View Full Version : Hand saw tune up ?

Mark Stutz
01-11-2005, 11:07 PM
I was doing a little work in the shop this past weekend, and needed to cut off a short piece from a board several feet long. I usually make the trek to the CMS (not in the shop due to space constraints :( ) but then reached for a...(gasp) HAND SAW :D . Since I'm trying to make the switch from electrons to calories, why not. Now this is not a classic saw or one I'd ever used---given to me by a cousin who heard I was interested in tools! 1950's Disston with a plastic handle (tag says $1.98 :eek: ) Then I remembered why I never used them! :( --vibrated like you know what. Since I've been reading about sharpening etc. I knew this was because there was too much set, and the resulting kerf too wide :D I think :o
Since my sharpening skills are modest, I've only been using paper on glass, so no stones to take off some set. Well, I do have a small ceramic stone that I got several years ago, I don't remember why, though probably thought every woodworker needed a stone! (Boy, I wish SMC had been around then :D )
So after this long winded intro.....will this "stone" work on the saw. Should I get a cheap oil stone for this? other suggestions?

Steve Wargo
01-11-2005, 11:37 PM
then simply take a large bastard file to the blade. Take long passes down each side, and make sure you take the same amount from each. If the blade drifts one way or anothe take another pass with the file to that side. IMO, some of it could be the saw. Is it straight? Clean? Dull? Even a LN saw won't cut if it's dull. Hope this helps.

Leif Hanson
01-11-2005, 11:42 PM
I'm sure it would work fine - but a couple things first... aren't ceramic stones a bit spendy? All it takes is a cheapie stone, doesn't have to be much - and the teeth of the saw will quickly wear grooves into the stone, so don't use anything precious as it will be full of grooves if you use it regularly. I use an old hardware store variety combination stone I had that broke in half once upon a time...

To the vibration - I think you might be looking at it backwards... is it that annoying vibration the saw makes when you are pulling the saw back up through the cut, making that wubawubawuba (<= highly technical term) sound? What's really happening is the saw is binding in it's own cut. There may be several causes: it's usually that there isn't enough set on the saw and it is binding,or the sawyer (that's you!) is pulling the back up at an angle not in line with the cut being made, causing the blade to bind that way. Also, make sure it isn't the wood closing up behind the initial cut, closing itself over the blade and binding it.

The fix is first to check your technique. Use a guide such as a 2"x3" chunk of wood clamped to the saw right beside where you are cutting - it doesn't have to touch the saw, just give you a visual aid to see if you are tracking the saw straight, to help you guide your cut to diagnose your technique. Then you can try add a bit of set once you've satisfied yourself that your technique isn't at fault.



Mark Stutz
01-12-2005, 12:00 AM
Yea, something like that. The far end visibly moves back and forth on the pull stroke. It's probably not as sharp as it could be but it's better than the 1980 Stanley in the garage! I was aware of technique and tried to make sure I was pulling straight back. I had no trouble cutting a straight line. I'll play with the set. This will be a good saw to practice on!
You're right about the ceramic stone! I had no idea what I was doing when I bought it. :o At least it will last a long time ;) :o I'm sure we all have a list of "stuff" we wish we hadn't spent money on!
Will let you kn ow how my adventure goes.

DUH...of course...a file!

So many things to learn, practice, and apply...so little time.

Leif Hanson
01-12-2005, 12:19 AM
Well, if that ceramic stone is a quality one, don't use it for this purpose! You'll be glad you have it someday, trust me.

A file like mentioned will work, but it should be a very fine file, and used very lightly when you do. Get yourself a saw set, add some to this one and give a quick once over with file and I bet you'll be amazed at the difference.

Set is removed naturally when you sharpen a hand saw - the act of filing removes more of the set with each subsequent sharpening. This is what usually is the culprit behind the condition you describe - someone might not have had a saw set, and sharpened the saw a couple times before you got a hold of it. The other cause is someone who's a bit too rambunctious removing the set... You hear all the time about a "minimally" set saw - don't believe that when you hear it. The proper term they should be using is a "properly" set saw. Too much set, and the saw will want to wander, too little and it will bind. A "properly" set saw will ride the line between these two conditions.

Was that a box of soap? :rolleyes:

Good luck! :)

Tim Leo
01-12-2005, 11:43 PM

I've got a small ceramic stone that I use to keep my chisels tuned up between sharpenings. It isn't as aggressive as the waterstones and works great to polish the steel.

If you really hate that ceramic, I'll take it!