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Saw Plate Taper?

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Forum topic by jeffb33200 posted 10-23-2015 08:03 PM 552 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jeffb33200

15 posts in 1070 days


10-23-2015 08:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: saw dovetail saw saw plate angle

Hi All,

I am just learning how to saw and acquired an old, circa 1890’s, Disston backsaw. It is not a rectangular plate. The depth of the plate at the toe is smaller than the depth at the heel. Does anyone know the purpose for this? I have to tip the saw when I’m nearing my baseline for a dovetail and it feels awkward. Are you supposed to hold the saw in such a way that the teeth are horizontal while cutting?
Thanks in advance.


10 replies so far

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jdh122

879 posts in 2280 days


#1 posted 10-23-2015 08:06 PM

This video explains it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te3VuCoTLvE

The idea is that it allows you to saw without worrying about going past your line on the side of the wood you can’t see. At least that’s my understanding of it.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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putty

998 posts in 1069 days


#2 posted 10-23-2015 08:28 PM

I bet it was not made that way. Over time the plate can be driven in the spine and you will have an angled plate
Take a square to the front edge and the tooth edge, if it is square than more than likely it is driven up into the spine.

-- Putty

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Tim

3113 posts in 1424 days


#3 posted 10-23-2015 11:41 PM

Jeremy is right about why they were done on purpose, but Putty’s probably right about your saw. You will probably need to remove the spine and replace it. Here’s a video on doing it:
https://logancabinetshoppe.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/episode-47/

I use a scrap piece of hardwood with a kerf cut in it to remove the spine so it hits both sides rather than hitting from one side the way he does in the video. That seems like it could bend it. You have to clamp across the kerf to keep it from splitting the scrap piece

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summerfi

3315 posts in 1150 days


#4 posted 10-23-2015 11:55 PM

I agree with the above. Some early British backsaws had canted plates. The term canted is used to avoid confusion with tapered plates, which refers to plate thickness. However, I’ve never seen or heard of a Disston with a canted plate. As Putty said, it is very common for the toe end of a plate to slip too far into the spine and the heel end of the plate to slip partly out of the spine due to the pressures applied while sawing over a long period of time. This gives the appearance of a canted plate, but it really isn’t.

Tim’s direction for removing and replacing the spine on the plate is right on. The plate should go approximately 1/2 way into the spine. In other words, if the spine is 3/4” wide, the plate should be inserted about 3/8”. It seems intimidating at first to remove and replace the spine, but it really is quite easy once you’ve done a few.

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

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Tim

3113 posts in 1424 days


#5 posted 10-24-2015 05:17 PM



However, I ve never seen or heard of a Disston with a canted plate.
- summerfi

That was my thought too, but I figured as soon as I said that someone would come up with an example of one. :)

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jeffb33200

15 posts in 1070 days


#6 posted 10-26-2015 01:38 PM

Hi All,

You were right. I took off the handle and could see dirt build up behind the edge of the saw and the spine in the handle end. I’ll look at the video this week. It certainly does appear intimidating to reseat the plate. I guess if I can’t do it I’ll just a canted saw haha. Wish me luck.

Jeff

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jeffb33200

15 posts in 1070 days


#7 posted 10-27-2015 02:03 AM

To All,
I watched the video and found some others. I had no idea what to expect but the videos made me think I could do it. So I tried it tonight and it worked. The saw plate is repositioned in the spine and it looks square all around. Now if I can sharpen it will be fun to think of how old it is whenever I use it or show it to someone.

Thanks again,
Jeff

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summerfi

3315 posts in 1150 days


#8 posted 10-27-2015 02:17 AM

Great job Jeff. Glad it worked out for you.

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

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jeffb33200

15 posts in 1070 days


#9 posted 10-27-2015 09:40 PM

Bob,

I just looked at your website and you do beautiful work for sure. Can you look at a picture of my saw and tell me what kind of saw it is? Sash, Dovetail, Carcass…they are only words to me right now.

Jeff

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summerfi

3315 posts in 1150 days


#10 posted 10-27-2015 09:47 PM

Thanks Jeff. A picture would help, but it would be more important to know length, points per inch and whether crosscut or rip.

BTW, you should come on over and join the saw thread.

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

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