be covered with steel fibers soon enough.

Here, the clamp is posing with a beautiful Disston No.12, my largest user. So, hopefully, it will last through my learning years with no problems. I’ve also positioned it mid-bench in the photo to FINALLY get some use out of this enormous apron on my bench! LOL.

Seriously, it’s a versatile clamp that could be held in many ways. This took a bit of fettling to correctly position the saw, but offers another option if the leg vise were busy. I kinda feel the holdfasts would loosen slowly with vibration, but two of those expensive Veritas clamps would do the trick!

Thanks for reading along…suggestions are more than welcomed since I am just a beginner on this path.

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



17 comments so far

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

8073 posts in 1752 days


#1 posted 10-31-2014 06:37 PM

Looks like it should work nicely. One thing I did, was glue thick drawer liner/anti-slip mat to the jaws of my saw vice. This helped quite a bit with vibrations while sharpening. Might be worth it if you have that issue.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

15656 posts in 2466 days


#2 posted 10-31-2014 07:11 PM

Mos’ suggestion is a good one. Big Red recently hooked it up with a piece of leather that ive used on the jaws of my smaller vice and the difference is huge. Not only are the vibrations annoying sounding but they take away from the “bite” of the file in my opinion. Always looking for the least amount of file strokes as possible. Get it done buddy!

-- rock, chalk, jayhawk

View terryR's profile

terryR

6313 posts in 1768 days


#3 posted 10-31-2014 10:45 PM

Sounds good…have non-slip liner and tons of leather. Anything to cut down the screeching! :)

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

View summerfi's profile

summerfi

3315 posts in 1147 days


#4 posted 11-01-2014 12:04 AM

Good job on the clamp/vise, Terry. It actually looks a lot like my saw vise.

One thing I did was attach uprights on the back. I clamp these in my bench vise instead of the saw vise itself, and this allows me to open the saw vise without opening the bench vise. I then secure the saw vise closed with a couple C-clamps. I’ve found attaching a closepin type clamp on the top edge of the saw keeps it from falling down inside the vise while I’m adjusting it to proper position. Also be sure to put a level on the top of your saw vise before each use. If it’s off, you’ll end up with a different rake angle when you swap ends with the saw.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html

View August McCormick Lehman III's profile

August McCormick Lehman III

1753 posts in 950 days


#5 posted 11-01-2014 12:58 AM

Men lookng at this pictures make me wanna try to make it this out aluminuim and steel and brass.
HMMMMMMM
Looks like I need to toooooo

-- https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/114897950873317692653/114897950873317692653/posts/p/pub

View yuridichesky's profile

yuridichesky

624 posts in 1424 days


#6 posted 11-01-2014 02:34 PM

This is nice and practical one. Favorited. Good job.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View terryR's profile

terryR

6313 posts in 1768 days


#7 posted 11-01-2014 03:25 PM

Thanks for the tips, Bob. Hard to believe you do such nice work in such a humble vise! The spring clamps are a great idea…and a level…

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

View Brit's profile

Brit

6711 posts in 2303 days


#8 posted 11-01-2014 09:11 PM

Nice one Terry. It will make a hell of a difference to your filing.

-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)

View duckmilk's profile

duckmilk

1660 posts in 784 days


#9 posted 11-02-2014 12:45 AM


I ve found attaching a closepin type clamp on the top edge of the saw keeps it from falling down inside the vise while I m adjusting it to proper position. Also be sure to put a level on the top of your saw vise before each use. If it s off, you ll end up with a different rake angle when you swap ends with the saw.

- summerfi

Wow!! Great tips there bob! I have only sharpened 3 saws thus far and never thought about inadvertently changing rake angle from it not being level.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View duckmilk's profile

duckmilk

1660 posts in 784 days


#10 posted 11-02-2014 12:55 AM

Terry, one question. You said “I wanted the clamp to hold my longest saw, so I wouldn’t have to stop my work flow and turn the saw around for rips…”

Does that mean you turn the whole clamp around to file the other side vs turning the saw around in the clamp?

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View Don W's profile

Don W

17955 posts in 2028 days


#11 posted 11-02-2014 12:27 PM

Nice project Terry.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View terryR's profile

terryR

6313 posts in 1768 days


#12 posted 11-02-2014 01:42 PM

Mike, no flipping of saw at all…until I get to cross cut filing.

I also made it 29” long, so I wouldn’t have to stop, and re-position the saw, thus losing muscle memory on long plates.

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

View duckmilk's profile

duckmilk

1660 posts in 784 days


#13 posted 11-02-2014 04:17 PM

OK. I was under the impression that I should file into the teeth that are leaning toward me, even on rip saws. That way, there would not be a burr on the outside of the teeth leaning away from me.

After you have read the Veritas instructions (dig, dig), how do you like it? I am ready to shell out the cash for one, especially since my next victim is a 12 tpi backsaw with cows and calves (no goats).

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View terryR's profile

terryR

6313 posts in 1768 days


#14 posted 11-02-2014 06:07 PM

Mike, i’m learning…but from what I remember, “File the fronts of the teeth leaning away from you”.

Like the Veritas tool now! LOL. Would rather has the expensive Blacburn version…but it wouldn’t improve my skills. :(

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

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

8737 posts in 1300 days


#15 posted 11-02-2014 06:40 PM

Great vise Terry! I understand what you are saying about interrupted work flow and muscle memory. What about taking a break to rest weary/fatigued muscles? Or is that something that will pass as one gets better at sharpening? Really like the leather for hinges. Bet hitting that nail with the plane hurt almost as bad as hitting your thumb with a hammer.

-- God bless, Candy

showing 1 through 15 of 17 comments

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