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Thread: Saw filing advice please

  1. #1
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    Saw filing advice please

    I read a couple of recent threads here that had some good advice for filing a dovetail saw, so I'm hoping I can get some similar advice for a crosscut panel saw.

    The saw is a Disston D-7, 18 panel saw, 11 PPI x-cut from around 1875-1910. Overall it's in nice shape, but extremely dull. I've accumulated the necessary tools, read some how-to articles and watched a couple of videos, so now its time to give it a go. The question is what are the best rake and fleam angles for a saw like this? Also, what I've read indicates that the gullet should be filed at an angle as well. I'd appreciate any advice on that as well.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mike

  2. #2
    got to http://www.vintagesaws.com/cgi-bin/f...y/library.html for the best filing tutorial. While the best rake and fleam angles vary for different materials you could probably go with something fairly standard 15 degrees of rake and 20 degrees of fleam. I wouldn't worry too much about the gullet angle at this point, just file fairly straight across, you can work on sloping gullets as you gain proficiency. You will probably need to shape the teeth before you sharpen. Read the tutorial it is all in there.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Siemsen View Post
    got to http://www.vintagesaws.com/cgi-bin/f...y/library.html for the best filing tutorial. While the best rake and fleam angles vary for different materials you could probably go with something fairly standard 15 degrees of rake and 20 degrees of fleam. I wouldn't worry too much about the gullet angle at this point, just file fairly straight across, you can work on sloping gullets as you gain proficiency. You will probably need to shape the teeth before you sharpen. Read the tutorial it is all in there.
    I've read it several times, as well as viewing some filing videos on Youtube and the Thomas Lie-Nielsen video on the L-N site. All very helpful, but none really dealt with panel saws (or any saw) in this tooth range. I was hoping some of my fellow Neandertals might have some insight in what worked well for them with this size saw. The small teeth are also the reason for my asking about the sloping gullet to give a bit more room for the sawdust.

    I suppose I should have mentioned it will be used mostly on walnut, cherry and poplar with some use on maple and SYP. So, it'll be a hardwood saw.

    Mike

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    Mike's got you on the right track. I'll just add, sometimes you luck out, and the teeth are in fairly decent shape, (or at least consistent) albeit dull - when that's the case, I often just try and echo what's already there, as that's the easiest method of attack.

    I'm generally pretty lax about specific angles, and find that unless I'm going to be doing some marathon sawing, as long as I'm in the ballpark of what's reasonable, things are going to be okay.

    11 point is on the finer side, and this is a shorter saw, so you may be using this for more finish-y type cuts, so you could go for something less aggressive, and if you're not using super hard woods, maybe even have a little more fleam for a nicer finish.

    The way you word your post, is this your first sharpening job? Or just first of a finer pitch or x-cut saw? My first sharpening job was on an 11pt X-cut saw. It also ended up being something like my third and fourth sharpening jobs. It wasn't the best saw to dive into. That said, you gotta take the plunge at some point, and it's not like you'll totally destroy the thing if you fail. Either way, have fun, and good luck!
    " Be willing to make mistakes in your basements, garages, apartments and palaces. I have made many. Your first attempts may be poor. They will not be futile. " - M.S. Bickford, Mouldings In Practice

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    Joshua

    Yup, this will be my first filing rodeo. Although I have a lot of hand tools, I've done my cutting with my table or band saw in the past. But now that I'm retired I have time to do more furniture and cabinetry type projects. That weaned me away from my dovetail template in favor of hand cutting them. So now I've got some hand saws I use. I sent my father's old Disston 26" saws off to Bad Axe for a good professional sharpening by Mark so I can use them too. But, if I'm going to use hand saws I figure I need to be able to maintain them like I do my chisels and planes. I found an old saw vise and bought some files, so now I'm going to jump into the deep end.

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    I sent my father's old Disston 26" saws off to Bad Axe for a good professional sharpening by Mark so I can use them too.
    How is this saw doing for you?

    Do you have the specifications on the ppi, rake and fleam?

    The fleam angle will have a lot to do with the smoothness of a cut.

    The tooth count and rake contribute mostly to the aggressiveness of a cut.

    If the Disston has the same tooth count and performs to your satisfaction, you may want to experiment with a different fleam or rake.

    If the Disston performs to your liking and has a different tooth count, you may want to use the same fleam and rake.

    Since this is your first saw sharpening you might view it as your first experiment with saw sharpening. Don't do anything radical. Work on keeping your work consistent. One of the great things about saw sharpening is how easy it is to do over if the results are not to your liking.

    My advice is also to not worry about gullets at this point.

    Also, just because my saws perform well with shallow fleam angle it doesn't mean this will work well for you. My saws would dull quickly in hardwoods. Most of my work is in soft pine.

    It may take you a few saw filings to determine if your fleam is causing your saws to dull too quickly.

    The place to start is how will the saw be used?

    Fine cuts = maybe 15 on the rake and 15 - 20 on the fleam.

    Fast, rough, aggressive cuts = 10 for the rake and 5 - 10 on the fleam.

    It is natural (and flattering) to seek the advise of those who have filed saws ahead of you. Though the best way to solve this riddle is to learn from your own attempts and discoveries.

    A discussion such as this always reminds me of Edward Murrow's statement, "Anyone who isn't totally confused just doesn't understand the situation."

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 10-18-2012 at 4:01 PM. Reason: spelling
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    I sent my father's old Disston 26" saws off to Bad Axe for a good professional sharpening by Mark so I can use them too.
    How is this saw doing for you?
    I haven't gotten them back yet. However, they are 26" handsaws, one D-15 Victory and one D-23, that are a lot bigger than the little 18" panel saw I'm about to file.

    Do you have the specifications on the ppi, rake and fleam?
    No, I don't know how Mark has filed them.

    (snip)

    Fine cuts = maybe 15 on the rake and 15 - 20 on the fleam.

    Fast, rough, aggressive cuts = 10 for the rake and 5 - 10 on the fleam.

    It is natural (and flattering) to seek the advise of those who have filed saws ahead of you. Though the best way to solve this riddle is to learn from your own attempts and discoveries.

    A discussion such as this always reminds me of Edward Murrow's statement, "Anyone who isn't totally confused just doesn't understand the situation."

    jtk
    Well, I guess Ed was wrong since I don't yet understand and I'm still confused. That's never stopped me in the past. I'll start with 15 on the rake and 15 - 20 on the fleam. The worst that can happen is I'll have to do it again. Since this is my first try, that's pretty much a given anyway.

    Thanks

    Mike

  8. #8
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    All the advice here is right on target. A couple suggestions in response you questions:

    1) the process for a panel saw is exactly the same as for a full size saw of the same pitch. The difference is since a panel saw will typically be used for smaller/thinner stock you can use less set than a full sized saw. +.007-.008" (than the widest part of plate - heel @ toothline) would be a good target.

    2) the first step of jointing and profiling the teeth (working from one side of the saw) to get consistent rake angle, height and spacing of teeth is critical. Take your time and go slow. With these estAblished it's much easier Add the fleam angle after second jointing.

    3) 15 degree rake and 20 fleam are good for 11 PPI X-cut in hardwoods. Easier to start Nd smoother finish than 12 degree rake more typical in coarser pitch X-cuts.

    4) error on the side of smaller file- (5"-6" XX slim) and use the guide blocks for pitch and rake angles. Joint and mark flats between every step. Don't worry about gullet angles for now. They won't make much difference in the size stock you'll use this saw for.

    Go for it - you can definitely do it!


    All the best, Mike

  9. #9
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    As I'm a newbie myself, with only a few saws sharpened, I can relate.

    When I did my first, a 12 PPI cross cut, I've got two of them. The one I sharpened was an old one my dad gave me and he later gave me a new one.

    I used the new one as a reference to compare against my sharpening. I feel that helped a lot with my insecurity.

    I've read your newer thread about receiving sharp saws. You may wish to use them as references too.

    Good luck in your new endeavor. You should be pleasantly surprised at how well the saw cuts after you've sharpened it. I sure was.

    Look forward to reading about your results.

  10. #10
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    UPDATE:

    I finished sharpening my old D-8 panel saw. (I originally said it was a D-7, but is is actually a D-8) Thanks to all for the help and advice.

    Here's what I did:
    The saw is an 18", 11 PPI filed x-cut.

    1. Coated the teeth with some blue Dykem so I could see where the files touched.
    2. Jointed the teeth to get them a uniform height and with a small flat on every tooth.
    3. Filed all the teeth to 15 degree rake with no fleam, focusing on getting them uniform.
    4. Set the teeth. I set them at this point to avoid damaging them after they were filed to their final shape.
    5. Recoat with Dykem and touch up with the joint file to make sure they are all the same height and reestablish a small flat.
    6. More Dykem, then file x-cut to 15 degree rake, 20 degree fleam with a small (5 degree) gullet angle

    It turned out pretty well. All the teeth are uniform and it cuts a fair amount better than it did before I messed with it, so I'm content for now. All in all I would have to say it's a qualified success. I improved it, but it could be better. I cut a couple of ends off xome 4/4 white oak. The cuts were straight and the cut end grain was pretty smooth. It was, however, on the slow side.

  11. #11
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    Mike, it's OAK.

    It's like playing tennis, if you must choose two of the following (pace/placement/spin) go for the finesse stuff.
    If the saw cuts true, and leaves a finish ready for glue, that's good for you.

    I would suggest that the speed with which a saw cuts is inversely related to rake.
    More 'relaxed' tooth angles should cut with less effort at the handle - but progress slowly.

  12. #12
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    It turned out pretty well. All the teeth are uniform and it cuts a fair amount better than it did before I messed with it, so I'm content for now. All in all I would have to say it's a qualified success. I improved it, but it could be better. I cut a couple of ends off xome 4/4 white oak. The cuts were straight and the cut end grain was pretty smooth. It was, however, on the slow side.
    An improvement over what it was before means you are doing something right.

    I would suggest that the speed with which a saw cuts is inversely related to rake.
    More 'relaxed' tooth angles should cut with less effort at the handle - but progress slowly.
    Wise words, the tooth count and rake have everything to do with how fast a saw cuts.

    As far as set is concerned, my practice is to apply as little set as possible. It is easy to add set, not so easy to remove it if you do not have a metal vise.

    I have read of some people gluing a thin piece of wood on the plunger to protect the saw teeth during setting.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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