Saw Sharpening

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Forum topic by BubbaIBA posted 01-16-2012 07:44 PM 1704 views 2 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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387 posts in 2372 days

01-16-2012 07:44 PM

I’ve just added a saw sharpening area to my sharpening bench. I’ve always used sharpening services before but after the move to Tucson I’ve been unable to find one locally. After cleaning up several of my old Freud back saws (most from the late 70s and early 80s) and sharpening them I question why I waited so long. They cut fast and true, every bit as good as one of my newer handmade saws, much better than any saw I’ve had sharpened by a service.

Anyway raised a question: Am I just slow and everyone else has been sharpening their own saws? Hope not, I hate always riding in the short bus.

9 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2948 days

#1 posted 01-17-2012 03:39 AM

Bubba, I just purchased a saw sharpening DVD to learn and got an old vise. Haven’t jumped in yet, but coming soon. I think if you got an answer from all hand tools users, you would find a lot send theirs out to get sharpened. I get that impression from readings and postings and such.

-- Mike

View NateX's profile


98 posts in 2992 days

#2 posted 01-17-2012 07:50 AM

I want to start doing that as well. How steep is the learning curve? I saw this Lie-Nielsen video and figured I could do that!

Maybe you should write a blog about how you go about doing it.

View NormG's profile


6111 posts in 3000 days

#3 posted 01-17-2012 10:32 AM

I am on the fence still

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2372 days

#4 posted 01-17-2012 04:19 PM

Thanks guys, I’m new to this board so I haven’t figured out all the posting options i.e. replying with quotes so here is a general reply:

There is a lot of good info on sharpening saws, the mentioned Lie Nielson video, Paul Sellers blog , Tools for Working Wood’s site , a good video on FWW on sharpening a rip saw, to link a few.

The good part is it is not too expensive to set up, less than $300 USD for every thing you need (much less if you make a wooden saw vice instead of buying a metal one), and even if you screw up no harm is done other than the loss of a mm or two of saw plate. Another nice part is feed back is instant….you sharpen then take your sharpened saw to the wood and cut a line, it will either start easily, cut fast and true or not. If it doesn’t cut true, take a hone to the high side. If it is hard to start or cuts slowly look at the rake, if it binds you may need more set, if the kerf is too large and rough less set. Pretty simple and once you get it dialed in it is really sweet.

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387 posts in 2372 days

#5 posted 01-17-2012 04:54 PM

I left out a couple of useful links:

View Bob Downing's profile

Bob Downing

43 posts in 2822 days

#6 posted 01-20-2012 07:34 PM

Bubba, like you I just started sharpening my own saws. I have the Pax saws from LV. Could not believe the difference from out of the box to now. The Pax saws are supposed to be hand sharpened from manfacturer, but when I looked close at my rip saw I saw flat spots on many teeth. Must have been a Friday when they sharpened mine. Anyway, it took me a couple of attempts and a couple of hours to get it right. The thing cuts great and runs straight. A lesson I learned was to use VERY light pressure on the saw set. Too much pressure will dent the side of the tooth. Not a problem now but after a few sharpenings I’m going to have to deal with them. And patience is critical when learning to do this. I got the saw vise from Tools for Working Wood as a Christmas present the the wife. The thing works great.

-- BobD Chandler, AZ

View cam1297's profile


64 posts in 3207 days

#7 posted 01-20-2012 07:39 PM


Is that the vise from toolsforworkingwood? If so, how do you like it and could you give a little review/information about it. I have been thinking about getting one since I recently came into a stash of 7 panel saws that need restoration.

View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2372 days

#8 posted 01-21-2012 12:13 AM


Pretty much my experience, I use just above the lightest set and it seems to work for rip. I’ve also found that even if the shape isn’t 100% perfect one of my refurbished saws still cuts better or as well as my high dollar hand made saws.

This morning I re-toothed an older English Dovetail saw from a 22 tpi crosscut to a 12 tpi rip, took less than an hour and turned a worthless saw into a great cutting tool.


It works as advertised. Solid, easy to clamp and makes sharpening a pleasure. I expect a shop made saw vice would work as well, might not be as easy to use but it would also cost less.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18710 posts in 2563 days

#9 posted 01-21-2012 12:33 AM

I try to sharpen. I’ve posted some references
And have learned a lot from the guys that Hang out here

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

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