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Saw Sharpening...You can do it too!

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Forum topic by 12strings posted 01-16-2013 02:42 PM 1561 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12strings

406 posts in 1040 days


01-16-2013 02:42 PM

I just wanted to encourage any you who feel you will never be able to sharpen saws, Just get a cheap saw (non-hardened teeth) and go for it.

I’ve sharpened up my $7 stanley mitre-box Back-saw, a $1 backsaw from a yard-sale, touched up my Crown Gent’s saw, and most recently cleaned up and sharpened a super-dull old Diston Panel saw (my first attempt at Cross-cut sharpening).

So with a few re-do’s I’ve probalby done about 7-8 total sharpening sessions in my life…It takes less than 30 minutes total per saw.

Here’s my take:

1. What you definitely need:
- a Triangle file
- a shop-made vice to hold the saw very close to the teeth. (or 2 pieces of wood in your vise at the very least).
- A Mill file to joint the teeth (I skipped this if the teeth seemed to be in good shape.

2. What you DON’T need right away, if you are just trying it out:
- A real saw-vise (you can make your own)
- A saw-set (I still don’t have one, since EVERY saw I’ve sharpened already had plenty of set…usually too much…I usually ended up using a fine diamond stone to remove some of the set.
- A little block of wood that tells you what angle to hold the file. (Just go for it…sharp teeth with a slightly off angle will cut better than dull teeth at perfect angles…Just try to follow the same angle the teeth already have, and keep it the same throughout the sharpening.

Of course, this won’t make you a professional saw sharpener, but It will get you started, and give you confidence to touch up your saws, just make sure you start with cheap saws, and progress to better saws when you gain confidence. I used to think hand sharpening a saw was crazy, but once I tried it, I realized it goes pretty quick.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!


16 replies so far

View paratrooper34's profile

paratrooper34

760 posts in 1608 days


#1 posted 01-16-2013 02:50 PM

12strings, this is exactly what I needed to read. I have been putting off sharpening for a long time. It’s a snow day today, maybe I should go into the shop after snow removal and give it a shot. Thanks for the inspiration!

-- Mike

View Straightbowed's profile

Straightbowed

717 posts in 954 days


#2 posted 01-16-2013 03:49 PM

this is what I like encouragement and a few hints of just go do it, Im goin for it too!

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

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paratrooper34

760 posts in 1608 days


#3 posted 01-16-2013 07:22 PM

Done and done! I finished putting together an old Disston I was cleaning up and sharpened it when I finished that. It is a big rip saw and it was pretty easy to do. I made a cut with the saw prior to restoring it and didn’t like how it tracked to the left. It now tracks nicely. I am posting some pics of the saw on the restore it thread.

Thanks again for the inspiration, all I needed was some motivation!

-- Mike

View Ripthorn's profile

Ripthorn

759 posts in 1641 days


#4 posted 01-16-2013 07:31 PM

What’s funny is that you describe what I am in the midst of doing. I have my same cheap stanley back saw and a $3 Disston panel saw that I want to sharpen up (just need to make the “vise”). Then I have a gent’s saw (my fret slotting saw) that needs some attention. Then my intention is to try and make a saw, cut in the teeth and all. Yes, I have been sucked down the rabbit hole some.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

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12strings

406 posts in 1040 days


#5 posted 01-16-2013 07:50 PM

Yeah, that Cheap Stanley Back-saw was my only “dovetail” saw for about 2 years! It worked well enough to finish my tool chest: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/55959.

The Old Diston will go back to my dad…He’s had it since before I was born, but it’s been useless for that long too…Hopefully he can use it now.

As to making a saw…I have no desire to cut in teeth…The farthest I may go is, now that I have a nice Veritas dovetail saw for rip cuts…I’m hoping to add some fleam to my crown gents saw to use for small cross-cuts.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View OldSneelock's profile

OldSneelock

8 posts in 973 days


#6 posted 01-17-2013 03:20 AM

I looked at a lot of videos, read books, and talked to friends and then I started practicing. After going through a small stack of saws I came up with a method that works for me. So I wouldn’t forget and so I could share it with my friends and family I put it on Youtube. If it works for you or points you in the right direction then it will have served it’s purpose. http://youtu.be/7F5rN3Y2rpg

-- Old Sneelock, Michigan, dnighswander.blogspot.com

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12strings

406 posts in 1040 days


#7 posted 09-11-2013 05:01 PM

UPDATE…AND A PICTURE!

I finally got an old morrill-style saw-set…and the thing works perfectly! It probably took me less then 10 minutes to set my stanley mitre-box saw… and in this picture you also get to see my dirt-simple saw-vise, clamped in my dirt-simple double-pipe-clamp-face-vise. :-)

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Texchappy's profile

Texchappy

252 posts in 877 days


#8 posted 09-11-2013 05:59 PM

Good to read and thanks for the encouragement. I kept going back and fort whether I should attempt to sharpen my saws or just send them off. I ordered the files I need and waiting for them to get here.

-- Wood is not velveeta

View Don W's profile

Don W

15036 posts in 1224 days


#9 posted 09-11-2013 06:12 PM

if you haven’t seen Andy’s video, and you want to sharpen saws, its a must see. http://lumberjocks.com/Brit/blog/36332

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

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2834 posts in 1899 days


#10 posted 09-11-2013 08:18 PM

You can’t use just any triangular file,. you have to use what are called taper saw files. They are different from 3 square files. The difference is the corners of the file do not have teeth cut into them so they don’t cut into the gullet between teeth. I don’t think you can find taper saw files in any hardware or big box store. They have to be ordered from saw sharpening supply houses or industrial suppliers, like McMaster-Carr.
You need a lot of files, because they wear out in use. You might get two sharpenings from one file. You have to use just one of the 60° legs of the file until it won’t cut well; then rotate the file 60° to the next leg and so on until all three legs are used. At that point, you will find that the file sort of glides over the tooth instead of cutting. Also file only in one direction; away from you. No back and forth filing allowed.
These are just a few preliminaries, but there are many more to learn to become a successful saw sharpener. I still have all my saw sharpening machines and hundreds of new and old files stored away. The only saws I sharpen these days are carbide saw blades and I have a machine for that too. They cannot be sharpened by hand. If I can answer any of your concerns, feel free to contact me on this forum.

View Tim's profile

Tim

1269 posts in 617 days


#11 posted 09-11-2013 11:59 PM

Great post 12strings and good advice to just get some cheap but quality saws and get after it. Warranted superior saws with a comfortable handle are a good target. They’re second line so available cheap, but still of good quality. I like the pipe clamp face vice. Good way to get stuff clamped up for cheap.

Ron, did you mean the opposite? Saw files do have teeth cut into the edges (so they actually have 6 faces) so that they do cut the gullets. If they didn’t, you’d have gullets that were too sharp of an angle and they would be more prone to cracking. What kind of saw sharpening machines do you have for hand saws? Any retoother?

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2834 posts in 1899 days


#12 posted 09-13-2013 10:00 PM

No; Taper saw files have a “safe” edge. You don’t want to cut into the gullet. If the gullets are not deep enough, due to too many sharpenings, the remedy is to re-tooth the saw. This is done using a machine that removes the old teeth and simultaneously punches new teeth. I have a saw filing machine, re-toother, setting machines for both hand saws and circular saws, a machine that does chain saw chains, planer blades, scissor sharpeners, honing for hair trimmers, carbide saw blade sharpener, belt and disc sander. I acquired all these tools when I was in the sharpening business. The only machine I use anymore is the carbide saw machine and the one for chains. The rest are in storage and high humidity has taken it’s toll on them.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15036 posts in 1224 days


#13 posted 09-13-2013 10:57 PM

I’m going to disagree MrRon. You can recut teeth with a saw file. If you watch Andy’s video I linked to above you will see him do it several times. When you resharpen a saw, the idea is to make sure the teeth keep the same profile.

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

View Tim's profile

Tim

1269 posts in 617 days


#14 posted 09-14-2013 01:18 AM

I don’t know if a “taper saw file” is a different thing you’re talking about but the Grobet Swiss and the Bahco saw files definitely have 6 cutting faces and from what I’ve read about saw filing, those are the ones you want. I don’t have any references handy, but they all refer to cutting the gullet with the cut edges. I don’t see how a triangular file with safe edges would work to sharpen a saw personally. It seems like the safe edge would just ride in the gullet and no cutting would happen unless you pushed both to the right and then to the left to file the front of one tooth then the back of another.

Maybe the difference is doing it by machine vs by hand, I dunno.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15036 posts in 1224 days


#15 posted 09-14-2013 01:40 AM

I have this set. They seem pretty good. I have no complaints other than they go out of stock a lot. You can get basically the same thing from Tools for woodworking. This thread may help.

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

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